Confession Time

Confession Time: I withdrew from the Master’s Program I was in last week. Honestly, I don’t owe anyone an explanation, the decision was strictly between God, me, and Tyler. BUT, I am working on overcoming this wonderful little thing called Pride, and I think sharing part of the reasons behind my decision may be a step in the right direction.

First let me start by saying this, I am a ridiculously prideful person. I am also a ridiculously competitive person. I do NOT like these qualities in myself and unfortunately I have lost some friends because I didn’t see these qualities as a problem for a very long time.

I realized not too long ago that when people asked me what I was doing, it felt really good (but in a bad way) to say “Oh, I’m pursuing a M.Div through the BMA Seminary and working with girls at my church and at a local college ministry.” If you read that in my voice, you would hear a tone of snobish in it. When I finally heard myself say these words I was shocked! It dawned on me that I had two reasons for starting Seminary last fall: 1) To know God more/better and 2) Because that’s what I was supposed to do- after Bachelor’s comes Master’s.

Although my first reason was a good one, at least it seemed like it at the time, my second reason is just ridiculous. While I wanted to know God more and thought I could do that best if I was graded on it, I was wrong. I turned studying God into a chore to check off my To-Do list, something I absolutely dreaded instead of seeking Him because I love Him. I am so ashamed of that. How in the world was I supposed to be an example to my Middle School Girls and my ABSer’s when I dreaded reading my bible and praying?

Thankfully God has this beautiful sense of humor that feels a lot like a swift kick in the rear at times. I realized that seminary, although a good thing wasn’t necessarily a God thing for me, last Sunday over the course of about an hour. When I looked into the last day to withdraw, it happened to be the following Friday. (Coincidence? More like God-incidence)

Dropping out in the middle of the semester is something I never would have done on my own. In fact, even writing about it now I much prefer the term withdrawing over dropping out- it sounds so much more positive.

There will be some people that think I made this decision due to one of the following reasons (all of which are false):

  1. I’m Pregnant- FALSE!
  2. I was failing my classes- also false!
  3. My Husband didn’t want me to continue- definitely false!
  4. The list goes on…..

I recognize that through the world’s eyes, this is marked down in the failure category and I’m making my peace with that. I recognize that not having a tangible reason for this decision is not a good way to make the decision. I recognize that if I probably would’ve prayed about this semester before I signed up for classes, I would’ve saved a lot of time and money. Ultimately I recognize that my life is no longer my own.

For the longest time I thought I was in charge of my life and while I do have free will to choose whether to obey or not, I want to be all in. If I’m going to make the statement that I want to be a living sacrifice and to give up my life (desires, plans, needs, etc) to the Creator then I have to be able to obey when he starts leading. I have to learn to be sensitive to his guidance and to see it when He provides it. I don’t want to just talk the talk about being All In, I legitimately want to live a life fully dedicated to Christ.

As I was making this decision, I came upon a great quote by Glynnis Whitwer that was perfect for this competitive, pride-filled heart.

“I want a heart that pursues God more than goals.”

So long story short, although I hope God will open the doors for me to continue my studies one day, I want to make sure I am seeking Him first. I want to pursue God more than myself, more than my goals, more than my plan. I want to be obedient. And so far, he’s been answering my prayers to break me to His will, not my own.

God, are you sure? 

So this weekend I’m at a girls conference with some of my church girls. I’m not gonna lie, this weekend has been rough. I haven’t seen my husband in over a week (yay busy lives), I miss my bed, I miss my home, and I miss just being me with no other responsibilities. 

But for as many conferences as I’ve gone to in my life, this is one of the best. I’ve learned more about myself and my calling in a conference designed for Middle and High School girls. 

I felt so awesome last night about what I was doing in life. I finally felt secure about ABS, my CalFay girls, and my walk with God. And then I got back to the hotel. 

After I got the girls settled, I walked outside and called my hubby. And I had a complete and total meltdown. I literally told him “God doesn’t know what he’s doing. This is too hard, it can’t be right.” And bless his heart, he just let me talk it through and told me what I already knew (because I had heard it less than 2 hours before at the conference)- I am burdened for this. I have been called to this. A calling is where your talents (your God-given birthrights) and your burdens (the thing that broke your heart) collide. 

My birthright is being able to relate to kids (possibly because I am totally still one). God has given me a heart for girls from tiny to college. My burden is what happened to my daddy. I put what my parents went through on myself- I grew up too quickly and tried to handle things on my own because I thought that was what I could control. I thought if I could control something and help by doing then things would be easier. Who knows, maybe they were easier for me, but I have some long term scars from trying to take on too much too quickly that have shaped who I am becoming. 

What the Devil used to hurt me, God used for good in the long run. Because of my experiences, I have a specific set of skills that most people don’t. I recognize how cruel life can be and am surprisingly patient when things go wrong (not always, but around kids I am) because I recognize what’s important in life. 

So after my break down I realized something. I am exactly where God wants me to be. God knit me together knowing I would be in a hotel hallway in Brentwood, TN on Feb 19, 2016 crying my eyes out because I felt so insecure, so  unprepared, so negative about what I was doing. God gave me the skills needed to start on this journey, and He will provide the rest of the way. 

