Lately

May 11, 2015

in the quiet, with clutched and achy hands, you dump out your burdened heart. the hurt, the confusion, the insecurity. you’ve needed this moment. be honest, you’ve needed this for a while now. it’s time to let it go. it’s time to decompress and just lay down for a while. you try to conceive what it would be like. maybe it will come like winter, with a bitter reality encased in a cold chill. or maybe it will come like summer, with a bright revelation wrapped in a warm glow. maybe, just maybe; it will come in the quiet. like the soft wind suspended between two seasons. waiting, anticipating the changes to come. you’ll listen intently for that voice. the voice your heart longs to hear. you’ll begin to pay close attention to the soft rustle of leaves and the quick snap of branches. but for now you wait. in the quiet, you wait with a steadfast hope. what are you waiting for? you’re not sure. maybe it’s reassurance. a word that speaks just to your soul and yours alone. or you wait for something tangible. something that takes you by the hand and leads you to what you’ve ached to fathom. you’ll wait. however long it takes, you’ll wait because you know that in the passage of the middle you are being refined. weeds lose their hold and seeds prepare to sprout life. you long to be truly satisfied in these quiet moments. you pine for peace and the realization that you want absolutely nothing, and have all that you need. you fill your lungs and trap the promise that you lack no good thing inside your chest. you’ll wait to bloom. you know you will. because you’ve weathered too many erratic storms, stilted winds, and wilted harvest to stop you now. you’ll wait with emptied hands and a light heart. you’ll wait for the voice your heart yearns to know; the voice that calls you home.

May 26, 2015

it’s comfortable. this life you lead. but it’s not enough. your comfort is safe and debilitating all at the same time. but there is only so much your soul can take. be honest with yourself, this is not what you wanted. you’ve compromised; something you said you’ll never do. but it’s not too late. it’s never to late when He’s here with you. He was there when your heart cracked open and birthed a strength you thought you lacked. He was there when the foxes prowled in your vineyard and attempted to steal your joy. He was there. patient, and steadfast in His love for you. this comfort isn’t so comfortable anymore, is it? it’s starting to chaff and leave your soul exposed. you’ve patched over it a few times. hoping that lies conceal and your secrets erase, but it doesn’t work that way. He’s the only balm for that patchwork soul of yours. still, you lack direction and courage to listen. it isn’t what you want to hear. to give it all up? but Jesus, isn’t that too much? still your heart beats for something greater. something fills you and calls you out of that comfort, into the unknown. it almost sounds like drums, the beat floods you from the top of your head to the bottom of your feet. and you walk. you leave your comfort behind and walk into the call placed on your life. it’s daunting, but you know the drums beat out a rhythm of grace that guides your every step. your song of deliverance rings inside of you and overflows to those who have yet to hear of His goodness. you’re out of your comfort and in the hands of the ultimate Comforter. you have tasted His goodness and want for nothing. you sit and listen in His presence. His anointing sweeps over your body and you dance. free and unashamed, you dance to the beat, the song only meant for your heart to hear. you’ve pushed past comfort and reached a place where His love is naked before you. your comfort dimmed its light, but there’s no mistaking the love that shines in His eyes. eyes that blaze with passion, and acceptance. you realize now that comfort can be overrated. you’d much rather dance before the One who created you to do more. so much more.

I Have Issues

I have to be honest.

I have issues.

I am a mess of emotions and poor coping skills.

And I know I’m not being melodramatic because I’ve scared myself on multiple occasions with the vast swing of my emotions.

Like I said, I have issues.

Anyway, now that has been established I’ll get to the real reason behind this blog post. I’ve struggled, BIG TIME. I’ve had the hardest time seeing the good in the set backs and the faithfulness of God in it all. Recently, I had to make a huge decision about school and Haiti. I had gotten accepted into an amazing internship that would allow me to experience Haiti and missionary work in a brand new way. I was ready, and dead set on going. I had it all mapped out, and was ready to fundraise my butt off. However, the day after I got accepted I saw I still needed one more class as a prerequisite for the nursing programs I planned on applying to in the fall. And that particular class was offered over the summer, the exact time I planned on being in Haiti. I was at a crossroads, and I had no choice but to sit and…cry my eyes out. Yes, I cried and I cried. I called up some friends talked about it and cried some more. I knew what I had to do but didn’t understand why I was being put in that place. It was tough. My face was a mess of eyeliner and mascara, but I found the strength to let them know I was unable to do the internship.

