promises

i love the idea of promises. something that will happen. it will. because it was promised.

however, i am slow to make promises. because i dont want to promise something i cant deliver.

but God, He doesn’t shy away from promises. in fact, He speaks in promises (Isaiah 55:11). and to me, that is romantic. He promises to come through, and He always does.

i often find myself reminding God of His promises, like He forgot them. and He is kind, and lets me rattle them off to Him. but i know this is out of fear and concern that He forgot them and is not gonna come through and it’ll just be a broken promise, something i’ll have to settle for later down the road.

LIES.

not true. i recently found this verse:

For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, whom we preached among you, Silva′nus and Timothy and I, was not Yes and No; but in Him it is always Yes. For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why we utter the Amen through him, to the glory of God. But it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has commissioned us; he has put his seal upon us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.”  2 Corinthians 1:19-22  

WHAT A PROMISE!! are you kidding?!

“it is always Yes”

i love that. and not because it means every dream will come true. but it reminds me of the core and the heart of God. He wants to say yes to everything, He wants to give everything. He loves giving good things. it is such a reminder that He is a good Father and longs to give His kids good gifts. even when we ask for things that we shouldn’t have or are not His best for us, His answer is still yes. and i know that sounds wrong, and it isn’t even the way things play out, but hear me out for a second.

i love that this verse suggests that God hears and answers the request under the request. the need that is really hidden in the prayer we pray. so when i ask for a new dog, even though one doesn’t appear at my door by noon the next day, He says yes to my heart’s desire to not be alone. He says “Yes, I love you & I’m not going anywhere.”

which at first doesn’t seem so awesome. BUT IT IS. He is better than any puppy. and He has a plan and desire to show you how much He really does love you.

and if that wasn’t enough, He gives us His Spirit as a guarantee?! literally the best deal i’ve ever found.

i love this verse because it reminds me that He is so worthy of our trust. that i don’t have to live in survival mode hoping He comes through. i am not hoping and waiting in vain. or alone. I GET THE HOLY SPIRIT. but also, that His heart is good. and He gives good gifts. and He longs to say yes to everything we ask. the request under the request.

you can trust Him with the dreams of your heart.

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rest: okay, maybe i am closer to figuring it out

every time i think i have this rest thing figured out, i am quickly reminded, i have not.

last sunday i was at mass, and i was praying before, telling God that this was the week it was gonna happen. this was the week it would shift, something would break. this is the week i would get a job, i was going to to email everyone i could think of the next day. and you know it is always a good idea when you tell God the plan.

so shortly after that, the Gospel was as followed:

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”  Matthew 11:28-30

and He said,

“mmmm, nope. you aren’t released from this season yet. you need more rest”

upset, but feeling very covered, i went back to the drawing board. ready to embrace rest this week.

well bethel has been doing their worship school, and you can stream their worship set and keynotes in the morning. so monday i started watching….

un.done.

i was so moved in worship, and was reminded of what it means to make that connection to the Father’s heart. and to praise in the waiting. and to trust Him and choose Him. and the delight He takes in the process. and i was worshiping, i was reminded of His heart for me. which is the place where we really find rest. it was so good, and so much more of what i needed. He is a good Father.

so after that, i watched some of the other past videos that were online, and several Steffany Gretzinger videos. and i was really encouraged by the stories she shared. first of all, she had a very similar season to what i am walking through right now. and that was encouraging. but she was talking about the process, and about the learning. and as i could hear someone else talk about it, i could see so much more clearly how that “down” season was a breeding ground for training and learning and growing and developing. how she would not be able to walk in the fullness of what she has now, without that season. and that was powerful. it helped alot of things click together for me.

this is the promise. this is the season. this is the unexpected. this is where i am supposed to be. this isn’t an in between. there are no in betweens for God, He is always working in everything. He isn’t linear, He hasn’t subscribed to the “american dream” and He isn’t measuring me up to it. He is thrilled with where we are. He died for us to be where we are. this is a season of rest, but more importantly, this is the season He called me into. and i will joyfully be here the whole time. He hasn’t placed more value on the next season. there are important lessons and precious encounters to be had right here, right now.

this seems obvious. but it really flipped me upside down. i am “waiting” for a job, sure. but i am not. i am actively involved in what God is doing in my life, today. this is growing the friendship and the history between us. and i am so thankful for it, because this is actually the answer to so many prayers. even though it doesn’t look like what i expected. it is everything i needed, and more.

scarcity. and endless shrimp.

as i have been learning SO much this summer, i have been finding alot of the lies i have believed for most of my life. one of the biggest ones is:

scarcity: deficient in quantity or number compared with the demand; not plentiful or abundant; intentionally absent; want of provisions for the support of life

woah. looking up that word is actually really powerful. not abundant, intentionally absent, lacking provisions for the support of life 

those are really the things i have believed and bought into for, well, all of my life.

