part eight.two: preparation update

what a perfect title for the season i walked into.

yes. yes. yes. and yes.

the past few months have been every bit of preparation.

i have been learning so much. i have been learning about who i am. i have been learning about my fears. i have been learning to take them to the Father. and to ask Him to point them out when i can’t figure them out myself. i have been learning that i can’t expect what i am not willing to give. i have been learning how to cook. how to maintain a tiny little apartment. i have been learning how to be steadfast in prayer. i have been learning to fight for what i want. i have been learning to pursue health. i have been learning the importance of looking presentable, not for compliments, but for self-respect. i have been learning what it means to have a real routine. i have been learning (major learning still) how to wake up in the morning. i have been learning to accept the realities of who i am, my personality and my likes and dislikes. for instance, i hate taking out the trash, i hate doing dishes, i hate unloading/cleaning my car, i love organizing drawers, i love to paint, i love writing emails, i only wear like three of my fifty pairs of shoes, i hate to make others wait on me, i am pretty flexible with others and their timing, i am not a morning person.

i have been stretched and pulled. it has been really hard. but really good. i have experienced so much providence and grace in the last few months, it’s been crazy. i have been broken to be remade (still in process). i have seen new wounds. i have seen huge areas for growth. one of the biggest things i wanted this summer, and into this fall was a

one of the biggest things i wanted this summer, and into this fall was a husband. lols. this fall i have been seeing and understanding why it is important that i don’t right now. i have been able to follow God’s will without restraint. i have been able to go where He has led. i know that is still possible with a spouse, but it has been easier for me without one. i have so much growing up to do. i just wanted someone to come in and clean me up. that is not how it works. i have to do that cleaning with the Father. and that is a painstaking process. one of the verses i received at the beginning of this season was isaiah 54.

I am about to rebuild you wth stones of turquoise, lay your foundation with sapphires, construct your towers with rubies and your gates with jewels. 

54:11-12

i love that it says about. He is preparing. i am preparing. i feel something big brewing. i feel like i am on the edge of newness and excitement. i am leaning into the preparation and rebuilding.

 

part eight: preparing

this summer i really struggled with the desire to be married. although i know i don’t want to be married right this moment, by heart is longing to be in relationship with someone and love them completely. this summer, a dear friend spoke a truth that has continued to echo in my life. as i was sharing this tough season of waiting, she responded:

“i think you are moving from a season of waiting, to a season of preparation”

#truth. and all of heaven said AAMMEENN. but really. it was almost like from that moment, God said game on. let’s prepare. and that is what i have been doing. and this is a very interesting concept. preparing. i am not making a vision board, or a secret Pinterest wedding board, or a venue binder. i am preparing my hear for the sacrament of marriage. i am preparing my heart to be a wife. it might not be as fun as it sounds.

this season of preparation is painful. it is stretching. the Father is teaching me about love, service, dying to self, faithfulness and above all, Himself. He is pointing out areas of debris that need to be cleaned up before anyone else moves in. He is watering the desire to be married, and is reassuring me that He is working. He keeps showing me snippets of goodness and how much He knows my heart and knows what I need/want. even more than I know.

i am learning how to love God fully. without fear. without reservation. without hesitation. i am learning how to stand up for what i believe in & pursue health. i am learning how to be a wife from the Author of marriage.

sometimes i catch myself thinking “well, i won’t feel this way when i am married” or “one day i’ll get to be happy, when i am married.” FLAG ON THE PLAY. the Father has been pointing out how much of an idol i make marriage. how much i look to that for fulfillment-AND I AM NOT EVEN MARRIED. oops. i think of marriage as the destination. not a gift.

i had this realization the other day. if the goal of marriage is to bring God glory, lead my spouse to holiness and love as Christ loves the church, well then I am in luck. because none of those things have to wait ’til marriage. i can bring God glory, lead others to holiness and love as Christ loves the church single, dating, engaged, married, widowed or other. my vocation does not have to wait for “the day” it becomes active. it is already active and i get to live it today.

this season is not easy. it is definitely a time of calling out. ouch. but His promises are worth it. He is teaching me how to be more like Him. what more could i ask for.

part seven: waiting

mmmm. have I learned about waiting in the past three weeks. geez. the Lord has taught me so much.

