Monday, May 31, 2010

It's too easy to forget.

This is why we have days memorializing certain events. It's just too easy to forget. To live on.

Today, as I read the Americans Creed, I realized how painfully far off our country has gone. It's one of those things I know but tend to just not think about since there feels like there's nothing I can do about it.

The Americans Creed reads this:

I believe in the United States of America, as a government of the people, by the people, for the people; whose just powers are derived from the consent of the governed; a democracy in a republic; a sovereign Nation of many sovereign States; a perfect union, one and inseparable; established upon those principles of freedom, equality, justice, and humanity for which American patriots sacrificed their lives and fortunes.
I therefore believe it is my duty to my country to love it, to support its Constitution, to obey its laws, to respect its flag, and to defend it against all enemies. (William Tyler Page)

It's the last line that caught my attention:
It is my duty to love it, support its Constitution, obey it's laws, respect its flag, and to defend it against all enemies.

I tend to forget to defend it against all enemies.

I tend to forget that there is something I can do about it.

The Bible says: For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

There is a place for our soldiers to fight and struggle for our freedom. But the battles for countries and wars and battles were won and lost by the sinfulness and righteousness of it's inhabitants. It's won and lost in our prayers and supplications to God.

It's too easy to forget and just say a 'bless me" prayer, or "help me" prayer. To just pray for my niece and nephew, and immediate family and other needs that I know of or that burden my heart - and forget the very nation in which I live.

But we need help. Our Nation, our beautiful, God founded Nation needs help. We're breaking and crumbling and the situation is desperate. We need God.
So I just want to write this as a reminder for myself, and if it helps you as well, wonderful:
Pray for our Nation.

Only God can save our Nation from it's downward spiral. Only God.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

The blue chair.

I am not a materialistic person. I don't like "stuff", to a rather eccentric extreme. So when I started making decisions concerning what of my "stuff" would come with me to my new home next month I didn't think of anything except getting rid of more "stuff". A project like that usually makes me happy. I see empty spaces and smile.

That was until today.

As we discussed what furniture I would take with me, and which would go with my brothers family, and which needed to be gotten rid of my blue chair came under scrutiny. It's a "recliner" in the loosest sense of the word since it doesn't actually recline. Or, should the unthinking victim actually attempt to recline, they find themselves reclined to a rather unnatural extreme and unable to unrecline themselves. It's amusing to watch.

But the blue chair was very comfortable for plain old sitting.

But that's not why I cried after it left.

I can remember, picture in my mind, as if it happened just moments ago my sweet, sturdy, beautiful Bell climbing into that chair, far too big for her and sitting, chubby legs askew. I've got pictures of her in just that spot.
I remember taking pictures of Baby and Toddles, my first duo placement, as they sat together in that chair.
And how well I remember Little One sitting in that chair, laying in that chair, eating her favorite banana in that chair.
I remember Sniffles who seemed to fall asleep lying out across the chair.

I looked at the empty lines the frame left on the floor after the man had carried away such a treasure, and I just cried. I miss those babies, but more than anything else in this world I miss my Bell. I'd have given everything I have for that child, and now her chair is gone.

I didn't think it was important. And in truth, it probably isn't. It is still just a chair, the memories are still mine. But if I had it to do over again... I would just crowd my future living room with my blue chair. And be happy.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

A wordy challenge

I was reading when a Christian challenged a brother in Christ about his tendency to be very quiet.
The man simply stated: "I don't need words to live."
The response the author wrote for that man challenged me.

"But how do you share your faith? How do you show people the joy Christ brings?"

Even if you are talkative, if you think back to your words throughout this week can you recall words that spoke of your faith in Christ? Words that spoke of your joy because of His work in your life?

God gave us words, and every thing He's given us is to bring HIM glory. Not us.
So I wanted to write this challenge out for you as well as myself -

Make your words this week speak of your faith in Christ and the joy Christ brings.

Gods response to repentance.

So I repented.
I told God I couldn't handle the stress, and worrying about it. I told Him that I couldn't fix or change, or better the situation at all. Only God could make it workable. I told Him I needed His help, I needed His wisdom, I needed His peace, I needed Him.

