wind

i’m almost done with grad school! all the praise hands!!!! i can’t believe it is almost over. two more projects and a few more weeks to go!! as encouraging as that is, there is also some anxiety that comes in with it. graduating means employment. or unemployment.

all this year, i have been looking and applying for jobs. when i started in january, i clearly heard Jesus say

“why are you doing this? I haven’t asked you to start looking” 

and because I am wiser & smarter than Jesus, I ignored that & continued to look and apply for jobs. only to be rejected. each time. so i then decided to wait until i got a green light from Him to start looking.

a few weeks ago, i got a green light. or so i thought. by this time, the Father had been growing in my heart a desire for something totally new. He had started to speak to me about revival, about evangelization and healing the church and His people.

BIG. EXCITING. NEW. concepts.

so i have started to apply for jobs that would line up with this vision. oh, He also spoke Dallas very clearly. so i’ve been looking for jobs in the Dallas area that match this idea. and not having much luck. and getting really discouraged. and wondering if i heard God wrong.

but i know i didn’t. i know His voice. and i know it was Him. what i don’t know is what it is all going to look like. as i have been applying for strange, and maybe even random jobs, i have felt a sense of striving. of grasping. also a feeling of frustration. like c’mon God. i have spent this year, dedicated to learning and working and growing. and i have all this training, and the student loans to prove it, and i can’t find a job. what the heck. this isn’t fair. i thought it would be easier. i thought it would fall into my lap since i was obedient when i didn’t want to be. wouldn’t my reward be an easy transition?

when i brought this feeling to the Father, He definitely affirmed it. and reminded me i don’t have to live from a place of scarcity. that He is good, and He provides. everytime. He is inviting me into a deeper place of trust.

so here i am today. in a bakery. working on my resume, trying to apply for jobs, trying to check in with the Father if these are trails He wants me to pursue, and listening to spontaneous worship, seeking direction and the voice of God. and I came across this spontaneous video of Amanda Cook. just listening to it. and all the sudden in the middle of singing she starts to speak and says “i feel a pioneering spirit” and she starts to talk about all the diligence and hard work that goes into sailing, but the power of the wind that moves the boat.

and then i started crying in the bakery.

when i moved to waco, one of the first words i received, was that i was a pioneer. someone who walked in uncharted waters. and that has been so true for me. before & during waco. the Father has often led me into new, uncharted places. but then to hear that again, as i am preparing to leave, was such a sweet reminder. a reminder of His provision, and of my identity. reassurance that He was again, leading me to a new place, that I have never been before.

and then she talked about all the diligence and hard work that is required in sailing. for me, all the hard work and dedication i have invested in this season. but then there is the

wind.

that takes a sailboat and moves it. and the release. letting the sails go. and letting the wind move us. to lay down striving, to lay down fear, to lay down scarcity. and let the wind move me. and it is scary, but it is comforting. the pressure is off. i’ve done the hard work of setting up the sailboat. i have paid attention to the details. i’ve been diligent and cautious. but now i have to let the wind move. and the good stuff only happens in the deep. so i’m gonna have to trust the wind to move me deeper.

i’m not sure what it looks like to catch the wind. i’m not sure what i do in the meantime. i mean, Jesus slept on the boat while He waited for wind. so maybe this is a more intentional season of rest. i’m really not sure. but I know i have to wait on the wind.

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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

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

majestic.

wilderness, part 2.

So let me explain a little more about this Wilderness Retreat. It was the definition of last minute. I had wanted to do a retreat with the team members from the retreat group I work with on campus and had mentioned something to our campus minister. He suggested we go on this Wilderness Retreat that was already being held by Catholic Relief Services and Campus Ministers in the city. In two weeks. So I told the team, and by the literal grace of God was able to get the majority of them to be able to go to this retreat. I was really looking forward to it because we are a retreat team that puts on retreats for others. So this was going to be a chance for us to be retreatants and reflect and grow. Finally.

Great. Cool. Got everything I needed.

