The Year of the Vegetable Oil

I held the phone to my ear with my brother on the line, my hearing aid whistling as he asked, “So Sara, how ya doing with the reading?”

This is a common question from my brother. For the last year or so, he and I have been tag-teaming on reading the Bible through, though not necessarily reading together in the same place,we’ve held each other accountable through texts and conversations such as these.

“It’s been alright,” I paused, “I’m in Numbers. I guess i’m slowing down a little since last year.”

His concern was evident, “yeah I noticed. Why do you think that is?”

I sighed. “I don’t know. I was so alive and excited about the Word, but since Ciera’s death, I’ve just had a lot of doubts. I doubt His promises. I doubt His word. I doubt my understanding of it… I doubt so much.I know these are rookie doubts and they’re stupid since I intellectually know His promises all ring true no matter what.” I continued, “I don’t know if I subconsciously thought if I sought the Lord and prayed and pleaded and begged and obeyed, that she would be healed. I don’t know if that was subconscious or not, but…”

I sat there and expressed my deepest doubts. The things I’m struggling with most. I’ve had a million people tell me that she’s healed and in a better place. That just alienates me more. I’ve had people tell me that all things work for the good of those who love Him and in response i’ve wanted to punch them in the face and tell them “this is for your good”. I know the answers. I know the sermons. I know it backwards and forwards and still doubts plague me. I pick up His word and the temptation to just not be interested is there. I struggle through prayers but sometimes all I can get out is “Are You there? Do You hear me?” My prayers haven’t changed all that much since October 26, 2015.

You think the months would make it better and that time would heal wounds, but it’s like my brother said in our conversation, “Sara, it will take years. You and C had a Jonathan/David friendship. I bet David missed Jonathan until he went to the grave. You won’t ever get over it…” His words washed over me like water. Cleansing. Acknowledging. I won’t ever get over it. I breathed in relief.

He spoke truth over me and like songs they rang right through me to my soul, “You did seek Him in hoping she would be healed. I watched you and it’s been incredible. There’s nothing wrong with that, because we all do it. We are all human. We all seek God and hope that things will happen- we seek Him and want things from Him… It’s our nature.” Thankful to hear that the most private part of me- the fact that I begged God for her healing and He didn’t give it in the way I wanted. The temptation for me to quit was out in the open and acknowledged by another human who gave me grace encouraged me to give me grace too.

Tonight he reminded me to keep pressing on. I heard the urgency in his voice, “Sara, you have to keep reading the bible and praying because that’s what will get you through shit like this. Remember Hebrews 11? Remember Abraham? He went through all of that moving from place to place to receive God’s promise and died not having received it, but he still kept pressing on…”

I remembered… By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance,obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise.  For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God…All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth… (Hebrews 11:8-10;13). 

His voice brought me back to the present, “they didn’t receive it in their lifetime, but God’s promises still rang true then, and they still ring true now. If C was here, she’d be by your side rooting for your faith, for you to hold on. Just like you guys used to do when you ran races! I bet she’s up there right now telling you how great it is up there and for you to hold on to His promises. They’re still true!”

“You know, Sara, this is going to sound stupid, but stick with me.” He continued, “I was watching Marcela (his wife) bake something the other day. She got a cup of vegetable oil and poured that in a bowl. Now by itself we wouldn’t drink vegetable oil for breakfast and call that good, but we put it in stuff when we bake.”
I laughed as he gave an illustration of telling someone he drank veggie oil for breakfast.

“Then she put a little bit of flour in it- Flour by itself is nasty, right?! Tasteless!” I giggled, knowing where he was going with this. “Then she put eggs in it- which aren’t too bad cooked- and raw– well…. Anyways, then she added chocolate chips and those are pretty good I can have some chocolate chips. She put it all together and put it in the oven and when she took it out it was delicious.”

I rolled my eyes and said “yeah”… Then he took an unexpected turn.

“Well, Sara. Some years are vegetable oil years. Right now, you are in the year of vegetable oil and it’s pretty terrible. Other years are flour years- and then you got some days that are like chocolate chips and those are pretty good. But in the end, God mixes all those years together and throws you in a pan and lights your ass on fire and.. well.. You end up with a masterpiece. You just gotta trust Him. It’s going to be okay. Remember Abraham. Remember the Greats- the ones who Trusted Him even when they never received their promises- not while they were alive. Remember.”

