I

I’m people-watching at a corner table at Starbucks right now.

There’s the group of four older people, taking pictures with their phones of  a woodpecker outside the window beside them.

There’s the employee with the afro, and the woman wiping the counters. And I wonder if they’re happy. I wonder if people love them.

There’s the young couple, he with rubber bracelets on his arm, stacked halfway up to his elbow, and her with the Seahawks t-shirt and long, black ponytail.

There’s the couple at the table to my left, too. Their earphones in, their laptops open before them, papers strewn all over the table.

There’s the four-year-old with the mop of curls atop her head, crying because she spilled her hot chocolate. There’s her parents, drying off her seat and reassuring her there’s still some left in the cup.

And I wonder, if someone was people watching me, what would they see? Would they wonder why I don’t do my hair? Would they wonder why I’m sitting in a public chair with my feet on the seat and my knees up to my chest? Would they see the tears brimming in my eyes? Would they see the child within me reflected in my face?

*

At work the other day, my coworkers were talking about a client with BPD.

“What is that?” one of them asked.

“It means she’s a drama queen,” another one of them responded.

“Oh,” said the first person. “Then I feel less worried about how she’s doing. She’s probably just making it up for attention.”

I wonder if my coworkers see me.

*

I am tired eyes and a tender heart.

I am unruly hair and chipped fingernail polish.

I am “one day at a time” and sobbing myself to sleep.

I’m “throwing my head back laughing” and “aching for someone to hold my hand and never let go”.

I’m “pull the blankets up to my chin” and “kiss Arlow’s face until he pulls away”.

I’m picky about books and doesn’t drink enough water.

I’m “I know you love me” and “Tell me again you’ll never leave me.”

I’m so grateful and so scared.

*

I still sleep with my baby blanket.

I fall asleep every night with its worn fabric clenched in my hand, and wake up every morning with it still there, woven between my fingers. If I lose it during the course of the night, it wakes me up and I search for it, not falling back asleep until it’s been recovered from under my pillow or lost within the mess of other blankets on my bed.

I have never, not since the day of my birth, been without my blanket.

And I don’t know what it says about me that I, a thirty-year-old woman, still needs an fraying piece of yellow cloth, but I do know there’s a parallel between how I feel about my blanket and how I relate to others. There’s a desire to hold on, to grab on tight, to hold them close to my chest, to never let them go.

*

I don’t think any part of me is a mistake.

I don’t think my big eyes and baby-fine hair and innocence are a mistake.

I don’t think it’s a mistake that I sleep with a baby blanket and that I would rather have a mom than a husband.

I don’t think the ache of my heart and the way I love with all of me are mistakes either.

It would be a mistake, however, to minimize who I am. To decide that because I’m different, I’m less than. It would be a mistake to overlook the fact that I have been pieced together by a divine hand.

It would also be a mistake to take the screaming need inside of me and try to fit people into that ache.

It would be a mistake to not appreciate people for exactly who they are. It would me a mistake to try to make them be something to me that they are simply incapable of being.

It would be a mistake to overlook the fact that I’m in this place now, not because my relationships are somehow lacking, but because there’s something inside of me that is lacking.

It would be a mistake to give in to despair, rather than give in to God, letting Him grow me through the discomfort.

*

I’m “sleeps with a baby blanket” and “stops to move a caterpillar off of the sidewalk”.

I’m quick to hug and forever needing to be held.

I’m long walks and green tea lattes.

I’m yellow Converse and depression.

I’m thirty and I’m three.

I’m “It will all be okay” and “Tell me it’s going to be okay.”

I’m “I don’t know how to be a person apart from other people” and “Lord, teach me.”

I’m struggling to live and refusing to give up.

Things Being Loved Teaches You

1. You are lovable. You are not a burden, a charity case, or a waste of anyone’s time. You are chosen. You are wanted. You belong.

2. No one will be able to make you feel secure about your relationship with them until you start to see yourself as lovable.

3. It is safe to exist, just as you are. It’s safe to ask yourself questions like: “How do I feel?” “What do I think?” “What do I want to say?”

