Browsing Tag

Written by: Heather

Faith, God, Identity, Spiritual Life

I Am A Navigator

April 1, 2015

o-WOMAN-DRIVING-facebook

 

I’m a terrible driver. I know it’s a total cliche to say that, but seriously, I suck. I can’t parallel park, back up, or drive a stick shift. I drive way too fast, and I get distracted way too easily. (More often than not it’s by my phone which is a massive no, no I know) I’m the girl that could potentially be so lost in my own world that I’ll get home and have no idea how I even drove myself there. Let’s just say, I’m not going to be winning any awards in this category for, well, like ever. However, in the world of driving there is one thing I am excellent at: navigation.

I am on point when it comes to directions. I can usually use directions once to get to a place, and from then on I’ll remember how to get there. I can read a map, and very rarely do I ever get lost. I am not one of those girls (cough, like my mom, cough) who somehow can only find her way by the landmarks around her. You know, like, turn left at the Burger King and then it’ll be just past the rock that looks like an elephant type of directions. I actually know where north, south, east and west are thank you very much.  I think in another life, I could have totally been some awesome sailor, getting my ship across the seas by only looking at the stars. Ahhhhhh…wouldn’t that be nice?!?

If I’m being totally honest with you though, sometimes my arrogance of being so good with directions turns me into a bit of nagging brat. I can’t tell you how many times Jeff and I have been driving somewhere and we’ll get into a tiff because I keep trying to tell him where to go.

“You need to get over.”

“You’re going to miss our exit.”

“Why are you going so slow?”

“You know, this way would be a lot faster.” 

I kind of get in this know-it-all mode- almost as though there is no other way to reach our ending point than the one I’ve laid out. So often, I find myself stressing about the path to our destination that I fail to enjoy the ride.

Isn’t this just like our journeys with Christ? It’s funny…I feel like I’m letting God be in control. I’ve given him the car keys, put him in the drivers seat, and even let Him start to drive the car. But as soon as we get on the road, my controlling navigator ways takes over and I begin barking orders.

“No, that’s not the way to my happy ending.” 

“Hey, you’re going way too slow. You really need to speed things up.”

“Umm…why are you going that way?”

“You know, this way would really make me a lot happier.” 

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tried to navigate my journey. Grabbing the map of my life and redirecting it’s course. Funny thing is, much like in real life, I end up being more stressed and worried about the process that I simply am not able to sit and enjoy my life as it’s happening.

Maybe the path and life you have envisioned for yourself isn’t the road you find God taking you down. Maybe, like me, you find yourself looking at your GPS and trying to reroute and navigate yourself a shortcut. Maybe God is driving you away from that job or boy or college or friendship and you just cant help but think He’s got it all wrong. That his way is too long, too slow, and way too hard for you to go down. So we grip our maps tighter, scream a little louder into His ear and begin to demand that we are the navigator, so listen to us!

Friends, put down your maps. Turn off the GPS, shut off the google maps, and in the words of Elsa… LET.IT.GO. Yeah, His way may be longer. His way may not look as easy or pretty or full of all the things we think will make us happy and fulfilled. His way may be none of those things, but you know what it is? His way is better.

His way is the way to true life. You can’t just let God drive your car, you have to also let Him captain it.

I can’t tell you how many times in my life I’ve tried to steer things in my own course. Sure, there were happy moments. Moments I thought were some of the greatest I’d ever have. But they weren’t life-giving moments. The paths I navigated may have left me happy, but they never left me feeling alive. And when push comes to shove, I’d rather feel alive.

So let’s agree, shall we, to unclench our death grip to the outline we’ve made for our lives. Let’s instead, roll down the windows, put our feet up on the dash and enjoy the ride. Let’s get a little wild and embrace the excitement that can (trust me, it can) come from not knowing where the next turn will be. Because who knows, what’s waiting around that unknown corner might just be the best thing that’s happened to you. All you have to do is go.

