Friday, June 20, 2008

You are the strength that keeps me walking.

This video brings a few tears to my eyes every time I watch it.

Find Me Here
Speak To Me
I want to feel you
I need to hear you
You are the light
That's leading me
To the place where I find peace again.

You are the strength, that keeps me walking.
You are the hope, that keeps me trusting.
You are the light to my soul.
You are my're everything.

How can I stand here with you and not be moved by you?
Would you tell me how could it be any better than this?

You calm the storms, and you give me rest.
You hold me in your hands, you won't let me fall.
You steal my heart, and you take my breath away.
Would you take me in? Take me deeper now?

How can I stand here with you and not be moved by you?
Would you tell me how could it be any better than this?
And how can I stand here with you and not be moved by you?
Would you tell me how could it be any better than this?

Cause you're all I want, You're all I need
You're everything,everything
You're all I want your all I need
You're everything, everything.
You're all I want you're all I need.
You're everything, everything
You're all I want you're all I need, you're everything, everything.

And How can I stand here with you and not be moved by you?
Would you tell me how could it be any better than this?
How can I stand here with you and not be moved by you?
Would you tell me how could it be any better than this?

Thursday, June 12, 2008

He Does Love You.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

A Great Example of God's Love

I've been writing this post in my head for a couple weeks now, but haven't had the time to sit down and type it.

We know that God loves us unconditionally. This love is called Agape; it's an all-consuming love, a forgiving love, and a love that comes from the heart, the soul, and the mind. It's the kind of love described in 1Corinthians13.

Though we have God's love, one of the biggest blessings we can have is to have an example of His kind of love here on earth; and even better, to have the ability to love someone like that too.

I know that I am incredibly blessed to have a great example of God's love in my life: my best friend.

From the day I met him, he has inspired me, motivated me, and encouraged me. He started out as someone that I looked up to and wanted to be like; ambitious, compassionate, generous, and unfalteringly positive. Over the course of knowing each other, and as our friendship has developed into what it is today, he has shown me an endless amount of love, selflessness, respect, and a huge belief in me. No matter how down I am, he is always by my side with a shoulder to cry on, reminding me of the good things I have and helping me figure out how to solve the things that are upsetting me. He is always patient with me, no matter how hard I make that.

Of anyone in my life, I know I can turn to him when I don't know what to do. He's wise beyond his years and has a tremendous amount of compassion. I know I could tell him anything, even the deepest, ugliest parts of who I am or have been, and he would still love me just the same. And he was the one to baptize me, and I can't imagine a better person to be right there with me when I cleansed myself of my old life and began a new one in the name of the Lord. We walk in faith together.

He never makes me feel bad, and keeps no record of wrong. I haven't been a perfect friend, and I know I've messed up on quite a few occasions, but he's forgiven me and loved me despite those times. I never feel like I have to censor myself or like I can't be myself, because I know he loves me for who I am, even though I'm far from perfect.

In the same way, I try to be the best example of perfect love that I can be for him too. I care about him so deeply; when I can tell he's upset, it upsets me just as much. It makes me feel so good to do things for him that let him know I was thinking about him. No matter what, I'll always be there for him when he needs me at any hour of the day or night. I try to be a good listener when he needs me to listen, and give him the best advice I can when he wants answers. He could tell me anything and I would never judge him or love him any less. He's one of the most amazing people I've ever met; even my friends who don't know him that well can see that right off the bat.

In my life, from my past and from my present, he has had more of a positive impact on me than anyone else, from back to the day I met him all the way to the present. He's never hurt my feelings, never made me feel neglected, never turned his back on me, never made me feel like there was anything I couldn't do or wasn't capable of. He teaches me and inspires me and is my biggest supporter. He's shown me the kind of unconditional love and devotion I've never had before.

Every night, in every single prayer, I thank God from the bottom of my heart for giving me such an incredible best friend, and I ask Him to help me show him the kind of love he shows me. Of all the blessings in my life, his friendship is one of the most obvious by far. I know that I don't deserve him, and my only wish is that I can be the kind of friend that he deserves.

Col 3:12

Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.

Col 3:13

Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.

