His Amazing Grace

I opened my eyes to the sun rise through my blinds and blinked. 8:00am. On my own. Without an alarm. I rolled over to feel my sweet puppy Watson breathing beside me, his breaths steady against me. I smiled and thought about what i’m doing the next few days. I looked around my room, my walls bare, boxes stacked up next to my bed, my pictures put away…

I’m moving to Fort Worth, Texas this week.

I sometimes lay awake at night and wonder if I really am doing this, then wake up in the morning and realize that I am and it’s okay. I’ve said goodbye to countless friends and watched them leave with tears in their eyes and have wondered… where are my tears? I feel emotionless sometimes.

I’ve sat across from friends who want my story of why i’m moving and why I chose this particular seminary… and I think many are waiting on an extraordinary story. One with signs and wonders and huge miracles…  with a clear conviction and direction. I’ve sat across from people who are shocked, because i’ve not mentioned it before, and others who know it’s right.

But instead I sit across from person after person and just explain that I feel peace. That this is something that’s has been on my heart for a couple of years or so and I’ve been too afraid to do it. Because what if…what if I don’t fit in? What if I stick out like a sore thumb? What if they realize that i’m really not seminary material and instead i’m messy and rude and loud and sometimes even obnoxious? What if I get there and accidentally curse in class? What if they see my wicked heart and realize… I don’t belong? 

But all those what if’s don’t matter anymore, because The Lord is my Shepherd and He has guided me to Knoxville and away from Knoxville. He has lead me through dark valleys. The what if’s don’t matter anymore because the applications for seminary asked me all the questions that I was afraid they would and I answered so brutally honestly that..when I got my acceptance letter, I was shocked.

I’ve been silent about it because He’s been stirring something deep within me that feels too personal and too holy to talk about. He’s been shaping and changing and molding me in ways I didn’t realize I needed. He’s transformed me and continues to do so.

Moving away isn’t a big spiritual struggle like I imagined it would be. I thought attending to seminary would be a gigantic emotionally spiritual experience, but it’s just the next step that He’s lead me to and I feel peace.

Whether this is right or wrong, i’m unsure. But I know He will lead me into green pastures and lead me by still waters and I know He’s restored my soul. His rod and His staff they comfort me even in the presence of evil, because I know His discipline will help me stick by Him.

He is my comfort. My peace. And I don’t have an amazing story, I have His Amazing Grace and for me, today, that’s more than enough.

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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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Obedience Produces Joy

This past weekend I had a wonderful time as a Leader- Leading Disciple Now. It was a lot of fun! I co-lead with 2 other leaders and we had 8 girls total. I feel like I didn’t get to know these girls as well as I wanted to, but that’s okay since we had 2 days to learn 8 people.

I got baptized Sunday. I’ve been thinking for the last three years about getting baptized, but have always resisted it because I felt quite silly. I’ve been baptized before and it felt kind of redundant to get baptized again. Still, the Lord has not left me alone for years so this weekend while I was leading Disciple Now, I decided to join our students and get baptized with them.

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I really battled pride and was afraid of what people would think. I was worried that people would misunderstand why I decided to get rebaptized and then I realized that obedience is better. I kept thinking of a poster that I made a couple of weeks ago and hung on my wall. It’s the first thing I see in the morning and the last thing I see when I go to sleep. It just makes me smile.

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“Obedience Produces Joy”.

Indeed, I do believe that. I heard it in a sermon one day that Matt Chandler preached and then I read it in an interview with his wife Lauren Chandler. Since I heard it, i’ve been really mulling over what it means and I agree. Obedience produces Joy in my life, even if it’s joy mingled with sorrow. Joy from Him is the only true Joy. So that was my deciding factor in baptism.

It was a great weekend. We learned so much about the Lord and the start to the week has been… just what I thought It would be! Incredibly hard to adjust to the time change. Nonetheless, that’s quite alright.

Have a great week, Y’all! I’ve missed writing in the blog, so I decided to make a short update today.

Joyful Surrender… Joyful Obedience

I stood on the edge of the plane. Captivated. Terrified. My heart pounded in my ears, in my neck. Sweat poured down my back. It was so loud. My body vibrated with the plane. I turned back to the man giving instructions feeling wind-whipped. His voice boomed out and I was so interested in how he was saying what we needed to know that my eyes fastened on him. Fascinated
“This is the particular time that you need to pull the string to release the parachute… this is how it will happen”.
He gave the details as I listened intently.
When he finished I secured my ‘chute to my back and waited for his signal. I looked to my friend on my right and said “awesome, huh? That guy can really speak! Did you see his passion?! He must LOVE sky diving!” My friend just nodded, focused… as if he was trying to remember what he just heard.

Then we jumped. We jumped!! And we fell and fell and I was so mesmerized by everything happening around me.Transfixed. The dots becoming buildings and the ants becoming trees and the people becoming little sticks walking around and… I looked up. Further from anyone else. Below. In Danger. Everyone else had already released their parachutes and there I was free falling.

i pulled the string to release it forgetting all the directions the guy gave us. Forgetting why I was doing this. Forgetting the do’s and don’t’s because in the air, in the moment, in the emotion, in the.. journey… it didn’t seem to matter anymore.

And that’s what happens in real life to me. In real life. I didn’t really go skydiving.

In real life I sit on the chair at church and hear these great sermons.
“Pray! Become a person of Prayer so you can fight when the time comes!”
“Escape! Flee youthful lust!”
“Memorize scriptures! that’s how you battle temptation!”
“Kill your temptation, don’t play with it, drag it out int he street and beat it down! Don’t keep your pet sins, because they turn into ugly beasts”
“JESUS! He’s enough! HE Is all you need! He alone satisfies”.

And I walk away from each sermon thinking “what a great sermon. What a great message. How passionate and powerful”.

James 1:22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.

Ever wake up and realize you’ve been doing a lot a hearing and listening? I did. I do.

It’s like I walk away… and in the excitement of my journey… the scenery becomes all about me and what I can see…. and I end up being the idiot that free falls right to the ground instead of using the parachute and resources that have literally been handed to me. Not just handed to me but secured to me and even within me.  I end up forgetting the instruction when hard times hit. I end up a lot more bruised and broken than if I had just heeded the Word. If I had just obeyed. If I had opened my heart not only to the emotions and the passion, but to the practicality of His word and His instruction. If I had let Him penetrate my heart…

It would have saved me so much pain… and angst… and loss…

This has been on my heart for a while now. And I have consciously since been trying to make each day… a day of obedience… but it’s SO hard! I forget what I’ve heard and I have to go review it. I forget in the worst of times. So I’m hoping that one day I have failed and reviewed and gotten back up again…again…and again…so much that it will have sunk into the utter depths of my heart and soul and I know without consciously thinking how to be obedient. So obedience can come without my white-knuckled-gripped-pained submission… and instead with my glad-hearted, open-armed-joyful surrender!

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