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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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.

the process: part two

my head and my heart are either racing, or completely silent. there is no middle ground. i am trying to wrap my brain around what God is walking me through in this season. here are a few things i knew coming into this new season in Waco:

  • Jesus wanted to heal my heart
  • Jesus wanted to transform me
  • Jesus wanted to teach me new things
  • Jesus was calling me, His bride, into the wilderness
  • this was going to be an influential time of formation, faith, promises, fulfillment, and newness

what I didn’t know was the following:

  • Jesus wanted to heal my heart, but first He had to let me feel the weight of it’s brokenness
  • Jesus wanted to transform me, but more than transform-He wanted to rebuild me
  • Jesus wanted to teach me new things about Him, about what faithfulness looks like, who He is, who His Father is, how He loves me and how He is calling me to love 
  • God was calling me, His daughter, His beloved, into the wilderness, where it would be cold, lonely, scary, dark, dry, and overwhelming
  • to reap the benefits of newness, I was going to have to do things I had never done before
  • God is so jealous for me, and is pursuing me unapologetically 
  • this was gonna hurt, bad

i feel like the past few weeks have been so raw, tough, trying, overwhelming, painful and heavy. i have been reading through Hosea, one of my favorites. as i began the study, i knew how much i loved the story on the pages of God’s unrelenting love, His pursuit of His people, and His willingness to stop at nothing to get them back. such a sweet story to read. but i had no idea God was ready to walk through Hosea so personally with me. half way through, i broke.

after one of the most intense encounters with Mercy and Truth on night in a confessional, chapel and HEB parking lot, i was shaken. to my core. i felt a fraction of the weight of my sin, brokenness, and helplessness. overwhelming is a understatement. it felt like a wave crashing over me breaking every part of my body. it felt like having light shined in your eyes after years in a dark room. it felt like a band-aid ripped off too soon. rejected, raw, vulnerable and weak.

He needed me to realize i was helpless. there was nothing i could do to earn my forgiveness. nothing i could give to Him other than my sheer brokenness. i have never felt more like Mary Magdalene at the feet of Jesus. pouring out the depths of my heart at His feet begging for forgiveness and offering every ounce of love my body could hold.

i knew this was part of the process. God knows me, and He knows what i need. i need more than to just know about my sin, i need realness I can relate to. and He delivered. after sobs and snot, i was finally able to calm down enough to ask Him where to go from here. He kept speaking Isaiah 54:11-12 over me.

“Afflicted city, lashed by storms and not comforted,
    I will rebuild you with stones of turquoise,[a]
    your foundations with lapis lazuli.
12 I will make your battlements of rubies,
    your gates of sparkling jewels,
    and all your walls of precious stones.”

SO UNDESERVING. here i am: broken, sinful, weak, ashamed, rejected and in such need of the Divine Healer, and He says He wants to rebuild me! not just build an add on, rebuild. start over. knock down the old, and start fresh. He didn’t just want to make some renovations to the old model to make it livable and up to code, He wanted to do a new thing (Isaiah 43:19) and make it better than I could have ever dreamed. and on top of that, He wants to build with precious stones. ok….

when God speaks, He has such simplicity & depth in what He says. it may be a phrase but has a thousand meanings. in this image of rebuilding, i could hear Him speaking to the amount of time it would take. precious stones don’t just happen overnight. neither do beautiful buildings and structures. i could hear Him say if i wanted the fullness of His rebuild, i was going to have to do the work, let Him build and be patience with my heart as He reconstructed it.

so i’m trying. this breakdown was pretty perfectly tied into the Hosea study. experiencing the real discipline the Lord gives to us & the real healing He offers was paralleled so well in Israel’s journey. i am learning that God is jealous for me, and will stop at nothing to get me back. He holds nothing back.

