driven

These kinds of situations don’t happen to me very often.  Or maybe I don’t pick up on them as often as they actually happen.  Whatever the case, I am always surprised when I find myself in a situation that drives me closer to God.

Tonight I found myself in a situation where my mind was running a hundred miles a minute and I felt like I was spinning in circles.  I grabbed my Bible and my journal and drove to Starbucks for some alone time.  I ordered my grande americano, plopped down into the comfy chair and wrote out all my thoughts. After writing everything down, I grabbed my Bible, hoping that I would find some words to stop my brain.  Then I heard a Voice saying, “It’s okay. Don’t worry about things so much. Sit here and talk with Me for a while.” For some reason I opened up to 1 Corinthians and began reading.

1:8-9 And He will establish you to the end…God is faithful
3:9 You are God’s garden and vineyard and field under cultivation…God’s spirit has His permanent dwelling in you…
6:19b-20 You are not your own. You were bought with a price [made His own]
7:24 There let him continue with and close to God.
10:13 For no temptation has overtaken you and laid hold on you that is not common to man…God is faithful to His Word…He will always provide the way out that you may be capable and strong and powerful to bear up under it patiently.

And suddenly.  My speeding, spinning brain stopped.

A hand reached out from behind, grabbed my shoulder, and stopped me.

All at once, I was at peace.

I don’t know why it is, but I always seem to forget how much peace God’s Word brings me.  So Father, thank you for the reminder.  Thank you for stopping me. Thank you for giving me the exact words I need to hear.  Thank you for knowing.

Advertisements

firework

Who knew that Katy Perry could put out such a great message in one of her songs?  I was listening to “Firework” today and I heard these words that were actually really encouraging:

You’re original, cannot be replaced
If you only knew what the future holds
After a hurricane comes a rainbow

Maybe the reason why all the doors are closed
So you could open one that leads you to the perfect road
Like a lightning bolt, your heart will glow
And when it’s time, you’ll know

Pleasantly surprising! I guess that’s the Christian parental background coming out a bit there.  This is actually something that’s been on my mind the past few months (the idea of doors closing, not Katy Perry).  It’s so amazing to look at back at what you have gone through in the past months/year/years and realize that God has brought you so far.

To look at how you got to where you are standing – at the time, those doors closing were painful and it felt like someone was slamming the door in your face.

But now looking back, you see that God had so much more planned for you.  Those doors had to close for a reason – so God could open the one that “leads you to the perfect road”.

And suddenly, “like a lightning bolt”, it all makes sense.

Thanks for that reminder, Katy Perry.

fresh air

In the past, God has always spoken to me through music.  He spoke to me through hymns, worships songs, instrumentals, etc.  This also includes speaking to me mostly through the Psalms.  Earlier in the summer I began asking God to speak to me in new ways.  And tonight as I looked up at the night sky, I realized that prayer had been answered.

The past few months, God has revealed himself to me in new ways.  One of the most prominent ways is through nature.  I have taken more time to enjoy my surroundings, and I have found great joy especially in sunsets and the night skies.  I have met my Father in the golden soybean fields, in the changing leaves, in the crisp air.  I met Him in the millions of stars, in the darkness of the night, the extensive night sky.  Oftentimes I have been driving in my car when all of the sudden, I am awestruck by the beauty surrounding me on all sides.  God creates such beauty for me??  That sunset I saw earlier tonight – that was for my enjoyment??  Those waves crashing over my feet – for me?  Those crystal clear stars hung in the sky – made with me in mind?

Father, thank you for showing such love to your children. We do not deserve Your love, let alone such displays of it.  Thank you for using so many different ways of showing us how much You love us.  I am amazed at Your goodness and just how loving You are to us, even when we do not deserve it.  You satisfy our every longing.

Father, You satisfy.

Psalm 147: Praise the Lord! For it is good to sing praises to our God, for He is gracious and lovely; praise is becoming and appropriate…He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.  He determines and counts the number of the stars; he calls hem all by their names.  Great is our Lord and of great power; His understanding is inexhaustible and boundless….Who covers the heavens with clouds, Who prepares rain for the earth, Who makes the grass to grow on the mountains. Praise the Lord!

the anchor holds

A good friend of mine loves nearly anything having to do with the sea, especially mermaids and anchors.  While visiting her this weekend, I saw her unit decorations and they were just amazing.  Ships, anchors, seas, helms, you name it.  And while spending time with her this weekend and during my drive home, God kept impressing on me the image of an anchor.  I wasn’t really sure what it meant, so I decided to look up some synonyms of the word anchor and here are a few: comfort, defense, foothold, mainstay, pillar, protection, safeguard, security, staff, stay, support.

