January 22, 2011

Vocal Chords.

The other day I checked my mailbox to find a notecard from one of the staff members, asking me if I'd like to help lead worship this Sunday. I was dumbfounded, and excited beyond words! But...I had to turn the opportunity down, since I've lost my voice the past few days. Sigh. And I have outreach next weekend with my Singteam. SING team. And the other singer on our team is currently healing from Pneumonia. So, could I just ask for prayer for some repaired vocal chords before I leave on Thursday?

Thank you and God bless! :)

January 19, 2011

He Hears.

So, I'm really excited that I have 26 followers on this blog! It's not really the quantity of the readers that matters to me though; the double-digit number just reminds me that there are actually people out there who enjoy keeping up with my thoughts. And as this number grows, it is also a reminder to me that I should no longer want to blog about useless things any longer, such as what my favorite country songs are, or depressing lyrics. I mean, if life is about telling people about God and his love, then why hesitate to do so?

In regards to my continually increasing list of realizations, I have encountered yet another one: God answers prayers. :)

January 18, 2011

The Poetic Books.

Today I spent my afternoon reading through and taking notes on all of Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Songs. Wow. I'm definitely going to have to elaborate some more on that one of these days.

January 12, 2011

The Real Definition of Love.

           Many things have happened during these last few weeks, and I feel like last December was the beginning of the turning point in my life. I remember at the beginning of the school year in September, I had to draw a picture to represent what the turning point in my life had been. Realizing I hadn’t experienced it yet, I drew a road; this road had a direct destination into the yellowy sunset horizon to symbolize “I don’t yet know what my turning point is, but I’m about to find out.”

            Remember that eleven-page journal entry I was telling you about? Well, let’s just say I ended up writing a thirteen-page entry a few short days later. I have so much inside of me that I need to share. God is incredible and he is wholly the reason for these verbose journal entries. Sometimes I wonder if everything I have ever felt about or for God in the past was just a lie, because I have never felt Him to be so real like I do now. I even had myself convinced that others weren’t feeling God, but just their emotions. I’m not saying I didn’t believe in God, I’m just saying that…I’ve just always been too caught up in myself and my own desires to realize the things he wants for me, (and the things he wants for me are SO much better than the things I want for myself). Yes, that was an awful explanation, but it’s just one of those things that I just can’t describe. But what I do know is that I have never been in love with God like I am now. I feel like my heart is about to explode and that my smile is almost getting too big for my face.

            My journal entries have been composed of one of the biggest realizations to hit me, ever. In the best way that I can and with God orchestrating my every sentence, I’m just going to share this realization with you: I am so blessed. Before I thought my life was on track, but being here, living in this very moment, I was so very wrong. The things I wanted last year, the things I wanted my whole life…the shallow, the hollow, the useless, the heartbreaking, and the selfish things…well, I never want to desire those things again. I didn’t know it at the time, but now looking back, I realize that those things were killing me. I mean, how could I have possibly thought my life was on the right track when I’d be crying myself to sleep?

            So, at the beginning of these past few weeks, God took a crowbar and hit me on the head. Of course not literally, but he fixed and greased the wheels in my brain and made them spin again; and these wheels turned until I wholeheartedly realized and could say aloud, yes, I am blessed. Without me even noticing, God lead me into a life of fulfillment. All of those other things that I thought I wanted left me with nothing; in fact, I was left empty inside.

            The way in which I feel most blessed is with my relationships. Never in my life, have I had relationships this deep before. I see this, now noticing that I am friends only with one person I went to high school with. I have lost all my friends from high school but one. This realization teaches me that my past relationships were so shallow; they were made up of nothing. Honestly, a relationships that is not God-centered, is going to fall apart. Believe me, I am living proof of this. In my other relationships, God was never talked about; we knew he was there, but he was the least of our concerns. In high school we wanted other things. We wanted boyfriends, sleepovers, new shoes, fruity alcohol-drenched martini’s, straight A’s in every class, eye contact with good looking guys, our faces caked with makeup, and for our lives to play out like a frivolous country song. If you base your friendships and relationships upon these things, they will break. These things don’t bring love, they bring jealousy, anger, bitterness, and sadness.

            I read in a book once that the definition of love isn’t just that of an intensified, passion-filled emotion. Love is an attitude equivalent to looking someone in the eye and saying, “I choose to look out for your best interest. How may I help you?” (The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman) This simple statement is exactly where I failed, and where my past relationships failed. I failed to look out for the best interests of my friends and they failed to look out for the best interests in me. That last sentence I just wrote was tough to admit and hard to come to terms with, but it had to be confessed. When one of my best friends would be sharing with me how drunk she plans on getting on the weekend, I failed. When another friend would tell me how far she went with her boyfriend, I failed. When she’d tell me lie after lie after lie, I failed. When I’d tell them I had feelings for this guy who was no good for me, they failed. When I’d start gossiping about people behind their backs, my friends failed.