Faith, God, Identity, Spiritual Life

I Am A Dreamer

March 4, 2015

 

beautiful woman traveling on a vintage car

I guess you could say that I’ve always been a dreamer. When I was seven I pretended that one of the canopy bed posts on my bed was Tom Cruise. We were dancing at some fancy gala, of course, and as the entire place had their eyes on the two of us, he dipped me real low and gave me the most glorious and life-altering kiss my young heart could conjure. In reality, when I leaned back for said mega dip and kiss, the post on my bed (AKA Tom Cruise) snapped and my entire canopy bed broke.

Through most of elementary and middle school I would sing as I walked to and from school so that if some famous movie director or talent agent was out mowing their lawn or getting their mail they would hear me and make me famous. I even went so far as to write a fan letter to a boy I saw in a movie, convincing myself that we’d become pen-pals and then eventually fall in love and get married and have famous actor babies. Side note: said actor only did the one movie and never acted again, so bullet dodge. 😉

As I grew older my dreams became less outrageous and a bit more grounded. It went from celebrity fairytale love stories and fame and fortune to just mild success with an epic everyday-type romance thrown in. Every relationship became THE relationship-every job opportunity became THE job I was supposed to do. My dreams may have moved out of the clouds a bit, but they were still very far from reality.

Life moved on as did many of my dreams. I began to see that so many of the things I had dreamed for myself weren’t coming true. Jobs weren’t working out, relationships were ending, success preceded failure and my desire to dream started to fade.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9

For most of my life my dreams were set around me. How could I be happy? What would make MY life great? Although my dreams may have been praiseworthy, heck, even Jesus focused- they were missing one key element, Christ himself.

A dreamer can never reach the end of their rainbow if they first can’t acknowledge the Dream Giver. 

Look at the creativity of the Father. The way He paints the sky in oranges and reds during a sunset. The way a tiny seed can bring forth trees that provide food and nourishment. Humans who can think and feel and create just like God. He IS the original dreamer and He is also the giver of dreams.

We are constantly in a hurry to get to our dream-fulfilled that we forget to stop and look at where our dream began. 

Who gave you that love for music? Who put in you a fiery passion for missions or business? Who gave you the ache for a husband and family? The Dream Giver!

God is not out to destroy your desires. He’s the one who put them there! The place we tend to get so lost in is that He puts those desires there not so that we seek out their fulfillment but rather that we seek Him and allow our fulfillment in Him to bring about those desires.

“The steps of a man are established by the Lord, when he delights in his way” Psalm 37:23

Friends, let’s be women who dream big with God.

Women who live in huts in Africa.

Women who preach and teach to the masses.

Women who fight for injustice and poverty.

Women who act, write or sing words of truth and hope and freedom.

Women who are faithful to their husbands and loving to their children.

Women who take risks and don’t live in the safe.

Women who aren’t afraid of the impossible because we know that with God, ANYTHING is possible.

We have been granted the greatest of gifts my friends. We have been allowed to dream alongside the One who hung the stars and soothed the seas. All He asks is that we delight in Him, handing over our finite earthly dreams and allow the immense mind-blowing plans HE has for us become our dreams. Because whatever His best is far outweighs anything we could ever hope for. So will you give your him your dreams?

I may not understand a lot, but I do know this:

Who am I? I am a dreamer.

Faith, God, Spiritual Life, Suffering

Get Over Yourself

February 4, 2015

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We’ve been friends a while, haven’t we? We’ve walked through life together, sharing our secrets, our hurts and our joys. So, because we are friends, friends who love each other, it’s time to start getting real with one another. You ready friends?

It’s February. By now you’ve had enough time to make resolutions and not keep them. You’ve had time to set goals and miss them. Time to seek freedom from sin only to be lured back into its tempting grip. I can imagine that for those of you who are in this place, you’re probably telling yourself things like this:

“How can God ever forgive me?”

“Why can’t I get better?”

“I’ll always be stuck like this.”

“I should just give up. God has totally abandoned me.” 

I get it. You’re in a dark place. You feel like you’re at the bottom of a deep well with no possible way out. You want hope. You want a way out of this place and into a better life. For those of you who might be feeling this way, as your friend, I have something to tell you.

Get. Over. Yourself.

I know that sounds harsh. I know that it’s not the flowery, grace-filled, sunshine and roses affirmation you want to hear. But listen my sweet friend, it’s the truth.

