Open my ears, I wanna hear You speak.

I want to curl up in my bed with my Bible until I can process this. I want to shut out all the noise and distractions and opinions. I just want You, God. I am starting to lose my mind. Wait, back up, that process has most definitely already started. I want my mind back…on You, God.

Before Church this morning, I wanted to hear some preaching before the preaching. I pulled up Steven Furtick again. This time he was talking about Joseph’s dreams again. He’s preached on the importance of telling your dreams to the right people before and how to protect your God-given dreams. This message picked up right there and carried on.

Steven said: “a dream will make you bold.” Well check. I got bold alright. I started doing my best to move mountains and shake up the Heavens. Then he talked about the dream we see in one part of our life will show up later in a different dimension. His second point was that: “a dream makes you different.” Check. Check. The last point was that: “a dream can become a distraction.” Well that is exactly where I am now. I am not sure if this is a test to see if I have what it takes to keep going or if You are giving me an out because this isn’t what You wanted or if this is where I learn how to handle things going forward.

Joseph had the courage to wear his father’s coat, knowing his brothers hated him. He shared his dream with them, knowing them would hate him even more. Maybe it was immature to share his dream with his brothers, knowing how they feel about him. Maybe it put too much pressure on the dream by telling people that hated him. Maybe the dream changed because of our own agendas. Maybe we lose all sight of the dream and make it all about us. But You can use even this mess for Your plan.

I don’t want to leave my coat hanging up in the closet. I want to follow You and when I do, dreams will follow. Steven preached the dreams followed Joseph into slavery, into prison, into the pit, into all of it. Then Steven said: “you’ve got the right dream, you just need to see it differently. What if your dream was just the first draft? Are you open to a revision?”

Then the preaching took the message home for me. Steven taught God develops dreams in the dark room. Your dream is developed by a professional. Do I have the patience to let it develop? Do I have the courage to hand You the negatives? Even in the darkest places of my disappointment.

Then today at Church of the Highlands, Pastor Chris got me all riled up for Easter. He preached on Freedom and how each of the things Jesus went through were promises fulfilled for us. The whip was freedom in my body. The crown of thorns was freedom in my mind. The nails were freedom in my hands, for everything I’ve ever done and every time I’ve gone too far. The last point he made was the spear was freedom in my heart. That’s when I started weeping. Because when they stabbed Jesus with the spear, He was already dead. His blood was mixed with water because of heart failure. It wasn’t the 39 stripes that killed Him. It wasn’t the crown of thorns pierced into Head. It wasn’t the nails stabbed into Him. It wasn’t the suffocation. It wasn’t even the spear in His side. It was heart failure. His heart was crushed.

And He did all of this while holding onto His peace. Through it all he went like a lamb headed to the slaughter. He went willingly and without persecuting His enemies. He could have stopped the whole thing at any time, but He didn’t. He was loyal to You, Your plan, and my salvation.

Even in my darkest places of disappointment. Even when I am heartbroken. I can still carry peace. I can still follow You. I can still extend grace. I can still find You. Steven preached: I’m in the center, but not for status, for service. The greatest thing You are going to do for my life is use it to contribute to others. He said: I don’t have to be the one singing the song, I just have to be a part of it. The dream isn’t about me. The end of 2 Chronicles 20:15 says: the battle is not yours, but God’s.

So, this is my prayer. I pray for peace. I pray I hold onto that peace. I pray I hold onto you. I pray I remember that I am not God. I pray I remember who you are. I pray I remember the whole point of the story. I am not the whole story, Father, you are. I pray you develop my dream. I pray I leave it to the professional. I pray I trust you with the negatives. Thank you for freedom in my body. Thank you for freedom in my mind. Thank you for freedom in my hands. Thank you for freedom in my heart. Thank you for the cross. Thank you for taking what was meant for me. Thank you for taking it while holding onto peace. Thank you for taking it like a lamb. Thank you for reminding me the whole purpose is service. Thank you for reminding I am not alone. The dream is not about me and what I want. I am sorry I try to make it about me. I am sorry I rush things. I am sorry I put my agenda before your plan. I am sorry I put pressure on the dream. I am sorry I let the dream become a distraction. And as always I pray for my family and sorority sisters. I pray for my university. I pray for guidance for our government, church, and school leaders. I pray for protection for our troops. I pray for all of those that need you now and for those that haven’t met you yet. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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And you can bury the workmen, but the work will go on.

