Steady Grace

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

037 311

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.

225 307

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.

034

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).

 129 389

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. 

 022 1013773_10203402714131659_859141897_n

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.

072 040

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.

IMG_1828

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

Advertisements

Fried Chicken and Waffles.

Community.

This is something that I have literally been thrust into the last few months here at LSU, and it has been absolutely wonderful. And to think it all started with chicken and waffles.

My prayer before stepping on LSU’s campus was that I would find a church home quickly, and meet people who were truly passionate about God. I told myself I refused to lose sight of why God had me at LSU. I was researching churches, stalking church Instagrams, and asking people about the churches they had attended while going to LSU. I was a little nervous because I knew that I would have to step out of my comfort zone I had created in Lakewood. My second week on campus I saw on Instagram flyer for free chicken and waffles; and y’all already know I was there with bells on! This is when the world-wind began. I talked to one girl who said she would give me a ride, met the praise and worship leader who just poured out his passion for music, and then ended up meeting the college pastor who was so excited to just welcome everyone in. I was absolutely blown away by everyone’s hearts and I felt so free just to tell them what I was looking for in a church. Nothing has been the same since that night. I have now found a church and I am just so grateful for God’s amazing way of answering prayers.

My church home in Baton Rouge is called Antioch Community Church. Antioch is so completely different from Lakewood, but somehow they are similar. And it’s only because the Spirit of God resides in both. After my first service at Antioch I knew I was there to stay because I felt the same way I felt when I was at Lakewood. The difference in numbers between the churches means nothing when you know that the Lord is moving in both. It’s funny; when I was there I knew for sure God is doing something at Antioch, and I knew I had to be apart of it.

Life-group. Oh man, life-group. I have so many words to say and to type but nothing can quite explain the beauty of the way God has used life-group to impact my life. I have felt so loved and cared for by these people it’s insane. I’m like smothered in love, but in a good way. The hearts and passion for Jesus the people in my life-group have inspired me. I knew that it was where I needed to be when I boo-hoo cried in front of all of them. I was horribly embarrassed, but God used them to show me that He hears my prayers and I’m not alone at LSU. Each and every one of them have become my dearest friends. I have found freedom in this community.

I also have to just give y’all a glimpse of how God is moving on this campus.

Last night, after a long night of studying (not really); my friends and I went out to eat and just hang out. At 1am, we were just talking and sharing about our churches back home and just things that God has done in our lives. And without any warning, no special invitation, the Holy Spirit showed up. We just got into this atmosphere of prayer. We prayed for the unsaved people in my dorm, for our families, for our anxieties, for our church, for more diversity in our church, and just for God to do some radical stuff on LSU’s campus. After the prayer we were just in shock, and couldn’t believe what happened. Those prayers didn’t come from us. It was literally the Holy Spirit speaking through us all. By that time it was 2am and we were absolutely pumped and didn’t want to part ways.

This is what I jotted down after I slipped into my dorm at 2am:

October 15, 2013

Tonight was so powerful! The Lord is moving. The fact that we prayed to 2 am just sharing about God and church. And THAT PRAYER! God is shaking up some stuff and stirring the hearts of His servants. We have seen the glory of God and we are not ashamed to proclaim His name! This community has invested so much into me. I feel so blessed and loved by everyone. Accepted. There is a freedom here that is also at Lakewood, that just draws you in. I see how God is moving. The church is bursting at its seams. Hearts are on fire and ready to learn more about Jesus. The hunger for You is so prevalent and real.