In order to move forward, move past and move on from whatever it is that is keeping us from freedom and a closeness to Christ, we first have to learn to get over ourselves. We have to realize that we are not the exception to the rule. When Christ said that he died for ALL mankind, you are included in the all. When he said that His death has granted us freedom from the stronghold of death and sin, again, YOU are included in that. Stop thinking like you aren’t.

When we begin to tell ourselves that our sins are too great or too big or too bad for God to ever forgive, we minimize Him and make much of ourselves. We are saying that God can’t overcome our strongholds, because we are just too messed up for the almighty Savior of the world to redeem. It’s not in humility that we say that God could never forgive us, but rather our pride.

Listen closely, you’re not at war with God. The moment He took His last breath on the cross and broke the chains of hell and death was the exact moment that the chasm caused by sin was filled and your battle with Jesus finally found peace. Live in that peace. Stop telling yourself that your chance for freedom is too far gone. Stop looking to yourself and focus on Jesus.

Paul reminds us in Galatians 5:1 that “It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.” Did you hear that? You are FREE. So as Paul says, stand firm in that freedom and don’t make yourself a slave anymore.

Ladies, let’s make this the year we finally learn to get over ourselves. The year we stop glorifying our guilt and not Jesus. Let’s be women who stop making much of our our sin and instead live in how much we are loved by the Father. Let’s not just say we want to be free, but instead live as the free people we are.

Remember how I said we’re friends? Well friend, get over yourself and I’ll do the same. And together, as friends, we can make this new year one of hope and peace.

Faith

New Beginnings or A New Perspective

January 7, 2015

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I hated 2014. I’m not talking about hate in the sense of “I hate when it rains” or “I hate when I get stuck in traffic” like I was annoyed by the past year. I mean I loathed 2014 with every fiber of being. As in when December 31st cam and I knew this year was coming to a close, I gave 2014 my middle finger and told it that I hope to never see it again. Yes, I hated 2014 that much.

You see 2014 is what I like to call my Year of Tears. I think sometime around July I asked myself how it was possible that my tear ducts hadn’t imploded from all of the crying I had done. 2014 was the year I became a grown up. It was the year where I learned of my sexual abuse, faced days and even weeks apart from my husband, and where God stripped me of everything I thought made me who I was only to create a clean slate in my heart and start over. I saw a lot of my ugly this past year, and let me tell you, it was NOT fun.

So yeah, I was really glad for the year to be over.

As 2014 kept drawing to a close, I kept saying to myself, “I can’t wait for 2015.” I think somewhere in my mind I thought that once that clock struck midnight that all of the hardships from this last year would magically disappear and I’d get this do-over. So I kept pushing, waiting and hoping for 2015 to arrive. Funny thing is, I woke up on January 1st to find that nothing had in fact changed at all.

The brokenness I came face to face with last year was more healed than before, but it was still present. Jeff’s job was still going to take him away from me, and I would still be the girl who had been molested twelve years ago. My past, my pains, they were still there. So how on earth was 2015  going to be any different?

At the top of every year I like to give myself a word or phrase to be my motto/theme for the year. A goal of what I hope the year to look like. Last years word was surrender…how ironic, I know. So as I sat with my Bible and the Lord and began to ask myself what I wanted 2015 to be for me, my word hit me like a punch to the face.

Perspective

Like I said, just because it was a new year, it didn’t mean I got a new life. In fact, there are still more tears to cry, more wounds to mend and more growth to be had. But what could change, was my perspective on each of the bumps in the road that lay ahead. Yes, Jeff will still be gone away at work BUT His work is helping to draw people to the feet of Jesus and keep a roof over our heads and make a way for me to stay home with our kids. Yes, I still have wounds to mend and more ugly to be stripped from my heart. But what joy to know that this breaking and mending will make me stronger, pushing me to the cross where I get to feel the loving embrace of my God so much more deeply. And yes, there will be tears, but maybe not just tears of sorrow this time. Maybe they will be tears of joy. Tears that allow me to weep with others, to love people well.

Psalm 119: 18 “Open my eyes that I might see the wonderful truths of your instructions.”

Oh to be a woman who sees!!

