Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Old Is Gone, The New Has Come

I am thankful that in Christ, I am a new creation.
I don't even like thinking about the person I would be without His hand constantly holding me up.

I did my best to act happy when my parents divorced, but I cried myself to sleep more nights than most...
I was the bubbliest, happiest person on the planet in junior high...unless you knew the real me. I was so insecure I cried when I looked in the mirror...I turned around and slapped the doors and the walls because I was so angry about the way I looked...
I allowed myself to wallow in self pity when my family started going through a lot of things. I let go of my friendships, my happiness, myself...
I couldn't help but ask God why He wanted my aunt and uncle in Heaven so early...over and over again I questioned...

God has pulled me out of quicksand time and time again. And for that I am grateful.

Without His hand constantly on my life, where would I be? What would I be like if He hadn't have pulled me out? What would my personality be like when I had to face such struggles without Him holding my hand?

In Sunday School two years ago, the teacher asked, "What if God wasn't there? What if you woke up in the morning without the assurance that God is alive and active in your life?"
An amazing lady by the name of Karen West answered: "I don't even want to get out of bed."

No truer words have ever been spoken!!! I am humbled that the Lord CHOSE to have a love relationship with me. After his first two children lied to him, after the wickedness of Noah's time, through all the things that have happened that aren't even recorded in the Bible...up to all the times I've lied, cheated, been selfish, let my flesh get the best of me. He still wants me.

Do you view God as the love of your life? We don't often refer to Him as "Lover." Perhaps "Lover of my Soul," but that's the closest I've ever heard to it. He LOVES us. He pursues us. He's held my hand, put His arms around me in my weakest moments. I KNOW that my Redeemer lives.

It is such a beautiful thing.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Beautiful.

You're beautiful but you don't know...can't see what's there inside your soul
Always feeling like you're not good enough...
You wish you could be someone else.
Sometimes you just can't see yourself.

You never think you measure up-never smart or cool or pretty enough
Always feeling different from all the rest.

-Exceptional by JoJo


I love songs like these that talk about being beautiful. Beautiful. Beautiful like Eden...the peaceful garden...the original "Shalom." Beautiful...God created us to love beauty. He created us in His image, and He IS beauty.

I have struggled with insecurity for a long time. The first time I remember being really sad about the way I looked was when I was ten, because people at school made fun of the way I looked. I remember in junior high I would look in the mirror and bust into tears. In early high school years I would sometimes slap the bathroom door or the mirror when I looked at myself. Was this the way my God intended it to be? To be so angry, so hateful, so sad towards myself? I don't believe, nor have I EVER believed that.

Regardless...
it is a DAILY battle. Some days, it's easy. I look in the mirror and tell myself that I don't look half bad today. Some days, it takes all the strength I have in my five-foot-one body to fight against my flesh, fight against what the world says. And some days, I don't even try to fight. I just give up.

When people ask me if I think I'm pretty, I always reply that I KNOW that I'm not. Not by the world's standards. I am not the type of girl that people look at and say, "Dang." And that's okay...not everybody is like that. I agree with the statement that everyone is beautiful in their own way, but I don't think the world is on that boat yet. Does the world's opinion matter? No. Honestly, it has no merit whatsoever. My JESUS bled and died for MY sins, and He knew my faults and the ugly attributes I have. Those words give me hope, and I believe them with my whole heart. However, the world is still...the world...and people are still people.

It's hard being at a place where virtually everyone is outwardly pretty. Daily, I look at these people who are picture-perfect, talented, godly, real...and I almost feel embarrassed..shamed. I KNOW this isn't how God wanted it, either.

I have been struggling with this for a long time,and have tried to give it to the Lord multiple times...but it always comes back. I have this nagging, terrible desire to be perfect, measure up, make others proud. At the end of the day, I am not perfect. Not today, tomorrow, or yesterday. I realize that...He can have my bag of worries. But I sure can't ever seem to just shake all of it off.

God is my Strength, my Constant, my Life.
"The only Thing worth holding onto is holding onto me."

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

College Life

So..classes have started, I'm all moved in...

This thing I waited for so long is not exactly what I pictured, but I am so glad I am here. I am thankful, SO extremely thankful that my sweet cousin Shelby is here with me. She's been through freshman year...she checks up on me, calls me, asks me what I'm doing, helps me meet people...pushes me to get out of my box. I am also SO VERY thankful that my best friend Shawn is only fifteen minutes away. It has been WONDERFUL that both of them are so close to me. I haven't made friends...not close ones yet. It's never been this hard for me to make friends. I think it's so hard right now because I don't see the same people every day. Classes make it better...at least I see mostly the same people every other day.

My precious brother moved to China last Monday...and the reality of him being gone is sinking in. I want to call him and tell him about college so badly! I have called and or talked to him face-to-face every first day of school I've ever had. It's so hard. It makes it worth it that he's in a place he's wanted to go for a long time. I've heard it's beautiful...I've heard he's going to love it. I know God's holding him every step of the way...and for that...I can never give enough thanks.

It's hard right now, but life is hard. I've made it through storms before...storms a lot harder than this one. I WILL make friends...I WILL find things to get involved in..I WILL find a church...it's just a matter of time, of working on it, of waiting on the Lord. He WILL show me what I'm going to do with my life...He WILL guide, protect, love, lead, and talk to me. The journey...oh the journey is where all the growing happens.

Things are so different...so completely, utterly, totally different. But this is where I am in life. This is where I'm supposed to be, it's where God wants me. He CREATED me to be who I am...not matter how much my hang ups and insecurites irritate me...He made me this way.

Father God,
I ask that You hold my heart and send me friends...beautiful friends filled with Your Love and Your Spirit and Your awesomeness. God, thank You for my blessings, thank You for Shawn and Shelby. Thank You that I'm not far from home...and thank You for all the people who have been encouraging me from home. Help me manage my time well and to be able to say no to things that I don't have time for, especially social things. Help me to be better...to be a more beautiful person. Help me to be a light even when I don't "feel" like it. Help me to encourage others and love others just as You've loved me...with an awesome, overwhelming, real kind of love. Thank You for bringing me to this amazing place. Please show me what to do! You are all I need...You're my constant, my everything, my breath, my life. Do with me as You want, Lord! I glorify Your name alone.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Off To School!

Today is my last day "at home." I will always have a home here, live here on breaks and holidays and summer..but it will be different. I am excited about the change...though it took me a long time to get to this place! I am ready to tackle the six classes i'm taking and to meet everyone!!

Thank you Father for leading me to this place!! I am so stinkin' excited! :) I am so glad that God brought me to DBU..it is such a wonderful place. I get happy just passing by the campus. I can't wait to see how He uses me, what people He puts in my path, and I look forward to becoming a more beautiful, better child of His!

To everyone who helped me, loved me, sheltered me, took care of me, watched me grow...thank you! It is because of you and the things God has done and said through you that I am where I am. I love all of you!

Oh no, You never let go
Through the calm and through the storm
Oh, no You never let go
Through every high and every low
Oh no...You never let go of me!