hungering spirit

“And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, Who imparts all blessing and favor, Who has called you to His own eternal glory in Christ Jesus, will Himself complete and make you what you ought to be, establish and ground you securely, and strengthen, and settle you.” 1 peter 5:10 (Amplified Bible –> awesome, get it.)

So many thoughts rolling around in my brain tonight.  So much love, so much blessing, so much everything. God is good.

The past year has been really trying for me. Friendships changes, family changes, community changes.  I have struggled so much with trusting God with His plans.  I cannot count how many times I’ve begged Him to show me His plans, which would explain why I was going through all of this junk.  It was hard.  One day I would be on the top of the world thinking, “I can do this.  I’m going to make it through this time. No big deal.”  Then the next day, “Holy macaroon.  I cannot do this.  I would rather sleep through it all than experience all of this.”  Talk about emotional rollercoaster.  Not pretty.

Then about 5 months ago I finally really started praying for things to change.  I started praying for a different mentality towards situations and for God to help me see how He was working in my life.  I did not want to miss seeing what He was doing.  I was basically asking for God to show up in my life.  I needed Him to make Himself known, even if it was through other people or situations.  I just felt so spiritually dry.

And finally, over the past few weeks, God has popped up everywhere.  In the past week, God has been so present in my everyday life.  From belly laughs and conversations with friends, to heart-to-heart talks with family, to walking my nieces and nephew through God’s creation.

Tonight, my brother and brother-in-law and I decided to take a few of my nieces and nephews on a walk in the woods in our backyard down to a creek bed.  I was hesitant at first because it had been a long day, the kids had been crabby and I did not know if this would end well.  I kind of had a negative mentality to start with, but I felt something telling me to go or I would miss out on something.  So we threw on suits and headed out back.  Now, one of my nieces is rather fearful.  While we walked down the hill through the brush, she clung to my hand and nearly pulled me down a few times.  Once we got to the creek, she was super nervous and kept asking if we were going to get lost and kept saying the water was too deep.  I felt annoyance creeping into my attitude. Come on kid, just walk through the ankle deep water. It will be fine. How will we get lost??

Then all of a sudden I felt God tap me on the shoulder and say, “Hold that thought and just watch.”  So I began listening and watching.  About five minutes into our walk, my niece began to venture out on her own.  She let go of my hand a few times and eventually was wading through water up to her waist by herself.  By the end of the walk, she was asking to go into the deep parts – she wanted to be brave, she wanted to feel adventure.  But she did this only because she knew that I was watching over her the whole time.  She knew I was right there in case she slipped.  There were times when she came back and asked to hold my hand and wanted me to test the waters to see how deep it was, but as long as I assured her that she was okay with me, she believed me.

And I could not believe what I was seeing – I was watching the last year of my life play out in front of my eyes.  I had been second-guessing God, asking if this was okay that we were doing this, asking if we were going to get lost and saying, “This is too deep for me. I can’t do this.”  Then suddenly a rush of images flooded my brain.  Images of ways that God had been holding my hand, providing for me, and watching over me the past year.  Ways that God had been patient with me and said, “Caitlyn. It’s going to be okay, trust me.  I’ve tested the waters and I know what the path is like ahead.  I have experienced it. You will make it through this.”  I was floored.

As I watched my niece, it suddenly became so clear to me that God was working in my life!  I knew this in my head already, but now I knew it in my heart.  The past few weeks, He has told me, “I love you” in ways I have never experienced.  He placed people in my life that have been such a blessing.  He has been giving me precious time with family.  He has placed me in situations where I can say, “I’ve been there before.”  He is starting to show me why I went through this past year!