I was heartbroken, and confused. I didn’t understand what God was doing and didn’t necessarily want to understand what He was doing. I felt like it was too much. My dream and vision of being in Haiti this summer and doing what I know I’m called to do was gone. I wanted to give up everything. I kept wondering why would God give me a heart for this nation, and then basically block me from doing what He’s placed in my heart to do.

This went on for hours and hours. Stayed up all night just journaling and asking why. Finally, after God heard enough of my ranting He gave me His answer. In that gentle way of His; He whispered to my heart that my life is not my own, and never will be. Ummm…Jesus? At first I didn’t know how to take it. Don’t I have some type of say in my life? Silly question, I know! But then I realized that to live fully submitted to God comes with the realization that my life isn’t mine exclusively. It was a simple realization, but an atomic bomb to all those well thought out scenarios of what could have been my picture perfect life.

In that moment, I realized just one of the many costs there are for being fully submitted to God’s will. Your life is not your own. It is God’s to do what He will. It’s a bit frustrating, let me tell ya. It has come with plenty disappoints and soggy pillows. It’s true, I have seen greater things come out of my own plans being trashed and God taking control. But what’s so different about this time? Why am I having such a hard time trusting Him? Is it because I truly felt I was walking in His will and then just got thrown a curve ball? Honestly, I don’t know. And all it does is make my head hurt if I think too much about it.

Somewhere in the silence of my heart I feel Jesus. Like a stubborn flame that can’t be snuffed out; I know there is hope for the future. As the Spirit moves and weaves a greater story I sit and hope for the goodness of the Lord to shine through. It’s in the quietness of my heart where all the crying ceases and the Lord begins downloading truth of His faithfulness into my soul. I am chosen. I am good enough. I have a dream that can’t be discredited. In that secret place I can lay all my issues, disappoints, swinging emotions, broken hearts, journal pages, and soggy pillows at His feet. Jesus gets me. Jesus understands. It’s going to be okay. I’m going to be okay. I might not be in Haiti this summer but it hasn’t stopped Him from cultivating and growing the dream inside my heart. 

My life is not my own, it’s always been His.

Maybe it’s time to start living like it.

With Jesus

That is my car that is currently un-drivable after an accident yesterday

I have got to be honest. These past couple of days have been so trying and exhausting. I haven’t even processed it all. So many things have gone so far south that I sit down and think that this can’t actually be my life. I have questioned God more times than I can count. I’ve lost sight of His promises in the face of all these issues that have decided to sprout up without warning.

However, tonight with Jesus there were no questions, no complaints, just taking the time to sit in His presence. I realized, that all He wanted was for me to just sit and be. Be with Him in our secret place, and let him pour out His love, grace, peace, and mercy. I have been praying/longing for more of Him, and as my longing has been met day by day I can’t help but rejoice in the face of my adversity. The thing that has been trying to drag me down only forced me to lay at the feet of my Savior. To me there is nothing sweeter than that, and I would walk through all of my troubles a hundred times over to just remain at His feet and simply be in His presence.

Awkward Date & God’s Grace

So,

I went on a date last week, and let’s just say that I have learned my lesson and then some!

I met this guy randomly as my friend Olivia and I were hanging out at Taco Bell. He worked there so he started talking to us and as we left he had his friend ask me for my number. Me, not thinking anything rationally, gave him my number. Skip over a few days, he had set up a day and we were going to go on this “date.” The first hint I got that this date would not go well was I had to pick him up from his house. AND he lived a good 45 minutes away from me. Second, I drove us to Main Event and throughout the date I kept trying to find a way to get back home. The guy was nice, funny, and he paid for the date. I guess the date wasn’t a complete disaster but I knew I didn’t want to go on a second date.