I have been trying to settle this internship/apartment situation for the past three weeks and it has been an actual nightmare.

so, what first started out as an apartment hunt soon turned into an internship hunt. plot twist. while looking for an apartment, there is only so much one can do. I looked up several, several, places. several meaning a minimum of fifty apartment complexes. I called all over Austin. I visited at least thirty-five complexes. and applied at two. but in the middle of all of that, there is a lot of waiting involved. waiting for returned calls, available apartments and applications processing.

and then, my life turned into a search for a new internship. which involved even more waiting. waiting on agencies and administrators to get back to me, for paper work to be processed, for an internship to get approved. literally, my life quickly turned into a joke/definition of chaos&uncertainty/the waiting game.

but one thing kept replaying in my head: the Lord is working in my waiting.

and over and over again, in the midst of my panic, fear and actual utter confusion, I could hear “I am working in your waiting,”(Psalm 33:20-22) “I am constant.” constantly reminding me that even though I am in the middle of what feels like an absolute desert, the Lord is constantly at work in my life and the lives of so many others orchestrating something better than my wildest dreams.

waiting can be agonizing. paralyzing. MISERABLE. annoying. frustrating. discouraging. freakin’ the worst. and trusting in God’s promises in the midst of all those emotions..psshhh. yeah, right. easily one of the hardest things  I have had to do in a while.

but there is so much glory.

over the summer, Jesus taught me the power of belief. something so simple, but at times so complex. something super challenging. Jesus reminds Martha to believe and she will experience His glory (John 11:40). when I think about this story, I am reminded of how many times I need to believe (I will definitely dig into this story deeper, because it is so powerful). how in the middle of my waiting, however long it may be-three weeks for an internship/apartment or 21+ years for a husband, it is completely vital that I believe fully in the power and might of our God and His glory. that I press into Him. that I need to believe in His providence and promises.

I have experienced Him working in my waiting through this internship/apartment scandal (HA!). and I pray that I can hold onto the lessons, many lessons, He has shown me over the past three weeks. one of the biggest being: I am working in your waiting.

part six: come

at camp we spend so much time in prayer. so much time. it was beautiful. constantly taking everything to prayer, living in the word of God, going to mass daily, seriously so good. during this time, something really stood out to me. there is something consistent and special in the way Jesus talks, and the words He uses in the Gospel.

He uses the word “come.

When He calls the men to be fishers of men, “Come after me,” (Matthew 4:19)

When He brings Lazarus back to life, “Lazarus, come out,” (John 11:43)

When He calls Peter to walk on the water, “Come,” (Matthew 14:29)

I’m sure these are only a few examples. but these were the examples that stood out to me during camp.

I am really overwhelmed by how simple and direct He is. there aren’t a lot of other instructions given. it’s so simple. just “come.” it makes me think about how often I overcomplicate things, even things the Lord tells or shows me. it is such a sweet, simple invitation. that is all I have to do. come. and as I come, He will change my heart. He will supply me with what I need. He will carry me through the storms. He is so inviting.

but in that invitation, we can also call on HIm. we can also call Him to “come” and He always does. He can’t not come. in His nature, by who He is, He has to come every single time we call Him. how powerful is that?! the hard part for us to trust that. believing the truth of that. holding onto the truth of His promises. and that is definitely hard.

and that is where I’m at. learning to trust in His promise and providence. learning how to “come.” and as usual, I am making it more complicated than it needs to be. I am overthinking it. I am trying to find the simplicity in coming after Jesus. in pursuing His most Sacred Heart. the best part is, I don’t have to do it alone. `He sends us His Holy Spirit to guide us and help us come closer. as I am continuing to figure out how to come after Jesus more fully and completely, I am calling upon His Holy Spirit to get me there.

because I said so.

This is literally one of the most annoying reasons my parents have ever given my in the history of my 20 years. I HATE when they say that. It is beyond frustrating. As in, still to this day, I get super irritated when I am met with “because I said so.”

In high school, it was the dreaded phrase. Other reasons and responses I could argue, but “because I said so” put an end to any further discussion on the matter at hand. And that was the point. It was used to shut me up (even though my mother would never admit to that.)

But leave it to God to take something epically annoying and turn it into something sweet and loving.

In a recent worship session/conversation with Him, I found myself reeling and confused by the amount of unconditional love and grace He was pouring out on me. I couldn’t wrap my head or heart around it. “Why God?” “How God?” “I don’t understand God” and then…

“Because I said so”

And that was that. That was the end of the questioning. That was the end of the doubting (for the time being, let’s be real, that is an every day journey). Just as my earthly parents had used that phrase to stop my interrogation, so had my Heavenly Father used it to put an end to my questioning. There is no argument with “because I said so.” That’s just it. And that’s why He used it. However, it has a little different meaning than when my mom or dad used it.