Our campus minister asked me if I would mind doing a reflection while at the retreat. Of course I agreed. I love being a part of a retreat, any way I can, even if it is something as small as reading a little reflection.

So we get there. This morning. At the butt-crack of dawn. Coffee in hand, ready to explore the “wilderness,” in our charter bus, mind you. Okay, so we’re there. We are about to get off the bus, and the adult leader goes “Where is Claire?” So I raise my hand, and he says great, he wants to talk to me in a minute. Okay, cool, he is going to tell me about the little reflection I will be reading. Then a sister comes up to me (still on the bus) and says “Oh, you’re Claire, right? They said a Claire was on the team.” That was the first time I heard my name and the words “the team” in the same sentence. But I figured she was just generalizing. No biggie.

We get off the bus, and the adult leader calls the team to gather around him. And I did that weird shuffle where you stand not exactly with the group, but close enough to hear if they need you. Yeah, they needed me. He called out for me again, “Where is Claire?” I’m here. I joined the circle. He then proceeded to saying that I was to be partnered with another team leader and we would be group facilitators. For the whole retreat. And on top of that, the boy facilitator would lead the hike, and I would lead the spiritual reflection and discussion!!!!! PAUSE.

He wanted me to lead the spiritual discussion and reflection for #1 a retreat I was supposed to be attending, not presenting #2 a retreat I have spent ZERO time prepping for or growing with the other team members #3 a retreat where i have spent no time growing in the theme and message #4 a retreat who’s theme is about the environment and taking care of the earth (AKA I DO NOT RECYCLE AND THAT’S BASICALLY ALL I KNOW ABOUT PROTECTING THE EARTH). Resume.

So I am a team leader for a retreat I know nothing about, cool. Got it. Moving on. At least I don’t have to lead the path or trail. Cause, let’s be real, the only path I know is the one to Free People at the mall. We start on our trail, and before you know it, our guy guide, is literally no where to be found. Gone. Soo. There’s that. So now I’m basically alone in my struggle up a mountain with a group of campus ministers that I’ve literally never met and am supposed to lead in spiritual reflection. Thankfully, and I do mean thankfully, there was multiple ways to climb the mountain. So, it wasn’t so do or die. Thankfully, everyone did and no one died. Celebrating the small victories.

When we got up there. When I got up there, (half my group was waiting on me…oops) I was really taken aback. There was so much to take in. Seriously. It was so vast. And I was struck by how majestic is all was. How royal everything was. How this land was His kingdom. How all of the trees, stone, grass, cactus, birds, all of creation, knew HIs name. Being at the top, there was so much wind! There was nothing to block it, I mean, your on top of a huge mountain! But the wind. Even the wind knows His name. And knows His voice. He can calm the wind with a whisper.

Because He is the King.

The King of Kings. The Lord of Lords. And He sees me. He saw me. On the top of the mountain. The mountain He created. That is a part of His endless kingdom. A kingdom He invites me to be a part of. A kingdom He asks me share with everyone I meet. The skies echoed His glory and the mountains stood firm in His majesty.

God wants to be HGTV.

So, I mentioned earlier that this was the Year of Restoration. I believe this will be a year of restoration for myself in many aspects of my life. In keeping with this idea, the homily at Mass yesterday was prettttyy on pointe.

The priest suggested that we live from either two houses: a House of Fear, or a House of Love. He suggested that a House of Fear is run by our ego that constantly tells us we are not enough.  When we live in this place of fear, we are subject to immorality. Immorality becomes the “anesthesia” for our pain and struggle. We quickly find things that are harmful to us to distract ourselves from the defeat and hurt that we are constantly feeling. Before long, we are addicted to something.

Literally, as the priest shared this idea he had, I was taken aback. I had decided at the beginning of this year, it was going to be a year of restoration (last year was a year of positivity). But this year, I was going to focus of restoration. Last year, some things definitely threw me off track, I got distracted and sidelined. A lot. But this year, I have decided to focus on and seek restoration. So when the priest started explaining this concept, it really struck me. There have been so many things I have done to “distract” myself from the insecurities or fears I have held onto. If I want to seek restoration, I am going to have to move into the House of Love.