4. You don’t have to perform. Love doesn’t require we show up “put together” or “perfect”. Love doesn’t want facades, it just wants you to come exactly as God made you- flaws and all.

5. Your flaws don’t make you “bad” or “wrong” or “less than.”

6. You can speak freely. You don’t have to weigh every single word you say. It’s okay if you’re not always understood, if people don’t always agree, and if what you say isn’t funny, because you’re safe.

7. Not everything social interaction is a test. Love doesn’t demand you keep proving yourself.

8. You don’t have to view your life through the lens of “How do I not measure up? How much about me do people see as ‘wrong’?” You are not inferior. You are exactly who God intended you to be.

9. You don’t have to do what everyone else is doing. You don’t have to try to be like others in order to measure up.

10. Love doesn’t walk out on you.

11. Not everything in life has to feel scary.

Only The Best

Today I read about how Jesus says many will be turned away, thinking that heaven is their fate, but instead He will say, “Away from me. I never knew you.” (Matthew 7:21-23)

That scares the crap out of me. Not as much for myself as for the people I love who I’ve lost touch with- those whose relationship with the Lord is kind of a question mark.

And I wish I could soften the edges of that truth and make it feel less jagged and painful as I hold it in my hand. But sure enough, that portion of scripture seems pretty clear.

And yet, I HAVE to believe in a God that will woo us relentlessly. I have to believe in the earth-shaking power of prayer and that my prayers, even the most poorly worded ones, terrify Satan. I have to believe it isn’t as bleak as that passage of scripture makes it sound.

I believe that because I have to. Otherwise I will be all panic and anxiety and desperately begging people to make changes that only God can really bring about in them. And so I believe that, but I don’t KNOW that.

And that scares me.

But what can I do?

And so I tuck myself under His arm and close my eyes and let Him be God.

*

The baby in the stroller in front of me craned her neck to stare at me as I walked through the parking lot. And I waved. She didn’t wave back or smile, and her mom remained unaware of the conversation taking place between her child and myself, but I smiled and waved anyway.

I smiled and waved almost reflexively. And I realized afterwards, while I continued to smile at the baby, that Jesus would’ve done that too. He would’ve smiled and waved. And that reflex in me is evidence that He is making me to be like Him.

And then I smiled again because how beautiful to see who I am becoming more like Him- sometimes in effortless ways, ways I could almost overlook, and sometimes through extreme, deliberate effort- knees to the ground, tears, prayers, pleading.

*

When someone compliments my ability to write or says I’m smart, there is no part of me that feels proud of that because I didn’t have anything to do with it. It’s how I was made.

Likewise, I have no control over the fact that my hair isn’t thick or that my feet are big or that I can’t sing like Lauren Daigle. As with not taking pride in the things I can do, there doesn’t have to be any shame in what I can’t do, or what I can’t be, because I had nothing to do with it; it’s just how I was made.

Similarly, when I see Him in myself, it doesn’t feel like a thing to be proud of- it feels like confirmation that He is here, working all things together, doing a good thing in me. It is comfort. Promise. Hope. It is all Him in me and growing me and sustaining me.

I can take no credit for the delight I find in the stars or foggy mornings. I can’t be blamed for my love for animals, even when it does border on the slightly ridiculous. I can’t take credit for the fact that I am generally a kind, friendly person. I can’t be blamed because I am unmarried. I cannot take credit for the fact that my hunger for the Lord is as real as fire within me.

Who am I aside from clay- His creation, being shaped and molded?

Additionally, in light of the above, how does it make sense to feel envious of someone else or judge myself as better than them?

So much of it has nothing to do with our own abilities, but His merciful gift-giving and all-knowing, perfect design. We are all His creations. Beautiful and astounding and flawed and fallible and worthy of love, but NOT worthy of a place on a throne or fame or worship, nor deserving of a critical eye or being the subject judgment.

Oh, how twisted this world has gotten it.

In the matter of who we are as people, the playing field is level.

I have control over my decisions. I have control over whether or not I choose to live a godly life. But who I am at my core? That’s all Him. A product of His all-knowing, miracle-orchestrating goodness. A product of my life experiences. A product of genetics. But all of it in His hands.