and it is not something that is just in my head, society perpetuates and sensationalizes this idea of scarcity. listen to any commercial or ad and they will most likely at some point say “for a limited time only” or “while supplies last.” heck, even Red Lobster has a limit on the Summer of Endless Shrimp. and while we are constantly hearing messages that supplies will run out, we are at the same time numbed to it. we just accept it as a way of life. there won’t be enough. so you better get what you can, when you can, while you can. so you won’t be left out.  and yes, that is definitely true to a reasonable extent. Red Lobster does not have a limitless supply of shrimp. they will run out. but when they do, it. is. okay. but Red Lobster isn’t using Heaven’s economy.

those words not abundant, intentionally absent, lacking provisions for the support of life more accurately point to my beliefs about God. they really highlight the place in my heart that doesn’t believe He is good, or that He has enough for me. they outline my fears and what i have convinced myself must be true of who He is. that He is not abundant, He is intentionally absent and lacks the provision for the support of my life.

shooot dang. i am in trouble. not from Him. sure, His heart is breaking that i see Him that way, but He isn’t mad at me. instead, He is moved with compassion. so moved, that in His kindness, He will chase me down to convince me otherwise. and He has.

as i started to look at the blatant lies that my heart was believing about the Father:

that He wasn’t enough, that He would bless others, but not me, that He was withholding good things from me, that I had to work really hard and earn the blessings He could give, that i had used up all His favor on past asks & miracles,

i started to see how obviously false these things were. how clearly against the nature of God they were. how i had been bold face lied to, for years. i was reminded of the heart of the Father. a heart that would NEVER, in a million, trillion, billion, years set out any of those things for His daughter. never once would he send them an invitation to my party. and in that, i was reminded of John 10:10.

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”

which was actually, verbatim what i was experiencing. i was hearing lies that were stealing my hope, killing any joy, and destroying my trust.

and Jesus was so kind to remind me that He came & died on a cross so that i might have a full and abundant life. not a life full of settling for second best, and regrets and what ifs. a life of color, of endless shrimp and joy and promises fulfilled.

this is an idea, and a thought i have had before. and it was stored in my head. but this summer, Jesus has moved it to my heart. He pointed me back to the Father’s heart. the Heart that delights in His kids, and dreams of giving them bigger and better things. just because He can.

what rest feels like

rest. rest. rest.

it feels like that is all i have been hearing, talking, thinking, and praying about for the past few weeks. and it seems as soon as it gets a tad bit easier, it suddenly gets much harder. it has definitely been a daily thing. back and forth, literally wrestling with doubts about what i think, believe, hear, feel and see. or the lack thereof. which has been so hard. there are multiple times a week-heck, multiple times a day- i ask myself if i really heard God, or maybe i heard Him wrong. or maybe i just missed the mark all together. it feels:

  • foreign
  • forgotten
  • misplaced
  • lazy
  • unpredictable
  • stranded
  • scary
  • wrong
  • overlooked
  • left-behind
  • unstable

but what i know it is, is:

  • healing
  • restoring
  • recharging
  • stretching
  • teaching
  • faith-building
  • a gift
  • sweet provision
  • a break

it is so hard to remind myself of what i am really in, and not let my feelings narrate the end of this season. sometimes it feels like i have used all the favor of God up, and there will be none left for the next season. but i know that is not true. i have to keep my eyes on Jesus, and stay in His presence to be reminded of where i am really standing. even when it feels the opposite of okay.

 

rest: lessons

so i am in this season of rest. and it has been so hard. i am so over it. but i needed to talk about the lessons i am learning. yesterday, i asked the Father what He wanted me to learn from this and He said:

how good I am 

which feels backwards and hard because right now, things don’t feel good. but i’ve been challenged to change my perspective and look at the good things and the provision that is right in front of me. so here is some of the good. the lessons.

  1. the importance of rest
  2. what rest actually means for me in this season
  3. that i am more tired that i realized
  4. that God knows what we actually need
  5. His provision is exactly what i need
  6. He holds nothing back
  7. He isn’t keeping anything from me
  8. He has a place for me
  9. He is preparing a place for me
  10. everything is in a divine order
  11. if i rest & receive, i can get things i didn’t even ask for
  12. He isn’t surprised by my unemployment
  13. He planned for this, too
  14. there is nothing i shall want

rest

this might be one of the hardest seasons yet.

i am writing this from a gazebo, with a very anxious puppy under my legs and an empty coffee cup.

but there is a sweet breeze. and i’m surrounded by stunning trees. and i’m reminded of the sweetness and provision of our God.

it has been really hard to rest. even in this invitation to rest, i find myself wanting to make a schedule of things to do, books to read, bible studies to complete, journals to write. but then i actually find myself watching netflix and scared that my new dog is going to bark all day if i leave the house.

last semester, when i was in the middle of school, i remember praying for my next job. i remember saying

“I am so tired of always looking and scavenging for jobs, God, it would be really nice if this next job found me.”

i might have even prayed that a few times. and i remember thinking, “okay, yeah. a job is not going to find me. i’m not that cool or even known” and i kept striving and grasping to apply and find a job in meantime.

