"We are called to love the Lord with all our heart, all our souls, and all our mind - to make Him the driving force of our lives. We are called to make disciples everywhere and anywhere. We are called to love those around us who are easy to love AND hard to love. We are called to live according to what is written in the Bible.
We must know that we are not here to stay, and there is great joy in knowing that. DO YOU FEEL THAT JOY?! You should. I should. We all should. I mean come on - we're going to be with Jesus Christ in heaven someday. We'll finally get to meet him and experience the ungraspable joy it speaks about in the bible. That is in the future for us and isn't that just enough to make your whole body dance with joy?!? Just knowing that the best we experience here on earth won't even compare to what is come! That in itself is soo astounding! There is such peace of mind when you focus on eternity. Whatever season in life you may be in, may you always hold this joy, this hope, as an anchor for your soul - as you eagerly wait for the Lord."
I read these words, and my heart cries out "I want that peace again!" Without a shadow of a doubt, this school year I have fell way away from God.
There is a question “In five years, will you be a more godly girl because of what you’re doing in your life today, or will you slowly drift off the path?” that I was going to blog about sometime. Ironically, I am telling the tale from the other side than what I expected to.
I didn’t expect to drift from “the narrow way” in my heart, but nor have I been loving God with all he deserves, my heart, soul, strength, mind.
Like looking back I see a lot of what was going on, but its really pathetic to know that I haven’t been growing spiritually. Actually, I haven’t been very successful in anything:
I didn’t go to the Y from like Late August to Mid April once even though I love to swim and even though I love racquetball and even though its fun to do the Espresso bikes and do like a mile and a half in 5 min.
I used to be able to read 365+ books a year and now I’m not sure if I have read 65 this school year.
And I really wanted to do my manuscript completely through the first draft or two, but that just wasn’t on the list of priorities, even though looking at my grades, those aren’t proportionately better either.
And this is the saddest of them all by far: I don’t pray routinely or read my Bible at all, haven’t for months. I wanted to but never did.
You know what? I honestly want to blame it on getting too much sleep. I am a person that loves to stay up way late and and that plan has not been working out; I fall asleep mid-homework (say at 9) and wake up sooo tired (about 6) from getting so much shut eye, scrambling to do what all homework cant be put off anymore. But in the mornings I don’t want to do anything, believe me, and getting me out of bed is a joke.
But that’s not the problem. All of a sudden all the time I wanted to be reading, writing, growing closer to God, etc is gone and I don’t like it but there is nothing I can do to change the past. There is nothing that any of us can do to change our pasts, actually, and somewhere along the way we have to learn to search out God for healing. We just do.
It used to be that "they" would say things like “You need to be actively pursuing God all the time not just for the week at camp” and I was like blah, like that would ever be me. I feel like so many of the things that I say have been turned around on me…..and now I am the one behind and now I need support.
Because I’m not that kid that goes to Wednesday night. You want to know what Wednesday night youth group is? Its kids playing sports and singing music that is too loud. And since I don’t do sports and I don’t do loud music so I have no reason to go. Socializing, yeah right, I can talk to myself if I need expert advice.
I think of Sunday school and the basic ideas “Jesus died on a cross” “God loves you” “Stay pure” that don’t really amount to much for any of us that show up. I think about the pastors sermons and how I walk away so often learning nothing. #pityparty Its so easy to go through the motions, too easy to fail to love selflessly and shine flawlessly.
But you know what I think? I think that it is AMAZING that I can share these things. Do you know why?
· I see that there is a problem
· I want to fix it
· I want to fix it now
· I want to use this experience to Grow with a capital G
· I want to tell you about it so that you might Grow with a capital G
The other day I had picked up my Bible, started in Matthew, right in the New Testament, and it was so refreshing. I got to like Mathew 7 before my eyelids got too heavy and I fell asleep but it was great. Three in the morning or no, I was full of joy.
This morning, and I love cloud and sunsets and things, the sky was gorgeous.
He said “I forgive you for your faults and have plans for you that you can not even comprehend. Here is a pretty sky to remind you that I am here for you. I have such good plans”
God was saying “Have I ever failed you?” And I was saying “No, no you have not” and getting all emotional.
God was painting the sky because he can do all things and he is everywhere. I wanted to drop what I was doing and just adore all the beauty before me.
It reminded me of the large galaxies around us, the countless stars dotting the sky, but also the tiny cells of an onion skin under a microscope, the smallest details placed into creation. I felt small and God felt big and I knew I was loved.
And even more, it reminded me of when I think I can do things on my own, but God can do things so much better. Guys, God is perfect!
Whatever are we thinking when we stray?
God can use me and he can use you. It doesn’t matter where you have been or what you have done or how hurt you are. You can heal- its not to late, its never too late.
For months, Ive just been religious. One of my friend often says “You are pretty cool for a religious person” and that is been all. Going through the motions. Last faith post I rambled about abortion, Ive been that type of Christian.
Today someone asked me what that “hat thing” was. I said I wear this because it reminds me of my God. It reminds me of his love and that I am a witness wherever I go. It makes others, like you, I said, ask questions, and I can say: “Listen! let me tell you who my Jesus is!” Lately I have just shrugged these comments off, but that is the dumbest thing to do.
