Reflecting on the past two years

I know, I know. It has been a hot minute (10 months to be exact…) since I have posted anything. Which is completely not normal for me. But hey, I’ve been really busy and overwhelmed. There will be more on that real soon, I promise. I have a couple posts that are in the works because I have finally had some time to breathe and write. But for now, here’s a really short story about where I’m at and what God is doing.

Tuesday morning, I woke up & remembered the dream I had that night so vividly. Which is very unusually, because honestly, I’ve only ever remembered maybe 3-4 dreams in my life.

In my dream, I was with a family who I’m close with. We were somewhere I did not recognize. I was playing with their kids.

When I woke up, I thought that’s weird-why were they in my dream?

I immediately felt like I should pray for them. So I did.

Then later during the day, I start thinking about them again. At some point during that afternoon I check my email and had an email update from them about a trip they just went on.

So, I decided I should send them a message and just let them know I’m thinking about them & praying for them & ask about their trip in more detail.

(We communicate via Voxer so it’s like a walkie talkie and can share longer stories when we talk.)

Wednesday night as I was listening to their stories of their trip & my heart exploded with thankfulness about the healing it brought to them. A few minutes later, God simply reminded me of the date. Late October. And it hit me on exactly why they were on my mind.

Two years ago, our lives changed forever.

Two years ago, I was supposed to be stepping on a plane & traveling to do life with them for the next 3 months in a country where they had called home for over 9 years. But instead they had 9 days to pack everything & move back to the states. And I was unable to even enter the country.

Our lives were completely turned upside down. And it was a hard season. Each day brings a little more healing. But somedays, sadness and questions still.

But as I continued to listen to their update, I thought about how I’m grateful for this friendship and how even through the healing we’ve grown closer. I’m thankful for how God is still using them in my life, and how God is still at work in both of our lives.

Reflecting on the past 2 years, here’s what I’ve learned;

  1. God will bring healing in ways you never thought about.

  2. God is faithful.

  3. Although your life looks completely different than what you thought it should look like, joy can still be found.

  4. Sometimes, the valley is deeper than you ever imagined. But God is always with you.

  5. Just because you think you’re finally “okay”, doesn’t mean grief won’t come back & sneak in.

  6. Christian clichés are the worst, please stop comforting people with them. It’s honestly better to just show up and be there than to actually say anything.

  7. I don’t need anyone to “fix” anything, when I talk to you about what I’m going through most of the time I just need someone to listen. And then simply encourage.

  8. God is so kind.

I’m grateful for the reminders that help me be intentional.

“Healing is not an overnight process, it is a daily cleansing of pain, it is a daily healing of your life.” – Leon Brown

Thanks for being on this journey with me the past 2 years (well, it is probably closer to 3 since most of you started walking with me during my preparation time) and thanks for your continued support & prayers. Keep an eye out for what’s to come- I promise more is coming soon! (hopefully you’ve been waiting and wondering what happened to me! Ha)

New year, New me-right?

Isn’t that the most cliche thing we all like to say? Everyone sees the opportunity to point out everything they don’t like about themselves and how everything is going to change. And I sometimes have to stop myself from doing that and first take a step back and be grateful for who I am. Because just like most I make a list of things I want to change, 9 times out of 10 I end up just comparing myself to others and that is never good for my emotional or spiritual health. But I love seasons and new beginnings. I love that each season holds its own significance and growth and emotion.

And each new year, you get a whole new clean slate of 365 days to make the best of. As each day goes by each year, we can look back and see what God has taught us and learn and apply them to the new beginning. I won’t sit here and tell you that after this year I want to be completely different. I’m not going to sit here and say it has been the worst year of my life, because even though it’s been difficult and painful, there have been some sweet moments and memories. I don’t want to become someone different. But there are some things that I would like to see change in myself. But we will get there.

 

 

First, here’s what 2018 has taught me;