Today, I, once again, felt so loved by my Father.  In church this morning, our pastor read those verses from 1 peter 5, then we ended the service by singing, “I’d Rather Have Jesus”.  The closing verse expresses exactly how I have been feeling lately:

He’s fairer than lilies of rarest bloom,
He’s sweeter than honey from out the comb;
He’s all that my hungering spirit needs –
I’d rather have Jesus and let Him lead.

sea-drift

Do you ever have those times where something strikes your fancy and you have to do it?  You have to make that apple pie.  You have to make that craft.  You have to make that Starbucks run.

Something struck my fancy and I had to do it.  Recently I have taken interest in poetry.  Okay, so I know hardly anything about poetry beyond “The Raven” or “The Road Not Taken”; I wouldn’t know good poetry from bad and half the time I don’t understand what’s being written.  Nevertheless, I had to dig into poetry.  I don’t know what it is, but I am craving it.  I didn’t even know where to start – what poets to read, what century to start in, what kind of poetry.  I just wanted to read and read.

So the other day I asked my poetry-savvy brother what to do.  He pointed me towards Walt Whitman’s “Leaves of Grass” to begin.  A classic and even American.  So this morning I grabbed the volume of poems, made myself a grand cup of coffee and planted myself on his front porch for the next hour.

It was glorious.  Something about poetry seems to soothe my soul.  Whenever I read poetry I cannot read it monotonously – I have to read it deliberately.  Maybe in a whisper, maybe with passion, maybe as if I’m reading something precious as gold.  Poetry seems to paint a beautiful portrait of itself whenever read.  Psalms is my favorite book in the Bible and whenever I want to open up and read, I always go to Psalms.  Maybe it’s because David was so honest and human in his poetry (because that’s what Psalms is oddly enough) that I relate to so much of what is written in those pages.  Today, Whitman spoke kind words to my restless heart.  It was not so much the words though, as it was the way it was said.  Poetry seems to be another language to me.

So I am excited about this new hobby of mine.  Where will it take me?  Will it take me on the road less traveled by? (Heeheehee)  I think this could be the start of a very wonderful relationship.

laugh until you cry

Tonight was a wonderful night.  I had a ridiculous conversation with two good friends of mine that happen to be sisters and we laughed so hard over such simple things.  Every time I’m around these girls the world is wonderful, the sun is shining, puppies surround me, birds chirp, all that cheesy stuff.  These two will make anyone’s day.  Every time I’m with them, we end up laughing until I at least cry and tonight we all were.

Tonight I am so thankful for these experiences.  Experiences that leave you in amazement that God would bless you with such moments.  It is in these times that I think, “God, You love me so much that You are giving me THIS?!  How awesome!  YOU are amazing!” Tonight, while I was busting my sides with these two women, I could not help but feel the overwhelming love of God.  I was struck as never before with the thought that God is even in laughter!  I was knocked over by how much God loves me.  How much God loves these two women.  And God LOVES watching us in these moments!  He loves seeing us this happy!

To be honest, I had been praying for God to show Himself to me.  And just today, a friend suggested to me that I look for God in unusual places, perhaps in people.  I had not heard from Him in a long time and I was yearning for it.  Wow.  Tonight. I found God.  Tonight I heard God in a new way and I find it addictive.  And the best part?  I wasn’t even looking for it yet!  I love when God shows up when you least expect it – it’s so refreshing!  I love that God showed Himself to me through two people that I adore (it just seems to make it even better, ya know?)

God, thank you for making Yourself known tonight.  It is so good to be with You again.

Wild at Heart and Soul

I recently finished John Eldredge’s book, Wild at Heart, a book that talks about men and why they are built the way they are, why they act the way they do, and kind of even why they think the way they do.  I read Eldredge and his wife’s book, Captivating, and was hit hard by the words in their book.  It spoke so loudly and clearly to my weary heart and it spoke life back into my spirit.  I could not stop underlining in that book.  It is one of those books that a woman has to read at the right time in her life.  She has to be ready to hear those words, her heart in the right place.  I, myself took 3 starts before I could get into the book.  And from what I’ve heard from the men that I’ve talked to, Wild at Heart is the same way for the men.