That was Sunday.

Monday morning I went in to work to find an e-mail from my boss waiting for me. She is starting the process to make me a permanent employee. She's starting this process more than 2 weeks early, so it might hopefully be accomplished near my 90 day mark.
Others have waited months past their 90 days to get this notice. The girl I hired with didn't get this notice. I got this notice.

Monday night, my heart had completely changed towards a house that I hated. I called them up to see if I could look at it, they made special arrangements for me (including giving me the code to the lockbox so I could let myself in - which in San Antonio isn't something that's usually even considered according to my co-workers who were in shock).

I looked at the house, deemed it not only good, but really nice.

So today I called them and asked them to take $50 off the rent. After some consideration, they said no, but gave me the information that they cover the water/sewage bill. Something that accounts for pretty much $50.
They aren't going to charge me the application fee.
I don't even have to apply since they'd received my application for the house I'm currently living in.
It's May 26th, and they are going to hold the house until July 1st for no additional fees.

So Sunday I went from scared about the future to leaving it in Gods hands.
It's now Wednesday, and I have a house, and a job.

To say I'm humbled is putting it mildly. Gods hands are where this should have been the whole time. I can't tell you how wonderful He is. But you can sure imagine from stories like this.
He's more than wonderful.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Confession my faults - Fear.

I like apologizing.

I know what you're thinking, and I saw that eye-roll. You'll just have to trust me on this. I like apologizing. I enjoy naming how my sin was wrong, bringing it to light, and letting someone know I'm sorry not just for doing whatever, but for the disrespect, unkindness, selfishness, whatever sinful nature was rearing up to cause the action in the first place.

It leaves me feeling like I just kicked dirt in the devils eye. I like to take sin seriously - not in that I would think about it all the time, but that when I do find it in my life I figure out what it really is.

I've been stressed out lately. I didn't realize it until the other night but the move I'm about to make and all it's little ramifications was scaring me. I did some math the other day and, living on my own, after bills here I'd have $52 left for groceries for the month.

It's not that I don't think I'll eat, because I know God will provide work and money so I actually don't think I'll go without. It just made me realize how close to the line I'm going to be. If emergencies come up...

And I became afraid.
I didn't rest in the promise that God would supply my needs, He would help me, and give me wisdom as to the house to choose and what actions to take in order to use the money He's provided me with wisely.

As I grew more afraid, my actions around my poor housemates changed as well.

The turning point was when I griped at my nephew for dumping his water out to put fresh water in his cup. He said it was old and I griped something about how water doesn't taste old after 3 hours.
Then later that evening, I brought my cup downstairs, dumped the water out, rinsed the cup and refilled it with fresh water.

Instantly I was convicted.

And I did something I hadn't done too recently; I went to my bedroom, dropped to my knees beside my bed and I wept before God. I repented of my actions towards my family, and I prayed He would help me not just to treat them as He would, but that He would calm my fears and I would simply trust Him for my needs without worry.

I told Him I was stressed out, worried, and anxious and I didn't know how to handle the changes coming up on my own. I told Him I loved Him dearly, and that I hadn't been showing it - and I was so very sorry for how off-track my heart had wandered from the path and that I needed Him to draw me nearer, because I just wasn't close enough. I need Him more.

Wednesday night on the way home from church I was working on memorizing 2 Chronicles 7:14 with the kids: If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from Heaven and forgive their sin and heal their land.

It seemed that night, those words were prophetic as I unthinkingly acted them out. But I got up that evening forgiven. Regrets can't be changed, but forgiveness is wonderful. But I didn't realize until later that God had worked on healing my land as well. Today is different, I don't know how or where I'll ultimately end up but... There is something new inside me that's able to trust for this now. And I came home and it was probably one of the more peaceful, kind nights at the house.

The night I repented, afterwards I stayed up late reading 1 John. When I reached 5:4 I found another verse that I set about trying to memorize. It's well worth memorizing if you'd like to try.

For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world; even our faith. 1 John 5:4

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

2010 Reader Census

Do any of you speak spanish?