I’ve learned over the year that new beginnings are beautiful, but sometimes they can be hard. I walked into the beginning of this year full of pain. I thought that I couldn’t experience any more pain than what I was already in. I started this past year without my best friend. I started this year jobless. And with absolutely no idea what I wanted to do. (And to be honest, I still have no idea what I want to do-even though I have a job.) and then right after the new year, I experienced yet another loss. But not only did I experience personal loss, I saw many peopleclose to me lose someone. And honestly, I hate when my people are hurting, I would much rather feel the pain than see them hurt. I’ve learned that grief doesn’t just go away because you want it to. It doesn’t go away just because a year has gone by. That in the most random moments it hits you like a brink wall. And then you can’t contain your emotions. In grief, you don’t just grieve the person gone but you grieve the “what should have beens” and the “you should be here’s.” I learned that sometimes the best way to get by is to fake it. I learned that Joy is something that is chosen. You can be full of joy even when things around you seem to not be moving forward. And although most days, I feel like I am not moving forward and my life is just passing by while I just go through the motions, joy is still there. I learned that time spent with the ones you love is never wasted time. That even if it’s just for a few hours. I learned healing can come by sitting on the couch you thought you would sit on during holidays and talking about memories, but that also brings pain. With everything that I’ve learned, there has been some good. I started seminary in 2018 and I fell in love with learning. I started to see in myself that I can do it. I met new people. I went on new adventures. I lived life. I got a new job. I made my first A in grad school. I spent time with family. I reconnected with old friends. I learned that life is too short to not spend it with the people you want in your life. I learned to prioritize who I want in my life. The people who were there for me when I needed them. The people who lift me up and lead me to Jesus. Who when I am down, remind me who I am. Who reminded me that it was okay to cry. 2018 helped me see that family is not always blood. Family are the people who are there for you when you need them the most, who treat you like a human being. Who love you when you need it most. It’s not about having the most friends, but having the ones who count. This year was full of emotions, pain, tears, laughter, smiles, late nights, early mornings, long drives, phone calls, snap chats, but most importantly- it was full ofgrace, joy,forgiveness, growth, and love. I wouldn’t say this was the worst year of my life, but I wouldn’t say it was the best either. I would say that I madeit. And I am unbelievably ready for the new year and for new healings to come. 

My prayer for this new year and what I would like to see myself improve on-

  • To be intentional with spending time with God outside of school (confession time; I got in a really bad hole of letting my school work be enough time in The Word)

  • To get back to my healthy living (another confession time; if you know me and have seen me in the past year I have gained all my weight back plus some. Because I have found comfort in food. And I know it is partly why I have been miserable.) So here is to 2019 becoming healthy again! (But also enjoying life too ;)) 

  • To go on an adventure by myself. I know that sounds crazy. But I have been saying that for about 2 years now and I haven’t done it yet. I think that is will be healing for me. To go and get away and put my phone down and just be. I refill by doing things on my own.

  • To not complain as much. Complaining shows I am not grateful, and I want to be grateful for what Jesus has given me. 

  • To open my heart again. In a strange way I have hardened my heart. I am afraid of letting people in again, because when you do all you do is get hurt. But I know that the harder you grieve, the harder you loved. And I don’t want a life without love. 

  • I want to be present. I want to put my phone down more and be with the people I am with. (So If you try to get ahold of me this year and I don’t respond right away, don’t take it personally) 

  • I want to not let what others think of me (or what I think others think of me) control me.

  • To write more. I love writing these blogs. And I have no clue if anyone reads them. But honestly, I don’t care. I write them for me. To help me process and remember. 

So here’s to walking with me into this next year! Let’s see what God has in store! 

 

 

Just a few pictures from my 2018:




Detour

You know the moment when you slow down long enough to look at your life and where you’re at and you realize your life looks completely different than what you’ve ever pictured but your heart couldn’t be more full? Yeah, that is exactly where I am at. 

Divine-Detour-Square.jpgThe other day (and well by the other day, I mean a couple weeks ago. Because you know some times things happen and God is like YO GIRL, heres your next blog post and I’m like great. Thank you. And then I don’t take the time to sit and listen and write until well, weeks later…but that’s not the point. So I’ll move on.) I was driving to New Orleans to visit my family. I grew up going to NOLA often. From my house to my grandparents house, it’s a straight shot. You take I10 all the way and then go towards the west bank. I’ve driven this many times before, I could do it in my sleep. But the last time I went I10 was closed. It was late at night and very dark on the road. And before I knew it (and before I could grab my phone and put it in my GPS) I was being forced off I10 onto a completely different highway. And I had no clue if this road was going to lead me to where I needed to be. I had to fully trust in the signs on the road and hope I was going in the right direction. 

As I continued driving I started thinking. (Which we haven’t completely figured out is a good or bad thing) 😉 I also starting talking to God. Some of my best and deepest conversations and revelations happen while I’m driving. I think it is because I am finally alone. And I can’t distract myself. 

So as I continue to drive I begin to talk to God. And in that moment, He opens my eyes and a revelation comes to me. God showed me that my life took a “detour.” IMG_1488I went on a completely different route than I would have ever imagined. The past year was crazy. And painful. And uncomfortable. And some people from the outside could probably view is as not smart. And let’s be real here, unbelievably different than most peoples journeys. But it was Gods journey for my life. I’ve learned to trust. I’ve learned to trust God in ways that will allow me to continueIMG_1481 to trust in the future. that will help me when doubt comes sneaking in as a reminder Who is in control of my life. And that I can get through anything. I have seen God provide in ways that will allow me to always know He is a provider. I have learned many different ways He cares for us. I have seen His love and beauty in ashes. He has shown me my faith is stronger than I believe. I am stronger than I let myself believe. My relationship with God has become more real than I ever thought possible. All these things that God has revealed to me in this season, no one will ever be able to take away from me. God showed them to me so that in the future, when He calls me into something different (and well, I know that it will probably be something crazy to so many people because I am not going to live an ordinary life) I will already have everything He has taught me as a foundation for who He is. 