In a way, I’ve been secretly hoping to go on this date, any date for that matter. I mean, I just wanted a guy to look my way and take notice. I wanted to prove to people and myself that I’m not going to be single for life. I know people mean well, but when I get questions about recent boyfriends, dates, and crushes I start to panic a little. I’m only nineteen, but people are looking at me like I’m about to be a spinster!

However, after going on this date I realized some things. One, I am only nineteen! I have time to enjoy this time of just being young and free. I’m not going to lie and say I wouldn’t like someone to share it with, but somehow I know my time will come sooner or later. In the meantime, I’m going to enjoy making new friends and experiencing new things. Second, I’m done giving my number out to just anybody and his mama. I should have just gone on my merry way that day. I need to learn to think things through and maybe venture out of the land of “well, why not?” Third, who exactly am I trying to impress with my relationship status? Honestly, I feel like I’ve caught myself wanting to be in a relationship just so people would stop asking questions and to avoid their advice on how to hook a man. It’s funny and I’m sure it works, but it gets old. Fast.

I just want Jesus. Regardless of being single or being in a relationship; Jesus is the only one that I want. Now, I’m not saying that I’m never dating and I’m done with men. A man would be nice, but when it all comes down to it Jesus is the one I’m after. He is what I need. He holds my heart for all eternity. He saw that awkward date, and knew that I would be running to him surrendering it all a few hours later. It’s funny what He uses to call us back to Him, but I am grateful. Date or no date. Man or no man. I am content in knowing that I am held in the arms of my Savior. He’s written and memorized my story; awkward dates and all.

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Since this picture from yesterday captures awkward almost perfectly.

Dance Before Me.

Condemnation. It’s been staring me down. Pushing me and waiting for me to crack under its oppression. I feel it when my thoughts wonder, and when I allow words to pierce my heart. It’s a horrible feeling staring at condemnation and having to make a conscious decision to believe the lie or spit in its face. When condemnation approached I fell into its waiting arms. I was ready to pout and wallow in my self-pity. I’m beginning to believe the lies that are being whispered in my ear, and allowing my soul to be drenched in the mistakes of my past. I feel consumed and overwhelmed by it all.

It’s crazy how the enemy is so quick to throw my past mistakes in my face. He tends to bring up things that I’ve already submitted to God. Things that I don’t struggle with any more, but if I let my guard down for a second; I’m caught. He’s crazy. But you know what’s even crazier? Is that recently I found myself believing the lies and accepting the condemnation thinking I actually deserve it. It’s twisted, but that’s how the enemy operates.

However, I have a loving Jesus who sees it all and UNDERSTANDS what I am feeling. In Hebrews it says that we do not have a high priest (Jesus) who isn’t able to sympathize with us because even though Jesus was fully God; He was also fully human. He’s just been reminding me that He knows how I feel. He probably knows more about what I’m actually feeling because half the time I’m just a jumble of emotions and feelings.

He deals with my condemnation the second I give those feelings to Him. I can hear Him clearly countering every lie from the pit of hell with His truth. He tells me that I have been bought with a price. My sin has been paid in full. He loves me, and has covered my sin. I am forgiven, and being made new every second, every minute of the day. The skeletons of my past are out in the open, but He has breathed new life into them and transformed them for His glory!

My past or mistakes don’t have me in bondage like they did before. I have to consistently remind myself to keep my guard up and counter the lies with Truth. I have been forgiven and the yoke of my past is off my shoulders. God not only took my sin, but He made it new. He transformed it not only for my salvation, but so that He gets maximum glory in it all. The things that He has pulled me out of is just a testament of His unending grace and unfailing love.

My sin doesn’t control me. It dances before me. Dancing to the song of forgiveness and redemption.

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“…And then there was God, who’d caused even the dry bones to dance before me.” -Marilynn Griffith

Heart Wide Open.

There’s just something about waking up to a new day knowing that it’s filled and brimming with possibility. I woke up today with that feeling. It’s hard to explain, but in my mind the word that keeps playing like a record is, “new.”

Just, new.

Throughout the day I’ve been taking inventory of all the new things that have happened upon my life.

1. My room has actually been clean for the past 72 hours.  WHAT?!

2. I’ve been going to the gym for the past few days, and instead of buying a Reese’s I actually went to the gym TODAY. This is totally new for me. Reese’s and I have an awesome relationship except the calories are starting to strain the relationship. It sucks.

