Friday, November 20, 2015

Reasons & Seasons

"There's a reason for everything, you'll see."  Insert the eye roll emoji here.  We have all heard a variation of that phrase and sometimes it just sucks.  It is when we look back that we can (hopefully) see the reasons being referenced.  We long for that promotion, that relief, that weight loss/gain, the spouse, that child, that healing, and the list goes on.  We beg for answers but we just assume that silence means "no."  Or, it could be that a "no" means we've done something wrong or are being punished.  Ever stop to think it's for our own good?  Often times, it really is.

This time last year, I was getting geared up for Italy prep.  With how quickly it was moving and the guidance from my missions coach, I just knew that was going to be happening.  I assumed that right about now, I'd be in Italy or close to departure for a life of missions.  Little did I know, my heart would break when I was told that I wouldn't be going, less than a month later.  If I'm transparent here, it hurt like hell because it was another rejection for one reason or another.  I had to grieve, silly as that may sound.  I couldn't understand why God would give me a passion for people and then keep me in the U.S. 

Seasons of healing had to follow as well as learning to love myself fully.  What does that mean?  Glad you asked.  :)  I had to focus on getting healthy and walking in obedience.  It's still a work in progress and I'm seeing glimpses now as to how I needed to heal.  This weight loss thing has been for me, not for anyone else or an ulterior motive, which hasn't always been the case in years past.  God has called me to lead in various things years back but fear of failure kept me from doing just that.  It's funny to see God was moving still, in the midst of my pushbacks as though I had any idea of what was best for me.  It's in obedience that I'm seeing Him continue to heal parts of me that I didn't realize needed it.  It's comforting to know that even when I forget or ignore, He's still pressing and working. 

A few months back, I was discussing some potentially big things with Hannah and Em.  During one of our daily text threads, Em goes, "What if this is why God wouldn't let you leave?"  BOOM.  Oh my gosh, she may very well be right.  Regardless, it's evident that God is continuing to move in this area and if nothing else, showing me that a specific dream and hope isn't forgotten by Him.  There are moments of fear and panic due to things in the past trying to creep back in but I'm having to choose to trust.  It's much easier said than done but I can whole heartedly say that God often provides the reasons for "no" when the timing is right.  Life isn't perfect now and there's a lot that I am still seeking direction in but I'm grateful for answers, even if they're not the ones I want. 

He brings us through those seasons of angst and pain to show us that there is a bloom coming and it's so.very.beautiful.  No matter what you've been through, done or seen, He's still got you.  Know that you are loved and that there's grace upon grace with each passing season.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Comparisons 2.0.

Back in 2013 I shared a post regarding COMPARISONS and how much they suck.  While that's still my stance, I'm seeing more and more people battling them and it breaks my heart.  I'm just as guilty as the next person for allowing myself to be defeated by the comparisons I place on myself in regards to others.  Those comparisons shouldn't be a measuring stick for our happiness and joy.  Happiness can be taken away but sincere joy comes from Christ.  We have to choose to see that and believe it at times but it's true.  There's a sparkle that brightens and dims based off our joy I think.  When we are redirecting our goals and our standards towards Christ, that light not only shines on us but also IN us.  Joy is that sparkle and one of the fruits of the spirit that we often lose sight of in the midst of those comparisons.

Men, women and children face comparisons of a wide variety and while it's not fair, it doesn't change the fact that we each have a battle.  We must hold our thoughts captive and turn our eyes towards God and His Word.  Is it easy?  Absolutely not.  But no one ever promised simplicity or ease with this life.  We were actually promised trials along the way but with those trials come character, refinement and a painful process called sanctification.  Y'all, those things mean that He hasn't and won't give up on us!!!!  Did you read that?!  HE HASN'T AND WON'T GIVE UP ON US!  What sweet relief. 

When I find myself smack dab in the middle of comparing myself to someone else for an ability or lack thereof, I can let it break me or push me to evaluate where God has me.  I've shared before that there have been times I felt like God was preventing or prohibiting me from getting to move forward but it's been such a beautiful process to see that He's been protecting and preparing.  I'll admit that it wasn't until I accepted that reality that I was able to step back outside of my circumstances and see truth for what it was.  I want to encourage you to do the same.  Take a step back, breathe and ask God to show you where it is He's refining and pursuing you.  He wants you to find that sincere depth and joy in Him, not in others or their opinions of you.  He's got you and won't be giving up anytime soon.  Keep moving forward.