I know you are all wondering if I made it to my grandparents house or not…

Yes. Haha The road I ended up on actually took me straight to my grandparents fullsizeoutput_bf0house. It took me a little longer to get there than normal, but I made it. Although it was dark, I was able to see a different part of Louisiana that I have never seen before. And I really enjoyed my time with God! IMG_1919So Just like my drive to NOLA, God has brought me to exactly where He wanted me. It took longer than I wanted. It was a completely different way than I would have chosen for myself. Because again, lets be real…I would have chosen the easiest way and for everything to have worked out the way I had planned. 

For those of you who haven’t heard, God has provided me a job! That was a prayer request I left with last time. I had been begging Him for direction. I work for the Mission Centers of IMG_1286Houston. We are a local nonprofit who serve the inner city of Houston. Although I probably would have never picked this place for me (because well, Houston is not where I want to spend the rest of my life), I have fallen in love with this place and the people we serve. I am using my gifts to run the office. I love Houston. I have for awhile. But now I get to be the light of Jesus Christ in the city I grew up in. I am doing more administrative work, but thats what my gifts are. But I also still get to walk into my calling of “go and make disciples of all nations…”

This past year was painful, and I am still healing. But I am happy with where I am at right now. I haven’t felt this at peace about where I am in a long time. I know God has brought me to exactly where I am. He is a good Father who provides and gives us what we need. If you would have told my 18 year old self what I would have gone through at age 24-25 and that I would end up being okay at age 26, I WOULD HAVE WALKED AWAY FROM YOU. I wouldn’t have believed a word you said. But here I am. Stronger for the trials and the pain. Thankful for the road I have walked. Thankful for the people God has placed in my life who have been there from day 1, and who have helped me walk, cry, and sometimes crawl back to God.

IMG_1820Awhile back I asked God to show me a passage somewhere in His word as an example of this. He brought me to Exodus 17. Just a beautiful picture of howIMG_1546 community works. When I was ready to give up, my people came alongside of me and believed for me. Just like when Moses was tired, Aaron and Hur came alongside of him and helped by holding his arms. And my heart is full. 

I always like to leave you with how to pray for me in this season of life. I have a simple prayer request; That even though I am happy and content with where I am, I ask I wouldn’t become too content to stop running fully after God. I ask that you pray that my passion and fire would never cease. And that I would use what I have learned to pour into others. 

It is Well With my Soul…

Disclaimer; longer post than normal. Very personal. May not make sense or flow well, but it did as I was typing! Haha

On March 23, 2018 I lost my grandma. If you’ve been following along at all to my journey you know I’ve been experiencing a lot of loss in my life since September. With everything that’s been going on (if this is your first time reading my blog, I urge you to go back to the first one. Don’t worry-there’s not a crazy amount of posts and they’re not long. But it’ll help give backstory.) I’ve had a hard time being able to straighten out my thoughts and well, haven’t been writing. I’ve been in a season of grief. I think that has been more frustrating than anything because (although yes, I know everyone grieves differently) there’s days when I start crying for no reason. There’s days I’m angry for no reason. I’m just an emotional roller coaster (and yes, I’m very emotional to start with so it’s kinda like on steroids).

When you’re in a season of grief, I think it’s important to not shut it out. I think it’s important to allow yourself to feel whatever emotion you’re feeling and sit in it. Now, should you stay there, no. But if you don’t allow yourself time to know what you’re feeling it makes it harder later on.

When my grandma passed away, I told myself I would be okay. I told myself, you literally just did this 6 months ago. How hard could it be to push through. A lot harder than I ever imagined! So many other emotions flooded through me. There were some hard roads to walk through (that honestly, I know I’m still walking on them.)

Losing someone is never easy. Even though you know without a doubt they’re in heaven. Even when you know Jesus defeated the grave and you’ll see them again one day. It’s hard, because you’re still here on this earth. And as a human you experience pain still. And your left with all the things that know you’ll never get to experience with them. And that’s hard. You have to learn a new normal. And that’s not easy. But in that time, although you may not “feel it,” Jesus is still there. And that’s the hardest time to remember He is with you, is when you don’t feel it. But the good thing is, sometimes feelings aren’t truth. And you have to remind yourself of what that truth is.