It’s not to my credit that I am good with children or that my eyes are hazel or that I can write. I don’t know any other way of being. It isn’t something I worked for, it’s just how I was made.

It’s not my fault I am not a brilliant singer.
But I can choose to sing anyway. That I have control over. To hide beneath my inabilities rather than make a joyful noise, that would be a shame. I can embrace who I am–flaws and all–and still choose to live life fully rather than hiding behind “I can’t” and “what will they think of me?”

And it’s not my fault I am terrified of doctors.
But I can choose to go anyway. …Even if I need someone there to hold my hand and drive me because Xanax is required. 😉

There are things we can choose, and there are things we can’t. And how often do we shoulder the weight of things we were never meant to carry- like inferiority or needing to prove ourselves or shame or having to be “better than” someone else?

*

He is all-knowing. The giver of good gifts. This is the life He chose for me. The body. The heart. The personality. There is no other life or personality or appearance that would be better.

And I was thinking about that on my drive to work today, how, essentially, jealously is saying, “God, You made a mistake. I don’t trust You.”

There’s a place for grief and sorrow and laying our dreams down at the foot of the cross, submitting them to Him with tear-filled eyes because we are going to trust Him even if it breaks our hearts. There’s a place for being sad about what we don’t have, but ultimately we have to be able to say that we surrender all to Him, come what may.

We have to live our lives with hearts and hands and minds open to receiving the fulfillment of our prayers, or pleasant and unexpected surprises, or even a “no” in response to our prayers. And when a “no” is the response, we have to be able to hear that and believe that God has better for us, whatever that “better” may be.

And we have to be okay with it not feeling like “better”, and we can grieve that, because what we feel is real and deserves compassion and acknowledgment. But, while our feelings are real, they aren’t reliable at determining what’s true. So we have to be able to cry and grieve and still stubbornly hold firm and unwavering to the belief that He is good and He can be trusted and He never gives us less than the best.

And at the end of the day, whether I’m alone or surrounded by loved ones, I can lay my head down on my pillow and tuck myself there under His arm. And I can close my eyes and breathe in peace and comfort because He is God and I am His. And I trust Him.

Embracing Our Humanness

“What’s that?” I thought, something on my lap catching my attention as I drove to my friend’s house.

A hole.

There was a hole. In my pants. In the crotch-location.

I couldn’t go home. I couldn’t change. I couldn’t even hide it because it was front and center.

My only option? To just show up. Hole and all.

I could’ve panicked or gotten embarrassed, sure. But how would that have changed anything? The hole wouldn’t have been like, “Oh, you’re right! This is embarrassing!” and then stitched itself back together.

Laughing about it? Showing up anyway? Telling my friend about my discovery? Laughing together? Embracing my humanness? OUR humanness? That was really the only option.

Over and over and over again, all throughout the day, I sense God whispering to me, “In what are you trusting?”

When I replay conversations in my head,

When I beat myself up for all the stupid things I have done or said,

When I worry what people think of me,

My trust is in ME. It’s not in God.

And all good things are from Him. They aren’t a product of me.

I can’t bring good things about by being someone “better”- more eloquent or funny or graceful or beautiful. All I can do is keep my eyes on Him and trust Him with the outcome.

When I say or do stupid things, when I worry I’m not very lovable, God is whispering, “I’ve got this. Remember, I created you. And I have called you worthy of love and belonging. Trust me.”

At no point does He slap his forehead with His holy palm and say, “Why did she stutter when she said that word!? What an idiot! How am I going to redeem this!? Probably now everyone’s going to stop loving her!” Honestly, that thought makes me giggle because it’s so RIDICULOUS. And yet, that’s what I tell myself!

Prove yourself, prove yourself, prove yourself! my brain commands me. And so I try to not look awkward or be awkward or say anything awkward. And really, when that is my goal, when my focus is on not being awkward? I’m even more awkward.