Col 3:14

And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Water From The Rock

I was saying last night, I've been pleading with God to show me what His will is in a way I can recognize, because I think I'm so caught up in what I want that I can't tell what He wants. Even after a few pretty obvious signs yesterday, I think my heart wasn't in the right place to internalize them.

We went to church tonight, and the message was focused around being involved in their series of outreach projects during the summer, which is called Go. Todd, the church's lead pastor, was telling us why we give ourselves away. Sometimes in our lives, we get so caught up in what we're doing that we completely lose sight of the plot. It's easy to forget the reasons why. His example was going to church; we go to honor and praise the Lord. So we go for an hour and a half each week, and we spend a lot of it singing songs of worship to Him. But the real worship is not as much in song as it is in life. When we reach out to those who are struggling, forget our own worries and comforts and details, and focus our energy on helping someone who needs it more than we do, we are worshiping Jesus in our actions. It's easy to go through the motions. We experience actual growth when there is love and praise behind them.

He talked about how easy it is to be so directed on figuring out ourselves from the inside that we can't even hear God when he speaks to us. Sounds familiar. We can spend so much time and energy scrutinizing every one of our thoughts and misguided actions and wondering what on earth it is that we are supposed to be doing, when the answer could be sitting right in front of us, staring us in the face. It takes a tremendous amount of faith and submission to trust that the Lord sees even when we can't, and to stop trying to plan everything for ourselves. It really spoke to me.

He first referenced Psalms 95:6-9, describing a flock of sheep; a species of animal that we know is 100% dependent on being guided and taken care of. There are so many factors out there that would threaten their wellbeing that sheep couldn't survive in the wild on their own.
Neither can we.

Come, let us bow down in worship,
let us kneel before the Lord our maker,
for he is our God
and we are the people of his pasture,
the flock under his care.

Today, if you hear his voice,
do not harden your hearts as you did at Meribah,
as you did that day at Massah in the desert,
where your fathers tested and tried me,
though they had seen what I did.

He explained that Meribah and Massah were alters that Moses had set about as he led the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt. It was custom to set up an alter at a place where the Lord had done something incredible. But Meribah and Massah were not the common alter; they didn't honor God. They represented a spot where the people had quarreled and doubted God and tested Him when their own earthly needs were not immediately met.

As Moses was rescuing the Israelites from Egypt and lives of slavery as the Lord had led him to do, they became thirsty walking through the desert. Though they were assured that there was a much better life up ahead, they lacked the faith to believe that. They complained to Moses, to a point of wanting to turn around and go back to being slaves in Egypt, where at least they had water to drink. He asked them, "Why do you put the Lord to the test?" (Exodus 17:2) And when Moses cried out to Him and asked what he was to do, God showed him a rock that he could strike and water would pour out for them to drink. Even after such a miracle, these blind wanders asked him, "Is the Lord among us or not?" (Exodus 17:7)

The first thought, of course, is how could the Israelites stand there and witness such incredible miracles, and STILL doubt the existence of God and all the blessings he had in store for them? Todd described how they could still be so skeptical as spiritual Alzheimer's. It goes beyond a loss of memories from specific events and to a broader way of being where one's loss of faith becomes so all-consuming that no matter what they see or hear, their heart is too hardened to be able to witness it. They are constantly demanding Him to "prove it." No matter how much lays ahead for them and what plans the Lord has for them, they are of so little faith that they would rather turn and go back to their own Egypt (which could be anything from an empty heart, bad habits, unsuccessful relationships, substance abuse) than to submit themselves to His will and trust that He will lead them to something immensely better in the long run.

I felt as though something had woken up inside of me.

On my drive home, I was listening to The Fish 95.9 as usual, and when a song I love came on the radio, it occurred to me that I never listen to all the lyrics.

I'm waking up
The world is turning

The sun is shining again
I'm holding on
To things I shouldn't
It's time to let them go
I've been on a losing streak
Hit so hard I couldn't speak
But when I hear Your voice it fades away

And I can hear You say
It's a brand new day
The pain goes away
I'm headed for the door

And I'm going home

Your love, it burns

Away my darkness
You guide me when I'm blind
You are the light
That shines inside me
Showing me I'm
So much more
When I've been on a losing streak
Hit so hard I couldn't speak
But when I hear Your voice it fades away

Take me into Your arms
My home lies within Your heart

After the message tonight and hearing that song, I realized I really am holding on to things I shouldn't. I've been trying to go back to my Egypt because it seems safer than blindly following where God leads me. I was so set on having it my way that I wouldn't let God speak to me. There's one thing I've been milling over in my head, though; how it could really have been only meant for a short time, yet we had all this amazing chemistry and connection?