I leaned back and thought about Deuteronomy. I thought about the day that the Lord set before His people a choice and I could feel Him setting before me the same choice- “Now listen! Today I am giving you a choice between life and death, between prosperity and disaster.” (Deut 30:15). I feel a strong pull to death and destruction. And I feel a small tug to life and prosperity. I know the small tug is Truth. I know the small whisper is His. I know His voice. I know Him.

And I choose it. I will. I have to. He’s mine and I am His and with all my heart I choose life. I choose Him. I choose His promises even if I don’t see them- ever.

You have a choice too- You have life and death- prosperity and destruction. You have years of chocolate chips and veggie oil. Whether you’re in the best or the worst year- or whether you’re on fire… choose Him. Hold onto Him. Don’t let go. Don’t give up. He’s there.

 

If you made it to the end of this really long post- congrats. I miss you guys and have been struggling to put my thoughts into words- I hope to get back into blogging soon. I miss doing the weekly blogs. They are fun, but my soul needed the break. Hope you enjoyed! 

52 Weeks of Adventure: week 5 He is Faithful.

The most difficult thing about writing these weekly adventures is not what you think it would be. The challenge isn’t in finding the adventure or putting words to the adventure. Instead, the challenge lies in choosing just ONE adventure to write about. You see, in a given week there are approximately 50,000,000 adventures in my life alone. Now, there are probably about 10 that I notice if i’m looking and if I’m not looking, there is probably only one that will be fully appreciated.

So I sit here reflecting on this past week, trying to decide what to write about. I could write about the day I lost my keys, the cookies I baked from scratch using a recipe I didn’t really follow, the lingerie party that we threw for my friend, or the day I went to the DMV and officially became tennessean… There are a million other adventures that I can’t write about to their personal or confidential nature… But this week was just especially lovely and full of adventure.

I’m going to go with the trauma adventure of my missing keys today and maybe later I will add more stories… more adventures… more fun! Tuesday of last week I woke up on time and early late and scattered. I usually do feel this way when I wake up, but that day was especially atrocious. I woke up and looked at Watson and could tell our hair resembled each other. Wild and frazzled. We both looked exhausted. It was a Tuesday that felt like Monday and I had a boatload of work to do to wrap up some things at work

Watson and I made our way downstairs and groggily went on our walk. He pounced and pulled between grass, pavement, and bushes. We spent some time with the neighborhood dogs and then finally, we went inside where we made coffee and tried to wake up from our slumber. As I got dressed and ready for work I started gathering my things from the edges of the earth that is my apartment and got ready to leave. After picking up everything that was at the top of the stairs, I put Watson in his room and headed down to my car only to realize… Where are my keys?

My brain didn’t think too much of it when they didn’t show up and thought maybe they were just around. However, an hour later I was still searching and still not at work. Hour turned to hours. My search continued. I searched inside. I searched in the couch and kitchen and refrigerator because I know sometimes I lose my mind and put things in places that don’t make sense. I searched through clothes and pockets and Watson’s toys. I searched through drawers and bags and backpacks and crevices. I searched and searched like one of those sporadic cartoon characters throwing everything every which way.

Next, Watson and I walked around the parameter of the apartments. We stopped by the poop buckets and looked through them (gross!). My  search turned to frantic texts. My panic wasn’t just that I was without my car and house keys but also without work keys and my USB that has personal information.

Worry turned to frantic searching that graduated into panic all the while, my phone rang my mom called. A girl is never too old to talk to her mom when she loses something. Even if her mom is 12 hours away. After explaining the Missing Key Saga and everywhere I had looked and the importance of finding keys that were not my own (i.e. work keys). “Sara, pray about it,” she suggested, “Last week I was missing a parking ticket and after praying He provided when we really needed it…” And I listened.

Making my way to my apartment, Watson and I walked up the stairs, he jumped on the couch and I got on my face with tears in the carpet and my nose breathing in particles of dust, I prayed. Lord, I don’t know if You hear us or answer prayers anymore but I’m praying… Not knowing where those words came from, not knowing where the doubt suddenly appeared from I paused, stunned. I shut my eyes as the carpet got more and more damp. I tried again. Lord, thank you that it isn’t raining today like it was yesterday. Please calm my nerves. Please provide the keys so I can give back what isn’t mine to who it belongs to and get to work. If You hear me, if You’re there, If you still answer prayers… doubts filled. tears flooded.