I'm attending a bi-lingual church at the moment and I have some things that might come up in Spanish that I want to blog about but don't want to sit here talking about Spanish to a bunch of English speaking readers that squint at the screen wondering if I've finally gone mad.

So, please, I'm not asking much, truly, it would take 2 minutes of time (you can even do it as anonymous, I don't mind) whatever is easiest for you.


Ok, so that's not true.

But if any of my Spanish speaking readers could just pop on and say "Hey, I speak Spanish and if you post something in spanish I won't ungoogle-reader you." I'd sure appreciate it.

:) Please?

Here's a hint as to why I might want to know - posts with items like this:

Lyrics with Translation:
Cuan hermoso eres Jesús, son tus palabras, es tu amor.
How beautiful are you Jesus, they are your words, it is your love.
Cuan glorioso eres Jesús, es tu poder, fue to cruz.
How glorious are you Jesus, it is your power, it was the cross.
La que me salvó, me rescató; un momento ahí nos dio libertad.
What it saved me, it saved me; a moment there it gives to us liberty.
Te doy gloria, gloria a ti Jesús.
I give you glory, glory to you Jesus.
Con una corona de espinos te hiciste Rey por siempre.
With a crown from thorns you've become a King forever.

And for my English Speakers

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Watch your language!

"I'm ugly"
"I'm fat"
"I'm stupid"
"I'm not good enough"
"I'm worthless"
"What's the point?"
"I don't care"
"It doesn't matter anyway"
"You're mean"
"You're an idiot"
"You're lazy"
"You're a slob"
"He's two fries short of a happy meal"
"He's dumber than an ox"
"Nobody likes him"
"He's worse than the other one"
"We'll never make it"
"It'll be too late anyway"
"I'll never find it"
"I'll never beat this"
"I hate doing this (chore/work/task)"

Do you feel inspired yet?
Here is one thing I know - I've never regretted hoping for something. I've never regretted saying a kind word. I've never regretted encouraging someone.

Here's a second thing I know - I've made a difference in lives hoping for something. I've made people happier by saying a kind word. I've inspired someone to do better by encouraging them.

So, please, I beg you, start using different words. You tear down not just others but yourself - you're so much better than this. Your words matter so much, and make more of a difference than you know! You have power that you aren't even aware of, and if you use it unwisely or carelessly because you just don't place a value on your words - people get hurt, discouraged, sad, angry, bitter.

Your words matter.

I know it's strange to say encouraging things sometimes - it literally puts a halt to a conversation because sometimes encouragement just doesn't fit in - but it's always necessary. Some people out there, myself included quite often, are just plain tired and a simple word of encouragement a simple word of praise makes a world of difference.

The Bible says so much about how strong our tongues are, and I believe if you go anywhere today you'll see living proof of it. Husbands gripe at wives rarely stopping to say "I appreciate what a great cook you are." Wives gripe at husbands rarely stopping to say "I appreciate how you work hard to fix things around here." Children gripe at parents and fail to say "Thank you, for all the things you do, from laundry, to meals or the new movie you bought me." And parents gripe at their kids for failures, without recognizing their traits and talents that could change their failures into successes."
And as part of the results of that you watch divorces happen and kids rebelling against their parents.

And friends fail to tell friends how much they enjoy eating lunch with them every day.

We gripe and complain, which just discourages and frustrates.

But I guarantee you, when you start encouraging people - find anything good to say! - then you will make a difference that you wouldn't believe. Things will change that no amount of complaining would have changed.

So throw out those lines you use on others AND YOURSELF - and begin using a new language.
You'll discover something amazing.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

What my God can do.

I've been enjoying a major change of attitude lately. I almost took a part time job, but then I felt, again, the strong urging from God that I need to be here while I'm here.
For those of you that don't know, I'm living with my brothers family right now after the initial move to San Antonio so that we could all save expenses.
Our lease is up at the end of June so we'll all be parting ways and moving again (just to separate houses here in SA). And as the time gets closer and closer I just keep seeing how I'm running out of time to really enjoy my niece and nephew as local cohabitants. :)

When I made the decision to turn down the job, and literally gave as my reasons "I feel God wants me to be here while I'm here" - rather than spending so much time at work and away from home - something happened inside me.