well here i am. a week and half post-grad, with no job. instead, i have a sincere and direct invitation from the Lord to rest. and even as i am typing these words, under the gazebo at the park i am asking myself, “but is that really what He said? am i sure I heard Him right? maybe i’m just misinterpreting this whole thing” stupid satan. go-away. i must ask myself these questions about three times a day, minimum. but i know the truth. i know HIs voice, and i know what He said.

one of the many days where i was asking and striving and applying for RANDO jobs, i came to Him exhausted and a little teary telling Him how tired i was, and how i just wanted a job. and He said,

do you remember what you prayed last semester?”

and i knew what He meant. so i said “yes, but i can’t wait on a job to find me. and they aren’t going to find me. thats ridiculous. i need to find one now.” and He said,

“do you remember the first part of that prayer?”

and i said, “yeah, i’m so tired of looking!!!! like i am right now!!!” and He said,

“so I wanted to give you the rest you’ve been looking for.”

so true to who He is. He sees past the request i am making, and into the one i am really making. and that was a request to stop striving. to rest.

and that is what He is giving me. but it’s not as sweet and nice as it sounds. it is really hard to rest. to stop and slow down. but it also doesn’t mean vegging out. and doing nothing. so i am learning to find the balance. spend time asking Him what He wants me to do, and how i can rest more.

grace

if i had to sum up this whole year into one word, it would be

grace.

before this year, i would have defined grace more as a quality someone has when they were elegant and the opposite of clumsy. which i would say is still true. but i did not really see grace from a spiritual perspective. i think in church i learned more about the word “mercy” than “grace.” not a bad thing, i just wasn’t familiar with the word. but this year, i learned.

today, i would define grace as “ a space being made for you, without you doing any of the work.” kind of weird. but let me explain. in my head, i see grace like this:

me, standing at the edge of a forest, a dense, thick, dark forest, that i can’t see through. but i know i have to walk through. and then, i imagine grace to be a soft, sweet buffer, that comes in, and makes a path for me through the forest. not a straight line path, but a path that grows as i walk. never getting too far ahead of me. but sweet, and gentle.

maybe that is a really weird description. and maybe it only makes sense in my head. but it makes so much sense.

when i think about this past year of school, all i see is grace. i see how Jesus went before me, right before me, and cleared a path for me. He made a space for me. and i see how i didn’t do any of the path-clearing work. i was just obedient. and responded. i stopped when the forest was thick, and waited on Grace to make the way. and He did everytime.

i once read a book that said to think of grace as a person, and that person is Jesus. and i really liked that explanation. it made a lot of sense to me. Jesus came and made a way for us back to Heaven. He came and made a space for us, without us doing any of the saving work. by grace, we have been saved (Ephesians 2:8-9). by Jesus.

i experienced this grace time and time again through school work, co-workers and clients. they made a space for me, when i didn’t do the work to earn it or deserve it. they gave it anyway. grace is humbling. and inspires you to want to pass it on.

i have learned to apply the grace i learned to my own life. this grace mandates that you give yourself space. to miss the mark sometimes. to be late every now and then. to wear the same outfit twice in one month. to not know the answer. to give the wrong answer.

this grace has changed everything. it has been the sweetest balm to the wound of striving and achieving. it has given perspective and purpose and identity. it is life giving. and life saving.

free cupcake

last night was very sweet. last night was a good reminder.

when i first moved to Waco, one of the very first things i did was attend the Grace House fundraiser event. i was brand new to Waco and to Grace House. i was literally a “nobody” i walked around talking to actually no one, and awkwardly helped people sign up to volunteer at Grace House. but it was such a sweet night. and it was encouraging and hopeful, because i got a glimpse into what i would be doing for the next year. and i felt God’s fatihfulness in that room, because He had made the impossible happen. He had pioneered a way for me to be in the room. it was a great start to my time in Waco & Grace House.

last night was the Grace House fundraiser, again. and i went and volunteered again. but it was a totally different experience. i knew so many people there. i knew what was going on. i knew Grace House. but mostly, i knew my girls. and it was so good to see them. so fancy and dressed up! and it was a sweet night just getting to celebrate all the hard work we had done together.

particularly, hearing two of my clients share their testimony. wow. i get teary even thinking about it. to have been in the trenches with them. and cried with them. watched them cry and process and work so hard to overcome and reach health. and to hear the fears and doubts. and to hear the promises God was giving them. and watch the healing and restoration happen in front of my eyes. and celebrate with them when they had a good day, and used their voice and set boundaries. and then to see them last night.

watching God’s faithfulness unfold in front of my very eyes. to watch them walk in the promises God gave them. to see them share their stories of hope and breakthrough and healing. it was more than my little heart could handle.

and to hear the small voice, of “you were a part of this” to know that i was able to be a part of that journey. and to walk with them to freedom and health. more than i can express. it was just so sweet. His faithfulness is so moving.

and it was a good reminder that He will be faithful again. He hasn’t stopped. i haven’t used up all His faithfulness. He has more favor to pour out. i just have to receive it. my heart was overwhelmed by His goodness last night. and what He let me be a part of. and also, the sweet free cupcake from magnolia that He gave me. that was a pretty sweet thing, too!