My keys going missing was something that really wasn’t a big deal and really shouldn’t have been so emotional, but for me it was a deep spiritual realization and an adventure of doubt I didn’t recognize within me until I offered up fervent prayers of desperation. I laid with my face on the carpet stupefied at my doubt. Both knowing and not knowing the root of where this had come from and why it was just surfacing. Both brokenhearted, confused, and elated because I could deal with it. Finally.

Until you get alone with Him in the quiet do you ever start to deal with what’s inside you and who He is… And that day, the adventure began. It began on my face with my nose on the tear-soaked carpet crying out for Him- instead praying to find my keys, I prayed for Him to take my doubt and give me reassurance that He is faithful. Just like I’ve always known Him to be. Regardless of whether my keys were found or not, I wanted to know His character more and be firm and steadfast in it. He is my identity.

To prepare for not having my keys ever again, I called a AAA who sent a locksmith to make a key for my car. As he took the lock off my door, my prayers turned silent in my heart as he stepped up in his truck to go back to his office and make a key… his car sputtered and died.

His car died. The battery died and I stood there laughing. The inappropriateness and rightness of the situation was too much to handle. His faithfulness was in it somewhere, His glory in my laughter. I felt like Sara who laughed at the Lord when He told Abraham he would be a father to many nations. I looked to the Locksmith, “We could call AAA. I have a membership”.

“Ma’am,” he said, “I am AAA. You called us already.”

My laughter turned to snorts.

Eventually he got his truck jumped, he got my key made and arrived back to my car to program it, all the while engaging me in conversations of star wars and star trek and music. Three things I know nothing about… but eventually he handed my new key over to me at 7:30pm and drove away as I stood there in the cold thanking Him, the Lord, for a glorious day and a key to get to work tomorrow.

My roommate arrived home that night and we told each other of our  trauma filled adventurous and eventful day and as she cleaned her purse out I saw her still. She looked up at me and out of her purse in her hand came my keys… and there was nothing to do but laugh and cry and be so thankful that my keys were okay after all, because He provides. Jehovah Jireh. He tests. He loves. He proves faithful. He always knows our hearts and reveals our hearts to us when we don’t know our hearts. He gives us room for doubt and repentance. He’s a good, good Father.

It wasn’t until later that week when I came home from work around 1am that I realized the depths of awesomness I had in a roommate… even after her profusely apologizing to me when I really didn’t care that she took my keys. I was so happy to have them back. I came home to things she left out for me and made for me… she made a HUGE card with scripture on it, an incredibly nice tea maker, a mug, and on the card were hilarious hashtags like #TeamSara #L’Chaim #yehsua #otherjewishthings #Imstillreallysorry #Nevertakeyourkeysagain…. And the week ended with a huge smile on my lips, tears on my cheeks and a new understanding of Him, grace, forgiveness, mercy… and His Faithfulness.

His faithfulness continues through all generations. (Ps 100:5). 

Sometimes adventures can be painful realizations of ourselves and of Him, but that doesn’t make them any less adventurous. I am so thankful for this week!

 

 

 

 

I Dream So Many Dreams…

Two weeks ago I stood speaking in front of a college Deaf Education class i’d been invited, welcoming questions from student after student. This isn’t the first time i’ve done this. I heard many of the same questions as I’d had before…

How did you pick up sign language so quickly?
Do you feel more comfortable in the Deaf or hearing world?
How much do you hear?
What hearing aid do you wear? And why?
Do you feel like your mainstream education helped or hurt your future?
What would you do if you could do it again? 

I smiled, with my answers ready. They were drawn from my experience, my opinions, and my life, they didn’t require much thought. But the next question caught me off guard.

So, What is your dream? 

“My dream? Like… For my future?” The class laughed at my question and quieted to hear my answer. I was so stunned by the question, I started to feel the silence rather than hear it. The crimson that rarely came started in my neck worked its way up to my ears and into my smile. I looked around.

“I don’t have one.” I said while humorously changing the topic evoking laughs from my audience.