I start practicing all the things I know I'll need as a foster mom. I started cleaning things, washing things, keeping things more clean, spending more time outside with the kids rather than sequestered in my room reading a book.
My attitude towards them has changed too - I've been a part of a trend of sarcasm and mocking in this house that I decided I needed to put at end to on my part. I remember vividly after spending two pleasant evenings with my niece, that the next night at supper I joined into laughter at her expense. Granted, we want her to have a thick skin and be able to laugh at herself - but, while she never said a word specifically, she looked at me several times like she felt betrayed. As though suddenly she wouldn't have expected me to join in the laughing this time.

Not a word spoken, but that look still haunts me.

I want my kids, and my niece and nephew, and my family, and my friends to always know that if I'm in their corner, I'm entirely in their corner. I want them to know that I won't hurt their feelings on purpose, and if I do hurt their feelings that I'll apologize and not make excuses for why it's ok that I did what I did.

This is what God is doing in me.

He's given me peace and excitement concerning the coming move.
He's given me peace and comfort concerning my parents move and the fact that I'm not there to help.
He called me to move 300 miles from home and despite the fact that I previously lived paycheck to paycheck, He helped me survive 5 months without a job.
He gave me wisdom concerning how to deal with a tenant that is renting my old home, and per an agreement with him he actually got caught up on all the delinquent expenses within 15 days.
He helped me befriend a girl that I couldn't have less in common with - (she's never out of high heels, and giggles about the color pink and glitter) - and He's really working something in her heart so she's starting to seek answers.

In the past 8 years He has taken me from a broken, hurting person to one that is entirely confident in so many things concerning His love and grace. I have a home in Him. I have love and life in Him. I am happy. I am content even with the things I don't have.

I have been blessed.

I know you don't often comment, but one thing that frustrates me about churches is that they don't too often have a testimony time anymore. If you just feeling like giving praise to God in writing, I'd love to see it in the comments.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Building a fire - Big logs.

These are just some thoughts I'd had while camping recently concerning how to build the fire of God in your life. Read Part 1, and Part 2.


It was the thick logs of wood that truly got my attention.
It changed my constant efforts to keep a fire alive to sitting back and enjoying a fire.

Where the other items, my paper, and my small sticks lasted only minutes - this... this gave us hours of enjoyment. It burned, deep and thick. And my heart cried - God, give me logs!

That spiritual burning that doesn't ever let up, that still stayed hot after we poured water on it before turning in for the night, that heat that radiated hours after we'd stopped adding wood.

The steadiness of it all, the ease of it was... mind-boggling.

But it came at a cost. The other items just took the time to pick up and stuff on the fire. Wood though, if I had not purchased it at the store would have cost me manual labor of cutting logs myself. It is not as easy as picking up stray sticks. It takes pre-meditation and effort. Or in my case, money. Which ultimately equals labor at work to earn the money.
In other words - It didn't come free.

And as I've spent the last week and a half thinking about it I have considered what those logs would be in my spiritual life.

I would compare them to time spent in earnest prayer. For every fan of the few minutes of conversation with God just before you go to bed - I think you'll see there's a difference.

I would compare them to time spent speaking in tongues and asking God for interpretation.

I would compare them to time spent not just reading the Bible but studying the Word. Seeking out answers and new/fresh revelations.

And lastly, I would compare it to time spent memorizing Gods word.

You may have some things that would add to this list. I'd love to read them if you'd like to contribute.

The logs are where the meat is. You can get saved and sit around enjoying your random stick fire. It burns bright and fast.

But me, I want logs. I want my life to be filled with time spent gathering logs in my life that will burn long and hot. It also provides more enjoyment and less searching.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Building a fire - Small sticks

These are just some thoughts I'd had while camping recently concerning how to build the fire of God in your life. Read part 1 here.


