beauty from ashes

sometimes the Lord utterly crushes me with His sweetness and revelations. currently. my heart is realing. in so many ways I cannot even begin to understand. I feel like every day He is revealing new things to me and showing me how He has been preparing and loving me through it all. I could literally talk about this for dayzz. I want to talk about this current call. well. some of the back story. of the Lord’s faithfulness and the way He has been preparing my heart and weaving things together that only He could do.

so this summer at camp the Lord put the book of Esther on my heart. okay. I haven’t ever read the entire thing. I mean I know the story. but I haven’t read it. the other day I looked up the meaning of the name Esther, just out of curiosity. it means “star” of course it does. why wouldn’t it. that is a huge part of my relationship with the Lord, the stars. so of course that would be the meaning. in addition, her Hebrew name means “compassion.” hmm. okay, Jesus. point taken. I also just found a song on my computer called Esther about the Lord loving and healing brokenness and seeks out abused and forgotten. And about loving the invisible and making beauty from the ashes. I’ve probably had this song on my computer since 2008. classic. as I continue to learn more and just read little snippets about Esther, a clear theme of leadership and boldness are rising. so that is also very interesting. very. I bought a bible study about Esther, and will begin that today. so. get ready to hear a lot about Esther.

second. last October, the tenth to be exact, I went to a Kari Jobe concert and literally experienced the Lord’s love and the Holy Spirit in a completely new and radical way. I would probably say one of the biggest messages I took away from that night was the Lord’s immense, unconditional, all covering, consuming love. that night I also bought a penny bracelet. I thought it was cool and different. and I liked the message. to raise awareness about human trafficking victims.

third. also this summer at camp, the Lord really tied my heart to Mary Magdalene. just learning about her and her brokenness and sinfulness but complete devotion to Jesus. also, learning about Jesus’ love for her and how special she was to Jesus. I could literally talk about that for days. and I will later. don’t worry. anyway. while at camp one night, one of my sweet friends shared with me a word from the Lord that she was going to share with another one of friends at camp. she said, “the answer is great love; Luke 7:47” when she told me that, my instant reaction was “does the seventh chapter of Luke even have 47 verses? that seems fake, and not right” oh me of little faith….so we went back to the cabin to look up if that verse even existed. well it does.

“So I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven; hence, she has shown great love.*But the one to whom little is forgiven, loves little.” – Luke 7:47

in fact, it s direct quote from Jesus. perfect. well, I thought that was great. the verse is real. let’s tell our friend. cool. it took me a while to realize this was a verse about Mary Magdalene. when she washed Jesus’s feet with perfume and tears and dried them with her hair and kissed them. devotion, I’m telling ya. and as I have been processing so many of the Lord’s revelations, I am learning the insane and immense power in that verse and the intentionality of the Lord to introduce me to it.

the Lord continues to shower me in a great love. since last October, he has been pouring out lavishly on me, a great love. but He has also called me into a great love. challenged me to love Him with everything I have. and, the kicker, called me to love others with a great love. this verse translates into a million stories of my life. billion, probz.

He is connecting for me the night I experienced His radical, great love, and the night I bought a penny bracelet. like only He could do. I am excited for this next journey He is calling me to. He is CONSTANTLY revealing more and more to me about what He is doing and how He is preparing my heart. and, the craziest part to me, how He has been preparing my heart FOR YEARS.

I can see how He is connecting me to some of His strongest women, Mary, His mother, Mary Magdalene, and Esther. what a power team. can’t wait to share more….

plans pt. 2: humility

word of the week(s): humility- a modest or low view of one’s own importance

oh, humility. the opposite of pride. I have always prided myself in not being a prideful person…the irony. I have always been grateful pride was never something I struggled with too much. sure I wasn’t the most humble and meek person to ever walk the face of the planet, but I wouldn’t have listed pride on my struggle list. welllll. little did I know….

apparently, as I have learned over the past few weeks, I have a big problem with pride. during camp, one of the priest told me I had too much pride. that took me aback. I asked him what he meant and he said, “you don’t go around thinking you know how to do everything better than everyone, but you don’t give God control of your plans.” I had never thought of pride that way before, it made sense. the priest actually told me “to get over yourself.” so there was that, too. I heard what he said about pride, but I didn’t really focus on it too much because I didn’t think it was a huge concern in my life at the moment.

flash forward. I am drowning looking for an apartment in Austin. I cannot find one anywhere. my internship is in jeopardy now, because if I cannot find a place to live, I won’t be able to be there. the internship I worked so hard to get. the internship I forged ahead to secure, even though it was barely anything I wanted to do in the real world. the internship with Catholic Charities, that surely the Lord would want me at. and on top of all of that, I had already told SO many people I was moving to Austin. and that I was graduating in December. and now, now all of that was be threatened. the thought of having to tell people I wasn’t going to be in Austin, OR not graduating, was literally making me sick.