However, when my focus is on being His? When I am trusting Him with me and making loving others the goal of each social interaction, I can breathe. Am I still awkward? Yes, sometimes. But I can roll my eyes at myself when I stutter, or say something stupid, or have to pray out loud with people and don’t know what to say… because I am safe. Regardless of what comes out of my mouth, I am safe because I am His and it’s in Him that I find my security, my belonging, my significance.

Oh, what a lie it is when we believe it’s all up to us. It’s not. The pressure is off, guys. We can be authentic and unafraid because He has a plan. And His plan is never thrown off course when we trip over our own feet or lose our train of thought mid-sentence or raise shaking hands towards heaven.

We are safe. We are secure. We are in the middle of His will. And there’s nothing to fear.

He made us, after all. And He doesn’t make mistakes.

He did not, however, make those pants of mine that ripped. I’m looking at you, Aeropostale. 😉

“Love defined you before anything else did.”

“Have faith in the One who is fully trustworthy is enough to do miraculous things. It’s not a faith that says, by my own strength, determination and power this mountain moves, but faith that steps forward with what is already given us as believers and in the provision and ability of a great and mighty God.”

“Shame has a way of keeping us in hiding. But when there is shame, there are also faulty beliefs about who we really are. How God sees us. We tell ourselves to be strong, and believe we must always show worldly strength. We tell ourselves to be over comers, which we are, but we act out a belief that victory comes from how great a job we’ve done, rather than the greatest work already done for us. In the finished and complete work of Jesus at the cross. Every time we choose to put on a front, knowingly or not, we are choosing to trust in the power of man over the power of God.”

“…But then Peter started seeing something else too. The waves. The storm was raging about him, the swell rose and fell with messy anger, ocean spray filled his eyes and lungs, and he began to falter. The waves were so large and he was so small. Fear crept up from the souls of his feet that only moments before felt secure even upon the water but were now starting to slip on the wet surface, unable to catch a foothold. He started to sink. ‘JESUS, SAVE ME…’ He spluttered and hurled his voice at Jesus desperately hoping to be heard above the storm… He still believed Jesus could save him. He believed Jesus was still standing, was still capable to command the oceans and save his life even though they were out to sea with nothing to hang onto but each other… Belief in Jesus was not the problem. He doubted himself. He doubted whether or not he was chosen. Whether or not he was fit to walk the path. He had been rejected before, would he be rejected again? Belief in God is a two-way street. We believe in God, and he believes in us. It’s a divine partnership. God in me, me in God. What can separate me from the love of God? Nothing. This is what Peter doubted.”

In His Arms

I was tempted to start off this post by saying: “Sadness sucks.”

But that’s not really true, is it? God can use our sadness. God can grow us and speak to us in our sadness. But we make it harder on Him, I think, when we’ve labeled our sadness as “sucky”, as something to “get through”. I am learning to breathe through the sadness, to ask God how He wants to use it.

I went to the Chris Tomlin and Toby Mac concert last night.

I started the night off feeling kind of awkward in my body, wanting to dance or clap, but feeling self-conscious.

Towards the middle of the night, I was standing, swaying, raising my arms.

And then sadness hit me like a pool of water when you jump off a diving board and belly flop. I wasn’t expecting it. And honestly, it was hard to say what exactly happened.

But there I was, sucker-punched by sadness. And so I sat, and I hugged my knees to my chest, and I wiped tears off my cheeks with the back of my hand, and then wiped my hand on the knee of my jeans.

And I felt embarrassed. I didn’t know if anyone noticed that I was crying, and I was worried that if they did, they would think I was ruining their fun. But I have vowed to myself not to shut my heart down, not to say “no” if the Lord is wanting to do something in me.

And what is worship if not time dedicated to the Lord?

Maybe sometimes that looks like raised hands (even while your knees shake, as I wrote about in a previous blog!) and sometimes it might look like curling your body into as small a ball as you can get it and letting yourself cry.

And yes I was crying, and yes I was sad, but it was more than that. It was more than sadness. I was also crying because I felt deeply moved by how the Lord loves us.

And everything I lack can be found in Him.

No one is going to hold me. I’m no one’s daughter, little sister, wife. But He will. He will hold me.

