Sunday, June 14, 2015

From Glory to Glory: When God Calls You Out (My Sister In Law Can Preach)

I have been in the strangest period of transition I have ever experienced in my whole life. And in this period I have realized something about myself, I am a "past dweller." When we moved to Abilene I missed Lubbock, when I went to college I missed high school, and when I have to meet new people there is this part of me that shuts down because I know eventually things will change and our relationship will change along with it.

I miss people the most. Old friends, people that move away, even friends that still live in Abilene but switch seasons while I stay put.

Because of my "past dwelling" I am really bad about being worried about the future, and moving ahead when I know God has told me to. Next week, I leave for Hati, and due to many prayers and random moments that I know were from the Lord, there is a significant chance I will be moving there long term when I graduate,

As I sat on my sister-in-laws couch and told her how nervous I was (a rare occurrence for me when it comes to traveling), I realized the root of it was my "past dwelling," when we talked about Hati I was already thinking about all of the things and people I would leave behind here.

She said something that I tried to cling to this weekend when many of my friends celebrated other transitions, transitions for other people, transitions I want but have yet to experience. And in the midst of this struggle, I forgot to celebrate my own transition. But Sarah reminded me, "You are in a period of transition, and that can be a fearful thing, but try not to let it be. Instead remember, God only transitions us from glory to glory, and if this period has been so glorious, imagine how incredible the next period of your life will be.

So, when I board the plane to Hati next week, I am going to try and do so all in. I am going to celebrate that after years of prayer, tears, and songs of praise God has finally called me out. One thing I am confident of, if it is not Hati, it will be another adventure, and I choose to enjoy the glory of this season, while anticipating the glory of the next one.

Thanks again precious sister-in-law.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Fallen Doesn't Mean Ugly: Choosing Glitter in Ashes

Confession - this is one of my more girly posts so if you don't want to read it I understand.

I have been in a time of transition "from glory to glory" as my sister in law reminded me. And in the midst of walkers, falls, scars, bruises and braces, I felt the enemy begin to whisper, "This is the most imprisoned you have ever been. Why trust the Lord if this is what He does to the ones He loves? How can you even look in the mirror?

My life has felt pretty full of ashes lately, and choosing life has gotten more and more exhausting. Praying for Jesus to show me how to fight, I felt Him say "Remember all the things that matter, Remember all of the ways I use CP. Remember how much I love you. Remember my gifts in the midst of this struggle.

And as I thought about how we live in a fallen world, the Holy Spirit said, "Just because it's fallen doesn't mean it's not beautiful."

Walkers and bruises and braces and tears can be a part of beauty. You just have to choose the glitter.

Then I decided it was time to take action, and make a choice. So I called my precious friend McKenna and asked if she could help me take some photos, so I would have some physical reminders of this spiritual fight I'm in. Explaining what I was dealing with, she took these photos, and I have never felt more encouraged.

The enemy wanted a fight, and now he has one. I choose life. I choose glitter. I choose peace. Because a glittering life is what Jesus died for me to have, even in the dark. And isn't that beautiful?

Saturday, June 6, 2015

I Got it From My Mama (And Daddy)

This week I did something I have never done before. I went to camp as a counselor for 8th grade girls. It was the most incredible, most difficult, most anointed time I have experienced in my life outside of the 6 months I spent at Mercy.
Before I left, I had the honor of my sweet homeschooler asking me to be her "camp mama." I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt it was something I was supposed to do. And I was terrified.

 I don't know how well you know my mama, but she's incredible. She speaks the truth in love, she is STRONG, and our relationship is the best it has EVER been. And my daddy is fantastic, loving, gentle, firm...

 But, I was a tough kid, with hard memories, heartbreak, and trust issues.
And this girl is my favorite, but she does too. And I didn't know if I could be a mama, even for a week.
Boarding the bus I was queasy, jittery, prayerful and concerned. And I had NO idea what the week ahead would hold.

This week I held her while she cried, I rode a swing that was CRAZY high off the ground (even though I didn't want to at first)  I gave medicine and hugs and listened when she talked. And occasionally, I disciplined. Each time I did one of these things I saw her heart... and mine just broke. Because I remembered another little girl who wanted hugs but didn't know how to give them, wanted love but didn't know how to receive it, and wanted stability but didn't trust it.

And in each of these situations, I kept thinking about the Jesus I saw in my parents. I kept praying about how they raised me, and in those prayers I knew what to do. It was both simple and insanely complicated. "Never give up. Keep loving the ugly parts." And let me tell you, as a kid, I had some hideous parts. But my parents would always hold me even when I was stiff, love me even when I faced consequences for my actions, and sometimes we would cry together because neither of us knew what to do
So that's what I did. I loved her even when my heart was breaking, held her when I didn't know what else to do, and we cried together because sometimes life just isn't fair. My nieces awakened the "mama" dream in me, but my homeschooler? She showed me what it is to love those kids who need it most, and who trust their experiences which tell them they are not worthy of love  more than they trust Jesus...those kids like me.

And I have never been more thankful for my parents. I guess I wanted to write this post for all the parents who feel like their kids will never see the other side. Those kids who push you away with one hand, and hug you with the other, who tell you they hate you and then cry themselves to sleep because they hate themselves more, those kids who have such tender and incredible hearts when they finally start to share them, those kids who tell you they love you, and it is that very love that causes such traumatizing fear because human love isn't perfect.

For those parents, from one who was (sometimes still is) a tough child, thank you. Thank you for loving the ugly, for never giving up, and for mirroring Jesus the best you know how. Someday your kids will be thankful, someday they will hold you close to their hearts and regret having ever pushed you away. Someday they will tell you they love you and you will have no doubt they mean it. Someday, you will cry together tears of joy not of sadness, but until that day comes, let me be the one to say, thank you, for loving the ugly ones. Someday the story will be beautiful.

And as I became "mama" this week so many people thanked me for doing so well with my loved beyond knowledge homeschooler, all I could think is I got this parenting heart from my mama and daddy. And the love inside it? That's straight from Jesus. Because He always loves ugly. I have never been more thankful for my mama, and more honored and excited to be one, even if it was only for camp.