Why I won’t pray for healing

Over the past few years, I have become keenly aware that everyday brings us one step closer to the grave. Now, don’t gasp just yet- I haven’t gone off the deep end. Everyday it seems I hear about someone else with a terminal illness, someone else that has died, someone else that is struggling. I am acutely aware of how much this world wears on us and how heart-breaking it can be to be bombarded by death and destruction day after day.

At the same time, as Christians each day brings us one step closer to literally meeting our maker. The worst case scenario in this life is death, at least for most people, but for Christians shouldn’t that be something to look forward to? Sunday Brother Kirk shared that when we close our eyes in this Earth and open them in Heaven, he believes we will finally have the feeling that ‘THIS is what I was created for’. Heaven is where we will be redeemed, fulfilled, and whole for the first time in our lives.

So I don’t pray for healing. It all started when my dad was sick. I can’t remember the exact time my mind shifted, but I do remember feeling like I had this wall that I just couldn’t pray for healing. I felt like I knew that no matter what happened, no matter if he was miraculously healed or not, he would still die before I was ready for him too. So I didn’t pray for healing, instead I prayed for strength, for peace, for comfort, for his life to be a light to the rest of my family, and that we would be able to celebrate and rejoice in the life and Christian walk that my dad lived (especially toward the end of his life) no matter what the outcome. We also prayed Isaiah 40:31 over my dad.

“But they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.

It dawned on me after he had died, that God granted this prayer. Dad’s strength had been renewed, for the first time ever he would be able to run and not grow weary. He was mounted up on wings like eagles because for the first time ever, he got to be in Heaven with his creator literally doing what he was created to do.

During that time though, we had a lot of people tell us that they were praying for his earthly healing. Then when he died, it seemed to rock their world and not in a good way. They thought that God hadn’t come through, that somehow God had let us down. But God gave us the desires of our hearts. God healed my dad and allowed him to go home for the first time. God allowed dad to come face to face with Jesus and I think there was a joyous reunion between my dad and his dad too.

I don’t pray for healing because that can be a stumbling block for a lot of people. It’s really easy to be mad at God when you think you know best and He doesn’t follow along. Please know, I don’t pray that people will die either. Instead, I pray that whatever the outcome, whatever God’s will turns out to be, that the person in question have peace about where their eternity lies. I pray that they have a supernatural peace and strength from God himself. I pray that the family has the same and is able to see past the potential pain into the blessing that may be. I pray that their life be a witnessing tool and whatever happens, that it be used to further the Kingdom of God and to glorify Him. Lastly, I pray that above all, God’s will be done because he knows far better than I what the best course of action is.

You see, while I only see the threads on the back of the tapestry of my life, God sees the completed picture of the world’s tapestry from creation to the end of time. Who am I to stand in God’s way. Job 38:4-7 says this,

Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?
    Tell me, if you have understanding.
Who determined its measurements—surely you know!
    Or who stretched the line upon it?
On what were its bases sunk,
    or who laid its cornerstone, when the morning stars sang together
    and all the sons of God shouted for joy?

So no, I don’t pray for healing. Instead I pray that I and they be aligned to God’s will and whatever may come brings glory to God. I don’t know much, but what I do know is that God is good and we are not. And one day when I get to stand next to my dad in Heaven and see the grand tapestry of time, I don’t want to see where I tried to stand in God’s way. I can’t see the grand plan, and because of that, I try my best to keep myself in perspective. God is just, He is holy, He is loving, and He is good. He will accomplish his purposes with or without me on board.

I don’t pray for healing. Instead, I pray for Heaven. And I thank God that He allowed me to learn this from my parents. I thank God that dad is in Heaven right now glorifying God forevermore by finally being able to do what he was created for.

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A friend loves at all times… Proverbs 17:17

Tonight as I reflect back on my day and the past week, I am overwhelmed. Overwhelmed with thankfulness, with love, with joy, and with beauty. 

My week has looked something like this- Monday staff meeting and prep for the week, Monday night get sick and have a fever until Wednesday. I had to miss ABS and Church this week because of this fever. Lame right? Then today I got to have coffee with a wonderful friend and just talk about life. This afternoon I got to eat Tacos for Life with more friends and in between the two I got to work on an amazing presentation for the mission rally tomorrow night! 

Tonight, as I reflect on the week, it hits me that a lot of friends have come and gone throughout the various seasons of my life. My best friends now I didn’t know 6 years ago (or less). I’ve realized that God has been so faithful in letting so many wonderful lives be intertwined with mine! Although I don’t see these friends as often as I would like, God has allowed new Godly women to come into my life to fill the void. This is so beautiful because my original friends are still in my life, our lives have just taken different directions. We’ve all had new women come into our lives to encourage, support, and challenge us in our walks with Christ! How beautiful and faithful is our God that he has let so many beautiful people come and go through my life. 

So I say all of that to say this. Thank you. Thank you for playing a part in my life story and helping me bring glory to God. Thank you for walking through life with me, whether it be a long or short season we walked together. Thank you for pouring into my life and allowing me to pour into yours. Thank you for pointing me to God, whether you know you are or not. Thank you so much for being you and for showing me grace. I love you and am so thankful for your sweet friendship!