“They thought it was over, that His name would fade away.”

Lettttttttt me tell how many times I put that song on repeat yesterday. Your. Name. Will. Not. Fade. Away.

The work will go on. This is not about me. Every single bit of this is about Your plan and Your glory. I am just one part of it. My world crumbled, not the world. I get so caught up in what’s going on in my life that I get selfish sometimes.

Maybe sometimes my world needs to crumble so I remember who is in control. On Wednesday night at Bible study, we studied Matthew 20:1-16. It’s a story about these workers in the vineyard. These people are hired and given their pay and they work all day long. Then these other people are hired and given the same pay and they only work for an hour.

At first everyone thinks this is unfair and they get jealous. We all immediately jumped to the defense of the people working all day, immediately relating to them. Like it was an instantaneous feeling. We didn’t even blink an eye.

The truth is, we are most definitely the ones showing up late to the party and getting the same reward. Jesus, You, put in the work. For me. On the cross. Jesus, You, put in the work. In me. On the regular. (every hour I need thee.)

I am chosen. Yet I question Your grace, alllll the time. I’m trying to read the Word, cover to cover. And usually when I study it that way, I don’t make it out of Genesis. But I am determined this time so I’ve made it, ya know, all the way to Exodus so far. So I’m reading Exodus and it’s going on and on about the exact size that the curtains need to be for tabernacle and what kind of yarn needs to be used. It is literally so specific and detailed. I’m not gonna lie, I literally read part and was thinking why do I need to know they used a half yard here and half yard on the other side, like for real? Then I heard that still small voice say: because if You care so much about fabric choice for a meeting place for worship, doesn’t He care soo much more for me? That’s a building and You are intentional with it, so imagine how much more You are with me, Your child.

In both lessons, I learned how You are deliberate and unrushed. Your love astounds me daily. It’s hard for me to believe in all of my sin and my shame and my mess, You choose me again and again. You rescue me again and again. You give me grace again and again. You seek me out again and again. You pursue a relationship with me again and again.

So this is my prayer. Thank you for loving me. Thank you for your generosity. Thank you for your love. Thank you for the cross. Thank you for wanting me. Thank you for never leaving me. Thank you for patience. Thank you for being deliberate and unrushed. Thank you that it’s not about me. I would make a terrible god. Thank you for not being persuaded by my arrogance. Thank you that your spirit moves in and your will be done. Thank you that the message is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Thank you for choosing me. Thank you for working so hard to save me. And as always I pray for my family and sorority sisters. I pray for my university. I pray for guidance for our government, church, and school leaders. I pray for protection for our troops. I pray for all of those that need you now and for those that haven’t met you yet. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

And I’m not holding onto You, but You’re holding onto me.

Usually when my world starts spinning in the opposite direction I want it to, then I come to You asking why this and why that. I learned a few years ago, that why is the wrong question. The right question is what am I going to do with what I left?

I know in my heart that’s what I should be asking. I know in my heart exactly what I should be doing. I know exactly where to go from here. I’ve been to rock bottom before. I’ve had my world taken away. I’ve been lost and confused.

When I feel like I’m losing control, I used to do something I could control. I would dye my hair, chop it all off, rearrange my bedroom. And when I’m really, desperately losing it in the moment, I clean, like deep clean, hands and knees on the floor scrubbing.

I learned that I was never in control though, You are. You had me then. You have me now. And You will still have me next time my world falls apart.