And that, the grieving of what I don’t have and the mind-blowing beauty of what I do have, it made me cry.

And also, off to the right, glowing like a reminder that I didn’t want, stood the hospital. I’ve been in that ER twice in the past couple of months.

All around me, words about God’s love filled the air, and off to the right stood a reminder that I’ve come so far… and still not that far.

And I cried. I cried because of how my decisions must’ve grieved the Father’s heart. And I cried because HE HAD NEVER LEFT MY SIDE. How astoundingly beautiful that the Jesus who died to give me life would still love me after I had decided that life wasn’t worth it.

I hurt. And I’m sad. And also, I’m full of hope and joy. I laugh and smile. And I cry. And I’ll take that- I’ll take feeling, even when it’s painful, over numbness. I want, as much as possible, to live my life fully alive.

And so I cried at the concert. And I rebuked embarrassment and shame and any depression that might want to creep in and sabotage the good work the Lord was doing, and I prayed, “Holy Spirit, have your way in me.”

And I sat in my seat, chin quivering, breathing in the love of Christ, allowing pain to beat in sync with my heart, and smiling. Because it’s incredible, the beauty that is promised to us, the love that is here for us now, and the people all around me–thousands of people–all worshiping the God who sustains and redeems and never, ever walks out on us.

And I cried for another reason as well. Because I was at that concert, worshiping the God who loves me, and I wasn’t there alone. I went with my church family. People who I fiercely love.

Love is such an incredible gift. Healthy, genuine, unconditional, reminiscent-of-Jesus love.

I’m still terrified of it- of boundaries and vulnerability and not having any signed, unbreakable document assuring me that people won’t leave me. But mostly I’m able to breathe in the gift of what the Lord has provided for me, and marvel at the fact that He has taken such good care of me.

He has given me people–and, miraculously, FAMILY!–and He’s given me victory and growth and comfort and wisdom and freedom. And He’s given me Himself.

I am moved to tears by Him.

I cry because of what I don’t have, and I cry because of what I do. And I think maybe that’s beautiful. Because tears indicate a heart that is fully alive. And smiling through the tears is an act of trust- surrender to a God who knows more and sees more and who is faithfully good.

And maybe I’m not ever going to be the life of the party, the person everyone gravitates toward for a good time. But I’m watching God break off my belief that I have to prove myself to people or show up “a certain way” rather than just showing up. Slowly, but undeniably, He is doing a good work in me.

And I feel the Lord closer to me after last night’s concert. I feel His breath swirling all around me.

And so when I am sad, it’s easier to turn my head against His chest and be embraced by the Lord who understands me and loves me perfectly.

The Lord who holds me.

Redecorating

“Empathy isn’t just remembering to say that must be really hard—it’s figuring out how to bring difficulty into the light so it can be seen at all. Empathy isn’t just listening, It’s asking the questions whose answers need to be listened to. Empathy requires inquiry as much as imagination.”

*

I wrote recently (not on this blog, but privately) about how I’ve spent the last few weeks “decorating” my mind- hanging Scripture on the walls, cleaning out lies, brushing away the dust from memories and experiences that need to be processed, turning on lights.

It’s necessary, this interior decorating process I’m undergoing. I need my thoughts to know that it’s okay if they trail away from the things of heaven, that it’s okay if my mind wants to turn over and ponder the things of this world–the circumstances of my life and the contents of my heart–but that those thoughts will have to submit to what is already there. What is True.

If I don’t fill my brain with Truth, if I let myself take in this world through human eyes rather than the eyes of the Lord, I will believe lies. I will fall victim to defeat and hopelessness. That’s just the way it is. We have to be vigilant about what thoughts we allow. We have to remain tender-hearted so that we can quickly be alerted when our hearts are receiving messages from our brain that aren’t scriptural or life-giving.

But when I fill my mind with Truth, I am protected. Because no matter what I think, no matter what I feel, no matter what I experience, my God is bigger and truer than that. And He says not to fear, that He has a good plan for our lives.