Before, I would have blamed this failure on having the fear that I was scared of hurting or upsetting my friends. You know…if I tell them what they’re doing is wrong, they’ll get mad at me and they’ll never want to speak to me again. Either they’ll tell me I’m jealous or they’ll start pointing out all of my failures! So, I’ll just keep my mouth shut. But right now, I don’t believe that it’s a fear of losing friends. I believe that we’re all too caught up in what people think of us, we’re so selfish in other people’s perceptions of us that we’ll avoid all confrontations at any cost to keep our “cool”. We’re so afraid of appearing like we are friendless loners. We’re afraid of lies being spread, of rumors being started. In being totally honest with ourselves we’ll notice that keeping our silence has nothing to do with not wanting to hurt our friends, or by making them feel happy because we’ve told them exactly what they’ve wanted to hear. It has everything to do with our selfishness and our worldly image. Sigh—this also sucks to admit.

I go back to all those times and conversations with my friends where I could’ve done something; I could have said something! I could have prevented so much hurt from entering their lives. And it makes me wonder, could they have prevented all the hurt that has occurred in my life? If they had just be honest with me, could things have turned out better in my life? If they would have, then yes, things would have been much different…for instance, we would have still been friends to this day. God has opened my eyes to the fact that all of the people in my life who have told me what I’ve been doing is wrong, and have vocally told me things that even though they may hurt for me to hear, they said them anyway…these people are still my best friends to this very day. And this is what a real friend is; it’s what true love is. A real relationship is one with total honesty. It’s one in which we look out for the best interest of our friends. If a person really loves you, then they will never, ever want for you to hurt. They will do anything to prevent this from happening. This is where God’s blessings on me have become evident, because I don’t have enough fingers to count the people in my life who love me this way. This kind of love--this real love--lead me to what a parent’s love is like. A parent loves their child so, so, SO very much that they set rules and boundaries and do everything in their power to prevent their child from ever being hurt. Many children, myself included, see all of these rules as my parents must hate me, because they don’t want me to have any fun! But Mom and Dad say “no alcohol” because they don’t want you to be in an intoxicated sate of mind, where you could end up hurt. Mom and Dad say “be back by 11 pm” because they don’t want you wandering around in the darkness of the night, where there’s a potential that you could get hurt. Mom and Dad say “no dating until you’re 18” because both genders during the adolescent years are completely na├»ve and clueless when it comes to dating, meaning that you could get hurt in the process. Parents call you out when you’re doing something stupid, and they’re not afraid to do so because they LOVE you. This parent-child love is one that should definitely be considered in friendships too. When our friends are about to do something stupid, tell them, communicate with them, talk it out, and do this all because you love them and you don’t want to see them hurt. We don’t need to fear them taking it the wrong way, because that form of love is also Jesus’ love. I know that when I’m doing something wrong, I can always hear Jesus whispering to me in the back of my mind telling me so. Because friends, he loves us. :)

When I was at home for Christmas break, I visited a good friend in the city for night. And we just lay in bed that night talking about God. God is so great, isn’t he? This little fine fact of my conversation about God may not be jumping off the screen for you, but it was a huge deal for me. A year, even two years ago, you never would have caught me having pillow talk about God. And now, he’s all I want to talk about. If you’re excited about something and if you love someone, isn’t it normal for them to be all you talk of? My Christmas break was filled with many great conversations. While Skyping with my old university roommate for like 4 hours, she told me that I have changed. She said that when we were attending school together last year, whenever I was having a bad day she knew that she would just have to read my blog to find out, because I was never open to talk about it. I couldn’t have agreed with this more because until…about November 2010, I was a very closed person. For different reasons, I developed trust issues with both the male gender and the female gender. I truly believed that my past experiences gave me every reason to believe that everyone who wanted to get close to me was going to hurt me in the end, so I put up walls. Now thanks to Gods grace, at the age of 20, my walls are completely gone. Completely. God tells us, “Forget what happened long ago! Don’t think about the past. I am creating something new. There it is! Do you see it?” (Isaiah 43:18-19) God has placed so many amazing and influential people in my life, and I have never felt so fulfilled in my relationships before. A friend of mine taught me the importance of giving your walls to God, so that you can be open to all of the wonderful and amazing things he has in store for you. If you have walls and if your hands are closed in fists, how can God then fill you? Imagine being so guarded and invulnerable in your interactions with others that you completely miss out on a friendship, or a relationship that could have been so good.

With every ounce of my heart, I believe that God created relationships so that they could be an example of his love and his image. Our love towards each other should be honoring towards God. Our love for each other should cause us to fall even more in love with Him. Our relationships need to uplift and encourage one another, not break each other. Our relationships need to involved prayer and constant communication with God; right now I can’t imagine not praying with any of my friends, it’s just so incredibly important. Going home for Christmas break was such a God thing because he just taught me so much, and I wish I could tell you EVERYTHING that He has taught me (because there is more), but this 2000+ word entry is enough for today.

Thank you so much for reading, and I hope this brought some insight as to what God has been teaching me these past few months. God bless!! :)

January 6, 2011

11 Pages.

It's late, and I have just written 11 pages in my journal; What a glorious feeling.
And these 11 pages can only be shared.

January 5, 2011

One day.

I'm having a very difficult time blogging. So many times I've started a blank page, but I just can't bring my self to type anything. I have this fear that what I write will in no way bring any justice to all the great happiness that has been living inside me these days. :)

Time is lacking. But perhaps the words will come to me? ...One day?

January 3, 2011

New Year!

Well, it's a new year; therefore, it's time to whip out the ol' cliche New Years Resolution:
Being a woman of maturity and responsibility. :)
Uh oh...now God is going to test me on this one...