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This exchange has been on my mind since. I’ve not been able to stop thinking about it. It plays in my mind and I think of all the things I could have said. But more than that, it brings me back to another quite equally haunting memory that I have of sitting in my former counselor’s office approximately 3 years ago and being asked to draw my future out on the dry erase board behind me.

I drew a stick person- me. And a school, graduation, then a job… and house.

Sara, he said, What about the people in your life? What about a spouse and children? 

“I don’t see that in my future, I don’t dream for that,” I replied.

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But none of that is true. None of it. And Yet, both exchanges haunt me. I’ve come to realize that speaking my dreams out loud- allowing myself to dream- scares me. Scares me so much so that I go to tell people that I have no dreams and I want no family, but today with this blogpost I wish to take those answers back. I’m taking them back. No. I’m not letting fear steal my future. I’m not letting Satan steal my dreams. What if the dreams I have are God’s dream? Better yet… what if, by speaking my dreams out loud (or writing them), God enables the people in my life to help them take shape and give them life?

Deuteronomy 30: 19 states that He has set before the Israelites death and life, blessings and curses and it is up to them to decide to choose life. Through speaking my dreams- my hopes- I think that is, in essence, speaking life rather than death over my future. And do I want life. I choose it.

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So what is my dream? What are my dreams? I don’t just have one- and they’re scary to voice because… I feel like they conflict with each other. What if none of them come to be and what if all of them come to be?  Both prospects are equally terrifying… and today that’s okay.

My dreams…

I want to attend seminary and spend too much money learning how to share the gospel. I want to make friends and enemies and pray for all of them. I want to hurt and wonder how i’ll make it the next year and then get to next year and be amazed at His glory. I want to learn and counsel women to be more godly, and counsel women who want nothing to do with God. I want to make friends and live life with them and step into their spaces and see who they are. I want to be there when they have children and get married and get cancer. I want to be there and show up in the most crucial times.

I want to meet someone and love him. Really love him. I want to love him enough to suffer with him for the rest of my life and let myself be held and protected by him. I want the anger and frustration of him not doing what I want him to do and the tears when he expresses his frustration of what i’m not doing with me! I want the excitement when I know he’s coming home. I want to roll my eyes at stupid jokes and get annoyed when he wants to watch sports. I want to pull out the scriptures with him and blush when he reads what we know as Proverbs 31 to me… Eshet Chayil- The woman of Valor! I want to give him high fives… even though sometimes they will land on his face (I’m just kidding…) I want to be silly and play hooky from work and eat pancakes in bed and giggle. I want to spend hours laboring in the kitchen for Shabbat dinners with candles on the table. I want to see tears in his eyes when I give him gifts and love when I give forgiveness. I want us to be angry and passionate. I want to slam doors and open hearts and be a mess and then be put back together in Him- the ultimate Him (Yeshua). I want it all.

I want to bear his children and give them his name. I want to pray for each child as it grows in me and be angry that he didn’t bring chocolate home. I want to feel his frustration and work it out with words and love. My dream is to be kind to him, because love is kind. I want to sing psalms by his bedside… and jokingly curse him in labor with laugher that bubbles up. I want a quiver full of arrows. I want the dirty house and the messy windows. I want the small fingerprints and the sleepless nights, the kind of sleepless night when something so little poops so much you both wonder how it’s possible- and then laugh together. I want the angry tears when he tells me I need to do more and be more and the love when I realize he’s right. I want to see his children grow and learn and fall and be clumsy. I want to pull back a head full of tiny curls and wonder what I was thinking when I wanted children and then laugh. I want the smiles and the frustration. The tears and the laughter. I want family.

I want to move across the country and live on a farm. I want to own sheep. Because they’re cute and because i know nothing about them- and i’m silly. I want to milk cows in the morning and feed them in the afternoon  and wonder why my trees are dying in the backyard. I want sore hands and a warm heart and a tired body. I want Watson to be a farm dog. For at least a little while. I want to smile as I wake up before the sun and smile when I go to bed long after it’s sunk. I want to stay up too late writing poetry and get up too early to cook. I want to be tired and refreshed. Work hard and relax. I want to own a house. A house that I can invite guests to and serve as a haven for young mothers with no husbands. I want to be plan B when plan A doesn’t work and plan C is abortion. I want to cook breakfast for young mothers and give them advice on how to raise children- even though I don’t know what i’m doing with my own. I want to clasp their hands in mine and wipe their tears and then go in the other room and ask the Lord what He was thinking when He asked me to do this… because i’m so inadequate.