First of all, it was from a place of pure tenderness, gentleness, love and vulnerability. Not that my earthly parents don’t posses those things, but they are human.

Second, when He says something, the wind and waves obey (Matthew 8: 37). He spoke light into existence (Genesis 1:3). So when He says that, He means it. And that is so humbling.

In summary, when God says He loves you, He loves you. Even when you can’t understand why. He loves you. And He died for you. Because you’re worth it. And you’re worth it Because He says so.

part five.

so my theme is come after me.

and I feel like God keeps teaching me new things about what that means.

In the readings this week, people where seeking Jesus. They were seeking a teacher. They were seeking. And Jesus asked them what they were looking for. And when they told Him, He said Come and you will see.” 

He told them to follow Him. And He told them He would show them. But He told them to come.

I love the promise of “you will see.” He doesn’t make empty promises. He doesn’t say, “come and I might show you” or “come and if you prove worthy enough, I’ll let you see.” He simply says,

“Come and you will see.” 

That is so powerful. I feel like God is teaching me to still follow. To keep seeking. He is not leaving. He didn’t say, “wait here and I’ll be back to show you.” He invited them to come with Him.

As I start this new year, I want to remember these words that He spoke. He is promising to show me what He has in store in for me.

I love that Jesus asks “ What are you looking for?” He wants to know what our plans are. He wants to know what our desires are. Obviously, He already knows what they are. But He doesn’t miss that opportunity to have a conversation. To enter into a dialogue. He wants to hear from us. That is so powerful. That is a place of honesty and realness.

I am humbled by Jesus’ desire to know my heart more. I am humbled by His invitation to follow Him. I am humbled by His love for ministry. I am humbled by His love.

Now that the Christmas season has passed, I think it is so important to remember that He came for us. He never asks us to do something He hasn’t already done. He came. For us. First. And now He is asking us to come for Him. To come after Him. To follow. To learn. To grow. To be challenged. To see.

He goes before us. In this passage, Jesus walked by first. He was leading the way. He was walking before the disciples and then invited them on His walk. That is an invitation He is extending to us. To join His walk. His walk through our lives and into His kingdom.

In this new year, I am reminded to come after Him.

hallelujah.

I am so in love with my King.

My heart is overwhelmed. He is so loving. He is so faithful. He is so active. He is a moving God. He is a God of movement. He is a God of revival. He is a God of life-giving. Amazing love. Hallelujah. Hallelujah. Hallelujah.

I was expectant. And You met me.

I was worried. And You loved me.

I was unsure. And You played for me. You sang to me.

My heart is yours. I am so in love. I am so taken by you. My heart is full. You make my heart full.

Hallelujah.

part four: what i want…sort of….

So I have been reading a lot of articles, and also in the process of reading a book, about relationships. Specifically, waiting to meet the right person, or what to look for, or what not to look for, or what to be, or who not to be. A lot of Do’s. But seemingly even more DON’T’S. Like ever. It seems like a lot of keep up with, really. But one common theme I saw in most of these articles, posts, and chapters, secular and spiritual, was to spend your time as a single person learning about, growing in, getting to know and loving yourself. Like actually, all of them suggest that.

I have thought about that before. Obviously. But somehow, every time I try to start “working on myself,” I always end up thinking about my future husband…again.

But then I got a new thought. I want to think of the person I want to be for Him. With a capital H. And from that I started thinking about what I would want my Heavenly Groom to say about me, and eventually what my future husband to say about me.  So I came up with a list of things I want my Heavenly Groom to say about me:

She’s so…

Faithful

Loving

Dedicated

Beautiful

Strong

Smart

Mine

And then I thought about a list of things I would want my future husband to say about me:

She’s so…

Christ centered

Loving

Sweet

Helpful

Generous

Beautiful

Passionate

Funny

Forgiving

Mine

When I made these lists, I could see how so many of them overlapped. It is so easy for me to focus on what I want in someone else, than preparing myself to be the best version of me for them. I could see from this list that if I work towards the things I want God to say about me, the things I want my future husband to say about me will flow out from those things. I feel like having a set list of things I want to work towards will help me stay focused on me. We’ll see…to be continued….

part three: sweet presence.

His presence is unbelievably sweet.