⁃ “He heals the brokenhearted and bandages their wounds.” ~ Psalms 147:3

⁃ “ The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” ~ Lamentations 3:22-23

⁃ God of comfort. ~ 2 Corinthians 1:3-7

And you can’t remind yourself of these truths of you are not in The Word. It’s just the truth. No matter how hard it is.

When I learned of grandma going home to be in heaven the only thing I could say was “it is well with my soul.”

And it is. I listened to hymns over and over. All those old hymns I grew up on. Those were the only thing my soul longed for. I couldn’t sing or listen to anything else. But what was so sweet, was that one of the last things my grandma sang in the hospital was “it is well with my soul.” I won’t get those memories or pictures with my grandma at my wedding, but I’ll forever be connected with her. Because God knew that was going to be something I’m bitter about, and he’s a sweet, good father, that He gave me something no one else can claim. A song, praising Him. Which is sweeter than anything else. 💖

Now to add on to what I’ve been learning and going through but also to kinda switch switch gears…

It’s been 7 months since I quit my job in faith. It’s been 7 months since I was unable to get on a plane and go to the one place I want to be. And I am no closer to figuring out what to do with my life than on that day I found out I wasn’t going. Actually, I’m probably further away figuring out anything. 🤷🏽‍♀️

*insert all the frustration*

Why? Because when you don’t know what to do with your life and everything fell apart you get questions on a daily basis from people (who you know really care about you, but honestly doesn’t help the situation) like, what’s next? Don’t you need insurance soon? What are you doing now? Have you found a job yet?

It’s just hard to answer the same thing over and over again.

Nope. And yes, I know in 2 months I’ll need enough money to pay for insurance. Trust me, I’m not naive and think a money tree is going to magically appear. Although, that would probably make life easier. 😂

It’s not that I haven’t applied. Since January, I’ve probably sent my resume to 50 places. And not all in Houston. (Because, if you know me I’m 100% okay with getting out of here.) I’ve had maybe 6 interviews from that.

*insert even more frustration*

I know God does not call us to sit and expect things to fall out of the sky. He’s not a magician. We have to actively pursuing Him, but also looking for “open doors” #clicheiveheardamillontimes

So that’s what I’m doing. I’ve been working 3 jobs the past couple months to pay my bills. And I’m tired.

So I’m learning that even in the frustration, God deserves our praise. Which I’m not going to lie, IS REALLY HARD. And He is worthy of them. But also just like in grief, to remind ourselves of His truth and promises. Because if you don’t, you fall into the pit of lies.

⁃ you’re a disappointment

⁃ You’re not living your life to everyone else’s standards

⁃ You don’t fit in because of that

⁃ You’re friends don’t love you anymore

⁃ You’re family is ashamed of you

Just a few I’ve been battling. And when this happens you pull away from the people who love you most and it becomes worse because you no longer let your community help fight those lies.

So here’s some truths;

⁃ Gods call on my life looks different than everyone else’s. AND THAT’S OKAY.

⁃ God still loves me. Not because of what I’m doing. But because of who He is.

⁃ “The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the person who seeks him. It is good to wait quietly for salvation from the Lord.” ~ lamentations 3:25-26

⁃ It’s okay to cry.

⁃ 2 Samuel 22:17-20

So I’m going to end this post a little different. I just let you in to the very depths of what I’ve been going through. I’m going to end this with two different lists. For those of you who have been walking with me and praying for me, I’m going to have a list of specific prayer requests. Over the past several months God has used some constant situations in my life to remind me of His goodness, so I’m going to end with a list of gratitude. Because when you voice your thankfulness, it is pleasing to The Lord. And it is powerful. (Something else God had been teaching me.)

“Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” ~ Philippians 4:6-7

What I’m thankful for:

⁃ in January I started seminary. And on Thursdays, I knew I could walk in and just be. I didn’t have to put on a show. My class of 4 preachers (+ me!) and a professor who deeply cares and loves Jesus was the best thing for me. I needed that class more than I ever thought.

⁃ Greg & Travis Pratt. For the past 3 months I’ve worked for Greg at his cabinetry business. I needed a job, and God provided one through them.

⁃ Charlee Grace. I claim this girl as my niece. When I get to babysit her, it’s such a reminder of Gods love. She’s the best-and it melts my heart that she jumps into my arms every time I see her.

⁃ Wade Bowen’s hymn album- Then Sings my Soul; Songs for my Mother.

⁃ The royal wedding. Because I’m obsessed with love. And Meghan Markle. And it was so beautiful! For so many reasons.

Prayer Requests;

⁃ A job! (Or a simple direction of what’s next.)

⁃ Not to sit in the frustration or feelings. I don’t want them to control me.

⁃ As I’m continuing seminary to let God speak to me and teach me.