My dream is to spend time in the middle east and hand out clothes to those who don’t have clothes and wrap women in Hijab who are lacking and wanting. I want to see the hands of refugees and wipe their faces. I want to wash feet and clothes down by the river. I want to respect and love and serve. I want to hurt. I want to be comfortable and uncomfortable and so comfortable that it makes me uncomfortable. I want to share Jesus with everyone who will listen and love those who spit in my face- like Amy Carmichael. I want to do more than hand out bibles, I want to BE Him and live Him. I want to cook meals and clean houses. I want to teach children- deaf children. Learn new sign languages. Learn new things.

I want to cry for want of home and smile for want of home. I want to be dirty, but have no shower. And be clean and give my shower. And finally go Home.

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Some of these things many never come true. Some of these things may turn into someone else’s dream. All of these things are unrealistic and romanticized and ridiculously realistic all at the same time. I cannot do all of these things, but I can dream them. I can dream them and when someone asks me what my dreams are I can choose one dream and divulge. All of these dreams are mine, but not all of these dreams are God’s. The most common phrase in my list of dreams is “I want”… My hope and prayer is that these “wants” become fewer and fewer and His Want becomes more and more…

John 3:30 “He must increase, but I must decrease” 

 

The Call of God On My Life

I went to church yesterday and heard a sermon about the Call of God on our lives. That’s not unusual for me, but what is unusual is I lay awake last night for hours, not being able to sleep, thinking about this sermon. Here were the main points I got from it, after listening to it again today. Italicized are my notes.

The call of God is From God (Jeremiah 1:4-9)

It flows and begins with God- He reveals Himself- then reveals His Will.

I only know His will for my Life as a byproduct of Knowing God.

Eternal Life is to Know God (John 17:3)

You have value because the God of Creation knows you before you were born and created- His knowledge is supernatural (psalm 119).

His calling on you is based on the Grace of God- Not on your performance- My value is based on the fact that God knew me before He made me and set me apart and is committed to seeing His call fulfilled in my life. Not for acceptance and performance- we work because God Called us. 

Our calling is to know Him first, and make His Name known in the world. 1 Peter 2:9

God has called us to proclaim His excellences to a dark, dark world. 

His call is: Eternal, meaningful, purposeful, and…Personal
It’s to proclaim the name of Christ. 

Progressive Call- the only time when you arrive is when you get to heaven. 

He calls me to himself, by himself and for himself. We cannot compartmentalize His call. If you believe in your heart that Jesus is Lord, you will be saved. Lord implies Master over everything. It’s an inclusive call. 

Because God’s called me, I need to live different. It impacts unity with others in the spirit… We grow spiritually (individually and corporately), grow in newness,  in Ephesians 4. The first relationship he applies it to is marriage….

“walk worthy of your calling” 

Happy is not part of God’s Call: Holy Is. Consecration.

Highest Calling we can have is the Call of God.

The Call of God always demands a response.  

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So I know I have answered His call in one way: I have accepted His salvation and Lordship over my life. I have tried very hard to NOT compartmentalize my life and keep parts away from Him. I have tried to completely surrender.

But beyond that, what’s my response? I accept His Lordship and then just sit in church and enjoy speeches every week? I accept His Lordship and then volunteer every now and then? I accept His Lordship and lead worship as He’s called me to?

According to the sermon, according to the word, the Call of God is progressive. Progressive. To me, that means the call of God doesn’t just require a one-time response of accepting His call to salvation and surrender and Lordship, but it also requires us to respond continually.

How am I continually responding? What am I doing? Am I living my life as He would want me or am I stagnant because He’s called me to do something and i’ve refused to respond? What response is He demanding from me? What am I doing with my time? My money? My energy? What am I doing?

I ask myself this often. Most often I ask myself the question in my car or when I’m cleaning and honestly the question is often mingled with tears. What am I even doing? What difference am I making? Am I where He wants me to be or am I here because i’m comfortable? Am I here because i’m afraid? Am I here because of my unbelief? Am I here because I don’t trust Him enough to not let me slip back into my old habits? Am I here because I don’t trust His transforming Glory? 