To say that the kids and I scavenged for sticks is putting it mildly. I even hung off a steep hill clutching a fence to stay upright while reaching with my foot for a larger stick (the crowning jewel of the stick world). I got it too. :)

And actually my very first fire was just small sticks. That's all we had so I gathered as much as possible with my two semi-willing recruits and then we made fire.

Within 5 minutes I knew my little sticks were not quite up to par. I spent the next 10 minutes no where near the fire as I searched for something, anything, to keep my little fire afire. Coming back with more sticks I still enjoyed less than 15 minutes of fire. It wasn't going to last. It was beautiful, and warming, and wonderful to behold for the time I had it, but sticks just weren't good enough.

So I went out and despite my personal feelings of being ripped off at paying $4.50 for 7 split pieces of wood, I ultimately ended up getting two bundles.

The sticks still going fairly well, I added two logs to the fire and away we went. We spent the rest of the evening enjoying a wonderful flame and warmth.

The next morning, however, when I went to build another fire I had a harder time finding sticks (since we'd pilfered the area fairly well). So I didn't have quite as many sticks under my logs.
Because of that I almost didn't get a fire going.

You see, the big logs take awhile to truly "catch". Paper doesn't last long enough to catch the big logs on fire. But the paper catches the little sticks, and the little sticks burn long enough to catch the logs.

There's a good system to it all.

As I think about my life and the little sticks in my life I want to compare the little sticks to the day to day encounters with Christ. Not just the little moments where you hear a song and feel Him, but when you make sure and read your 3 chapters, 5 chapters, or how ever many you read, every single day. Or pray for 20 minutes each morning. Whatever your routine is.

I think the little sticks are the every day small things that we take for granted and consider unimportant.

We skip our daily reading because, hey, it's only 3 chapters. I can make it up tomorrow or something, today is busy. Talk to God before I go to bed? Well, I would but man, it's been a day and I'm exhausted. God won't mind. It's not like it's that big a deal.

But for every stick you take off your pile, you'll have a harder time catching the big logs on fire. My first campfire eventually burned brightly, with beautiful flames.
My second campfire with less sticks, had trouble getting started and while it burned it mostly burned hot rather than with real flames that I could watch and enjoy.

It made a real impact on me watching how the second fire had so much trouble. I'd put so much importance on the big logs yesterday... ohhh if only I could have a big log that would burn forever and my fire would then be strong and last.

But my big logs just weren't enough on their own. The foundation of those little sticks led to a beautiful bright fire. Even though they had seemed so useless on the first fire since they burnt out so quickly.

As I've said, it's easy to take for granted the small foundational things like regular prayer and reading Gods word. But it's vital.
At least if you want to build a big fire one day.
And I personally want a bonfire that will put Texas A&M to shame. :)

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Building a fire - Paper First

I love camping.

If I could find some way to keep my clothes clean and neat looking so I could go to work every day - I'd happily live in a tent for the rest of my days. Especially now that I've mastered the rain fly. And no longer wake up swimming.

So this weekend, when we went camping, I absolutely enjoyed myself. *Despite the fact that I did ridicule the fact that our campground failed to actually have a "campsite" and instead called a slab of rock and a picnic table a "site". Lazy L 'n L Campground? Let me just tell you: people expect grass. They also expect to be able to be able to stake their tent to the ground without the assistance of a sledge hammer and railroad spikes. Really.

I still loved it through.

And I got to perform one of my favorite duties - making a campfire. And sitting there, watching the campfire glow and burn I couldn't help but compare the real fire to the spiritual Holy Ghost fire that I desire in my life. And I immediately began wondering if the construction of the two fires might be similar.

Since I tend to be long-winded I'm going to separate this into different posts that I'll be posting during the week. So stay tuned.

It was the construction of the fire that I began thinking about - the different elements to it. The first one being paper.

I'd rummaged through our things, and cars looking for scrap paper to put at the bottom of what would be my campfire.
Of the wood and sticks that would go on the fire, paper bits light the easiest. Just a small click of our lighter wand and the paper ignites easily. I need the paper, because it helps light the small sticks that are above it.