⁃ To listen and hear truths over lies.

cabinetree logo

(Side note; I write to let people have a glimpse of my life, but also to let people see what God is teaching me. I think it’s not only important to let God teach you, but to share what He’s teaching because it can bless or help others. Maybe someone who is reading this, needs to hear this.)

Waiting & goodness

“The Lord is righteous in all his ways and faithful in all his acts.” Psalms 145:17

A little over a year ago God placed it on my heart to start this blog. And A LOT has happened in the past year. For those of you that have followed with me in my journey, you have been there with me while I have planned to follow Him to the ends of the earth. You’ve been there at my most vulnerable state letting you in on who I am. And you’ve seen me fall into the valley where I thought I would never be able to get out…but God.

It’s been awhile since I’ve been able to sit down and actually go through the thoughts in my head and write them out with out becoming a complete mess.

So here you go, now that we’re finally a whole month into the new year, here’s what God has spoken into my life for 2018. Let’s continue to journey together growing in Christ.

2017 was a hard year. It was one that pushed me and broke me. God brought new relationships into my life the He knew I needed. He strengthened friendships that I already had. He knew I needed these to walk with me and to help build me back up. And although there were so many times I wanted to give up, God proved Himself over and over again.

Truthfully, I’m entering this new year still completely broken and a mess. I don’t know what’s next for me. I don’t know where I’ll be in a month. I don’t know. I honestly feel like that’s the only thing I know how to say. I’ve been missing my bestfriend more than normal lately. The holidays are harder than you think when you’re missing the one person you loved more than anyone else, even yourself.

But I’m also entering this new year hopeful. Hopeful that there is something to come. That I will become more of who God has called me to be. That I become more open to whatever He has in store for me. And whatever this “something” is, that it will be better than I ever imagined. And hopeful that this pain I’ve experienced and gone through will be used, and that it won’t last forever. And open and willing to step out to whatever new adventures He has for me.

Going into this new year I asked God what He wanted me to rest in. Last year was the first year I asked for a word from him, and so I decided to ask again this year.

I kept hearing waiting and goodness.

He wants me to wait on Him, because His timing is perfect. And He wants me to see that He is good. He knows His children and He gives them just what they need when they need it.

So throughout this year, I ask that you pray for me and walk with me in waiting on the Lord and resting in His goodness.

“I am certain that I will see the Lord’s goodness in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart be courageous. Wait for the Lord.” Psalms 27:13&14

“How great is your goodness that you have stored up for those who fear you and accomplished in the sight of everyone for those who take refuge in you.” Psalms 31:19

 (Side note, during this time my soul has been longing to worship- I have been hooked on Matt Maher’s album Echoes. I highly recommend it if you are looking for some worship music and you haven’t listened to it yet.)

When oceans rise, my soul will rest in Your embrace

This one is hard to write. I don’t know how to describe how I feel. The only correct words I can come up with is that the valley keeps getting deeper and darker.
About a month ago my pastor tweeted this out, “I am learning that the “valley of the shadow” is somewhat deeper, darker and colder than I knew. Still, the Lord is here. No need to fear.”

And that day I thought I knew what he was talking about, but I found out a couple weeks later that I actually knew what he was talking about.
I am completely broken. A puddle of emotions scattered on the ground. Just when I thought I was walking through the healing process of loosing my bestfriend I get knocked down again. I was promised 3 months in a country I am completely in love with. I was promised to be with a family that I love so deeply I knew only the Lord could have knitted our hearts together. Everything had come together so perfectly that I knew the Lords hand was in it. Everyone saw it and i was ready. The time had come for me to quit my job, and I stepped faithfully in that. Then the next day everything changed. The family I was going to be with called, and they were coming home-they had 10 days to leave.

Okay, God. What do you want in this? So I decided I was still going. He told me to go, and I was going to follow Him there.

Well 2 days after I decided to go, I woke up to a message from them informing me about a visa band. And guess what, it was just two weeks before I was going to leave and I was planning on buying my visa that day. (Because the visa policies and laws change so often in the country I was heading to, it was recommended to wait in case something like this happened and because we wanted me to have the correct visa when it was time to go. Plus it is online and technically could have gotten in the day before I left. So we really weren’t worried about that part. But obviously God used this to protect me…even if I am still fighting with accepting that.) Well okay, if that is not a sign then I don’t know what is. God not only shut the door, He locked it and then the door disappeared. It’s like it was never there.
But the fact of the matter is I am still completely in love with this nation and these people, and most people in my life didn’t realize just how much I loved these people. And because of my heart for this nation and these people, I am completely crushed. How do you handle something you were promised and something that you finally knew was your purpose being stripped away? Especially when it was the first time you believed you heard God speak so clearly…
Well honestly I don’t know the answer. And I have no answers in this situation…

But what I do have is that there are 3 truths that I have completely cling to and that have been unwavering.