And I ask. Question after question. Day after day. Tear after tear falls. And I wrestle. I wrestle with how I can bring Him glory in my home. I wrestle with how I can bring Him glory in my job. I wrestle with how am I passing His word onto another generation? I wrestle with how am I loving? Who am I loving? What am I doing? I wrestle with the line between thinking I could work better with a partner and seeing singleness as an OPPORTUNITY. I wrestle and wrestle.

It takes great faith for me to believe that God has a calling on my life. I wrestled last night, mainly because I did not believe His word and I did not believe the sermon. I had to fight my inner flesh that wants to roll my eyes, walk away from that sermon and shirk responsibility given to by the Almighty God who made me in His image. I have to consistently fight inward lies I have believed for so long: that I cannot leave a legacy, that I am not special or different from anyone else and the Lord has not called me to do any great work for His purpose.

But shirking that responsibility, believing those inward lies, that’s the first step to foolishly spreading damnation over my entire life and wasting a life formed by His hands, because the Call of God is not even about me.

The call of God is not about me! My life is not about me! My life is about Him! His call begins with Him, ends with Him, and flows to, from, and through him. It begins with His death and ends with his resurrection! The Call of God is about God!

And if I could just get my head up long enough to gaze on His beauty and His purpose and His plan… then I could see that. I could see what His call is about.

His call on my life is about Jesus. Jesus is my call. Jesus. Yeshua.

If others knew that the call of God was a call to come and die. A call to die, then rise…. A call to the One who made them…. It would change so much.

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Pre-Triathlon reasons, disasters, and musings

I’m currently sitting in the airport waiting to board my plane to Charlotte, then to Miami and I’m no longer nervous. I had been shaking in my boots, terrified, hoping I can conquer this triathlon thing and afraid that something I planned would go wrong.
What Could Go Wrong

But the things I was afraid of have already happened and guess what? I’m okay. What a shocker, right?

I had a serious brain fart today and misread the time of my flight and arrived to the airport when my plane was taking off. I missed my flight. I misunderstood the paper and thought “arrival time” was actually the “departure time”. Please don’t ask me how my brain works. I stood there with silent tears going down my face as the man behind the counter tried to find some way to make it to Miami tonight. He waived my baggage fee and got me on the next available flight. I will be getting there just a few hours later than anticipated. I’m no longer crying. I’ve since gotten Midol, Caffeine, Water, and Dinner. This is a lovely combination. I’m so thankful for the airport stores. I feel calm, cool, collected and am no longer nervous for the tri, but excited. I have trained for this for months. I know that I can do it.

Since then, I’ve been thinking about the Kids at St Jude. I’ve been thinking about kids with cancer in general and how they want to Swim, Bike, and Run even more than I do. I’ve been so encouraged to see person after person donate to St Jude on my link… I cannot believe that what once started out as a goal of $1,000 has been raised to $1,300 then now to $2,000. I cannot wait to reach that goal and anticipate it happening even before SUNDAY! I know it can.

St Jude 2

But Sara, you ask, Why do you keep raising the amount if you’ve already reached the original goal? 

I won’t stop, my sweet friend, because Cancer doesn’t stop. Cancer doesn’t take breaks for holidays. It doesn’t give reprieve because a child wants to swim with their siblings or bike with their friends, or run around at school carefree…cancer free. Cancer doesn’t stop. And because cancer doesn’t stop and because St Jude doesn’t stop; I won’t stop either.

St Jude1

So when you look for pictures and updates this weekend on my race. When you consider Sunday morning about saying a prayer for me. When you get excited to see if I cross the finish line…. Pray. Pray for St Jude children. Pray for Ciera. Pray for her as her and her mother endure the transplant process. Pray for them as they continue this battle. They are on the last streak.. One more transplant.

St Jude 3

The day my foot sets in that salt water is the day Ciera’s foot steps onto the transplant floor. Her race is much more treacherous than mine. Her battle has moments when it feels uphill. Encourage her. Encourage her family. Encourage her spirit.

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Encourage St Jude by donating…

http://fundraising.stjude.org/site/TR/Heroes/Heroes?px=2236863&pg=personal&fr_id=28540

Authentic: Ripping, Cursing, and repentance.