“Therefore we do not lose heart, but though we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

This year, I hope to have the outlook to fix my eyes on the things unseen. To trust more and worry less. To laugh at the awkward and weep for the broken. I want to move my gaze off of myself and onto the face of Christ so that when the chaos that 2015 will inevitably bring comes, I’ll have my mindset in a place that is joyfully ready to take on whatever lay ahead.

Maybe you are hoping for 2015 to be that new beginning. Maybe, like me, you just need change your point of view.

You know, looking back on 2014, maybe it wasn’t so bad after all. I guess I just needed a new perspective.

Faith, God, Redemption, Spiritual Life

Monday’s Truth

November 10, 2014

I’ve read it over ten times. Day five. This post in my devotional book is one I go back to. One that no matter how many times I’ve read it, it somehow always brings me to tears. It’s a message my soul needs repeated. It’s a message I feel you need to hear.

So I’m sharing it with you today. Day five. My breath of grace. My hope for today. I hope you are blessed.

 

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DAY 5: CURED AND CLEAN

Taken by: Comforts From the Cross (by: Elyse Fitzpatrick)

“His disciples said to him,
“You see the crowd pressing around you, and yet you say,
‘Who touched me?’”

MARK 5 : 3 1

“Excluded. Unclean. Defiled. For twelve desperate years she had struggled against her body. Blood poured from her, and that blood not only brought about personal distress but also made her a societal outcast. If she was a married woman, she would have been unable to have sexual relations with her husband. Even if she was precious to him, he could not take her into his arms. Married or single, she was excluded from participation in normal family life. If she had children, she was excluded from participation in normal family life. If she had children, she couldn’t lie in bed and play with them. Anyone who sat on a chair on which she had sat would be unclean and would have to wash ceremonially and then offer a sacrifice at the temple. When the family went to the temple on a holy day, she had to stay home.

To live in such isolation after childbirth was expected in those days, but the new mother was surrounded by a loving family, all waiting the day when the priest finally declared the mother clean.

But the isolation experienced by the bleeding woman wasn’t the usual week or two; it was twelve years. Twelve years without access to worship. Twelve years of gossip whispered behind her back. Mothers would have warned their daughters: “Don’t go near; she’s unclean.” Twelve years without a caress, a touch, an inviting smile. Twelve years of desperate exclusion, loneliness, and shame.

That she was desperate is clear. She “had suffered much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had” (Mark 5:26). We can imagine that year after year she heard about women in other villages who were cured, so she rushed to uncover their secret, scraping up the necessary payments, yet she “was no better but rather grew worse.” Every penny she could get her hands on went to doctors who only exacerbated her condition.

I can’t imagine what terrible indignities she suffered at their hands. This wasn’t modern medicine with its tidy gynecological offices housing highly trained physicians who write prescriptions for hormonal therapies and perform sanitary procedures. No, ancient medicine consisted of the most base herbal preparations, poultices, and methods that not only failed to cure her but made her suffering worse. She was unclean and her uncleanness had bankrupted her. And still she bled. Days and months of disappointment followed by months and years of shame and isolation. She could touch no one; no one wanted her touch. And now, all hope was gone. She had no money left, so even if a cure could be found, she couldn’t afford it.

Then she heard reports about a holy man who loved unclean women and welcomed them as followers. Many had been ill like her. Some had been possessed by devils; others had been notoriously wicked, but he had healed and welcomed them all. Amazingly, hope began grow within her breast again. Perhaps she thought, I have no money to pay him. I can’t touch him because I’m unclean. But even so, she believed, “If I touch even his garments, I will be made well” (v. 28). So she waited until his followers and the crowds were passing by, and she slipped into the press. Keeping her head down and her shawl up, she furtively pushed her way ever closer to the One. There he is. If I can just stretch out my hand past these others! I’m almost there; please don’t let me be discovered. There! With my fingertips I brushed his cloak. Immediately, she felt her body change. The blood stopped. She was healed. The crowd moved on, but she stood still—a whole, clean, honorable woman at last. She had finally received all that she hoped for, but she was soon to learn that her expectation had been far too small.