There are times when God impresses something upon you and you just can’t get it out of your head – this weekend’s anchor was one of those times.  This weekend, God reminded me that He alone needs to be my anchor.  Christ alone is my comfort, my defense, my mainstay, my protection, my support.  So many times I think I can run this life on my own.  I know that God is supposed to be my mainstay, but I let myself forget that I am so weak and I get this crazy idea in my head that I can do it all.  “God, you can stand there and I’ll ask for your help when I need it.”  What a terrible attitude.

This weekend, I was reminded through conversations with friends and taking time for devos, that I need to spend more time letting the Anchor dig into me.  It may seem painful at times, but it’s ultimately for my own good.  My Father is my protection, He makes me hold fast, He is my comfort and support.  So often I find myself drifting out to sea and into dangerous waters, and that just makes it easier for satan to attack me.

O God be my everything, be my delight
Be Jesus my glory, my soul satisfied
My Jesus, You satisfy!
-Ascend the Hill “Be Thou My Vision”

I was driving back from IWU and decided to take a more scenic route to avoid traffic and it ended up being a beautiful thing.  This song came on my iPod and I looked at the turning leaves and the beauty even in the golden soybean fields and I thought, “If my life right now could speak, it would speak these words and if someone painted my life, this would be the representation” (minus the fact the leaves are dying; I’m just thinking of the beauty)  My Jesus, YOU satisfy! God, be my everything, my delight because my soul IS satisfied!  As my weekend ended, I left it feeling so refreshed – time with good friends and a new realization from my Anchor was just what I needed.
Hebrew 6:19 [Now] we have this [hope] as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul [it cannot slip and it cannot break down under whoever steps out upon it…]

father knows best

A good friend of mine recently shared these verses with me and they have proved helpful for me in the past few days:
1 Peter 5 – Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully…be vigilant and cautious at all times; for that enemy of yours, the devil, roams around like a lion roaring [in fierce hunger], seeking someone to seize upon and devour. Withstand him; be firm in faith [against his onset–rooted, established, strong, immovable, and determined]…

It is ridiculous how just when you are content in life, when you are happy with your circumstances, when you are happy to wait, suddenly satan attacks.  One minute you are telling someone that you are happy where you stand, things are going well, and you are trusting God with your hopes and dreams; the next minute you knocked onto your rear with a stunned look of shock on your face.  “Now where in the world did that come from?!”

The devil is so eager to knock us down and he cannot stand it when we are happy.  He hates to see us strong and to see us readily submitting to God and LIKING it.  So when he sees those attitudes, he pounces like a lion.  I am so easily distracted by the fact that I am happy in my circumstances and I let my guard down and I forget that the devil is prowling right next to me, waiting for his next chance.  It’s like I am so focused on thanking God for this attitude shift and I forget to watch my back.  And it takes no time at all for satan to attack.

And it’s not like I don’t know he’s right there.  I know he’s waiting to attack because it’s happened to me so many times before.  When will I learn?  Yet there is encouragement in all of this.  God knows I’m going to fail.  God knows that I am a slow learner and I will get knocked on my butt many times.  Like 1 Peter says, He cares for me affectionately.  And these verses from Hebrews 13 have also been on my mind a lot the past few weeks:
God Himself has said, “I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. I will notI will not, I will not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let you down (relax My hold on you)!” So we take comfort and are encouraged and confidently and boldly say, The Lord is my Helper; I will not be seized with alarm [I will not fear or dread or be terrified]. What can man (or Satan) do to me?