as I scrambled to make the situation in Austin better, I could feel myself stretching. I could feel myself grasping. I could hear Him telling me I was grasping for something and not letting Him bless me. the Lord doesn’t ask us to stretch ourselves too thin. He doesn’t ask us to manage more than we can handle. He comes in, and meets us where we are at. He meets our needs. and the more I evaluated the Austin situation, the more I could see the Lord was not using this placement in Austin to meet my need and that He wanted to bless me, but this wasn’t it.

so, I had to make a tough decision. I turned down the Austin internship. the Lord humbled me SO SO SO much through this. to have to say, I do not have it all together. to say, I have no idea what is coming next. to say, I have some sort of plan stringing together in the background, but ultimately, I am turning this down with nothing but uncertainty staring me in the face. to say, my plans and ideas are miserable in comparison to yours (bytheway, wanna fill me in on those cause I’m behind). to say here Lord, take control.

in turning down the Austin internship, I had to move back home, with my parents, HUMILITY. to move back to home my senior year of college, are you kidding me?! I am someone who always had a plan; who always knew what was next in my life. and the Lord basically took all that security and certainty away. He said, here, turn down your internship and completely depend on my plan and providence even though you can’t see any of it. oh, okay, thanks, sounds perfect, k, bye. TERRIBLE .

He called me to something higher. to depending on Him. to releasing my pride. to come after him, fully and unabashedly. to get over myself and out of His way. to lean not on my own understanding (Proverbs 3:5-6).

Jesus is continuing to teach me so much about humility. He is constantly teaching me how much better His plans are. even in the smallest things. He is daily breaking my pride so that I can become lesser and He can become greater. what love. seriously, that is not sarcasm. as I embark on this new adventure of an internship, I have no doubt that the Lord will continue to teach my humility. and I cannot wait.

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.

plans

one day at camp I was talking with a friend and the Holy Spirit spoke a truth through me that we both needed to hear in our lives. we were talking about wanting to do what God wants with our lives. about not “missing” what God had planned for us.

wisdom pt. 1 “He has multiple plans for us”

more than one. plans. plural. not just one grand plan. not just one on ramp for a single plan that we might miss if we don’t have perfect timing. plans. I have been thinking about this as I come to new chapter of my life. I am on the brink of starting an internship and finishing my final semester of college. however, things aren’t exactly going peachy. I’m in a predicament. and I’m desperately trying to figure out what to do. I thought the Lord was calling me to go somewhere. I got an internship and everything. and surely, the Lord would not let that happen if He wasn’t the one calling me to do this. but I had a really hard time finding an apartment to live in during the internship time. I found one. but honestly, the whole situation is more than I can handle. the cost, the lease term, the hours. all of it. I could make it work. it could happen. it wouldn’t be the worst thing that has ever happened. but for some reason, this morning I woke up with such unrest and the total opposite of peace about this move. and instead, I have a super strong urge/desire to stay in my hometown. I don’t even know all that that means. I don’t know if that is stay here with an internship. I don’t know if that means stay here and defer a semester and get a job. I literally do not know. but I’m scared.

but as I’m scared, completely unsure and confused, I am reminded of these words, “multiple plans.” I am reminded that God has several plans for me. while I might have one, straight plan for myself, He has multiple. and He will walk with me through all of them. as I am reminded of this, I am reminded that whatever and wherever I am lead this upcoming semester, God will be with me. I am not missing what He has in store. it’s my job to be open to it.

wisdom pt.2 “we can’t ruin His plans”

we can’t. we cannot ruin God’s plans. how prideful it is for me to think I can ruin the plans of the Almighty God of the Universe’s plans. that is so self-centered and selfish. I might not always pick His ways or paths, but I can’t ruin what He has. I can only be saved by what He is offering. in all aspects of the word. and I am trying really hard to let myself be saved.

I just went to the store and was picking out a card for dad’s birthday, and I opened a random card to find this bible verse:

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing,

 so that you may abound in hope by the power of the holy Spirit” – Romans 15:13

of course. that is totally God sending me that verse. so. I am praying for joy and peace as I am continuing to believe in Him and His promises.

come, Holy Spirit, come

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.

the cove

so I just got back from camp. six weeks in the forest of north Georgia. being a summer missionary. ministering to 250 high school teens, more specifically about 15, and a few chaperones/ youth ministers, a week. growing in community with 23 other summary missionaries, and many many more missionaries. but most importantly, growing, nurturing and deepening my relationship with my living God. so much happened in the past six weeks. I can’t wait to unpack it all here.mass at the cove