Sunday, September 25, 2011

As the leaves change...

    Fall is on its way and I am so excited! It's my favorite season--the best weather, colors, clothes (boots and sweaters), coffee (pumpkin spice lattes), and then all the fun holidays trail behind it. Everything begins to change and, to me, the outdoors are absolutely breathtaking. I've witnessed this change every year of my life and so its not much of a surprise anymore--I know what is coming and am able to fully enjoy it every part of it along the way. Like with everything, it's never the normal things that happen in life that cause stress, but always the new changes (or even the NO changes) that are hard to fully accept.
     In the past year there have been many hard and/or surprising changes in the normalcy of life that I've had to learn to adapt too and trust God in. If anything, trust has been and will always be a learning process. It has not one time been easy to hand life over, but it has always (I've found the hard way) been necessary. Necessary because every single time that I held on, I missed out on the joy and peace the Lord wished me to have in knowing that He has every bit of it. I've never had control of my life for one day, but sometimes I pretend that I do. What a crazy concept when I would so much rather know that the Almighty is in control instead of myself. It's a sad thing knowing how much time was wasted instead of being lived fully in those moments. Change is inevitable, but change is not change to God because He is sovereign and "knows the plans He has for us." There is only a question each day to whether I will be like His faithful servant Mary and say "Whatever you say, Lord" or will I choose get in the way. One way or another His purposes will be accomplished just like His way will always be determined the best. Maybe it will not be the easiest route at the time, but it will save so much heart ache and pain in the end. He desires what's best for us--always--and I must keep that in mind. Wherever I am and whatever situation I am facing (good or bad), the God, who is always good, has given it to me. Elisabeth Elliot said, "This is what He has given us to do, this task here on earth, not the task we aspired to do, but this one. The great discrepancy between what we envisioned and what we've got force us to be real and God is our great Reality, more real than the realest of earthly conditions, an unchanging Reality. It is His providence that has put us where we are. It's where we belong. It is for us to receive it--all of it--humbly, quietly, and thankfully." Wherever I am in life, trusting in His ways is necessary to live the life God intended for me to live. Joy doesn't come from a life of easy living, but from a life that knows the goodness of God in us and in all circumstances. 
      On of my favorite quotes is by Jim Elliot who said, "Let not our longing slay the appetite of our living." We accept and thank God for what is given not allowing the not given to spoil it. Whether it's a  hard change or it is waiting patiently for something, each involve a tremendous amount of trust. A servant would not be a good servant if he didn't trust his master. For those who desire to be His vessels, we have to understand that we cannot pick how, when, or where we are supposed to be, but we must continually live for eternity by deciding that we will bring Him glory in whatever He calls us to TODAY. While we are patiently waiting, we should be working. While things are changing, we should be accepting and trusting. Sometimes it's so difficult, but there is no doubt that it is so worth it. Life is truly a vapor and these temporary trials only last for a time. Through them we are only being refined (sometimes by the fire) and I'm learning to thank God for that.
      I breathe easy tonight knowing my God is in control---my God who is always good is in control---my God who works for my good---my God who is for me----My God who knows me, intimately---My God who loves me, without condition---My God who never leaves me or forsakes me----My God who desires to guide me---My God who gave His son to die in my place that I might know Him and be able to breathe easy tonight. 

All I can say is great is His faithfulness towards us.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Peace, Love, and Group 23!