In my own life, in my own spiritual "fiery" moments, I've got my paper moments.
Songs that I might sing that just make me come undone with love for God such as "When I think about the Lord - It makes me wanna shout", or "Alabaster box".
Sometimes just listening to other people pray begins a small flame, or when I have just a small conversation with God because I want to add my own thoughts to someone elses blessing over dinner. They're all just little things but they provoke an instant, physical response within me as something rushes over me and I bask in the moment.

But they are just paper moments. The song ends, the prayer ends, or whatever the moment was it's just over. The paper fizzles out and it's done. It was beautiful, and bright, and wonderful - but it's over now. Because those pieces of paper don't sustain you any more than one bite of meat a day, or one sip of water. They're just wonderful moments.

Thank you Lord for the paper moments in my life. I can't live off them, but without them I would never build up to what's coming.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

God doesn't want you to be happy.

Attention grabbing headline, eh?
I recently stumbled into a strange situation. A married man, searching for a girlfriend, because he and his wife were separated. Except he referred to himself as divorced.

As he so eloquently put it he was lonely and wanted to be happy.

And I'd like to just go on the record right now as saying "God doesn't want you to be happy."
He wants you to be so much more than just happy.

But unfortunately, we're so adamant that being a Christian means being happy that we chase happiness. When all the while God wants us to chase Him, and doing right and doing good - even when it's hard and miserable and hurts.

Maybe you're married to someone who doesn't care about you anymore and is asking for a divorce, God wants you to stay married even though it's not fun.

Maybe you're working at a job that you hate, but God hasn't provided another one and has made it clear that it's where you're supposed to be. God wants you to work, and work diligently without badmouthing your company even though you're frustrated.

Maybe you're at a church that has grown a little stale for you but God still wants you there even though you hate the singing and the preaching is canned. God wants you to stay, support and pray for the church until He moves you. Even though you feel you aren't "growing" there, you'll just have to work on that growing at home or with other options.

Sometimes, whether at home, church, or work (the three major areas of most of our lives) God is willing to let you be unhappy with a situation. And amazingly enough, the God of the universe doesn't automatically move us around to where our greatest feeling of "happiness" is.

He puts us in hard situations, miserable ones (worse than martyrdom because you only wish you could die to get out of it! but you're stuck indefinitely) and He expects us to serve Him, do the right thing, and trust Him with the outcome.

It's far more worth it.

We chase temporal things like oh-so-fleeting happiness - while we lose out on true joy and peace that will last.

Don't trade right for happy.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Encourage yourself in the LORD.

I'm going to talk about something strange, and personal.

The past month or so has been strange. I'm constantly exhausted, and have a persistent headache that only lets up when I'm able to get a good amount of sleep. But I'm not sleeping well lately because nearly every single night is riddled with nightmares.

Cap that with the fact that I'm working with some unusual people and it's imperative that I be the influence on them and not the other way around. I've been in some unusual situations and odd conversations in the past month an a half that leave me questioning my ability to handle "the world". I long for a safe little cocoon of innocence that doesn't use bad language or talk about inappropriate things.

Cap that with a very obvious absence of Spiritual Inlets - if I can get away with calling it that - a wish to have some kind of church family again. A place where I can go, see the same faces, pray for the same concerns, and listen to someone I respect teach, and to worship with other people that I know.

It's like I'm getting drained and it's harder and harder to fill back up.

But, while you might not relate to the crazy inability to sleep due to odd nightmares, you might relate to the latter feeling. Needs, things, life, all sucking away at your resources and you're not sure where the strength is going to come from for the next battle.

So I want to tell you a story I've been going over and over and over lately. It's only 6 verses, but I'm going to paraphrase it some so hopefully no one skims scriptures...

1 Samuel 30:1-6
David and his men were returning to Ziklag, only to find that their town had been burned, and their wives and children had been taken away by the enemy.
And when the men saw that their wives, sons, and daughters had been taken captive they lifted up their voices as wept until they had no more power to weep.
They wept until they had no more power to weep.
Two of Davids wives were taken, including the much sought after Abigail wife of Nabal.
And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the LORD his God.