 

 

the process: part 1

“Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the wilderness and speak tenderly to her.”

hosea 2:14

it has been a while. things have been busy. after a lot of crying, wrestling with the Lord, unexplainable grace & unfathomable providence, i have moved to good ol’ wacky Waco, Texas to continue my Masters program at Baylor University. this was a really hard decision for me because i was in love with my job in Houston. i loved working with those ladies. Jesus taught me so much in the six months i was there. so many lessons learned. as much as i wanted to stay there for another six months, invest in the company and the ladies, i felt God calling me somewhere else…to grad school. i didn’t want to go. 1) i could not afford it 2) i wasn’t even sure that i needed a masters after spending time in ministry 3) i felt like i was learning so much more in the real world, real field, real mission 4) i could not afford it. but after a lot of prayer, lots of intercessions from my sweet friends and family, and lots of tears, I decided to accept my acceptance letter and beginning a new journey.

i started classes in July-one semester down! praise the Risen Lamb. but just moved to Waco this week. as i spent the little bit of summer i had before classes got rolling preparing for this new chapter, a few really important things emerged.

backtrack: as i was praying about what to do-school or stay working-there were a few things i really heard the Lord speak over me, 1) hosea 2:14 2) “You have learned alot, let Me help you unpack it, let Me be your teacher now.” so this idea of the wilderness emerged. and this idea of the Lord drawing me out into a new place-pretty much alone-and speaking to me really became clear. so as i was discerning what step to take next, I just really felt like whatever I did, would be a wilderness, whatever that meant.  

back to the story. so as i was preparing for this next season, i felt this theme of the wilderness, of letting the Lord teach me and then some new things came up. the idea of healing. the idea of restoration. the idea of preparation. the idea of transformation. all of these words kept coming up in prayer and conversation with others and books i was reading. and i began to feel the Lord explain more about what this new season would be about. yes, it would be about continuing my education. but this degree is for him. it is not mine. it is not for me. it is for His children that He has desired from the beginning of time would receive healing. so yeah, this season is about education. but even more than that, this season was about me and Him.

there was one day i came up to Waco before classes started to go start getting things squared away. i went to adoration with one of my dear, dear friends who lives here already (yay community-that’s a whole ‘nother story). so as we were sitting in our holy hour, i just told Jesus that i wanted this season/year to be just a time for me & Him. i didn’t want to focus on anything else. i just wanted this to be a sweet season of us.

well flash forward to now. and here we are. in a season of just me and Him. He is faithful. I asked for it. before i got here, He was shaking up my heart, getting ready to do some heavy lifting and dirty work. i could feel Him starting to loosen things that had a hold on me. i could feel Him calling me into a season of healing, transformation, restoration, heart work, and process. i have no idea how all of this will unfold. but i know that at the end of this year, i will be a different person. there is no way i can enter into this season with the Lord whole heartedly and stay the same. His love is so powerful it is transforming. i am so ready to be washed in this love. to learn what it means to work on restoration. to begin the process-as messy and dirty and hands on as it will be. He is not scared by my mess. I was listening to a teaching by Steffany Gretzinger and she was talking about that. that God has called us, knowing full well our mess and crap. He didn’t forget about that one thing, and He isn’t worried about it. it doesn’t scare Him. He doesn’t change His mind. in fact, He called us to dive into that very mess WITH us. not to sit there and say “hey, go work on that over there and come back to me and tell me how it went when you’re done.” nope, not Him. instead He says “thanks for coming, I have been waiting for you, let’s sort through these pains, hurts, debris, rumble, wounds, and fears together, one by one.” so patient. so kind. He has been waiting to sit with us and sort through the mess since before time began.

but it is a process. and not an easy one at that. i am entering into the process. and as i do, i am learning that i don’t really know how to “process.” ironically, because about 89% of my job is to help people “process” through what they are walking through in their life. oh Jesus, so funny that one. so i am starting this new chapter, journey, voyage-whatever. but more importantly, i am beginning a new process with the one who made my heart.

sweet Jesus, continue to walk with me, sit with me, cry with me and sort with me as we embark on this process together. i have no idea how to do any of this, but i am asking your Holy Spirit to teach me. i am asking to know your heart better and receive healing in mine. thank you for all that you are and all that you do. you’re so good. 

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 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 boulder.

wilderness, part 3.

Okay, so mid-hike, one of the guys in my group, and actually from my school, was struggling. I could tell he was having a hard time with the altitude. He was dragging his bag and his step. So I saw him having a hard time and offered to help. i asked if he wanted me to carry his backpack for him. He gratefully said yes.

So I felt helpful. Helping my fellow brother through this struggle and journey he was on. I kept going, carrying both his backpack and mine. All the way up the mountain. The bags definitely started getting heavy. But I kept going. Because I needed to help him. And I needed to get to the top. They were starting to hurt my shoulders, but I figured that would happen. So I kept going. I finally reached the top and was able to sit and reflect.