These verses have been especially helpful these past days and I have to keep re-reading them to remind myself that God will not leave me stranded.  He treasures me, I am His daughter, He will not fail me nor leave me without support. So my goal this week: to stand firm.  To not be discouraged when I fail, again.  To realize that I cannot do this on my own and I have to rely on God’s strength.  To keep trusting that God will provide.  After all, Father knows best.

transitions

Big transitions in life are sometimes easy, sometimes hard, sometime exciting, sometimes dreaded.  My transition from college to the “real world” has been all of those.  For the longest time I dreaded it and I just knew it was going to be the hardest thing for me.  But when the time came, it was not dreadful or nearly as difficult as I thought it was going to be.  Instead, it has been a great transition, especially being back with family and being a part of their lives again.  It has been rather refreshing!  I am very blessed and grateful to be surrounded by family that know and love me.  It has also helped to keep in good contact with friends, whether through letters, phone calls, texts, or emails. Overall, it has been a pretty great transition.

But there are days.  Days like today when my mood seems to fit the cold, rainy weather.  My mom and I were talking about my transition from college, about friendships specifically, and she commented that some friendships will never be the same. Sadly, I realized that she is right.  Some friendships will change now that we are not near each other.  Many friendships won’t be the same because we are in different chapters of life.  Of course, those friends will still be important to me and I will love them just the same, but the way we will relate is very altered.  And moving back to a town where there are very few people my age has not always been the easiest either, especially when I am used to being surrounded by my peers.  It’s good to have people around you who are going through similar changes as you, and I do not really seem to have that here.

I say that not looking for pity.  This is just me coming to a realization that I am growing up.  I lived a rather carefree life the past four years and enjoyed every minute of it.  I’m still enjoying life, but I am realizing that life is different.  Things like money, spare time, and especially relationships do not come as easy.  They require more seeking, more planning even.  And I am reminded that I cannot live my life in my own strength.  Too often I rely on Caitlyn’s tenacity to get through life and I end up wearing holes in myself.  Today I realized that sometimes it takes God sending some cold, rainy days to see what holes need to be tended to.  What holes in our own lives need to be mended?  Sometimes we need to stop pouring out and allow ourselves to be filled by God.  Are we allowing Him to fill us so that we can pour into others, or are we relying on our own strength?

But He said to me, “My grace (My favor and loving-kindness and mercy) is enough for you; for My strength and power are made perfect (fulfilled and completed) and show themselves most effective in [your] weakness.” Therefore, I will all the more gladly glory in my weaknesses and infirmities, that the strength and power of Christ may rest upon me!…for when I am weak [in human strength], then am I [truly] strong.”
1 Corinthians 12:9, 10b (Amplified Bible)

just a glimmer

I started my first official grown up job and first job as a RN a few weeks ago. So far it has gone…fairly well.  I feel very new, there is a lot to learn, a lot of responsibilities, and a LOT of charting.  These babies are sooo tiny, but I have gotten fairly used to working with them.  I have yet to work with the really intensive ones, however, which will be harder.

For the first week I was rather discouraged.  The nurses were very knowledgeable and willing to help (they have gotten used to newbies because there are so many of us!), but it was definitely culture shock coming into a secular work environment again.  I was rather spoiled working, living, and going to school in a Christian environment for 3 straight years, and it was wonderful.  But now when I am working with a place where I am the minority, I have a lot of adjusting to do.  It was rather discouraging to hear all of the negative, biting conversations that are so typical in mostly-women workplaces and it was hard to feel so in the minority.  But just when I was getting really down, God put me with a wonderful, Christian co-worker!  She was my fill-in preceptor, we had a lot of in common and we really connected.  She gave me some encouraging insights into working in a secular environment, and it was just so refreshing to have a positive, Christian discussion during work.  It is so incredible the way God knows exactly what we need, exactly when we need it!

The one downside to working days: I am NOT morning person.  So it has been hard for me to get up at 5:30 am three times a week and not get home until around 8 pm.  Makes for a looong day.  And as I was driving home last night, I realized that the only light of day that I had seen was the glimmer of sunrise and glimmer of sunset.  And I thought to myself, “Well that’s great. I guess I just won’t see the sun for 3 days a week.”

But this morning, God painted the most beautiful sunrise I have seen in quite a while.  I was reminded of all the times that I had tried to wake up in time to see a sunrise but had slept through my alarm.  Then, I was just in awe of how incredible God is to make such things as sunrises and sunsets.  More beautiful than any painting, more breathtaking than any picture.  And suddenly, God was telling me that no matter what I encountered today it was going to be a good day because He had made it.  He made that sunrise just for me.

How great of a God do we serve?