His love is so rich. His love is so overwhelming. His love is unconditional. His love is so big. His love is so high. His love is so wide. He is love. He is love. He is love. God is Love.” 1 John 4:8

A few weeks ago I had the amazing opportunity to go to a Kari Job concert. And I can honestly say, my heart was rocked. God is so amazing. There aren’t even words.  I feel like I just gave Him a little bit of myself, a little bit of my heart, and He blew me out of the water. He poured His love down on me. I had never felt the presence of Christ so near. So tangible. And in His presence, there is nothing but love. My heart was overwhelmed by the love He continued to pour out on me. The Holy Spirit was overflowing out of me.

His sweet, sweet love. We are so undeserving. I am so undeserving. But that doesn’t matter to Him. He loves me because I am His. He loves you because you are His. That is reason enough for Him. All the other stuff, that’s just in the way of His sweet love, His sweet presence. His presence cast all that out. In His presence, there is no room for fear, regret, self-hate, despair, loneliness or sadness. There is only love. His love.

He loves us enough to let us experience that. He loves us enough to fight for us. As fast as I can run, He’s faster. He doesn’t give up. He doesn’t leave. He is love. And He stands there waiting. Waiting for us. Waiting.

He is so in love with us. He is so in love with us. He is pursuing us. He never stops. He is so in love with us. His love is all consuming. He goes out of His way to meet us where we’re at. He is a God of Joy. He is a God of love. Mindblowing, heart stopping, beautiful, perfect love. That’s MY God. He has never failed. He shows up everytime. And He’s mine. And He’s yours. And He wants to keep showing us with His love. His inspiring, unconditional love. He longs to fill us up with His love, so we can love others with His heart.

His heart is so beautiful, so perfect, so romantic, so just, so thoughtful. I want His heart. I want to know His heart better.

He asked me to make Him my groom. Well, that was the best date I have ever been on. He is so amazing. He is such a good listener. He hears the whispers of my heart. And he answers, out of love. He has these wild plans that are so much better than my own. I need to learn to trust him. I need to learn to let go. I am working on it. His love makes it so much easier…to be continued….

God, You are so good. You are so faithful. You are so majestic. You are so romantic. You are winning my heart. Teach me how to trust you. I love you. I love you. I love you. 

part two.

I have been holding on to the words God whispered to my heart that Sunday, when He told me I would be a “fisher of men,”  or really man, just one, if you will. But humanly forgot the “Come after me,” part.

This past Sunday was the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ. The priest obviously talked about the beautiful mystery of the Eucharist as the Source and Summit of our faith, our lifeline and the True Presence of our Savior. It was a great homily. It called me to really reflect about the act of receiving communion. How I physically walked up, held my hands out, and received the Body of Christ. It reminded me of  when I was a little girl. I used to pretend that when I was walking up the aisle to communion, I was walking up the aisle to my wedding. And as soon as I had that thought, I heard God’s sweet, tender and unconditionally loving voice say,

“Make Me your Groom.”

Chills shot through my spine. I had never thought of it like that. I had never actualized that when I walked up the aisle to communion, I was walking up to my wedding. Every Sunday. But it goes so far beyond the celebrations at Mass. I knew He meant every day.

This was the “Come after me,” part. This was the part I had over looked. I have to make Him my groom. That was all He said, and I understood everything it meant. It isn’t going to be easy. I know that. I really struggle with trust. It is so hard for me to maintain trust. I’m just like Peter, I hear the wind and see the waves and freeze in fear. It almost makes me scared. I’m afraid I won’t be able to do it. And if I’m not able to do it, I don’t think I will be able to have a healthy relationship with someone. I know this fear and worry are from the Devil. God has promised me all these great things, and the Devil wants none of it to take place. But the fear and worry seem so real. And then I am reminded of Isaiah 41:10:

“Fear not, I am with you; be not dismayed; I am your God. I will strengthen you, and help you, and uphold you with my right hand of justice.”

So not only has He asked me to make Him my groom, He has promised to help me do it. Can we just talk about how much intense love is overflowing from that?!

“Come after me”→translation→”Not because I am far from you, I am with you, but so that you will know Me better”

“Make Me your groom”→translation→”So I can show you how deep my love for you is, and can show you how to love”

Our God is so romantic. He makes my heart swoon. And He wants to be my groom!!!! I am so taken. I once read a quote saying, “A woman’s heart should be so wrapped up in God that a Man has to ask Him for directions.” I desire that. I want my heart to be so wrapped up in my groom, that my future husband has to go to God.

I am excited to start this journey. To be courted by the Author of Romance…to be continued….