From the midst of her reverie she noticed the crowd halt. The Master was speaking, “Who touched my garments?” (v. 30). An icy shard of fear pierced her heart. What if this holy man finds out what I did and takes my healing from me? What if he is angry because I’ve made him unclean by my touch? Will this simply end in more shame, more separation? While his disciples pointed out the size of the crowd, the woman bravely made her way to him. In fear and trembling she “fell down before him and told him the whole truth” (v. 33).

How did he respond? He called her “Daughter.” This is the only time that Jesus actually called a woman by this name; it was a sweet acknowledgment of relationship and endearment. Instead of pushing her away, he drew her close. Daughter-Don’t be confused. Jesus wasn’t stumped about who had touched him. He knew this woman’s name (even though we don’t). It had been written on his heart for twelve times twelve million years—yes, forever. This woman would have been satisfied with physical healing, but her Savior would not. He forced her to come to him and be in relationship with him, to fall down before him, to come out of the shadows and into the full light of day. Our Savior loves to give us gifts, but the best gift of all is himself, and he won’t let us slink off, back into darkness and isolation. No, his love will pull us out of our shame, defilement, and fears, and then he’ll speak gently and lovingly to us. “Daughter, be at peace.”

Because Jesus is completely pure, he isn’t concerned about becoming defiled by touching us. He’s not afraid that our uncleanness will contaminate him. Instead he draws us near; he speaks to us in love. He sees our desperation, our bankruptcy, and our uncleanness, and he calls us “Daughter.” If you’re like me, it’s easy to find a measure of satisfaction and peace in knowing that our sins are forgiven and we’ve been cleansed. But our Savior wants more than that. He’s taken us for his bride, and he isn’t satisfied when we hide from him or try to use him for our own purposes. Yes, we want to be clean, and he wants that for us too; but clean strangers aren’t what he’s after. He means to have a wife. And so he continually brings us to points of desperation when we have to fall before him, broken and bankrupt, and then he speaks lovingly to our hearts and draws us up into his presence.

Don’t be afraid to go to him now. He isn’t fazed by your sin; he isn’t afraid that you will contaminate him. In fact, as you get close to him, his holiness will infect you. Go ahead, daughter; press in through the crowd of all that threatens to block access to him—your shame, pride, destitution, and uncleanness. Touch him out of your desperation and find him patiently loving and awaiting your arrival.”

Excerpt From: Elyse M. Fitzpatrick. “Comforts from the Cross.” iBooks. https://itun.es/us/5Nkjx.l

Identity, Spiritual Life, Suffering

Keeping Up Appearances

September 17, 2014

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“You have no idea who I really am. No one does.” 

These were the words that poured out of my seventeen year old mouth one night while sitting on a curb with my best friend. And I meant it. No one really knew me. At least, not the real me.

You see, I grew up in an environment where I believed that good or bad, you always put on a good face. To be weak was to be the unbelieving and faithless Christian. So I faked it.

I had the smile, the giddy personality and the super “I love Jesus forever and ever” persona down to an art form. I was the poster child youth group kid. On the outside, it looked like my life was perfect and I was lovin every minute of it. Inside, I was screaming. Hoping that somehow, someway someone could see through the facade. See me.

Fast forward to three days ago. Husband out of town, one sick kid, one wild preschooler and one worn out, stressed out, plain done mom. I wasn’t in a good place. I yelled at my kids when they didn’t deserve it. I swore to the heavens. I lied to my kids. I was lazy and disconnected and wanted nothing more than to just crawl into a hole and hide for a week. I was a mess.

Sunday came and I was barely able to muster the energy to take my kids and I to church. But I made it, all the while making sure they looked spotless, smiling and happy..and I did the same for myself. I smiled. I sang. I shook hands. Hugged my kids and greeted my friends with a smile. I put on my good “face” because that’s what I thought people wanted to see. But it wasn’t what I feeling. Not in the least.

Masks don’t take away our pain and struggle..they just cover it up. 

I think I believed that if I tried hard enough to keep up the appearance that my life was good, somehow it would magically get better. But it didn’t, and I always ended up feeling worse because I felt hidden. I felt like no one knew, and even worse, that no one cared. But how could someone care for my pain if they never knew it was there in the first place?