David encouraged himself in the LORD his God

Too, too often we wait for someone else to come along and encourage us. We call up friends and family and pastors and deacons and Sunday School teachers saying "help! I need to be encouraged" and while we should encourage one another - we also need to have that ... umph ... within us, the knowledge and power and foundation within us that rises up and speaks to our very soul and says "Soul, I trust in the LORD."
It's not a phone call away. It's a breath. It's just a moment, a whisper away.
So the next time your pastor isn't available for the 3am phone call, or you get bad news and want to talk to your really spiritual friend; encourage yourself in the LORD.

I know how my troubles will end. I don't know when, and I don't know what all will happen, but I know ultimately I'm going to come out of this odd period of adjustment and struggle with a stronger faith and far more practiced at encouraging myself than I ever have been before. I'll be closer to God at the end of this. I'm not even worried about it anymore.
I know I have been bought with a price and I belong to my Redeemer.
I am secure.

Not one sorrow will ever change that.
So quit waiting for other people, and begin speaking your words of faith and courage to your Soul. Speak out. Speak boldly.
Speak TRUTH.
No weapon of the enemy will be able to destroy you. You know how it will end.

Who you are.

I'm listening, obsessively so, to Kari Jobe sing "No Sweeter Name". I typically get online and put it on YouTube, then spend the rest of my browsing session hitting the "replay" button on the video. I'm one of those obnoxious people that can listen to a song on repeat for 3 weeks and not even notice steam coming out of your ears.

I talk to the sky. If I think the day is beautiful, regardless of who is with me I may just tell God "thank you" out loud for such a pretty day.

I'm strict. I tend to take things too seriously. Unless I don't take anything seriously because I'm in a snarky mood.

I have a position on everything. Including things where I specifically state I have no position on a subject. No position IS my position, and I'll firmly defend it.

I like ketchup. A lot. And I won't apologize for the quantity I put on my plate.

I'm quick to assume you're upset with me.
I constantly battle the inner desire to shrug out of caring about people by saying "Whatever, I don't need you anyway."

I ache sometimes for other people, so badly that tonight I'm close to tears for a co-worker that I just watched willingly be physically abused. But everyone else thinks it was "entertainment" and I feel like an idiot for being the one wanting to scream "STOP HURTING HIM!" When no one else is taking it seriously.

I'm usually the frustrating friend that's serious, when everyone else is laughing.

You might not care about any of that. But something has happened in the last 10 months of moving to San Antonio to leave me changing so much physically and emotionally and spiritually that it leaves me wondering who exactly I am in all of those areas. What am I really like? Are any of the changes things that I wouldn't approve of? Am I doing what I want to do or am I just blending in with the crowd?

Of all the things I'm learning, something that has been gripping me the last few weeks, is the constant reminder that I want to become a person that God is pleased with. I want God to find light and beauty in the dark recesses of my heart where something stale and dim once was. I want Him to find my soul vibrant. Ever changing, ever growing, ever evolving into something that steps out of comfort zones and challenges what I believe.

I'm going to make mistakes along the way, I've watched myself test some things and it's gotten me into some deep waters (I'm a stubbornly self-assigned designated driver for a co-worker who wants to drink something then go get her belly pierced) and I've found myself in more situations than I can count where I just swallow and wonder what on EARTH Jesus would do in this situation.

Change is a good thing. But it's been important for me as I've struggled through these changes that I know I'm not becoming more like the world and less like Christ. It's one of those things people laugh about, joke about, shrug off. But it's so important.

Don't ever be ashamed of who you are, or what you're doing.

And if you are, FIRST, tell God what's happening. Several times in the last month I've felt myself completely over my head and wondering if I'm flying into worldly things that I might should stay out of. Then, in the midst of everything, changes started happening in my heart that turned the tide of my friendships and conversations so I was on a level field once again confident that I was not following the world away from Him.

That's a lot of words just to say this: God can help you be exactly what He wants you to be.

Strive for that. Seek Him, and you'll suddenly find a beautiful HIM inside of YOU. And you'll have no cause to be ashamed.