Parties & Prayer

Last night, I stood still, amidst hundreds of students all proclaiming their praise & confession to the Lord.  We prayed for those who are lost, seeking & struggling.  For those who do not yet know Truth.  Outside the building where we gathered, a deep pounding surged through to our ears, just across the street were parties, with probably the same amount of students, but not gathered for the same purpose.  They were there, doing whatever felt right to satisfy them for the moment.  But at the end of the night, where would they end up?  I met a few who wandered through our doors after the evening had ended.  They were looking for something…..it didn’t matter what, they just wanted to be a part of something.  While talking with them, my heart ached for them to be a part of our family…of God’s family.  If only they could understand that they mattered, that God loved them, that we loved them, and that there was purpose for their life.

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

The seeking, searching, aching and dizzying path of these students compels me to pray that someday soon they can understand fully the grace of God that has been extended towards them, and that there is a way of peace & joy, found only in the Lord.  Will you join me in this prayer?

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Not what it seems….

“How am I going to be able to grow up without a mom to tell secrets to?” ….this is just one of many quotes that have made me tear up today…. I’ve been put in a lot of tough situations recently, that are forcing me to make decisions that right now I feel I cannot make.  It’s like life is asking me to become a new person, one that I don’t know about, and one that I don’t necessarily want to be.  I guess it’s all part of growing up, but wow…growing pains have never burned so much.

To a large degree, our family & friends that we have relationships with make up a large part of our identity.  When we lose them, we lose a part of our identity too….I’ve recently heard this termed like an amputation of the familiar self.  Who we were with them, is not going to be who we are without them. It’s like….a normal life loss of something like…adolescence, or a job, or moving away…the loss is like a broken arm that takes a while to heal and the pain real but it will eventually heal.  However, catastrophic loss….death of a parent, sibling, friend, child, whoever…is like an amputation…not just a broken arm.  It will never come back or be completely healed, and you’ll always have phantom feelings of the limb that once was there but no longer remains.

I guess this is all part of growing up and growing into who I will be…though it feels different than I thought it would.  You never imagine these things to come, and you’d never imagine the consequences that would follow…everyone is different and we’re all trying to become a new different together, yet still individually.  Some people make choices for themselves that affect just them, and other make choices that lead to more and more choices for other people.  It’s all very difficult, and hard…..

Wishing that I had some verses right now to write about, but I’m too empty to seek them out today.  If you’re reading this…what are some verses that have helped you grow into who you are today?  I’m curious…..because I just feel like I have no idea where my life is going, and it’s hard to really go day to day when you don’t have a direction. 🙂

Heights

Just some thoughts as I prepare to head out….”As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God.” (Psalm 42:1)….through my searching, I ask…”Ah, Sovereign LORD,” I said, “I do not know how to speak; I am only a child.” (Jeremiah 1:6)…today, this is how I’m feeling.  Where will the Lord meet me on this trip, where will he be silent & teach me to wait? I feel & know that I have so much to learn, and each day offers plenty of opportunity…..yet I am only a child, I do not always know where to seek, or where to find.

I find promise in Psalms 18:33 where it says “He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he enables me to stand on the heights.” Heights can be conquered by hard work. I’ve never known anyone (except one of the native Everest peoples) to be able to climb a mountain easily.  It takes steadfastness, determination, skill & vulnerability. But here, David talks about God as the giver of feet like a deer, easily able to climb & reach the heights from the depths.

This next week, hiking up mountains, kayaking through rivers, I will try to remember this….that though the rains pour, the storms come, there are heights to be reached again, and God is the one who gives us the ability to reach them.

Let’s journey together, to see what heights are set before us!

Questions or Statements

So many people have been speaking to me, and telling me…”I’m so sorry, I don’t know what to say, and don’t worry….I won’t be the millionth person to ask how you are.” Well, I want to give you permission to ask.

The simple truth is…in my attempt to be honest with myself & with those around me, I fail in offering up much information about how I feel or what I struggle with.  However, if someone directly asks me not just how I feel, but how do I feel about: ______ or what will I miss about:______ or how will:______ impact the ____ part of your life? Those questions are all good, normal & welcomed.

In this shock and awe of grief, my mind is not actively thinking about how my life is changing, has changed or will change. I’m just trying to simply survive from one second to the next. Laying one foot down in front of the other. Drive one more mile without crying.

I’ll tell you this too….don’t be afraid to ask me about things, because if I don’t want to talk about it, I’ll tell you. I’m becoming better at saying “no thanks” when things come to me that I don’t want to share….so I’ll let you know if I can’t talk about what you’re wanting to know, and I won’t be mad that you asked, okay?

Alright, now that all that is on the table, I hope you feel a little more comfortable talking to me, and I hope you’ll take advantage of my openness.

Conflicts and Fear

So last night, while speaking with some close friends, someone asked me…how is it you can go through such crap & hard things, and still be so happy?  My answer? “Because I’m a really great faker.” Don’t think that’s much of an answer? Well…..neither did I once it was out of my mouth.

Since I was in HS, honestly probably before that though, I’ve been the “tough girl” who doesn’t let things get to her. And it’s not that I really AM that tough, it’s just that I don’t want to face those things. Tonight, I was at a youth retreat, and after saying yes to leading part of a game……I said….I can’t handle it. I don’t want to do that. (I’m learning to say no when I need to and tonight I needed to say no.)  Instead, I somewhat reluctantly grabbed my Bible, hid myself away in someone’s room & read. I searched for all the places that God told us about his peace, and how he would hold us together & allow us to have rest in Him. Here’s some of what I found: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28) “Let us therefore make every effort to enter that rest…..” (Hebrews 4:8-11) “Rescue me from the mire, do not let me sink;….” (Psalm 69:14)

These are all things that were going on in my heart tonight, and as we studied together later, about how God wants to open our doors if we LISTEN to Him and then wants us to OBEY Him, I wondered about what it was that He wanted me to open up with.  My answer?  Fear.  He wanted me to open up about the fear that was residing inside, holding my outside captive, never letting me truly express what was going on.  It was interesting, because it was like God was saying….I can’t heal that if you’re not admitting it’s there.  So I admitted it was there. And then the next thing, was….how do I obey God in this area?  What am I supposed to do about it?

One of the other verses I found spoke to that…Psalm 62:5,6 and 8 says “Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from Him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will not be shaken…. Trust in Him at all times, O people; POUR OUT YOUR HEARTS TO HIM, for God is our refuge.” Then you know, there are those many other verses that say do not fear….well, it felt like God was telling me….”don’t fear or worry….but if you do, tell someone. Tell ME.”
The other thing, was I avoid conflict (I’m growing in this though) ….and most times I think about that in relation to others. But tonight, I realized that I’m avoiding the conflict within myself, about the fear that I am (was) unwilling to face.  Fear about my mom, my family, my future, relationships, what God’s “to-do-list” is for me, etc.  So the conflict wasn’t with other people, but it was a conflict that I’m fighting with myself.  (which is interesting b/c a year ago, in a class, the question was posed “what is the biggest hindrance to you growing with God and I answered “myself”)  Hm.

So….it’s been a good night.  I cried. I think the last time I cried was in December….and before that one day in October. I do not cry.  But I want to, because it’s an outward expression of the deep fear that is in me, and I need to express that not just to others, not just to God, but also to myself.  ….”The Lord your God is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take delight in you, HE WILL QUIET YOU WITH HIS LOVE, He will rejoice over you with singing.” (Zephaniah 3:17)

And now….I’m going to be quiet.