3. I actually ate a Snickers for breakfast this morning though. So it’s probably good I didn’t get that Reese’s. Honestly, I don’t advice eating Snickers for breakfast because my stomach could not take all that chocolatey richness that early in the morning.

4.  I tried Haitian Beet Potato Salad. It wasn’t  all that great but it was a pretty color! I’m even trying to learn some Haitian Creole. Don’t ask me what I’ve learned either because when I say “learning” it means I am moving at a snail’s pace, but slower.

afterlight (1)

5. I took a bubble bath and got distracted by all the bubbles which lead to it overflowing and flooding my bathroom. Then I just laughed and laughed until I realized that I really just flooded my bathroom and there wasn’t enough towels in my cabinet to clean it up.

6. I went to a yoga class. Even though this morning my behind, back, and hips were not all that happy about my latest venture.

7. I’m learning how to be extra compassionate and caring in my CNA class.

8. I’m actually really excited and challenged to be apart of Lakewood Young Adults. I’m finally going to volunteer!

All of these things are really small and a little trivial, but I look at them as new. These things haven’t happened to me and I find myself embracing it with my heart wide open. I can only describe this feeling of newness as a heart change. It has been a gift from God. I’m finding joy in the simplest things, and realizing that this is what God has been singing over me my whole life. I have been liberated from my past and I’m stepping into this new season with all senses on alert.

I’m determined to see things with my eyes wide open, and take it all in hoping my brain will be able to comprehend every precious detail. I want to continue to feel not just with my sense of touch, but deep down. I want my soul, spirit, and heart to be so exposed to the new things that God is dropping into my life, and appreciate it all. I need to continue to search for more things to hear. Whether it be a new beautiful song, a friends tale of what has been going on in their life, or a cute baby’s laugh. I need to be more open to tasting new things. I mean, I need to find a healthier way to get my Reese’s fix. Stat. I long to smell all the flowers,  the perfumes that I can’t afford yet, and the good food cooking in the kitchen. I want to smell it all. except the stinky stuff. Just no. 

These things that I’ve listed probably have already happened in my life, but I think with a new perspective I will be able to see just how “new” they can be.

So here’s to the newness of life! It’s bursting at the seams with new things to see, feel, hear, taste, and smell. All you have to do is maybe have a  good perspective check and  prepare yourself to receive the new things that God wants to shower over you.

“It is only when the mind is free from the old that it meets everything anew, and in that there is joy.” 
― Jiddu Krishnamurti

Where To Next?

The first time I ever considered Haiti was last year while I was in Africa. It was a fleeting thought that I quickly pushed into the back of my mind. Two days after I walked off the plane, with Africa still heavy on my heart; Haiti was in my mind again. August 3, 2013 was the day I knew I was going to Haiti.

afterlight

Throughout the semester at LSU, Haiti was not my first priority. I mean, I knew God had called me to go but I wasn’t all that willing to go through the whole fundraising process again. However, now that I’m back at home God has made it crystal clear where I will be this summer.

I am in the process of getting my CNA. Whoop Whoop! At first, I wasn’t too happy about this, but I can see how God is moving. As a CNA I will be able to gain some experience in the nursing field and make some money while I’m in school. (Hallelujah! I refuse to be a broke college student.)  Anyway, as I was wasting time on the internet I came across a website that said they accepted CNA’s in their Haiti mobile clinic. I probably stared at the screen for a hot minute before I was signing up and emailing the director.

Things aren’t exactly set in stone and I have a tentative date of when I will be going. The organization that I will be joining is called Mission of Hope: Haiti. I’m still indecisive about fundraising. I will be working soon so I’m thinking of saving and possibly taking care of things myself. But who knows at this point.

I always get this sense of overwhelming joy when I know I’m being called somewhere. I can’t really explain it, but I know God will have His way getting me to Haiti. I’m glad I get a front row seat in seeing what He will do in my life and others lives these next few months.

He is fulfilling a promise and bringing my dreams into fruition.

“It’s a safe thing to trust Him to fulfill the desires which He creates.”Amy Carmichael

#baylitohaiti