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.