Steady Grace

This year. Oh, this year. I’ve seen and felt things that I’ve never thought possible.

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Looking back, in January I was standing in the aftermath of putting all my dirty laundry out for the world to see. I published “The Year of the Lord’s Favor”  out of obedience. As the new year rolled in, and days transitioned to nights I fought fear and shame. Fear of judgement and condemnation, and a shame that mocked me and told me lies. I fought. I fought hard for peace because I knew my freedom was a promise from God. The response I got from that post was overwhelming. I was completely taken aback by the comments and messages. I felt stronger when I realized I wasn’t alone. I heard Jesus tenderly lifting my eyes up to truly see His grace, and let it flow about me without hindrance. I have never felt such peace, such love.

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Soon after, I was struggling. I had left LSU, and I wasn’t in school. I was taking a night CNA class that I had to drive over an hour to get to every night. I was in a dark place. I felt that God had stopped talking to me. After all I had done for Him; He decided He was going to leave me where I was. I was mad at God. Mad that things weren’t going my way and hadn’t worked out like I had planned. But in that dark place He was all I had. I found worship as an escape. I worshiped and ranted. It looks so funny when I type it out, but I ranted, I cried, I threw tantrums only to go back to worshiping the One who had all the answers. Throughout it all, Jesus knew my heart. He knew I was hurting, broken, and confused. I discovered that my secret place with Him was my haven. My safe place to lay my head after a rough day of battling insecurity. His presence was the balm my soul needed.

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Haiti. My life has not been the same. Mere words can’t express the complete heart change that happened in that country. The intense longing to just sit and be in a moment has never been so real until that one day in a Haitian mountain village. The enemy fought me like no other before both trips. The inner struggle to completely put my  faith in the Lord seemed like an insurmountable task. I felt that the Lord was teasing me somehow because EVERY TIME I drowned in doubt. However, He continued to pour out His grace and His abundance. I experienced miracles, and still get a little giddy when I realize all that He did to get me to Haiti. Oh, Haiti, My heart aches to be there. I have dreams of being back. It makes me laugh because I know God’s just fanning the flame. Who knows, maybe I’ll move there (with momma’s permission, of course).

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After Haiti, I began my transition back into normal life. I was enrolled back into school, and involved in the church like never before. My heart was, and still is to serve my church. But in the middle of the semester I was running on empty. I was desperate for more of Jesus. Even though I felt like I was at church all the time, I was lacking somehow. That’s when He called me into my season of healing and rest. Rest sounded so good, but it was so complicated. I would find myself still falling into the same pattern of filling up my time. Filling it with church things, but neglecting my time with Jesus. It took a while, and I was finally hit with the truth that I was running from my healing. I wasn’t ready to face my issues and work things out. I wasn’t ready to have my wounds cleaned because I knew that involved removing my makeshift bandage. One woman put it to me this way; she told me I was on the operating table, and as Jesus came in to sew me up I would flail. I would kick, scream, and fight while Jesus would whisper rest. It wasn’t until I heard and saw what this woman was saying to fully grasp that I was resisting my healing. Something that I had prayed for throughout the year. 

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So began my healing process. There isn’t much to say except that it was brutal. It hurt, and I was completely out of my comfort zone. I felt like I was exposed and vulnerable. The months of my healing process had to be my weakest moments.God led me to share my testimony many times, which would bring back old fears of rejection. I found myself back in my secret place. While the Lord gently operated I saw the beauty being brought forth from my ashes. I wrote a lot, and burned a lot. I had to have a physical representation of what was no longer allowed to hold me hostage. I refused to be a victim and walk in entitlement. I was striped of my pride, and found myself on my knees more times than I can count.

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Now here I am today. A few weeks out of my healing process. Not perfect, but whole. I have found such peace. A sweet rest that accompanies me everywhere I go. I have found a refuge so safe that I haven’t gone a day without feeling protected. I have tasted and seen of His goodness. I’m being called deeper and deeper into His endless love. I found my identity and worth in Him, and I find myself walking in my brand new confidence with shaky legs, but I walk. I press on, and I keep my gazed fixed on His face because I know I’m called for more.

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you will be called by a new name that the mouth of the Lord will bestow. You will be a crown of splendor in the Lord’s hand, a royal diadem in the hand of your God. – Isaiah 62:2-3

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Getting to LSU.

It is absolutely surreal being on LSU’s campus. I feel so blessed to be here, and I am just in awe of what God has done so far. The few days before coming to college were definitely a struggle filled with tears and a whole bunch of prayer.

August 20, 2013

I don’t understand God. I know you have called me to LSU, but why all the road blocks? I do believe that you are working. I honestly am feeling discouraged about this whole situation. There is absolutely no way to pay, but that is when you really show up and show out, right?

The day before move in day I was sitting at HCC crying my eyes out but ready to enroll into classes there. At that moment it was absolutely impossible for my mom to pay for my tuition. I was completely wrecked, and could not wrap my mind around why God seemed to shut the doors on LSU. I was having this little crisis of faith. I was praying and crying out to God wondering why He brought me so far just to leave me.

Sitting in that little room my mom suddenly told me that we were going home. I was a little confused, but a few days before my mom and I had to have some serious talks about money. I was distraught because I started to think that maybe God didn’t want me at LSU. I was ready to accept it, but I couldn’t understand why. I don’t know what changed my mother’s mind. I did tell her that I knew God wanted me to go to LSU. It sounded so lame when I said it to her at first. Because saying those words and then looking at the billing statement didn’t add up. But my mom had to believe that LSU was where I needed to be or I wouldn’t be here. That night we made a decision and LSU was a go, but we were flying on faith.

August 21, 2013

Lord I know your hand is in all of this. Everything keeps coming up as a road block, but I am still holding on to faith. You have the power to do exceedingly above and beyond all that I can imagine. This waiting is making me stronger and more appreciative of the privilege to go to LSU. I know you have me there for a specific purpose because the enemy is fighting so hard. I know it is done! It’s not over! Your blessings will come raining down more than I can imagine. You are my rock and I believe that I’m going through this to be strengthened. I will be on that campus tomorrow! 

“Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life.” – Psalm 143:8

Long story short, God gave me starting grace. My tuition for the first quarter was paid and it was only by God’s grace and power. And the miracles haven’t stopped there! I got books for prices that are unheard of, and I got my biology book (the most expensive book I had to have) for free!

Through out those days leading up to move in day I was constantly writing. I wanted to make sure I was communicating every single thing I was feeling. I knew God was doing a work in me and in the future I would want to go back and read it. I am so glad I did! Those journal entries give me so much encouragement for all the days I lose sight of why I am here. Those days weren’t easy, but I appreciate them and in a way happy that I went through those trying times.

God is faithful. He hears those prayers, sees those tears, and provides for those needs that have to be met.