One hundred percent

Today as I sat in church, my mind wandered. Don’t tell me this never happens to you, because I know it does. And, being 21, I have a few things that my mind automatically defaults to- travel, Africa, a future Mr., photography, writing letters, worries, and a few too many “I wonder..” scenario’s.

But today, as I sat in church, God just gently asked, “What do you give your all to? I’ve given you a lot, my Son, for one- nothing short of everything, so what do you give your all to?” I swirled it around in my mind for a few minutes, sifting through areas I’m invested in. Friendships, jobs, photography, volunteering, mentoring, family, my personal time alone with Him. And I was stumped.  There is nothing I give 100% to. I instantly panicked, which is not a good idea when your pastor is calling out for testimonies. “Am I lazy? Detached? Afraid of failure? Incapable?”

Yes. Yes I am.

Alone, I am every one of these things. I’m more lazy than I’d like to admit, but then again, no one likes to admit they’re lazy. I detach myself constantly so that it doesn’t hurt too much when I leave, when I pull away. Am I afraid of failure? OF COURSE. Who isn’t? Rejection is never a good thing, especially not when you are in the middle of it. And am I incapable? Yes. By myself I can’t do anything worth noting.

But that’s the thing. I’m not alone. I’m not walking through my messes alone, just like I’m not rejoicing in my successes alone. As I panicked there in that purple chair, I scribbled as many characteristics of my Father as I could think of, as fast as my pen would go. Comforter. Just. Merciful. Healer. Provider. Strong. Friend. Unchanging. Jealous. Trustworthy. Peace Giver. All knowing. Forever Loving. I could go on- I wouldn’t mind, gloating is worth it when it comes to my Father. And knowing that HE is all these things gave me peace, because I know HE is with me. When I fail- He picks me back up, graces me with His love, forgiveness and strength, and pushes me through another door with a hand that is so strong and powerful. Ah, surrender.

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but lately my entries have become a bit repetitive. I’d apologize, but that would require me to right my wrongs and walk in a new direction, one I don’t think is necessary. You see, I’m on a journey, one I thought would be prettier, quicker, cleaner, easier. And although its not 100% all of these things, it’s full of many other things. Full of curve balls, cheap hits, more low moments than highs, and a few quiet Friday nights. But in-between that mess, I learn and grow and laugh and smile and cry (good tears). As I said today to a dear friend “Growing sucks-but it’s necessary” We hate the process as we go through it, and even sometimes as we look back on it, but it’s necessary.

So even though this may sound similar to the rest, it still needs to be said. And even though I haven’t figured it all out yet, I’m trying. And I’m honest so that you can be honest. I’m open so that you can know that this journey, this race, its not a one person thing. You and I are in this together, no matter what curve in the road you’re on. So take heart. We- are not alone.

“I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. All who came before me were thieves and robbers. But the true sheep did not listen to them. Yes, I am the gate. Those who come in through me will be saved. They will come and go freely and will find good pastures. The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.”                                   John 10.7-10

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With Strength that is definitely not my own, Sam

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Daydreaming

So there’s a lot rushing around this brain, but then again what’s new? I’m still fighting to get my joy back- although I haven’t yet figured out the best attack plan. I know it involves a lot of prayer and Scripture, a bit of being brutally honest with a few go-to people, and a whole lot of surrender. Most of this is uncomfortable or difficult- but joy is worth fighting for. God is worth fighting for. I am worth fighting for.

On another note, I’m dreaming-again- of Kona. 3 things keep being confirmed to me- Kona, Australia and Africa- and I believe in that order, as well. Over the past, say, 3 months, I’ve been *set* on Kona, then *not sure*, then *surrendered*, and *open to anything*. And I’m back to set. I’m learning my habits, my rituals of taking in what God’s said, weighing them with rationale, logic and my feelings, and then sorting them through. After I’ve done all that and mucked around with His initial plans, I announce them, talk too much about them, feel unsettled, and then realize- what He said in the first place is what I need to run with. And that is this: Jump. Take a leap of faith. Hear me out on this, trust me for this step, then together we’ll work on the next one.

