Monday, February 21, 2011

So I have been having a lot of 'aha' moments lately and its been great. God is opening my eyes to so many things. At church we have been studying the book of Galations and yesterday was one of those moments where a lot of the past year and a half fell into place for me. Some of you know this, some dont, but I really battled through my dating and engagement to DR. I was soo enslaved by this fear of 'falling out of God's will' or of missing God's voice in it. In order to fully grasp this I have to start at the beginning...

 After me and DR broke up in 2008 my life changed. God FOUND me. For so long I was trying to find 'IT'. I went to church my entire life. Went to a Christian school, had a Christian family and Christian friends. I never ever doubted God existing or even really being a loving God to those around me, but I doubted it could be real for me. I prayed 'the prayer' thousands (literally) of times, but nothing clicked for me. I wanted someone to tell me what I could do to find this joy that I knew to be real. Anyways, without getting too much into my story, because really its not about me anyways as I am finally realizing, God found me without me even trying in January of 2008. For so long I didn't even realize what had happened. My heart was just being put back together after a really hard break up. It was the hardest, but one of the sweetest times of my life.

OK now fast forward almost two years. I had it all going for me. I thought that I had figured God out. This God in a box would be pleased with me as long as I continued to 'walk in His will' and not get wrapped up in my idol all over again (boys) DR came back in the picture and it was truly by divine leading that it all came together but I was too afraid to open my eyes to what the Lord was doing. See, in my expectations of a Christian whom God was well pleased with I thought the dating thing would look exactly like A+B=perfect christian marriage. Because of MY expectations of myself and because we did not always live up to them, I became enslaved by my fear. Fear that maybe I wasn't supposed to be in this or what if God doesn't even want to talk to me anymore. It was pretty awful and I was too blinded to see that "this kind of persuasion did NOT come from the one who has called me" Galations 5:8 This is exactly what happened to the church in Galatia. Their expectation for themselves was circumcision which really just meant religious rules. Paul is writing to them, BEGGING them to stand firm in the freedom that was given to them and to not become enslaved all over again by weak and religious principles. We do this soo much! Even after Christ saves us we try to make it about us and what we can do, when really it is all about Jesus Christ and what he has done!! 

Reading through Galations has really opened my eyes to the fact that I am set free, PERIOD. There is nothing more I can do to add to it, and better yet, there is nothing I can do to take away from it. The work on the cross was plenty enough for us. I guess I am just starting to realize that I was so deceived by the evil one during that time. I thought I had to figure 'IT' out again when Jesus had already redeemed me by his sweet love and mercy. "If the Son has set you free, you are free indeed" John 8:36 Praise the Lord!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Lovely day

I am sitting on my couch with a cup of hot coffee, rain drizzling outside, music playing, and a warm blanket. What could be better? That is probably my favorite thing ever. This is my 'God' time. I think everyone has something they do consistently to spend time with God or something that is unique to them that allows them to 'feel' God. DR takes baths (as many of you already know this) He has done this since college but now this is his main way of spending time with God. He takes his bible into the bathroom and shuts the door. I have another friend who goes on drives with music blaring to get in communication with God. Another one literally pulls up a chair next to her on her back porch and just talks to God, like he is physically sitting next to her. I think it's so great that everyone has different ways of being in the presence of the Lord, outside of church and other 'God' activities. I think it also shows how personal our God is. He meets each of us in our uniqueness and doesn't ask us to follow a strict regimen in order to be in his presence. I think being with God in your element and doing things you enjoy is just as important as being in his word. He desires to meet with us. I remember a Younglife speaker once relating it to how he fathered his children. He said when he got home from work he always had 'blanket time' with his young kids, where he got down on their level and just played. He told us that this is not only what God did when he sent Jesus, but what he continues to do daily in his children's lives. He gets down on the blanket, in our mess, and just loves on us. Take some time today to just 'be' with God. If you have grown weary of the daily routine of life, and don't know how to return, just start by learning how to enjoy God again. He is waiting :)

Saturday, February 5, 2011

We are set FREE!