I'm still going to have sad feelings, but my focus has shifted. It isn't where He is leading me. I want to devote my energy and my heart to being a servant of God. He will take care of the rest.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Lord, I don't always understand.

I find myself praying in the car a lot. I think it's because its one of the few times during my day that I'm alone and I can have quiet. I also tend to think a lot while I'm driving. Add to that the fact that I always listen to Christian radio in the car, and I commute 40 minutes to work everyday, and you can probably understand why my drive is always God-focused.

I left work today and was driving straight to my ex's apartment, because I told him I would cat-sit while he was away for the weekend. I was driving towards the city he lives in, and as I got closer, I got more sad. I turned off my music and started to pray. I asked... no, begged... the Lord to bring him back to me. I said I knew that it wasn't up to me and that was an unfair request, and if it wasn't right, if it really wasn't His will, to give me a strong sign that it wasn't what was meant for us, beyond him being stubborn. It's hard to decipher signs from God vs someone taking things into their own hands, due to fear or insecurity or whatever else it could be.

I got to his house and opened the door to find the two lonely kitties, being extra affectionate. He'd told me they don't need much help; a big bowl of food and water lasts them days; but that he'd like it if I could go and hang out with them a little. So I got to his apartment, made sure they had enough food, and snuggled with them on my lap for a bit.

The apartment was messy as usual. I was drawn back to the days when we were amazing together, and I loved doing things for him. I tidied up a bit. Remembering why I had come, I wanted to spend more attention on the kitties, and scooped one up and put him on my lap while I went on his computer, which had been left on, to check in with Myspace and Facebook. Right away I noticed a "Notepad" document, open . It was a letter, penned (my best guess) to his ex-fiance about how much he misses her and how he hasn't changed, but he needs to. I was crushed.

Why did he leave that open when he asked me to go hang out at his apartment while he's away on vacation? Was that a very unfortunate coincidence? A dumb mistake? A sign from God? Or a glaring message from him to me that it's really over? Or, as the 1% of me wonders, was it written to me, to tell me that he misses me? I know in my heart it wasn't for me, but the 1% still gnaws at me.

It really upset me. I pet the kitties a bit more, made the bed (why my servant's heart always gets the best of me, I'll never know), cleaned out the litter box, and drove home distraught. Hadn't I just asked God for such a sign? Here it was, staring at me from his desktop, or at least one could presume, and I was still unable to accept it or believe it.

I got to my house, and needed to get ready to go out for my co-worker's birthday. I haven't been out with "the girls" minus a love interest since I came to know God, and to be honest, getting ready (ie putting on a lot of makeup and a showy outfit) didn't feel right at all. I kept looking in the mirror and feeling as though I wasn't honoring God, but very much the opposite. But being the strong-willed girl that I am, now even more determined to have a good time, I swallowed those feelings and pushed them as far down as I could. I was thinking about where we were going, and remembered a guy who was a friend of one of my ex's co-workers that we used to go out with. He was really funny and cool to go out with, but always seemed unnecessarily flirty with me... even in front of my guy.

So, in a moment of sheer weakness of heart, I guess with the desire to assert the fact that I can shut off my feelings just the same, I went on to Myspace with the intention of emailing him and telling him if he wanted to meet up with me, he should text me, and my cell phone number. But as I signed on, my brand-new laptop instantly shut itself down, out of the blue. It's never done that.

So.... apparently I wasn't supposed to email him. Got it.

Lord... I don't always understand you.Please help me understand! I know that's because I keep trying to live off my own free will. I know deep down that won't work. I know in the long run it's all up to you and I need to learn how to accept that. Please help me to see more clearly what your path is. I'm down here, waiting, listening for you. I'm begging you to speak to me. I need to know what you want. I love you with all my heart and I want to do right by you. Please show me what that is. I have no wish but to know and abide by your will. Mine is so strong that yours is hard to see. Help me see it, Lord. Please help me. Amen.
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