And when my mind starts to wonder if so-and-so loves me, when my mind starts to question my worth or value as it tends to do, I remember that the enemy comes to steal, kill, and destroy.

He would love nothing more than to undermine the good work God is doing in my life. He’d love for me to take inventory of the hurts in my heart and use them as evidence against the God (and people!) who loves me.

And it’s easy to unintentionally give him permission to do just that. The battle really is in our minds. And if we fail to “take captive every thought”, he will come and infect our brains (and eventually our hearts) like a cancer, until we’re so caught up in hopelessness and pain that it’s all we can see- it has become our new reality. We start living from an earthly perspective, forgetting that we are children of the King of kings and that it is our birthright to be victorious and to have life abundant.

God isn’t the author of hopelessness!

Isn’t that incredible news!? No matter what your life looks like, no matter how painful this season currently is, if you have even a hint of hopelessness residing within you, that is a lie from the pit of hell!

And oh, how much easier it is to get through our painful seasons when we have hope!

And so I am decorating my mind with Truth, with the things of heaven. And I am trusting that in doing that, chains will be broken. Freedom will be won.

In Beth Moore’s book, Breaking Free, she says that the reason God doesn’t come with a magic wand to clear away all our sorrows is because we have to undergo a purifying and renewing of the mind. We have to learn to stand firm in Truth and battle against the powers of darkness or else we will continue to live in that cycle of falling victim to despair and hopelessness.

We are called to walk in His power and authority and truth, and we will never learn to do that if He doesn’t force us to, in fact, walk.

And she says that it’s not enough to dispel lies- that unless we replace the lies with Truth, they will just keep coming back.

And the interior decorator in my brain was pleased to hear that  she was on point in her decorating vision. Buy more frames, little interior decorator- we’ve got more scriptures to hang.

*

And now, before signing off, here are some unrelated Links Worth Sharing:

http://thebloggess.com/2015/08/what-the-shit-me

http://hannahbrencher.com/2015/08/25/sam-will-you-go-to-prom-with-me/

*

“This coup the enemy has staged against my heart is not unique to me. Because he’s a thief, he’s probably stealing something from you right now. Check your pockets.”

Questions And Answers

Sometimes I feel like my list of what I don’t know is so much longer than my list of what I do know. Maybe there’s power in accepting that to be true, not just for me, but for anyone alive. Maybe it’s when we think we have things figured out that we end up in trouble.

I’m trying to stay in the moment. Amidst this season of not knowing, I am trying to soak up what I do know–what is good–and hand the rest to God under the assurance that He sees hope where I see question marks.

And He keeps in perfect peace those whose minds are focused on Him.

Anything that tries to rob me of my peace right now, I hand to my Jesus. I’ll do the hard stuff- I’ll do the work, learn the lessons, and grow. But I can do all of that, I can hurt and cry, without having it rob me of my peace or my hope. As long as I keep giving it to Him and as long as, when I close my eyes, I allow myself to picture His face and not my perceived (or actual) problems.

Jesus is with me
and I’m His child
and He knows what He’s doing.

I don’t have to give in to fear or despair or panic because no matter what comes my way, no matter what consequences I might have to endure, I won’t be doing it on my own. I can trust all of my question marks with the God who loves me.

*

There’s a lot that isn’t marred by consequences right now, too. There’s a lot that is just GOOD. (Praise Jesus!)

When someone hugs me or laughs with me, I don’t question it. I don’t wonder what they’re thinking or try to evaluate the fragility of the good thing before me. I just embrace it. I hug back. I let the laughter cause me to throw my head back. And I thank the Lord that, even though there’s a lot that is broken, that isn’t.

Tonight I played on a playground. I got dizzy on a spinning toy and played on swings and went down slides, and when the sprinklers came on, I ran through them laughing for at least a half an hour until I collapsed, soaking wet, on the grass. There’s a lot I don’t know, but I know that God watched me play tonight and he was smiling. Not everything is broken. The Lord is sustaining me.

Life is a gift.

*

I keep having nightmares. I think my subconscious is trying to process the trauma and tragedy (and miracles!) of the past month.