1. His timing. – this was the first thing that was 100% clear to me. If I was supposed to have stayed at my job, this would have happened before I quit. Because I wouldn’t have quit if it happened before. He allowed me to quit and then He allowed this to happen. I’m not sure what is next or what it looks like, but His timing is always perfect, and I haven’t doubted it on this situation. (So for those of you that are disappointed in me for not asking for my job back, it wasn’t an option. I’m in the works of building my faith, not going backwards. So just stop. And start supporting me. or don’t, whatever. I don’t care, because I know I made the right decision on this one. Because I have this unexplainable peace about it.)

2. His love for me. – this one is funny because for so long I doubted it. But in the past month, and it has been a rough month (see previous post) I have never doubted how much He loves me. I have just visioned Him with His arms around me-holding me and telling me He is with me.

3. I am supposed to work in ministry. – which I’m not going to lie, this one was a little shock to me. I never imagined myself working in ministry. Ever. Not because I don’t think I can, but really because I don’t think it was ever thought about. I think I was expected to work in the corporate world, which I tried for 2 years and absolutely HATED, so it makes sense. The only time I feel that I am walking out into my calling and who God creates me to be is when I am in ministry. Now, do I know what this looks like? Absolutely not. I have a sense it’s going to be in missions and ministry. But I have no doubt God will show me, in His timing, but for me hopefully soon 😉

I’ve been surrounding myself with people I know support me. Because why do I want to be around people who don’t? But also people I know God has told me it’s okay to let in. Because the people that I have let in are the ones who continue to speak truth in my life. Because right now, I’m being completely selfish with Jesus. I need him to pick up the pieces and put me back together. I need Him to show up right now.

“You pick up all my pieces, put me back together. You are the defender of my heart. When I thought I lost me, You knew where I left me, reintroduced me to your love.” – Kari Jobe

This-On repeat. These lyrics are the only thing I can cry out right now. (Thanks Taylor for showing me this video)

I heard Oceans by Hillsong a couple weeks ago and the meaning of it was completely different than what it had been before.

 “You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail

And there I find You in the mystery

In oceans deep

My faith will stand

And I will call upon Your name

And keep my eyes above the waves

When oceans rise, my soul will rest in Your embrace

For I am Yours and You are mine

Your grace abounds in deepest waters

Your sovereign hand

Will be my guide

Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me

You’ve never failed and You won’t start now”

I am completely placing my trust in Him, He has called me out to walk with Him because He has something so much better for me than a dead end job that I hate and am completely miserable at. I have been trying to keep afloat for almost two months now that these lyrics spoke so clearly that I felt God pull me above the waves. That He said just trust me. But what that next step is, I don’t know…

So to answer all your questions;

What am I doing now?

Am I applying for jobs?

How are going to make money?

What is you plan for the next 10 years?

*insert every single question you might have*

ANSWER-I don’t know.
All I know is I want to be in ministry and missions. And some (even some closest to me) may not support me. But I know it is time to step into who God creates me to be. I am completely trusting the Lord in this, whatever it looks like.

Thanks for walking through this with me, thanks for praying and loving me.

*if you’re reading this, and you financially supported me on my Central Asia mission, a letter is heading your way soon*

Broken heartedness

“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” ~ psalms 34:18

I don’t understand why some things happen. This past month I have been completely heart broken and I can’t wrap my brain around some of it. My heart and soul actually hurts because of the different events that have happened. But God has been with me, and He has shown me some great things. He has reviled Himself to me and has been holding me through everything. His glory is shining bright. He is STILL good.

About a month ago I saw on the news that racism still exist. In America. TODAY. What the hell? Can someone please explain to me how we can not get over ourselves to see that we are all equal? THIS IS NOT OKAY. It is straight from the devil and I’m tired of it. No race is supreme in the kingdom of God. He loves all races, equally. I remember seeing the disturbing images and couldn’t help but cry. And cry out to the father asking Him to come into this situation and reveal himself. That the church would be a bridge of love and this divide that our country has would heal. Jesus, heal our land.
Fast forward a couple weeks and hurricane Harvey hits my home, Houston. My eyes were glued to the TV. My heart broken. I’ve seen damage of hurricanes in other parts of the country and world, but being in the midst of it and seeing so many people I know and care about lose everything completely took everything out of me.

I remember just crying asking God to stop the rain. Asking Him to remember His promise. My city, that is home, that I have completely fallen in love with was destroyed.
BUT GOD. I was given so much hope watching neighbors helping neighbors. I am so proud of my city. I am so proud at how we came together to help those that are in need. We don’t care about race, religion, gender, etc…We are showing our country what happens when you come together in love. This is America. This is the America I am proud to call home. This is the red, white, and blue. We will overcome this. It was amazing seeing God’s love over this city! He shone through His people. It was such a beautiful thing to watch as we broke down barriers.
Fast forward a couple more weeks. On Wednesday, September 6, 2017 I lost my bestfriend. I can’t explain our friendship. It was something very unique and something very special. He was more than just a bestfriend. He had my heart.