After having read this book, I think I understand the men in my life a little better.  I understand why my nephews think it’s so fun to sword-fight everywhere, why asking for car advice makes my friend’s eyes light up, and why one little comment about a project that my brother has been working on can make or break his day.

I understand why men today are so unsure of themselves.  Countless times I’ve said, “Why don’t men these days just step up and be a man?!  Why is that so hard??  Why are all the men around me so self-conscious that they can’t ask for a date?”  And now, I think I understand.  They’ve missed a part of their journey.  Somewhere along the line their father figure wasn’t there for them, he missed out on a lesson.  So many of my friends’ fathers didn’t affirm them as men.  They didn’t guide their journey into manhood, thus leaving them out in the cold to journey alone.  No man should have to journey by himself.  A father is so crucial to who a boy grows up to be!

And as I finished this book, I realized something else about my Father.  My Father has been teaching me lessons all along.  My Father has been guiding every step of my journey, showing me which way to go, which path to take.  And so many times I take Him for granted.  I forget He’s even there!  How many times have I placed myself out in the cold to be independent and make it on my own?  How many times have I relied on my own strength to get through something and ignored Someone who’s already been through my situation and knows it better than myself?  Why is it so easy to want to make it on our own?

Father, help me to learn to lean on You.  You know the path I’m taking and You know my journey.  You’ve already been where I am going – remind me of that.  Remind me of how much I need Your strength and how willing and ready You are to speak to my heart, if only I would take time to listen to You.

To the men and boys in my life, I promise to pray for you and work harder to affirm you.  I admit, I have been cynical, sarcastic, and sometimes even bitter towards your sex.  But that has softened.  So many times we hear about how damaged women are and how much crap we’ve been through, but the truth is, men and women have each  had their fair share of trials.  They just look different.  Maybe if we tried to focus on learning how to heal others’ wounds rather than focusing on what’s been done wrong to us, we might get somewhere.

Blogworld.

Hello blog world.

I find myself at the beginning of a new chapter in life.  A bend in the road.  The edge of a cliff.  I’m entering into…THE REAL WORLD.  A world where friends are not constantly surrounding me, where home is not within walking distance of my day’s work, where I can’t always escape my thoughts by going to a coffee shop or another friend’s room.  In less than 2 weeks I begin to be a working woman.  An adult.

And as scary as this all seemed to me 4 months ago…I’m making it.  I’m finding ways to adjust to my new life.  New people to pour into, to be in communion with, with whom I can share my stories.  I’m finding out the joys and hardships of long distance friendships. I’m re-learning the joys of family.  But the important thing – I’m learning.  And best of all, God is teaching.

He’s teaching me in ways that I didn’t want to be taught and in ways I didn’t think I could be taught.  One lesson is finding ways to be happy for others, even when it seems like life isn’t fair.  I’m learning how to be Elizabeth.  In Luke 1, Mary and Elizabeth each find out that they are going to have a child. Elizabeth and her husband have been waiting for this for years and they are older.  Mary, on the other hand, is a teenage, unwed mother . But not just ANY mother – the mother of the Savior of the world!  Imagine how Elizabeth might have or at least could have felt.  “After all these years, MARY is the mother of Jesus?!”  None of us would have blamed her for feeling that way.  But Elizabeth did NOT react that way.  She met Mary with joy and excitement for what lie ahead.  She supported her and loved her even while few people were loving her.  Elizabeth was selfless, not selfish.

I want to be the one that is blessed in ways I can’t imagine or at least in ways that I’ve dreamed of.  But deep down…I know I would rather be known as an Elizabeth.  I to be known as someone who is full of joy, despite the circumstances.  I want to be known as an encourager.  I want to be known as someone who is always willing to listen, challenge, dig deeper.  God, make me an Elizabeth.  Help me to be there for others despite what is going on in my life.  Make my love more selfless.