Wednesday, March 21, 2012

A bit of good news...

Today is only Wednesday.  We're halfway through the week by now.  But this has been a long week (it has felt like 3 Mondays to me), and full of sad news.  My heart breaks for three different families who lost loved ones this week.  I've experienced loss, and I know the pain.  I pray each family will find comfort and strength in our Heavenly Father, and in those friends and loved ones who surround them.

But I mentioned good news.  And while it is a bit of good news, I felt I needed to mention the heaviness that is also on my heart this week. 

The good news is... I am FINALLY going to be tested to see if I can donate a kidney to my dad.  I don't have a time frame for when anything will be happening, but I'm just so happy they can finally consider me as a donor.  So just a tiny bit of good news, and at a time when my heart needed some good news.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Grace

Mistakes are a part of life.  Everyone makes them, and sometimes they hurt others.  This week, one of my mistakes hurt a friend.  Which in turn hurt me.  I apologized, and I am truly sorry.  I'd like this person to forgive me.  I'm not sure what else I can do, after apologizing, besides wait and hope my friend will forgive me.

I'm so glad things aren't like this with God.  I'm so glad that I don't have to wait for Him to stop being upset with me before I am forgiven.  I'm so glad I don't have to wait for His feelings to not be hurt to talk to Him.  I can talk to Him any time, at all times, regardless of my mistakes and shortcomings.  He will always show me mercy and love, even during times when I'm being disciplined. 


None of this means that I think I can just go out and do whatever I want, then ask forgiveness, and all is good.  On the contrary, I know I should strive every day to live and love as Jesus did.  I'm not always good at that, but I try.


Recently, I've been really starting to realize God's grace in my life.  Again.  I'm letting go of my guilt, and I don't feel nearly as weighed down.  It isn't something that comes natural for me, and I have to consciously make the effort.  But I can't do His will if I'm held back by my guilt.  It roots me in place, with no way to move forward.  And forward with Him is the direction I want to go.  I don't have it perfect yet, and I doubt I ever will.  But I am slowly regaining the ground I lost.  And while I'm not proud of it, the mistake above was necessary, I think, for me to know more of God's grace.


I'm so thankful for God's grace.  His grace is what has given me the strength and courage to keep going.  His grace is what carries me when days are hard.  And His grace is what releases me from my past  so I can move forward into His will.



Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Struggling with Myself

At first, I didn't understand why I was being called to stay single.  As the past two weeks have progressed, I am getting a pretty good idea of the reason.  My priorities are all messed up.  I am all messed up.  I have placed too much importance on the thoughts and opinions of others.  I have worked hard, too hard, to find worth in what others think of me.  And it's wrong, and it makes me so tired.

God wants to be The One for me.  I feel His pursuit of my heart, even as I feel unworthy and try to resist.  It's hard and I resist because my most recent rebellion, the mess I made, leaves me feeling as if I don't deserve the goodness and mercy He has for me.  I can only think in my severely limited human capacity, and I know how hard it can be to forgive someone who repeatedly hurts me.  And by this thinking, it would stand to reason that God would find it hard to forgive me and welcome me back with open arms.  But I know He does.  My head knows it.  My heart is struggling with feeling like I deserve it.

He wants me to stop trying so hard to win the favor of others.  He wants me to stop trying so hard to be what others want or need me to be.  He just wants me to stop trying so hard.  I know there is rest and peace waiting when I do.  I just have to let go of my fear - fear that I won't be loved by others, that I won't be liked by others, that I won't be accepted or chosen by others.  He wants me to know of His love for me, and that I am accepted and chosen by Him.  But then I remember how I turned away from Him, and it's hard for me to believe.

It is a constant struggle for me right now.  I know what God wants, and I want it too.  I just don't feel worthy of it.  And maybe that's the point.  Maybe the point is to accept it, believe it in my heart, even as I know I'm not worthy.  I'm struggling to get there, to accept it, and I'm not sure I know how to just let go.  I'm having a hard time forgiving myself and moving past the guilt of my actions (and inaction).  But I know He loves me.  I know His love is never-ending.  I know only He can take the mess I made, the broken pieces I have, and make it something beautiful.  I know I want Him to.  And maybe that's the first step.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Conviction

A few times in my life I have felt I had a clear indication of what God wants me to do, or what He wants for my life.  I had one of these moments, a conviction, last week.  It hit me unexpectedly, and hard.  And I cried.  A lot.  It isn't the choice I'd like to make.  And for some people, it might not be that big a deal.  But to me it is, and I'm still working on accepting it and trusting God that it's best for me.