This is what I wrote the day after he passed.
“I don’t know how to believe it’s true.

Wednesday, September 6 I lost my bestfriend. I wish I had words. I can’t comprehend what happened.

So since I don’t have words, I’m going to tell you a little about my bestfriend.

Addison was one of a kind. He was one of my very first friends I met when I moved to Nacogdoches. He’s the only guy who has ever taken me out on Valentine’s Day. He wanted to be in my life so much that he started doing things I liked. I loved going out to Banita and dancing so he asked me to teach him how to dance, and then he became one of my favorite dance partners. He knew I loved Granger Smith so he listened to and bought all his music to become his fan. He was always willing to go to all of his concerts with me. Every time he had music out he’d call me and we’d talk about how good we thought it was. He drove all the way from Lubbock to come to my graduation, and had the best time in Lubbock for his graduation. That’s when his family truly became mine. Then how we stayed up all night talking (with no silent times that whole 6 hours) driving back from Lubbock into Van, TX to see the devastation from the tornadoes that night. And we were both so heart broken for your hometown.

Addison was always there for me. He always held me when I cried. He was the only one I wanted around when the tears starting falling. He always told me everything was going to be okay. If you knew us and saw us together, you knew his arm was always around me. He held my hand when I needed someone to be strong. If I knew any of my friends loved me, Addison was the one I knew loved me. He loved me when I didn’t love myself.

This wasn’t they way it was supposed to happen. I will never know why God decided to take him home so soon. Addison, you better be enjoying being face to face with Jesus because there are a lot of people down here completely heartbroken. We know his promises are true and I know I will see you again.

Last night as I was sitting on the couch trying to figure out what just happened, I felt his arms around me. I felt him holding me and he told me he loved me. I knew it was him from just how tight he squeezed me. I just wish I could have hugged him back. Addison, I love you so much. Always and forever. ❤️”
I was crushed. I loved him so much. I have never lost someone I was so close to. But in that moment of being heartbroken and crushed and trying to comprehend then news, God told me and showed me I wasn’t alone. He came and sat with me.

The first thing I tweeted out the next day was that I was clinging to God’s promises because I know they are true. He is still God and He is still good.

Then on the way to Nacogdoches to be be there for the funeral, God gave me the prettiest sunset to remind me He is still good.

I know without a doubt that Addison is walking the streets of gold worshiping our Lord and savior. That gives me so much peace. But I still miss him. I miss the fact that I know I’ll never get a hug from him again. I can’t call him when I’m stuck in traffic. He will never go to a Granger Smith concert with me again. We won’t get anymore of our pictures together…

I’m okay because I will see him again. But I will always miss him. I thank God and praise Him for allowing Addison to be apart of my life, even if to me it didn’t seem long enough.
Through all of this heartbreak God has reminded me how much I am loved. God is so sweet in doing that. I praise Him because for so long I didn’t believe I was. He has never left me. He has held me and carried me. He has given me friends who have prayed for me and been there to let me cry on their shoulders.

He has shown me how merciful He is. His timing. He knows what I need and gives it to me. He is healing me. And He is bringing me closer to Him. He is a good father. And despite all the heartache he is still good.
It is well with my soul.

Pain, hurt, struggles

I’ve spent a lot of time alone lately. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it’s also not the best thing. When you spend too much time alone, that’s when Satan starts to attack. I like my alone time. I like to spend time by myself to read, watch tv, bake to refill myself. It’s also when I like to sit and listen to to the Lord. He calls us to spend time with Him. But when you’re not, Satan steps in. Life is crazy. Can I get an amen? And sometimes I tend to put my time with Jesus on the back burner. So when I spend too much time alone, and on top of that not enough time with Jesus, I start to sit in the lies. And I start to believe them. I begin to hurt. I begin to not feel confident. I begin to forget who I am.