Girls, I know some of you are desperately hurting right now. Your pain is kept locked up deep inside your heart as you fake your way through your day with a smile on your face. But that is no way to live. We both know that.

Showing our pain is hard. It’s vulnerable and exposing and scary. It let’s everyone know we don’t have it all together and maybe aren’t the pillar of strength everyone thought we were.

Pain kept hidden kills the soul. Pain revealed sets the soul free. 

There’s a reason addresses pain so much. Because it’s real. Because we can’t escape it. And because we are never ever ever meant to walk through it alone.

“Carry each other’s burdens and in this way you fulfill the law of Christ” Galatians 6:2

Let’s break the chains of keeping up appearances. Let’s set ourselves free from the expectations that we have to be happy and perfect and good. Let’s show and share in one another’s hurts. Let’s cling to Christ and one another, reminding ourselves that we are never ever alone in the fight.

I am not a theologian or a scholar, but I am very aware of the fact that pain is necessary to all of us. In my own life, I think I can honestly say that out of the deepest pain has come the strongest conviction of the presence of God and the love of God.  ~ Elizabeth Elliot

What are you hurting from today? Hold my hand and let’s walk into the storm together.

Spiritual Life

Dirty Little Secrets

September 3, 2014

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We over at AGLM love community. An important part of building community is getting to know one another. When you get to know someone, you learn the serious and silly. The deep and the superficial. Because to love someone is to love all of them and see Jesus in every area of their lives.

We also love to talk real over here. To go deep and and share the raw honest truths and darkness that live inside each of us. However, we also love to laugh. We love to make jokes, pull pranks, be girly and sometimes do things just because they are fun. For as much as we need to go deep with one another, we also need to laugh. To be ok talking about the things that make us who we are, that aren’t so serious.

I wanted to do that with you. After two and half years, there are still a lot of things we don’t know about each other. Things you don’t know about me.

So here is a list of some of my dirty little secrets. Things you might not know that I love and do, but will allow you to know me better and make our relationship together grow deeper.

I don’t share these often, so consider yourselves lucky. 😉

1. I bite my nails. When I’m nervous, bored, anxious…chomp chomp. Been doing it since I was five and don’t foresee me breaking the habit anytime soon.

2. I love, Love, LOVE Disney made for TV movies. All three High School Musicals, Camp Rock, Radio Rebel, Teen Beach Movie, Starstruck, Geek Charming….seen em all….multiple times. I even used to sneak and watch HSM at work when no one was watching. I’m a sucker for a good musical.

3. I talk to myself a lot. When I’m angry at someone or am going to go chat with someone or have a meeting, I’ll rehearse what I want to say with myself (usually while alone in the car driving) and it helps me focus. Maybe I’m crazy, but it’s effective for me. :)

4. I am 1/4 Italian. The one quarter I am, tends to show up in three little dark rogue hairs that occasionally show up on my chin. So not feminine. So gross, and so worth the four dollars I spent on a good pair of tweezers. Eyebrows aren’t the only thing that need plucked sometimes.

5. I had a crush on a character in a movie so badly that I wrote to the actor who played him. I then fantasized for six months about us becoming pen pals, then friends, then married and then we’d live happily ever after forever. I was twelve. He never wrote me back. Punk.

6. I can’t dance. I mean AT ALL. When I try, I end up looking like a baby giraffe that had just been born. Lots of long flailing limbs flying around in a fit of chaos. It’s bad girls. Real bad.

7. In 8th grade I used to lie that I had my period so the other girls wouldn’t know I hadn’t gotten it yet. I used to even fake that I had cramps. So dorky. The things we do to feel accepted.

8. When I was eight I accidentally broke the bedpost off of my bed because I was pretending it was Tom Cruise and we were dancing together. When he, (the bed post Tom Cruise) was pretend dipping me, the bed post snapped. It was so embarrassing having to tell my parents what happened.

9. I used to sing really loud every day on my walk to and from school. I used to think that maybe someone in my neighborhood was a famous talent scout and maybe they’d hear my singing and want to make me famous. Yes, I had a vivid imagination growing up.

