Beginning Again…

When I handed my life over to Jesus a little over four years ago, I had no idea the things that He was going to teach me.

I had no idea some of my sins were sins.

I had no idea those sins were going to be things that I would continue to struggle with long into adulthood.

I had no idea the brokenness that would destroy my heart, but that love would come sweeping in to catch me in my free fall…

I had no idea that sometimes my legs would quiver, that God’s Spirit would literally break me at the knees to bow at His feet. I had no idea that kind of surrender could be authentic.

I had no idea that vulnerability and bravery were going to get more difficult as I got older, and that I would build up walls subconsciously because of the hurt and pain that fills the gap between what I expected and what I experienced.

But I knew that I was coming to an end. 

I knew that I had to come to an end, the end where I knew this life was no longer mine, but that it was His. And together, He was going to show me the beautiful life He has scripted for me. Even when it doesn’t feel so beautiful all the time.

Year One:

My relationship with Jesus started from a broken place, from a broken relationship that I had handed over. I received the answer I needed, but it didn’t mean that a necessary answer made things less painful.
I learned more about Jesus in a year off of dating (which turned into four years…am I right?) than I could have ever asked for. I had no natural response except to start surrendering my daily life. This was the purest place I felt like I had ever been with God because I knew I couldn’t figure this out on my own. Any glimmer of hope that I had in a season where everything was new and changing with just starting college, starting a new job, and beginning my steps in my faith was only coming from the Hope in Love I found.

Year Two: 

Then I slipped. The temptation of my sin exploded and I was torn between love and Love. Grace came sweeping in again, when I was too weak, and I was offered a hand out of this season that felt so similar. Jesus met me where I was at. No matter how disappointing I was or the struggles I was facing…He brought me immense joy when I needed it the most.

Year Three: 

Then my junior year of college I began experiencing really difficult changes, or lack of changes, with my body. I was having hormonal reactions to medication, retaining weight, having panic attacks, and nothing was working. No amount of diet or exercise could fix me and the doctors seemed to agree. Until I began seeing a hormone replacement specialist and with a plethora of blood panels I was finally diagnosed with IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), PCOS (Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome) and Insulin Resistance. My iron and sodium levels were also low resulting in low energy. This diagnosis confirmed the difficulties I was having with my body and gave reasoning as to why this process was so frustrating. For me, a girl who has struggled to see herself as beautiful and sinks into comparison traps, I didn’t know in what other ways my heart could break.

I couldn’t conjure up “what if…” situations because nothing was definitive, all was uncertain. I couldn’t plan and I couldn’t fix it, and I was just going to have to wait. While that’s hopeful that nothing is set in stone it’s also incredibly frustrating.

Year Four: 

My final year of college has been spent learning to work full time. But learning to work full time for the glory of God and not to please man. I have struggled and cried and worried about not measuring up.
I’ve been through even more transitions and somehow I landed two job descriptions that I absolutely love and only by God’s grace do people believe in me enough to do them. I’ve had to learn to work in an office and on a team nearly 24/7 with awesome guys who sometimes push my buttons, get freaked out when I cry, and who challenge me to be a better leader.

{Just to be clear, they are the people I would pitch a fit for if I didn’t get to work with them everyday. They are the first to affirm me, come to my defense, and cheer me on and I hope I am that for them.}

I’ve struggled being single and wondering when this season of waiting is going to be over. And I’ve tried so hard to not blame it on my body, or my diagnosis, or to let my shame and my dissatisfaction turn into lies that I am unlovable. I have struggled forgiving. I have struggled continuing to pray for things that seem hopeless. I have struggled accepting my parents failing marriage. I have struggled believing that I will be able to take care of and provide for myself. I have struggled keeping up with finances. I have struggled to look in the mirror and love what I see.

I have struggled to sit still and let God speak into my anxious heart…

I have struggled daily to focus on Him.

Some days I have even struggled to pray.

Yet last night I was asked to envision what God looks like to me and how that influences my prayers…what I realized is that the way I view God needs to influence my prayers more.

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I see Him as being right next to me, even though I can’t distinguish any specific characteristics. He is like the wind swirling around me and settling next to me in the quiet, but He doesn’t dissipate. He is closer than I can ever know. Closer than my breath, my heart beat, or my next thought. He walks with me and lets me cling to His hand.

He’s constantly pursuing, circling, loving, and extending grace, affection, and comfort.

He has always been this close. He always will be. Through these four years and four thousand more.

In all of this, wacky crazy unorganized, mess I am coming to the end of myself repeatedly.

It’s hopeful and beautiful and sometimes agonizing, but it’s good.

I am consistently ending and He is beginning. I’m learning how to worry less because I will never, ever, control the outcome. I am learning that servanthood is important even while working in full time ministry. I am learning that prayer is powerful and that I need to push through resistance and pray with intensity and belief that God is mighty and cares about the details of our lives.

I am learning that I will never be enough, because He is more than enough.

He, through me, has to be enough.

 

Father,

I pray that our circumstances wouldn’t limit our perception of Your power, love, grace, kindness, and goodness. I pray that when we look in the mirror and don’t see ourselves as enough that You would gently remind us that we are enough because You made us enough. I pray that our reliance on You would grow deeply and that we would pray with intensity and power. Father, I pray that we would know You are orchestrating something with our messy, beautiful and broken lives…something big that You will bring into completion. 

Amen. 

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