And that’s where God comes in. He is a “flipper”. Ya know, on HGTV, when those people buy those run down houses (a house of fear) and put all this work and effort into it to turn it into a beaut (a house of love)? That’s what God is willing and wanting to do for us. He wants to turn our current house of fear, into His House of Love. He wants to be a Flipper. He wants to be HGTV.

But it’s not always that easy. It can definitely be hard to let go and let Him start remodeling. That is the real challenge. That is what I am facing today. I am embarking on a season of change. I am trying to let go. I am trying to let God in. So He can flip my house of fear, into a house of love. And bring restoration. The restoration only He can bring.

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.

You Go Before Me

**originally written at 6:54pm in Chuy’s Mexican Restaurant**

Well. Happy New Year. 19 days later….Sorry. I’ve been kinda busy. I say kinda because I haven’t been that busy. But there have been spurts of business (busy-ness; not business as in a corporation). But it’s been good.

So we’re starting a new year. I’m not big on resolutions. But I do predictions. So hopefully I’ll share those larter. There are so many things I want to share about my thoughts on this year.

1. This is a year of restoration.

2. This is a HUGE year for me.

3. This is the year I graduate.

4. This is the year I turn 21!

I’m excited to unpack these and share and grow as they happen.

All that being said, there is one major truth and idea I am starting the year with and holding onto:

“you go before me”

I’ve heard this said before. Many many many many times. In church. In songs. In scripture. But it hasn’t meant anything to me yet. Until now.

Like I shared, this is the year I graduate. From college. 2015. Can we take a moment to F R E A K  O U T ! ! ! ! I cannot believe this is real life. Seriously, Insane. But as graduation approaches, so does real life. And that is scary. I am looking at graduate programs and I am blown away. For a couple of reasons:

1. Social Work is awesome.

2. God is even more awesome.

3. I am absolutely doing what I am supposed to be doing.

4.  Grad school is expen$$ive

But amidst all this, I am excited for the new journey and next step. But Classic Claire, I am super worried. a) How will I pick one? b) How will I get in? c) How will I pay for one? d) Where will I live? e) What if I pick the wrong one? AHHH!

One of my top favorite programs is also suppperrr expensive. My parents told me that if I wanted to go there, I would have to get a huge scholarship. 70%. That’s crazy for me to think about. But as soon as my parents said that, I literally said: “Okay, God. You heard that. Challenge accepted. That’s your obstacle to overcome.” -Ballsy, right? And in that moment “You go before me” had never been so relevant.

He goes before me.

He makes the path. He is gonna pave my way to Grad school. I mean, obviously, I will work hard. But He is going to put that in me. The ability to work hard.He is going to get me there. He is the God of the impossible. And when I think of that. It makes me want to apply to the schools that seem impossible. Why not? Why stand in the way of God’s greatness? He goes before me. He prepares the way. He prepares me. He prepares my heart.

I have had so many tangible experiences lately where I step back and say, “Wow, God. You have literally been training me for this.” He is preparing me….

And that blows my mind! That God is timeless. That God is my future. That God is my present. That He is with me. That He will never leave me. (Deuteronomy 31:8) That God is preparing an amazing Grad school experience for me. That God is preparing and amazing husband for me. That is preparing and amazing future for me (Jeremiah 29:11). And even further, that God is preparing a place in Heaven for me (John 14:2-3). Because He thinks I am worth it. Because He loves me. So much so that he would go before me.That He will fight my battles. That He would prepare me.

All the struggles I have yet to face, God has already walked thru them.

Can we just talk about how infinite that is?

Sometimes I don’t know how to process what He tells me.

That is so personal. When He says “I’ve been there,” it’s because He literally has. Because He walked through it before me. He goes before me. As I enter this season of changes and new adventures, I am trusting that God goes before me.

God, thank you for blowing my mind. You’re magnificent.

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.