I’ve known rock bottom, but this is deeper. This is messy and wayyyy down deep underground. I’m gonna have dirt under my nails from climbing out of this for a while. I am not going to come out on the other side unchanged. But I will climb out. Because I have an Almighty Father that loves me too much to leave me in this hole I built. Thank you Abba. Thank you Daddy. Thank you Father. Thank you PaPa.

Thank you for providing lighthouses in the storm to guide my way home.

So here is my prayer. Thank you for this. Thank you for this. Thank you for this. This was not my plan, but my God, your plans are greater than my own and I will trust you! You have eternity in mind. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you for never leaving me to face the storm alone. I love you Father and I am relying solely on you. Thank you for holding me. And as always I pray for my family and sorority sisters. I pray for my university. I pray for guidance for our government, church, and school leaders. I pray for protection for our troops. I pray for all of those that need you now and for those that haven’t met you yet. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Then I wouldn’t know that Your love coming home.

I felt like I was being punished. I felt like this was all of my fault. Because of my sin? Or maybe because I asked for my life to be interrupted? I asked to be a disciple maker. I asked to be your hands and feet. I asked for this. Because they hated You first? Or maybe because I heard what I wanted to hear instead of what You were actually telling me? Maybe instead of following Your will, I was following my own agenda? Maybe I just wasn’t for this? Maybe I just wasn’t good enough for what I wanted? Maybe I still have a lot to learn? Maybe I wasn’t ready? Maybe this was all supposed to be some kind of test that I failed?

I watched Steven Furtick’s Maybe God series when I was going through a decision making process so I thought it only fitting to start Lysa Terkheurst’s disappointment series when I am going through disappointment.

In the first episode, Lysa teaches straight out of Genesis. She taught about how You asked two questions before giving any consequences. Adam and Eve invited sin and darkness and pain and hurting and shame and yes, disappointment. They invited those things into the world when they ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The enemy tricked them into thinking that their eyes would be open to that knowledge and that would make them like You. But it only opened their eyes to the weight of the bad, the weight of guilt and shame, the weight of heartache and disappointment.

The first question You asked is: where are you? You went looking for them when they went hiding. Thank you so much for seeking me when I should be seeking You, for never giving up on me, and always finding me. I would love to say that since I’ve become a Christian that I am always found, but boyyyy howdy can I get lost still. The difference is that I no longer stay lost, I don’t have to hide anymore.

The second question You asked is: who? You want Your labels to be our labels. You want us to know whose we are and who we are. You want us to be labeled Your child, Your beloved. You don’t want shame and guilt and disappointment and hurt to be our labels. Then Lysa says what she always says that sinks right into my heart: You love us too much to leave us the way we are. You want so much more for us.

Lisa taught about how we’re doing life on earth with eternity on our hearts. We’re looking for perfection. It’s Your way of leading us home.

So, that is my prayer today. Thank you for leading me home. Thank you for labeling me your child. Thank you for trying to protect me from my own sin. Lord, I live in a fallen world and I seek out the darkness that I invite into my world. But Abba Father, you love me too much to leave me in that darkness. You put a light in me, your light. The darkness and disappointment is not a result of me following you and being found, it is a result of the mercy you gave me. The consequence for not following those instructions was death. You chose mercy instead. You saw that I was worth saving. You called out to me. You sought me out. You want me to just come home. And as always I pray for my family and sorority sisters. I pray for my university. I pray for guidance for our government, church, and school leaders. I pray for protection for our troops. I pray for all of those that need you now and for those that haven’t met you yet. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

The only place I can go is into Your arms.

Yesterday, with one phone call, my whole world crumbled.

I was not ok. I’m still not ok.

But my middle name is Faith. So I called my pastor on the way home yesterday. And this morning, I gathered myself as much as I could and I went to the Word. I was still in shock and barely present and definitely numb so I pulled up YouTube and searched for Elevation Church. I pulled up the sermon I missed in the Maybe, God series that I missed and clicked play. Because You knew exactly when I would need to hear that message. Because You, my God, have perfect timing.

