Tuesday, August 30, 2011

A New Adventure...

Well tomorrow is the day. I said goodbye to my good friends and I'm attempting to finish all my packing...last minute of course. =) Even though I've gone through this before, I feel like this is a whole new chapter of my life and a big adventure lies ahead of me. God has been teaching me so much this summer and I know He will continue to do so every day from now on. I'm really nervous about starting this adventure. That's when I try and remind myself of verses like Deuteronomy 31:6..."So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you." Reading about this truth that God will NEVER leave me or fail me is so comforting. Even the people I love the most will sometimes disappoint me and make me feel alone. But wow, to think that the God of the universe is always one step in front of me and watching out for me is amazing. It makes me a lot more excited about going to school tomorrow. I get nervous when I think about all the hard things that may be ahead of me...but when i think about how much all the trials this summer have helped me grow I can't stop thinking, "bring it on, God!" I am hungry and I want to grow. Even if that means walking through valleys in this life...it's honestly so worth it if I know God is working at my heart meanwhile.

So...tomorrow I drive 233 miles to Northland by myself...well myself and God. =) And even though I'm crazy nervous, I'm even more crazy excited to see how God will work. I'm going into all this on faith alone and I am determined to make it a good semester no matter what, or who, tries to get in the way. God has put some amazing, godly friends into my life this summer and I know that I have them and my family behind me. And more importantly I have a God who is walking with me the whole time, no matter what.

Please be praying for me this semester and also for everyone else who will be starting school! I pray that God will continue working on my heart and give me the strength to be the godly woman He wants me to be every day from now on.

God bless... =)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

A Peace That Surpasses All Understanding...

So this morning as I was taking my sister to school I heard these words from the voice on the radio...a peace that surpasses all understanding. I repeated those words out loud a few times and started to think about the amazing truth they hold. A peace that surpasses all understanding...only a peace that God can provide. Lately I've been thinking a lot about how I'm not meant to understand everything God does..but I've only looked at one side of that. I've been looking at all the hard things God puts in my path and how I'm not always meant to understand them. Well when I heard these words this morning I started to think...not only does God give us trials beyond our comprehension, but He gives us peace so magnificent that we can't even fathom it sometimes. There have been countless days this summer where I've wondered if I will ever be able to experience true peace again. I was feeling as though day after day was filled with trials...and as much as I was learning through them...I wasn't feeling total peace. Well later this afternoon I was sitting outside just relaxing, listening to music, and thinking. I was thinking about the ways I have been hurting and how much I wanted to be free of it all...but instead of getting down like I used to, I realized I had a real peace about it that I haven't had before and it didn't quite make sense to me. I haven't felt a peace like that in SO long it took a minute for me to let it sink in. A few moments later a song came on that I've never heard before. It's called My Hope Is In You by Aaron Shust. Since it was the first time I had heard it, I closed my eyes and listened closely to the words when all of a sudden those words came out of nowhere again...A PEACE THAT PASSES UNDERSTANDING. Ever have those moments where you just know God is trying to communicate something to you? =) I couldn't understand where the peace I was feeling was coming from and then boom. God answered me through those precious words...twice in one day. So pretty much what I believe God was telling me is this...even when it seems all hope is lost, even when I feel like I will never have peace again, even when it feels like God is so far away...He never fails us. He is our helper. He brings us peace when we least expect it and only when our hearts are completely surrendered to Him. This isn't the end...I know I still have hard days to face, but what a comfort it is knowing that God brings us a peace so amazing that only He can comprehend it and which we can only receive through Him. God has been trying to show me this peace available to me for SO long if only I would surrender my whole heart to Him. He gives us peace through helping others. He gives us peace through His word. He gives us peace through the ordinary things like laughing...laughing until it hurts at 4 in the morning. Today I finally have the peace described in Philippians 4:7...peace that surpasses all understanding. I can't begin to describe how freeing it feels to finally let myself smile and laugh again. I thank the Lord for this peace He has given to me. I know that it is found only in Him while keeping a surrendered and willing heart. What an amazing hope and peace we can have in our Lord! *Psalm 121*

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The First Day of The Rest of Your Life...

Do you ever stop and think about how every morning you wake up is the first day of the rest of your life? Today I really let that sink in. I don't know about you, but I know I have imagined my life 30 years down the road and I knew exactly where I wanted to be. I always knew God was in ultimate control, but I figured hey as long as I'm serving Him and loving Him along the way He'll give me what I want. I mean, why wouldn't He? Well today God screamed to me that my life is His and I need to realize that I don't always get what I want. It's kind of like when I'm babysitting and I have to remind the one little girl over and over again that as much as she whines or cries, she is not in charge and she can't always have what she wants. In her mind, eating five cookies for breakfast is a great idea...but I know that if she eats five cookies for breakfast every day she is going to either feel sick, or I'm going to be the one to blame for her child obesity! I know what is best for her in the long run, but it's hard for her to understand why I won't give her what she wants sometimes. I know comparing this to cookies and child obesity is a little odd, but open your minds...it makes sense, I promise. haha To God, I'm like that little girl sometimes. I whine and cry and wonder why God doesn't agree with me on what I think is best. My plans make perfect sense in my mind, but God sees the big picture. He knows that what I want isn't always what is best for me and He does things His way for a reason beyond my understanding. God wants us to remember that TODAY is the first day of the rest of our lives. We need to apply that to every single day from now on. Life changes...the road God puts us on sometimes has twists and turns that are confusing and hard to follow. But remember...God is right there holding our hands. We can whine and cry to Him as much as we want that He's leading us away from all we've ever wanted...but He's not going to change His mind just because we whine. After all, He planned out our lives long before we were ever even born. He knows the ending of each of our life stories and if we trust Him to get us there, life will be SO much easier. Trust Him. Look at each day as the start of something new. Open your heart and mind to HIS plans for us and let our plans go. He loves us and will never fail us.