During the couple months that I didn't write, I dated.  Or I think I did.  It may be that we had different ideas about it, but the fact is I'm not seeing the guy anymore.  And the time that we did spend together I also spent ignoring what I knew God wanted for me.  Or in this case, what He didn't want.  I got that feeling pretty early on, but I just ignored it.  

Since the end of it, I have wondered and prayed about what is to come next for me.  I had more or less sworn off dating once already, a couple years ago, and I was okay with it.  But this opened that door again for me, and I'll admit I had some good times.  So who would I date next?  How would God lead me to the person who is right for me?  When would God lead me to him?  Of course He had an answer for me...

I had a conversation with a good friend last week.  When things bother me, or when I'm faced with a big decision, she usually helps me to gain perspective.  (She reminds me a lot that prayer is the best approach to anything.)  She and I were talking about the things going on in my life, and I questioned what God's plans for me are.  I didn't question if they would be good because I know they are, but it was more questioning what to do next, and about dating in general.  Her question to me was if I had ever considered that maybe God wants me to stay single.  It hit my heart hard.  Immediately I was crying.  And I knew.  I knew that this is what He wants of me.  

And it hurt.  I am not on a desperate search for a husband, but ultimately I'd like to be married again, and for it to last.  (I am a woman after all, and I think a majority of women all want this.)  It hurt that He could know that this is a deep desire I have for my life and that He would say no.  But I have no doubt about what He wants.  I just didn't want this particular calling.  

It's a good thing I am in the Bible study about Jonah.  For a number of reasons.  One of them being preparing my head and heart for this.  Jonah didn't want his particular calling to go to Nineveh either, and in the words of my friend, "Where did he end up?"  First in the stomach of a big fish, and eventually going where God wanted him to go and doing what God wanted him to do.  So I'm lucky in a way Jonah was not.  I have his story to learn from, and I am right exactly where I need to be in this Bible study.  I can see that trying to run or circumvent God's plan is counterproductive.  I'm accepting it, even though I'm not happy about it.  And already I can see that my heart and attitude are changing.  

I know that He isn't going to ask something of me that I can't handle.  I also know that staying single isn't the worst thing that could ever happen to me.  By far.  It also isn't the hardest thing He could call me to do.  I've spent plenty of time single, so I know I can do it.   I know that He has work to do in me and through me, which probably can't be accomplished if I'm distracted.  I know that my relationship with Him is far better than any earthly relationship I can have, and in Him I have all I need.  

The thought of it isn't so scary now.  All God wants of me is a willing heart to go where He leads, and He will take care of the rest.  He will continue to change my heart toward it.  I can do this, and I can be happy about it.  I will be happy about it.  And I'll even save some money and stress on this fast-approaching "holiday" for couples. =)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Where I've been

I haven't written for almost 2 months now, and even the last few times I did write I was finding it hard to do.  I could tell you I got too busy, and for a while I was busier than normal, but I was never too busy.  I simply chose to not make time.  And it wasn't just writing.  I didn't make time for much praying, or reading God's Word.  I didn't seek His direction or His peace.  I honestly didn't do much of anything that would resemble godly behavior.  But I did feel guilt, and make excuses to myself.  The only reason that I have for all of that is that I was hiding.  I got comfortable where I was, and I was afraid He would ask something of me that I didn't want to do, or that I thought would be too hard to do.  Things were going good for me, and I didn't want to have to change any of it.  I also have to admit that I got impatient and tried to do things and make things happen on my own.  All the while knowing that that never ends up very well.  So here I am.  Things are still pretty good, though just a little different, but I haven't liked the hiding.  I hate the guilt.  And I'm not proud of any of it.

I'm not back where I want to be yet, but I'm working on it.  I'm still afraid that God will ask something of me that will be hard for me to do, but avoiding Him isn't the answer and I see that now.  I'm working on getting back to Him, and once more deepening our relationship.