Steven Furtick started with: “I can walk into darkness and light it up because the light of the world lives in me.” I immediately started going woah now, no I can’t, not right now. I am in shock. I am confused. I don’t understand. I am disappointed. I am defeated. This weight feels heavy. I can hardly breathe. I can’t even function. I am not ok. Well, obvi Steven was not finished, so he continued with a definition of my middle name: Faith, which means sure reliance, and he defined it as confident reliance. All I was thinking is I’m sure I got no confidence or reliance right now. At this point, I am almost scoffing at the message, because this must all be some sick joke, at the same time, I know nothing is funny right now.

But I kept watching, as Steven further explained that Faith is an expectation to know even if the sequence of things don’t make sense, You live outside of time and outside of my sequence. I thought I was doing what You wanted. I thought I was living inside of Your will. He continued stating: I don’t have to live in suspense, I live in expectation that You are good. I have goodness and mercy as the gatekeepers. I have security.

Excuse me, while my doubt screams, what security do I have right now? My mind has completely shut down on me. Lord, have some patience with me as always, ok? Because I know I sound awfully pessimistic and broken, but I am listening. So, Steven continues preaching, I’m still barely even there. He says the way You grow our faith is to disappoint my expectation. Well, check. Then he said the way the devil uses disappointment is to destroy your faith. Well, check. Jesus ya girl is confused. I know in my heart that disappointment grows my faith, but this feels like it’s being destroyed. I got to get it together.

So, I keep listening and Steven says my faith does not rest on me. And I’m all like: well thank goodness. He continues with You need our faith to rest not in whether You fill our agenda or not. You taught in parables so Your wisdom couldn’t be ascertained by the human mind so Your Spirit could reveal the unlearned, not the wisdom of this world. So much of what You do is hidden, but we spend so much time in our invisible prisons in our minds, trying to figure our whether You are good, whether life makes sense. Steven said: I can’t figure it out like that. I can’t figure it out through self. He said: it’s hard to see the light in solitary confinement. As long as I’m in the prison of what I thought, I can’t be a part of what You are doing.

Then Steven closed with a prayer. As if the prayer was just for me and my circumstances, he prayed: they got hopes up so high, they made a fool of themselves. He said: it’s You, I need to make sense of my life.

So, here is my prayer. This one is going to hurt. Steven may have been preaching about John the Baptist and he may have been preaching in North Carolina about a month ago, but you and I both know, he was also preaching about me, today, in Alabama. I still believe in your faithfulness. I still believe in your truth. I still believe in your holy word. Even when I don’t see, I still believe. I don’t even know what to pray for right now. Clarity maybe? Truth? Answers? I don’t know what I am supposed to do now, Father. I don’t know anything anymore. I feel like a fool. The world around me crumbled and it feels like there’s nothing left but uncertainty and storm damage. Yet somehow, I am still here, I am still standing. I built my life upon the rock so even when it’s storming, I’m still standing. I am soaked, head to toe. I am being tossed around by the wind. I am getting hit with debris. I am most definitely not ok, but I still believe. I feel lost, but I am not lost. I am yours. I am your child. I know who I am, because I know who You are. I have no clue where to go from here or what to do, but I know your light lives in me. I know you live in me. Lord, help me to know you’re near. Father, I love you and I am so so so terribly sorry. I don’t even have words to process this right now. The only thing I can say is I still believe. You are still good. You are still merciful. You are still King. You are still sovereign. You are still the way, the truth, and the life. You are still my life. Even when my world crumbles around me, You are still my everything. You are all I desire. You are all I need. You are my security. You are my safe place. You are my sanity. You are my sure reliance, my confident reliance. You are going to walk with me into this darkness and light it up. You are near. You never left even when I couldn’t see. You are still in control. And as always I pray for my family and sorority sisters. I pray for my university. I pray for guidance for our government, church, and school leaders. I pray for protection for our troops. I pray for all of those that need you now and for those that haven’t met you yet. In Jesus’ name, Amen.