Jeremiah 29:11...For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

God bless. =)

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Trust and Faith

Well today I decided I would start a blog. I don't know if anyone will ever read it, but here goes nothing. I'm calling this blog "step by step" because from now on that's how I'm choosing to live my life. I want to live in each moment and in each moment I want to glorify Christ, trust Him, serve Him...and then take another step closer to Him. I have a big problem with anxiety sometimes...well a lot of the time to be honest. The past month God has really been teaching me a lot and one of the things He's been teaching me is to take life one step at a time. We're not supposed to worry about next month, next week, tomorrow, or even an hour from now. Yes, we need to use our brains and make plans and goals in life, but if our plans fall through we shouldn't get discouraged. God knows what's best for us and although we need to use our brains in this crazy thing called life, God is in complete control. I now know from experience that God can take the world we know and shatter it into a million pieces. I've heard a million times how everything that happens is "what God knows is best." I always thought I believed that until I really came to the end of myself and was forced to really think about it. Proverbs 20:24 says, "A man's steps are from the Lord; how then can man understand his way?" God doesn't allow or want for us to understand WHY everything happens. That is where he wants us to learn faith. Faith and trust is something I've been gaining more of lately and I praise God for that. A few months ago I was in a spot where I sincerely knew that God was in control and He knew what was best, but as much as I reminded myself not to worry because God was in control, I would still end up in tears within minutes.I was so unhappy and I couldn't figure out why...after all, I knew God has my life in His hands, right? Well finally a week or two ago it started to hit me. What I was lacking was true faith and trust in God in my circumstances. As much I have known that God is in control and has a reason for everything that happens, I was trying so hard to understand and wrap my head around what He was doing and I just couldn't. It was beyond frustrating and just brought me more and more pain. I would have days of being on a "spiritual high" and the next day I would get so down to the point where all I would want to do is sleep and cry. So...as I said, this is where I started to really seek God for answers to find out what was going on. He showed me through the encouragement of friends, family, and His word little by little that I needed to show a little more trust and faith in Him. It's easy to say, "oh God is in control I don't have to worry!" But guess what? Just because you say it and know it doesn't necessarily mean a whole lot! I realized that when I want to break down and cry, or get bitter and angry, or I start questioning God that I need to REFOCUS and tell myself God knows what He's doing...but now I don't only tell myself those words. I stop and think about how true it really is and what it really means. I've been going through the book Breaking Free by Beth Moore and I read something the other day that really got me thinking. "Christ never allows the hearts of His own to be shattered without excellent reasons and eternal purposes. We may never see the reasons, but we can walk by faith and believe the best of Christ." The first part of that kind of gave me an answer to my biggest question lately...how in the world does God think that shattering our hearts is best?! But through this chapter in my life I have already started to see God working in my heart and I know that he would never cause me to hurt this much unless it is in preparation for something amazing He's going to do in the future. The second part of this is something that contributed to opening my eyes to my lack of trust. Even though we might feel scared that God is leading us on an unknown road, we need to walk down that road with our heads held high and follow God with confidence. Because think about it, would God really lead us on a road to destruction? No way! The road he's leading me on right now is really scary. I have NO idea what my future holds but I'm learning that when my mind starts to wander I need to cling to Christ and trust Him even when I don't necessarily want to. It seems so much easier sometimes to just do what we want. Sometimes it feels safer when we are in control because we know where we're heading. But in reality, It's safer to follow God down an unknown, maybe even scary road then it is to go down our own "safe" road. Because we're human. We mess up. We fall. If we choose to trust God and go down His road and hold His hand along the way, He will never let us fall as long as we take it step by step and never lose sight of Him. And if we do happen to fall along the way, we can have faith that He will pick us right back up as long as we stay on His path! God doesn't promise that following Him will be easy by any means, but it IS the best way to go. Just keep trusting and pushing forward!

I know my thoughts in this post have been somewhat scattered, but God has been teaching me so much about faith and trust that it's really hard to put it into words! Bear with me...my thoughts are always a little...well, all over the place....but everything I just wrote is from my heart and what God has been teaching me. I could write for hours and hours about this...but I will save some thoughts for another day. God bless. =)