I had a dream I was in Sudan and the military was storming into the building where I was hiding because they were going to shoot anyone who was white. I was laying face-down on the ground with Sudanese people and I was praying for a miracle. I was praying my life would be spared. And I felt the boot of a military man step on my back, and I knew any second he was going to shoot me, and I pivoted. In a last-ditch effort to stay alive, I moved to face him and beg him not to shoot me. And I woke up mid-pivot. I woke up flinging myself from my stomach to my back and begging for my life.

I also had a dream I was in Hawaii and I really wanted to swim. The water was blue and warm and I was dying to jump in, but I was scared of sharks. Everyone was assuring me that I’d be fine, that people swim in Hawaii all the time without getting attacked by sharks, but I was too scared. And I felt so frustrated with myself because I had this opportunity presented to me to do something fun–something life-giving–and I was too scared of what could go wrong.

And I dreamed I was somewhere, I don’t know where, but I think I was with people from church, and the floor kept giving out. The foundation of the place where we were was precarious, and you couldn’t tell if where you were about to step would be solid or if it would collapse beneath you and threaten to pull you down into the murky water below. Everyone else seemed to know where to step, but I didn’t, and so I was asking for help. They knew better than I how to navigate the unstable floor, and even as the building continued to fall down and crumble around us, they didn’t panic. I had no choice but to surrender and let them help guide me to a place of safety. I just had to step and hope.

*

I am standing firm in truth.

I am embracing (out of necessity) humility.

And I am surrendering (also out of necessity) all to God.

I am done trying to force my life and relationships look or feel a certain way. I am breathing through the hard stuff and finding that surrender brings peace. When I surrender what I cannot control (and accept that I cannot control it!) to our loving God, I can let go of trying to force things to be different from what they are.

God has a good plan. I don’t have to be afraid.

I am still Someone’s child.

And so, rather than trying to control things and battle the inevitable resulting panic, I am making obedience my focus instead. I will stand firm in truth. That I CAN do.

And I will leave the healing and heart-work to God.

It’s all so hard. But at least my focus is finally right- not on trying to fix things (myself, relationships, my life) that are beyond my ability to fix, but on loving the Lord and taking Him at His Word.

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I had another dream. I was writing on a whiteboard for a class, writing the numbers 1 through 10 in preparing to make a list. I was going to survey the class and ask them to volunteer what God’s been doing in their lives. The first thing I wrote, however, which isn’t really even an answer to the question I was supposed to be asking, was “receive”.

I woke up after writing that on the board, and I suspect that was God’s message to me. Receive.

He has so much He wants to do, I just have to be willing to receive, to walk this through, even when it’s hard, and to trust that He sees more than I do- He sees the good that will come from all of the pain. He can use this for good in my life, and maybe even in the lives of the people I’ve hurt. That is my prayer.

Lord, prepare my heart to hear from You. Help me to obey. Help me to receive whatever you have for me.

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This week I keep hearing and reading that freedom in our lives is tied to giving God proper authority. Where God reigns in our lives, we can claim freedom. I want to allow, once again, God to to be Lord of every area of my life.

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A quote:

“‘How do  you see me, God?’ isn’t a question we really need to ask when the world treats us as we feel we deserve.”

Everything that’s broken? It’s forcing me to run to God. To get His opinion. To let Him hold me. To accept His loving guidance.

I’m actually grateful for that.

I’m sad for the brokenness, but grateful for how the Lord is using it.

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I’m so, so grateful for all the things that aren’t broken. They scream to me that God is big and He loves me, and He desires to give me good gifts even when I’ve really, really messed up.

Everything that’s still in tact, everything that is effortlessly good, it’s a miracle. A hug from the Father who loves me fiercely and is going to see me through this.

I am thankful for:
Being home.
My church.
Love- even “tough love”.
That God will never, ever leave me.
The ability to learn.
The ability to cry.
My pets.
Children.
Hugs.
Glennon.
A job, a house, and a car. And wifi. 😉
That my needs are met.
That I don’t have to hold anything together.
Laughter.

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Also, this blog post is beautiful. (Click!)