I really struggled with whether or not to write today. On one hand, I want to write to tell you about my weekend, because it was fantastic and on the other hand, I risk being totally authentic and exposed before everyone. So, since the reason not to write was about me, I decided to go ahead and write… why be selfish?

I’ve not talked about religion or God or Christ much in here. They’re a huge part of my life, but honestly, it’s an awkward subject for me to write or talk about. While I let God infuse every decision I make and every part of my life, I guess I leave Him out of the social media, talkative part of my life. I don’t want to come off as too religious. I don’t want to fall into where every post I make is about Him. I have a lot of friends who don’t even believe in Him and I don’t want to make them uncomfortable. I want them to know, that i’m still a cool chick, that I still love and accept them no matter what they believe. Again, Do you see the pattern? It’s about me. What people think about  Me, what I want them to think about ME, to show how open-minded I am… So why be so selfish? I’m going to write about Him anyway today. I’m tired of hiding Him… He needs to shine.

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While I think that picture is cheesy and a little ridiculous. I also think it’s true. Very true of me. Very true of my flaws, where I am right now. Authentic. I need to be an ambassador. I am His.

Speaking of being His, I want you to know that I wasn’t always this way. I still am not always this way. Following Christ is a choice I have to make every day. I don’t enjoy it all the time. In fact, I hate being a Christian the majority of the time. It’s so hard. I hate that I feel compelled to follow Him and that I’m angry at Him because the things I want to do, the people i’m attracted to, the way that would be so much easier for me to live isn’t acceptable to Him. And yet, at the end of the day when I’ve tried everything else to fulfill me, I realize that I have nothing, that I am nothing and that the things that I want do not fulfill me, but only leave me empty. I learn that He is the only way. He’s the only Love I could ever want… and my anger melts away and turns to brokenness and repentance.

The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit. You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God. Psalm 51:17


So, This weekend one of the key messages that hit me was “If God wanted kept you in the place you’re in for the rest of your life for His purpose, would you be okay with that?” I thought about that all weekend and at the end of Saturday night, I finally came to the conclusion that yes, yes I would be okay with that. I kept that conclusion until Sunday night.

You have to understand, Friday, Saturday night and Sunday I tried to do an online test. I printed out all the power points, extra readings, I reread through them all. I reread through the book. I printed out the test, marked each answer and studied the material to make sure each answer was right. I even coincided each answer with a page number and underlined it in the text. It took me hours. By midnight Sunday night (or Monday morning, depending on your perspective), after a long weekend at a retreat and doing this online test, I was ready to submit it. I went through and typed my answers in online and submitted the test. To my dismay I got the results back and got over half the test wrong.

Anger and frustration filled me. HOW?! How did this happen? I tried SO HARD. I was so tired. I was so worn out. I looked at the paper test in my hand as tears rolled down my face. I know i’m being dramatic… I thought. I couldn’t help it. It seemed like at that moment, I forgot everything I had heard at the retreat, my anger built, after hours of working on this test, after looking up and making sure every answer was right, after all the work I put into it, I did the readings on time, I attended class, it was an online, open book test for goodness sake! How the HELL did I get all these answers wrong on it?! Curse words started to fly out my mouth and come to mind as if I hadn’t just attended church that day, twice, morning and night. Tears of frustration fell down my face. I took the test in my hands and ripped it to shreds. Ripping and ripping and ripping. I hate where I am! I HATE school! I hate this! Forget this crap. I’m not doing it anymore. I hate all the effort I put in.. and for what?! I continued shredding. By 1 am I was exhausted and angry. Tears still streaming down my face, I went to the bathroom, brushed my teeth and turned off all the lights. I stumbled around in the dark towards the bed. I slipped in bed. Who needs pajamas? I thought Pajamas are stupid.

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That is EXACTLY how I felt.

Right before I closed my eyes to go to sleep, with tears streaming on my pillow, I remembered this weekend. I remembered what we had learned. I remembered that our pastor had asked us “If you were right where you are for the rest of your life for the Glory of God would you be okay with that?” And suddenly, in the midst of the night, in the midst of my anger, frustration, tears, and sin… I knew my answer.

Lord, help me be okay with it. Change my heart.

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