This past week I had an incredible privilege of being a pi chi for Auburn's sorority recruitment. I got to be 16 girls "mom" for the week and help them through the process of deciding if sorority life was the right choice for them. I was blessed to get to know 16 girls precious hearts and, hopefully, be some sort of encouragement from someone who's "been there and done that." Recruitment week can be a fun time--making friends and starting college-- and also a very hard time--considering the fact that sometimes the girls they meet and like don't ask them back the next day. Even though the Lord perfectly works it all out in the end (He ALWAYS works for "our good and His glory"), it is hard as women not to take these sorts of things as a personal rejections. Being on the other side of recruitment again was eye opening. As women, we are constantly in battle with the enemy. He uses our fear of abandonment (rejection) to tear us down. We start thinking we are either too much or not enough in some kind of fashion. He strategizes circumstances everyday that play on our fears. He hopes to turn our attention from the true Lover of our soul to temporary worldly satisfactions. Simply, he uses them to make us less like the women we were MADE to be. Because of that, we trade in a beautiful outcome (one we had to wait patiently and trustingly for) by wasting where he has placed us at this moment instead of living joyfully and thankfully in what He has given us today.
Women, we were made as God's workmanship-- pieces of His beauty, His compassion, His kindness, His softness, and His love. We are to be God's women by showing who He is by who we are and what we do. The only one who can satisfy you, make you whole, heal you, and love you fully, is your Creator.
"The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing." Zeph 3:17 
Wherever you are in life know your God DELIGHTS in you--accomplishments and failures and all--He does!  He is good, faithful, and does NOT make mistakes. Live in His light today ladies--you are loved greatly.

These are most of my group 23 girls fist pumping because they were done with recruitment--they made it! I was so blessed by them and their trust in His plan for their time at Auburn. May God use them to impact His kingdom in big ways. Love these sweet girls.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Short synopsis of what the Lord has continually reminded me of over the past few years (well one of the many!)
"God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way an the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though it waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging." Psalm 46:1-3

We have all been through or will go through "rough waters" at some point in our life. Most of the time we are so confused about where to turn with our troubles--we usually lean on ourselves to handle them. God did not allow us to suffer or endure pain so we could handle those things by ourselves. Simply, we can't even in our best efforts. Run to the One who made you, the one who knows you by name, the one who holds your hand in the deep waters. He is our Abba, Father, whose "everlasting arms" are so ready to wrap around us. He cares so deeply for His children and He will provide for us (Matthew 6:25-34). He is FAITHFUL to do that and He will not for one second let go of us. When Jesus left he gave us peace that the world could never give us. Take advantage of that special gift and like elisabeth elliot said,  "Pray to show the world what genuine faith is--the kind of faith that overcomes the world because it trusts and obeys, no matter what the circumstances. The world does not want to be told, it needs to be shown." Praise Him in every season of life--embrace Him.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Desiring Him Alone

Check out this song: Matt Jackson -Healer
Eye opening lyrics:

You are my source
You are my light
and I'm seeking you till all the mysteries are known
I want the healer not just the healing
I want the giver not just the gift
I want the real thing not just something
I want You
I want You

Falling in love with God requires we seek Him for Him.  I am and will always continue to be learning to know him and I have realized how much more He is than I ever imagined...the benefits of Himself are just a wonderful extra. He has changed my life from the RELATIONSHIP not all the perks. Yes, God can/will do truly extraordinary things for you...He saves you, He re-names you as His child, He gives you life abundantly, but those things do not come without loving God truly for who He is. THAT is when a life changes and a persons finds the incredible purpose of glorifying God and doing His will.  Looking back, I found those precious things he gives us through seeking Him and finding Him. God's not our genie in a bottle--He is the Almighty....the 'I AM' that wants a relationship. With that relationship flows beautiful blessings...things we may not have considered as a blessing until then.

Reality Check: Is your upmost desire only Him?

"Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; He is faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep His commands." Deut. 7:9

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

In the quiet, In the stillness, I know that You are God.