I'm in another Bible study, and yet again I'm being amazed at how God is using the study and the wonderful women in it to reach me.  In that last (and first, for me) Bible study, He used the life of David to show me so many things about Himself and myself.  And now, looking at the story of Jonah, He is again showing me so many things.  I need this in my life right now, and I'm having to look deep into myself.  It seems to be helping me resolve the hiding/fear issue I've been having, and I'm so grateful to have the opportunity to be involved in the study.  I'm also just simply grateful for the time I spend with the other women in the study each week.  They are such an encouragement.


And to include a little about the rest of my life... my holidays were good, and sometimes a little crazy.  My grandmother is going through a period of decline, and sometimes my patience isn't what it should be.  We are adjusting to the new things this means for her, which sadly is the loss of even more of her independence.  Ali is showing even more signs of approaching the teenage years, and I've a feeling patience will be a constant prayer of mine.  Apples and trees, as they say.  And lastly, I'm getting very close to being able to be tested to donate my kidney to my dad.  I've lost 60 pounds so far, and only have about 2 more to lose and they will consider me.  I have a further goal I want to reach, but being able to donate a kidney is first.  Those 2 little pounds sure are stubborn, but I'm not giving up!


So, I'm still a mess.  There are still lots of pieces.  And I'm resuming my journey to find God's peace and grace among it all.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Just a quick note...

To say that there will be a post coming soon.  I will explain the long break, and all that.  To those who have checked for new posts, and to those who have asked when I would write again, thank you.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A Reflection

The Bible study I went to had its last session Monday night.  I am so grateful I was invited, so happy I attended, and so blessed by the women I met and the Scripture I studied.   I have loved learning about the life of King David.  I have to admit that I didn't know much about his life before the study, so it was very interesting.  There were many times that topics covered were so relevant to my own life that I was just left in awe.  The last question in the book we used was, "What is the most significant way God has spoken to you through David?"  There was a short space below in which to answer, but I didn't answer it.  I couldn't think of one single thing to write.  For me, there hasn't been just one significant thing.  There have been quite a few of them.

It is almost hard for me to put into words what I have gained.  Much of what I've gained has been intensely personal.  One session dealt with finding rest in God, and trusting Him throughout the disappointments and trials that life brings.  On this night, I was reminded of many things I have faced in my own life.  I would do well to remember that even when there are problems and disappointments, trusting God is what to do, is what will give me the strength to persist, and lead me to rest.  This much I knew, but I don't always put it into practice.  Too often I try to take care of things myself.

One week, during the homework, a statement really stood out to me.  "God had to bring David down to a lowly position before He could raise him up to stand on solid ground."  Oh, how this has happened to me, and I hope it will happen again if I need it.  I was reminded that the times when I am overwhelmed with sorrow, when I am wrestling with what God wants of me, when it seems nobody understands me, and when I experience change, that God is using all these things to bring me closer to Him.  He wants me to trust in Him, because He has the plan.  


I have realized that while I still have a long way to go in my relationship with God, I have also come so far.  I have been given ways to fight back against the enemy.  I began to understand what is likely a small portion of the virtues of God.  And how lucky I am to know Him in those ways and more.  I have seen the virtues of David that I want to have, and I pray I will.  I have seen the ways in which David sinned, and realize that even though he is called the "man after God's own heart," he was in no way perfect.  In the words of Beth Moore, "if it can happen to David, it can happen to anybody."  


One week, we were given "Five Fabulous Facts to Feel Happy About."  I have these posted on the visor in my car, where I can read them any time I need them.  And they are fabulous.  One of them I have particularly needed to hear - that my righteousness doesn't come from behavior, but from my belief.  It doesn't mean I can sin freely and still call myself righteous because of my faith.  It does mean that I can stop trying so hard to please God by my actions, in hope that they will bring righteousness.   The "feet will follow faith."  What I truly believe will be evident in my actions. 


I was sad that the study came to an end on Monday night.  I was moved each week by Beth's passion, and desire to live such a passionate life for God myself.  I was moved by the commitment and sharing by the other women who attended.  The wonderful lady who led the study is nothing short of an inspiration, a truly humble, loving woman after God's own heart.  There is another study planned for after the first of the year, and I just can't wait.