So me and DR recently started attending a new church. We found out about it because the pastor-Brad- teaches DR's bible study on Friday mornings. He is very gifted and speaks straight from the Word so its been amazing. This is a huge answer to prayer because we have been asking God to place us in a church where we can be on board with the vision and both grow together and separately in our faith. Anyways, we have been moving through Galatians and let me tell you-this is EXACTLY what I have needed to hear. The book of Galatians was written to the church where people were turning back to their Jewish customs and practices in order to 'receive' salvation.  Time and time again Paul cries out to them basically saying "What the heck are you doing? You are so quickly turning away from the gospel that saves! The gospel that is grace and only grace! Do you wish to be enslaved all over again??" So that is totally para phrased but that is the gist of the whole book.

OK so last week I was really struggling with 'feeling' God and trusting that I was even his child.  Here is another benefit of being married- when you are seeking God together (no matter how broken your walk is) God in his grace often allows the other person to speak his truth directly to the one who is struggling. It's like the times I am really battling, DR is totally on fire and vice-versa. Anyways,  Sunday we looked at Galatians 4:8-11 "Formerly, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those who by nature are not gods.  But now that you know God—or rather are known by God—how is it that you are turning back to those weak and miserable forces? Do you wish to be enslaved by them all over again? You are observing special days and months and seasons and years! I fear for you, that somehow I have wasted my efforts on you."  

Brad's message was incredible and I could type pages about it but I am going to try to summarize it the best I can. He started by telling us that although we can NEVER be separated from the love of Christ, we can choose, in our own mind's, to be enslaved by our sin all over again. This is a tragedy because we ARE set free by Jesus Christ! I don't know how many times I have said, 'I can't help that I feel this way', or 'This is just something I will always struggle with' We need to STOP living like we are a victim to something that we are set free from!!! It doesn't matter how we 'feel'. We can choose to have faith in God's word and God's word tells us to 'consider ourselves dead to sin'. For some reason many times after receiving God's salvation by his grace, we continue searching for freedom when it is ALREADY OURS IN CHRIST! There is no more 'right' books to read, or prayers to pray! We have a choice and it really is that simple! It has never been about us and what we can bring to the table so I'm not sure why after we start walking with Christ that we think we have to muster up all of these good deeds and rituals in order to 'feel' God or to be truly used by Him.

If you are like me, this will wash over your soul like a glass of much needed water. I was shown again how powerful God is in giving me these words on Sunday, exactly when I needed them! I will leave you with this-take God at his word! He is good for it. Let this be an encouragement to all of us who have grown weary by 'trying to do the right thing' for we can stop striving in vain. We can REST in Jesus and allow his life to live through us. God bless you all!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Here we go!

So I am not a writer by any means, although I have kept journals since I was 10. For some reason I can process through things better when I see it in writing. I thought it would be fun to join in the blogging world, although I am sure I do not know what I am getting myself into.

2010 was a BIG year for my family. My poor parents married off all 3 of us in 8 months! My brother was in March, sister in May, and I got married this past November. Marriage is amazing, but not easy. I definitely have learned A LOT about who I really am. A book I read when we first got married-Sacred Marriage-best book ever- had a quote in it that said this.."If God gave you a wedding gift, the gift tag would read 'Here is a mirror, a.k.a your spouse. Here's to seeing who you truly are" Haha I loved that! It is so true too. I think a lot of people go into marriage sadly thinking of all of the ways the other person will make YOU happy and focusing on the little things that THEY can change. O boy let me tell you, God has a sweet sense of humor! He will humble you very quickly. But praise God he gives us grace through the person standing next to us. DR (the sweet guy who I tricked into marrying me) is amazing. I mean I know it sounds cliche, but he is my favorite person. I know we haven't been married long but I can honestly say he is the best guy I know. He shows me Jesus constantly. I don't know how else he could love me the way he does if it weren't for the big God we serve. Now I am not naive, I know he is human and he struggles and fails as much as the rest of us, but for those of you who know our story, this makes it that much sweeter to see the depths God has brought us from.

Big changes have come this year, but like me and DR have constantly said over the last few months 'It's all good stuff'. I think as humans we inherently avoid change at ALL cost. I don't know why it so totally freaks us out, but it does. The verse that was on the front of our wedding program was this: Isaiah 43:18-19  'Forget the former things, do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a NEW thing! Do you not perceive it?" This has been my anthem for the past year and a half. God has shown me time and time again that his plans are bigger than mine. The funny thing is that His are always so much greater than mine and I usually am kicking and screaming the whole way through. Thank you Jesus that you are a God that not only holds your arms out to your prodigal children but you run to them.

SO here is my first ever blog. I apologize for my ADD. It will be scattered across the pages of my blog I am sure :)