"Be still and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10
"In quietness and confidence shall be your strength." Isaiah 30:15

Finding stillness and quietness in my day is one of the hardest things to do. Honestly, I don't really like being still. I love living life with things to do and people to see. I enjoy "going with the flow." God made me with that personality, but with that, I continually have to learn to be obedient in it. We all know that God commands us to be still and rest in His presence, but when do we do it? Do we rush through it? Do we pray in the midst of chaos actually thinking God will answer those prayers right then? I know I don't feel peace about anything when I'm rushing around--even praying while I do. Its frustrating not hearing from God, but truthfully I am the cause of my own frustration. I am not still. Straight up--He commanded us to do it (He never said try or if you want to be still). Therefore, it is for our good and for His glory. After "Be still" God added "and know that I am God." Being still allows us to know who He is. Knowing who He is allows us to hear Him-- which allows us to follow Him--which allows us to become more like Him. We must be obedient in this if we are praying for His will to be done in our lives. I have learned that mornings are best to me--the world is quiet. It is truly amazing what He can show us when we are finally still before Him! The worlds chaos cannot compete with it.

In Daniel 10, Daniel is forced to be still and wait faithfully. Daniel prayed and fasted fervently for 3 weeks unable to hear an answer from God concerning a dream about a great war. Finally, an angel came to him in a dream on the 24th day. The angel had been detained from giving the message to Daniel because he was fighting a heavenly battle against enemy forces. These enemy forces were fighting to prevent Daniel from receiving God's answer --keeping him unable to do the will of God. Through Daniel's unceasing prayers, God sent more of heavens forces to win the battle so the messenger could go to Daniel. Daniel didn't want to do anything out of the Lord's will so he consistently waited patiently, faithfully, and quietly. Of course, the Lord was faithful to answer. "And this is confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him." 1 John 5:14-15 "Call to Me and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know." Jeremiah 33:3. A quote from a book I am reading said, "Heaven could be waiting on you." Pray about everything and expect an answer (it definitely could be no), but if its His will --learn to accept it even though its hard. His will and desires for us are always perfect. If I have learned nothing else through difficult times, it is that. 

Elijah heard God's "Still small voice" in 1 KIngs 19:12. Praying for that today--I always desperately need it.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Just a Thankful Day

"No gift unrecognized as coming from God is at its own best: therefore many things that God would gladly give us, things even that we need because we are, must wait until we ask for them, that we may know whence they come: when in all gifts we find Him, then in Him we shall find all things." -George McDonald

Learning to pray for each and every situation and am forever working on "praying without ceasing" is such a hard thing for our minds not to get wrapped up in the world around us! But I have found lately that once I start learning the first... my eyes look to Him countless times more in everyday situations. Through that, I have become so much more thankful for prayer with my Father...I have and still do take that gift for granted much of the time. It makes me so sad I don't always take advantage of time with Him.

Still wanting to see Him in ALL things--praying for my eyes and ears to become accustomed to His "still small voice".

Monday, June 6, 2011

Truly Listening and Seeing

This caught my eye today: "God teaches us to ask so that He might answer our prayers. This reminds us of the source of our blessings." Elisabeth Elliot tells a story of how she got lost in the city when she had specifically asked God to keep her from getting lost. Her new prayer then was to be found by the young exchange student that was living with her at the time. Doubting that it would happen...she prayed anyway. God allowed her to be rescued within 5 minutes by that student. She said, "the answer to my prayer not to get lost was No--in order that I might be specifically blessed in the way I was found." All the glory goes to Him.

I love it when God surprises me--it reminds me of His greatness and His interest in every little detail of my life. He uses His people, the "wow" of His creation,  and those crazy things that you know are "just God"to speak into my life ---those are the things that truly change my life. We have a God who cares and goes to great lengths to show us just how much each and every day. He did not stop at the cross---the ultimate act of love (first for His glory then for us) ---which would have been more than sufficient for us, but He continues to pour out His blessings and acts of kindness on us. I overlook them too much of the time --especially in the busyness of the day.
"Those who have ears, let him hear. Those who have eyes, let him see." Yes we have ears and eyes, but honestly...are we using them correctly? Jesus calls us to be to be seeing (focused) and listening not just looking and hearing to find Him in the small and (sometimes) big things in life.

Praying to see Him in everything today...especially the small details. He is faithful to be there.