There are a few reasons why I believe Kona is the right next step for me, but the main one is my lack of planning. Previously, when I felt God calling me to action, I felt the need to plan, budget, make myself busy in order to avoid procrastination, the usual. But I learned a rough, needed lesson back in Townsville, one that was a complete 180 to what I was raised to believe. I won’t go into detail, but the whole “God helps those who help themselves” theory has been erased from my thought process. When I think about moving to Hawaii next January, I have peace, joy, excitement and a lot of expectation, good expectation. Yes, I realize there will be a certain amount of pain-leaving yet again, being absent in important events in friendships and family. But I know it will be a blessed time. One that I look forward to- but one I refuse to idolize.

I am here. I am needed here, even if only for a short time. This year is as important as last, and as important as next. I have a specific role to play that no one else can do. People are placed in my life to guide me, encourage me, and help me- and I will not waste this time. I’ve been praying recently that God fills me up- just enough to make me realize just how weak I am without Him. (No sane person would ask for more than that, right?)

So my life seems to be a series of comings and goings, home and abroad. What about you? It’s easy for me to identify the seasons of my life, but what do yours look like? How can  you take action with God in.this.season to make sure HE is glorified above all else? What would your life look like if your primary goal was to boast about Christ? I know my life would change- it would definitely be a bit more uncomfortable, and I might have a few less friends. But to me “living is for Christ, and to die is gain” Phil.1.21

Definitely not the usual, but then again, I’m not your usual girl. Thanks for reading. Leave some love-I need it.

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With Strength that is not my own, Sam

Joy

“These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made FULL”                         Jesus, John 15:11

Let me first say I have been robbed. No, not my car. Not my camera. Not even anything I really own. Somewhere, somehow, at some time, my joy was taken away. I suppose I wasn’t holding on tight enough to it, and it was snatched out from under me. Joy to me is not interchangeable with other emotions. Love and jealousy and happiness and passion are all great, but I need joy. I need it to motivate me, to captivate me, to fill me, and to remind me of everything Christ has done in, with, and for me.

I don’t appreciate having my joy stolen. And I especially don’t like the fact that others notice it’s disappearance. Yet in the middle of the day, a smile finds its home on my face, and I have peace. It’s God’s soft and gentle way of reminding me “I have not abandoned you. I am calling OUT to you. I AM HERE.” It comes sporadically. Maybe when I’m daydreaming, when I walk to school, when I’m driving in my car with the radio off. When I’m open to it. I believe Jesus’ words when He says that by obeying God’s commandments will bring us joy. When I walk His way, it’s painful and uncomfortable and unpredictable, but I at least, if nothing else, know that I am doing His will. I know that those feelings will cease, and joy, love, excitement and blessings will follow. But when I walk my own path and experience those feelings- there is no guarantee of blessing. No guarantee that I have walked through that pain for a good reason. And I don’t know about you, but I’m not up for that anymore.

I’m fighting back. I may have lost a bit of who I am, but I know I’m still a fighter. I’ve got enough strength to fight because I know HE has already won the battle for me. I’m on a journey to run to the arms that promise me FULL joy. Joy that cannot be contained. Joy that bubbles out from everywhere, that is sometimes irritating to others who don’t understand. I’m going to receive my gift of joy, because I deserve it. Not because of anything I’ve done, but because I’m His daughter, and He loves me.

We sang a song in church on Sunday, (Imagine that!) and the lyrics reminded me of how great this God of ours is. “You give good gifts to me. I pray that I receive them well” Simple enough. God has a gift for you today. Maybe you’ve sensed it and are trying to avoid it, or maybe it’ll come as a surprise and you just get to receive. But I urge you- receive it. What’s the point of going it alone, without help from the One who knows you better than you know yourself?

“The Lord says ‘ I was ready to respond, but no one asked for help. I was ready to be found, but no one was looking for me. I said  ‘Here I am, Here I am!’ to a nation that did not call on my name.”   Isaiah 65v1

In James there’s a verse that basically says this: we don’t have what we want because we’re not asking for it. I need joy, and sometimes it’s hard to ask for it, because that means acknowledging that it’s slipped away from me.  What do you need? What’s stopping you from asking Him? Our God is a God who provides- and He waits. He wants relationship with you, not just an order form and a bill sent out in the mail later. Go. Go to Him now. Ask Him who knows what’s best for you.

My apologies for the absence. Somehow, I stopped writing lately, but that stops here. I’m back, and I have things that need to be said. For you. For me. And maybe a few things for no reason at all. But that’s the joy of this thing here. I’m free. And so are you. 🙂

With Strength that is not my own, Sam