Something I’ve talked about is struggling with feeling loved. One on one time is something I live for. It builds me up. I don’t mind being in larger groups but honestly that’s exhausting. And when I don’t get one on one time with friends and community, Satan starts talking.
So let’s combine all of these. Spending time alone, not spending time with Jesus, and not getting one one one time with certain people in my life. I bet you can guess with how I’ve been feeling lately and what Satan has been telling me. And when you’re not in the truth, how do you fight the lies?
This is the moment when you {I} need to completely press into God. I was reminded of why it’s important to spent time in Gods word. I dove back into the word and the lies broke off and fell to the ground. I heard God tell me to reach out to people, and I did, and then He moved. He trusted me in different circumstances. He showed me Himself by placing new people in my life. He opened doors to have conversations with people I have been praying about. And then He gave me some one on one time with a friend. We talked a lot. We spent some time soaking in God’s goodness. It was such a good reminder of God’s love for me. Just letting His love sink in and fight off the lies. To become reminded of the truth.
Just because I walk in the healing God has given me doesn’t mean I struggle. It’s a part of life. But God gives me {us} the power to fight back. It something I have to choose daily, to wake up and believe I am loved, and cherished by God. And sometimes it’s not easy. Honestly sometimes the lies are easier to believe, because it’s comfortable. But God. He knows exactly what we need and He will fight for you.
We must strive to live above our feelings and our doubts.

Crazy

Life is crazy. So crazy. And things happen and you get pulled in a million directions. People need you. You get busy at work. You want a social life. And when the heck are you going to sleep? That’s exactly what happened to me. I kept telling myself, “hey alyssa, your goal this year was to blog. Sit down a write what God has been doing.” But you know what I never did. This past month has been the craziest. Waking up at 3 am most morning. And then not getting home till late. I wore myself out. So much so, I became sick. That what your body does-people don’t believe it but your body is smart. Every time I do this to myself, which honestly and sadly I do a lot, I’m amazed and how God created our bodies. He created them to work in certain ways only bodies could. Our bodies need physical rest at the same time we need spiritual rest. He has been telling me this over and over again over the past couple weeks.
A couple weeks ago I was able to get away for the weekend and serve some sweet sweet families at what my church calls family retreat. I always love getting away from the fast pace life of the city and getting in my naturally habitat of country life. Just being surrounded by nature, Gods creation instead of city buildings does something to refresh my soul and spirit. Then getting to love on children brings me so much joy I feel like I could explode!

While away I was able to spend some time alone, and alone with the Lord. He showed me this verse; “Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.” Jeremiah 29:12

Wow. So powerful. I’ve been sitting with this verse still. He says it right there, you will call on me and pray to me and I will listen. He listens to us. He cares for us. He cares that I’m tired. He cares that I want to be in a different country. He cares that I want to learn to love my family well and better. He cares that I’m struggling with going to work everyday. He cares that I worry about money. He cares that I don’t really like my neighbors. He cares that one of my coworkers makes my head want to explode. He cares. And he will listen. He wants to listen. He already knows, but He wants you to talk to Him. That is just so comforting to me. To know how much my God, who controls everything cares for me. That He cares about every little thing. And He wants me to share with Him.

Then a couple weeks after that weekend still overwhelmed by how much He cares for me, It’s Easter. The whole week of Easter this verse is on my desk; “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.” 1 Peter 2:24 and every day leading up to Good Friday I read this verse. I sat there and I thanked Him. Just overwhelmed by His love. He wants a relationship with us. How crazy is that? Me. A sinner. Someone who fails daily. Who is broken and messes up. He wants to talk to me. So much so that He sent His son to die, the worst death possible. And then raise him from the dead so that I may walk and talk with Him. So I could bring my worries and struggles to Him. To bring my brokenness to the cross so that i may be healed. I sit here overwhelmed. And grateful. Oh how we are loved.

Today, I had an after hours meeting. So I left the office a whole lot later than what I would normally. And as I’m driving  home the sun is setting and it’s just behind some clouds. I see it’s rays shining through. And in that moment I see Gods glory beaming. I loved seeing that little glimpse of Him. It reminds me of who He is even in the midst of all the craziness.

Trust 

Matthew 14:27-33
“Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus….”(v.28-28)
This is one of my most favorite stories. And one I feel l can relate to. I always want to be the Peter who trust Jesus so much he actually walks on water. I mean who doesn’t?!

But sometimes I know I’m the peter that doubts. The one that starts walking on the water but the minute the wind blows you lose your faith. Honestly, don’t we all have these moments? Not that it’s one of our most proud moments…but there’s times in our lives that we are overwhelmed, we have everything going wrong, and we just want to give up and we lose our faith. But you know what? That’s when we say Lord, help me have faith. Remind me of your goodness. You call out to the Lord just like in Mark 9 when the boys father proclaims “Lord I believe, but help my unbelief” (v24) Because that is when the Lord comes in and shows Himself to you, when you are weak He is strong. He wants you to call out to Him. He will be there to catch you and lift you up.

Right now I’m in a season of truly trusting the Lord. Trusting Him to completely provide for me. I know He can, and trusting that He will. I’m trusting that when (because even Though I hate to admit it, I know it’s a when not a if) I doubt, He will be right there when I call out to Him to pick me up and show me He has me. That He is the ultimate provider and what He has called me to, He will provide a way.

Asking you to pray with me in this time of trusting our Father to provide.