Now I want to act of my faith. It is like when I was just a born-again Christian…. Ah, let me tell you my story:
I was a devil child. The type of child that gets locked in a closet not because her parents are evil,but simply because they need a break. I through fits all the time and hated everyone. If I was unhappy, I would scream and cry and throw things and bite until I got my way and that was all there was to it. Once I tore down the shelving in my closet, moderately suffocating my sister. I was that sort of child.
It wasn’t long after that and my parents decided that I needed to get baptized, me and my sister. I was either finishing up second or third grade and it was about this time of year, May. Well, the preacher guy was old and retiring so it was rushed and hectic. How it went down was there was one guy acting as a godfather or something, another friend of my parents with an old video camcorder, and the guy in a robe sprinkling water over my sister and I’s heads. And the praying… they prayed a thousand different things and I was getting tired of all this. Usually we sat in the back corner for a quick get away and I didn’t like being front and center. At one point, I heard an “amen” from the prayer book script and so I grabbed my sisters and and marched us off to our seat. We got that one on camera.
Before then, when I was little, I refused to go to Sunday School. I would throw fits every single Sunday and keep my parents from having to go to church. Sometimes they left me alone in the Church library, which scares me to pieces now because strangers could have gotten in the doors so, so easily.
Once my mom was in a study “Live like you are dying” and I told myself I wanted nothing to do with God or Christianity. For mom to be a Christian, she had to get sick and die? My parents have always been interesting characters, but I sure didn’t like the sound of them dying!
In seventh grade, I was trying to please everyone and it just wasn’t working. I was depressed, touching on suicidal some days, and possibly even had selective mutism, which is a rare thing that means you need help because there is something wrong.
My parents also say I was shitzophrentic and hearing voices in my head, but I cant remember that at all, maybe I have blocked it or maybe it never was.
People are like "nah, you've always been the nicest person" but really I think everyone knows I was a big (insert choice vocabulary) and they just didnt want to believe it. I just know that I was in a bad, bad place.
At that time, I was barely 100 pounds and thought that I was fat, ugly, and stupid. If you tell me any body feature, I could tell you something I was insecure about it about. Maybe more. I bought make up behind my parents backs and skimpy clothes that they totally encouraged me to wear, I cut myself bangs as if that would solve everything… and nothing was bringing me happiness.
I was walking dangerous paths. I was lost.
So there I was and the first time I thought about wanted God in my life for real was mid march of seventh grade. Times were just impossibly tough then, and I was going through what seemed to be more than I could handle.
As John 3:16 says, for God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only son that whosoever believes, may have eternal life.
Now read that last bit with your name in place of "the world".
Yeah, even though none of us are perfect, God, our creator, has promised that when we get to heaven, he will wipe every tear from our eye. There will be no more sadness or pain....
And as a seventh grader, I clung to those words. Didnt want anything to do with turning from my sins and living a life pleasing to God, but heaven was a pretty nice notion.
The speaker continued that heaven is more than just awesome. Heaven is like awesome squared or maybe awesome to the awesome... Beyond our wildest dreams. Beyond anything we can ever imagine.
Like we think of streets of gold and that is a mere fraction of what it will be like.
We think of the prettiest sunrise or sunset or just mid day sky we have ever seen and that is only a fraction of the extent of awesome we will have before us.
Because we are broken people loving in a broken world and we just can not fathom it, the speaker said. Heaven.
Finding God was certainly a break though, but I didn’t change anything for a time. I beleived in "God" as one that would grant my every wish with nothing requested of me, and to stop lying? Cheating? Cursing? Stealing from stores? My subconscious motto was something along the lines of “Why bother!?!”
But I started going to Sunday School, testing the waters slowly.
I finally knew I need to make changes away from the World to make changes toward God. The World is a scary place, yo!
And I did: I set aside my make up and started putting my hair up as I let God dictate my value as a woman instead of Hollywood and the Media.
My thoughts took a u-turn: What if I dont want to wear a bikini? What If I dont want to have my hair chopped off? Or to expose my body to any man that walks by? I started to give up the things "of the world" that defined me.
I was born again.
Has everything been easy since? No.
Everyone faces pain. There are the pains of disappointments and sickness. Of anxiety and physical ailments. The pains of would be's and if only's, and grief.
Pains that feel so large... that we wonder why God lets them close to us. Or even if he can overcome them at all.
But he can overcome, and I have read the back of the Book, and he has overcome evil and he is always there.
He wants to strengthen you and me, to carry us, he wants to change your life for the better like he changed mine.
Once I had a dream, back a few years ago, that I had died and gone to heaven, and got to meet again all those that mean so much to me... that I was going to see Jesus! And it was a wonderful feeling.
And then just these past 2 days, two people that mean a lot to me that I hadn't seen in some time I got to see again, and we hugged and it was awesome. The one a good friend who is going through so much pain and confusion... and the other a friend I sang with, but who graduated last year and I hadn't seen since. I'm not even a hugger, I just was so full of glee, to see them again pretty much "wowed" me....
Oh, yes! I've been thinking about it, and well, you know, heaven is going to be awesome.
Today I looked out my window, and God said “Speak”.