10. I was OBSESSED with New Kids On the Block (boy band) as a kid. When they had their reunion tour a few years ago with the Backstreet Boys, one of my good friends and I went, and I MAY have screamed like a little fangirl and I MAY have yelled a couple of times that I loved Donny Whalberg. MAY have. It was loud, and no one can prove anything. 😉

 

So those are some of my dirty little secrets that I hope will let you know a little more about who I am, and maybe make us a little closer as AGLM gal pals. Now it’s your turn. Let’s get to know each other. What are some of YOUR dirty little secrets??

Faith, Identity, Spiritual Life

So Long Summer

August 20, 2014

 

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The end of every summer always brought a mixed sense of sadness and joy for me. Sure, I was going to miss sleeping in, spending the day doing whatever I wanted and the general freedom of the season. Yet the end of summer also brought me something else…a chance to start over.

Even if I was going back to the same school, there was something special about a new school year. It was as though three months of summer hit some kind of reset button and everyone got to come back fresh and new without any of the crap from the previous year. I could be new, different..better, even.

As the beginning of my sophomore year of college was about to drop, I knew I needed to make some changes. I had spent the summer trying to recover from all the vices I picked up the previous year. I was dating a guy who had abused, ridiculed, cheated and then eventually dumped me. I had the beginnings of a serious eating disorder, and a total loss of who I was as a person. I was a hot mess. I needed the summer to purge all of this out of my life and start fresh. Make this next year nothing like the one before it.

Many of you are about to or are in that same boat. A new year, a new chance to be something better and different than last year. You’re plagued by the mistakes of your past, and in a way, feel doomed to be that girl from now on.

My first day of sophomore year was hell. I remember struggling to eat that bite of food, knowing I needed the nutrients more than my ability to feel in control. I struggled to not look at my ex as he walked around campus acting as though I was nothing and that all he had done to me that had destroyed my soul was no big deal. I was determined to change. I needed to change.

Our approach to change can either cripple us, or set us free. 

I spent my sophomore year unable to let go of the things I had vowed to rid myself of. I went back to the abusive boyfriend. I continued to restrict my eating so that I could feel like I had a hold on my life. I was outwardly happy, but in inwardly dying.

What things are you holding on to that you know God is wanting you to change? A relationship that’s become an idol? An unhealthy friendship? An obsession with your looks? Or maybe an attitude of bitterness, anger, or pride? Whatever it is, are you willing to make the change?

Not every “fresh start” feels great. Starting over can often feel like giving up everything for the unknown- for the possibility that things might be better. And who wants to give up everything for a “might?”

I let my fear of change and failure lead me back down a path I never wanted to return to. Another year of mistakes, hurts, and abuse. My need to control, to resist the pain of growth made me more burdened and scared than I ever was. The year that was meant to be my chance to be free, to be who God saw I could be, was instead one of possibly the most painful years of my life.

“I am God—yes, I Am. I haven’t changed. And because I haven’t changed, you, the descendants of Jacob, haven’t been destroyed.” Malachi 3:6 (The Msg)

Thank God that He is unchangeable. Though our lives ebb and flow, peak and dip; He is constant. He is always faithful, always present, always loving, always forgiving, always believing in what we could be and not what we think we are. Our failure to embrace change, to take that step to freedom doesn’t alter His love for us one bit. He’s still our greatest champion, cheering us on; knowing that if we just turn our eyes to Him, nothing can shake us.

“The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in Him;” Psalm 37:23

“In the same way I will not cause pain
    without allowing something new to be born,” says the Lord.” Isaiah 66:9

Listen ladies, we weren’t called to be the meek, mild mannered, silent observers of this world. We are warriors. Brave, fearless, strong, and bold. When we believe we are the less than, the unchangeable, the forever broken; we are robbing ourselves of the beauty of becoming the more.

Don’t let the mistakes of your past declare who you are going to be tomorrow. 

Summer is coming to an end. A new season is on it’s way. So let’s seize it while we can. Let’s hold on to Jesus and run fearlessly into a new beginning. Throwing off all the crud and baggage that keeps us from being anything less than the glorious perfection that He has proclaimed us to be.

I’m ready for a new beginning. I’m ready to be more because I am more. Because HE IS MORE. Are you?

So long summer. This girl’s moving on.