wind: update

i turned 23.

i graduated from graduate school.

i got a puppy.

i am unemployed.

its been an eventful few weeks. but i wanted to give an update about the wind.

my birthday was in the beginning of may, the day after i finished my big, final presentation for my degree. (how sweet is Jesus to wrap up a season on the last day of 22). and for my birthday/graduation gift, i just wanted to have some time to rest & relax. i asked for this gift before i really knew about this idea for God to call me into more rest. but regardless. i asked if i could go to a hotel at the beach town close to home, with my mama, lay by the pool & get some pampering to unwind from all the hard work. so we did. and He did.

and He did.

it was definitely one of those experiences where you didn’t realize how stressed, tired, overworked, high-strung, sleep-deprived and anxious you have been, until you take a second to stop. and boy, was i was exhausted. so tired. it was a sweet change to not have to check my email for edits, or my grades & feedback comments for adjustments. it was sweet to spend time with my mama, who is full of wisdom and grace. but mostly, it was sweet to reconnect with the Father. i didn’t think we were that disconnected, until i got to reconnect with Him during those few days.

one of the days there, we went and layed out by the pool. on a thursday. in the middle of the morning. like 10am. it was even kind of cold. very windy and cool so early in the day. hardly anyone else was out there, and we just layed out soaking up the sun. close to the shore. and i put my headphones in and played the latest Bethel album, Starlight. i am convinced one of my spiritual gifts is to be able to hear worship songs as Jesus singing over or to me. so i was laying there, soaking in the Son. and being reminded of His love, His relentlessness. remembering what it felt like to be connected to Him. literally letting myself notice and feel what it felt like to let go of stress and tension. but after a while, i was getting pretty cold. how weird. i was laying there, trying to get a tan in May, in Texas, but i was cold. so i decided to check the temperature, and i said to myself “gosh, it is so windy today.” and as soon as i thought it, i heard him say,

“see, when you rest, you will always catch my wind.” 

and completely caught me off guard. i had forgotten about the need to rest, and even the need to catch the wind. truly, when i was delighting in the sun, and the Son, and who He says i am, and who He is, i was able to find a real rest. and in that rest, i found Him. and His wind.

the wind was 23 mph.

just Him showing off. that He doesn’t miss a thing. and the wind kept blowing, and washing over me. and i could feel things in my heart shifting. i could feel the significance of His wind, his heart-shifting wind, changing my circumstances, and my vision and perspective. but mostly, healing my heart. and bringing me into deeper rest. and man, what love exists in the rest. its actually disarming.

this experience at the beach was powerful, and moving. those moments where you feel so seen & known by God mark your heart. and it has. it was a solid invitation to move into more rest. i felt a shift in my heart over those few days.

on my way to this mini vacation, i was stressing out about the next steps, job searching, bills, loans, licensure-all that was coming down the pipe at me pretty quickly. as i was rattling these things off to Him, as if He had forgotten that they were coming, i remember Him saying

“won’t you take this rest I am trying to provide for you?”

and I remember thinking, “hmm, okay, thanks, that’s sweet. but i really don’t have time for that Jesus.”

but He is sweet and patient and still pursues when we are weary and don’t catch on the first, or fiftith time. since those few days at the beach, i have been very tempted and challenged to reach, and strive for what’s “next.” and i have definitely caved some days. but i am trying to lean into this season of rest He is providing. i am trying to remember His sweet voice, and the deposit of faith, that i found in the rest.

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new year, new word.

every year i pray/pick a new word to focus on for the year. as i have been thinking about this upcoming year and the goals i want to accomplish, one word has been coming up multiple times.

health.

i actually hate the word healthy. i just don’t like it. i feel like it is over used. but as i think about what i want to live in 2017, i think about health. in all areas of my life. financial. physical. emotional. spiritual. and any other possible arena. i want to pursue health in every way i can this year. i want this to be the healthiest year i have ever had. i am committing to a new routine, a new standard.

i will no longer charge my phone by my bed. i will track my spending and work on using a real budget. actually using it. i am starting a gratitude journal to keep track of the things i am grateful for. i am going to cook more, and say goodbye to fast food. i am going to finish books. i am going to take more of my decisions to the Father. i am going to make a significant effort to keep my apartment clean, for more than one day.

i am sure that more goals and commitments will arise. but i am focusing on health. and all the pieces that comes with it. i truly feel like this year is going to be a big year for me. there are a few transitions in store, and endless possibilities. and i feel like the healthier i am, the more i can enjoy them in their fullest.

part eight.two: preparation update

what a perfect title for the season i walked into.

yes. yes. yes. and yes.

the past few months have been every bit of preparation.

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

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

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

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

54:11-12

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

 

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

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.