As I was sitting down, I suddenly remembered seeing that fellow group member put something in his bag earlier that day. I literally ripped open the backpack to find exactly what I had suspected would be in the bag…

a 6 pound boulder!!!!!

He had picked it up earlier on and decided he wanted to keep it! In his backpack! As he hiked!! Except he did not tell me that when I offered and carried his backpack for him. I was so mad. I wanted to throw his bag down the rock. WHO DOES THAT?! You were obviously struggling to carry the backpack and hike, so throw out the boulder!

But then I realized. This is real life. There are so many times we offer to help people, or we do not offer to help people, and we have no idea of the weight they’re carrying. Whether it looks to be pretty light, like a backpack, it could really be hiding a 6 pound boulder in it. The more I thought about this, the more I felt challenged to really tune in to people around me. It is so easy to just put blinders on and only focus on my own hike. To keep my eye on the prize, graduation, grad school, a real job. But there are so many people around me who are carrying small backpacks with big boulders in them, and they need a friend. Even if it’s not to carry the backpack, but just to walk along side them. I feel really challenged to pay more attention to people struggling with their backpacks. And even their boulders.

closer.

wilderness, part 1.

I went on a Wilderness Retreat. I don’t even know why I thought it would be a good idea for me to go, I hate the wilderness, but I went. Joyfully and excitedly, I went to the wilderness. I would like to point out that the last “wilderness retreat” I went on was beyond miserable and I cried the whole time. So again I say, I really don’t know why I went on this retreat.

But I did.

The retreat was hosted at Enchanted Rock, aka, a huge cluster of massive land forms that crazy people climb. The entire week and bus ride leading up to this retreat, I knew it was at Enchanted Rock. I knew what people did at Enchanted Rock.

Hiked.

Somehow, I never really put two and two together…

When we got there, there were some other unexpected surprises that I learned about. But I’ll share those later. Cutting to the chase, or the climb, I should say.

We start out, embarking on this climb up a HUGE hill, I’d venture to call it a mini-mountain, and I am leading the group (I will definitely explain that later). As we start out, it’s pretty easy. It really is. The weather here has been pretty cold and rainy, and today was a gorgeous day. So it was so nice to be outside in the sun, jumping, climbing and running around. Plus, the beginning of the trail was pretty easy. Nothing outrageous. –feeling confident– So we keep going. Some of the boys run ahead, and I let them, I mean, we’re all headed to the same top. I stuck behind and started talking with some of the group who was taking their time. We were enjoying our walk. It was such a beautiful day. As we kept walking, the group kept getting separated, just because everyone was going at different paces. Not to mention, the trail was starting to get steep. But we kept on.

I got to a point where I was kinda by myself, in the middle of the “go-getter” group that had basically reached the top and the “give-me-a-second” group that was catching their breath at one of the mini plateaus. The altitude was really starting to get to me. I felt like I had baby lungs. It was so hard to get a good, deep breath. As I kept walking, I asked God to show me what this meant to Him. I asked Him what He wanted me to see, hear and learn from this. All while slightly gasping for air. I kept asking and kept asking with every step. Mainly to take my mind off the burning pain I was starting to feel in my legs and tight feeling in my chest. Even though everything was hurting, and I would take a break to stop and take a sip of water and catch my breath, I was still so drawn to the top of the mountain. I didn’t want to quit. I didn’t want to call it a day. The top looked so beautiful, and I just wanted to be up there. Even if it was physically, really painful to get there.

It was getting harder and harder to breath, and walk. But I kept asking.

What does this say about Your Heart? What does this say about who You are? What does this say about who I am? What do you want me to learn from this?

“closer”

That was all He said. But I knew what He was saying.

He said closer, and He meant to His heart. He meant to keep coming. To keep coming closer. To not be afraid. To get to know Him more. Even though it hurt, He was going to pull me closer. He was going to draw me in. Just like I was drawn to the top of the mountain, He was going to draw me to His heart. He was showing me how beautiful His heart was. He was showing me the beauty of everything around me on that hike, and it was just a bunch of rock and cactus! He was asking me to imagine how beautiful His heart is, His desires are, His love is.

And as if it wasn’t enough to just show me, He was telling me to come closer. To know it deeper. To know it better.

All Creation knows HIs name, and He knows my name. And He wants me to know His heart. Even closer.

closer

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.