Monday, November 28, 2011

Where's the Faith?

I have been on a spiritual journey these past couple months.  This season in my life has been very unique to me and very difficult at times. I don't think I've ever experienced so much spiritual warfare within myself. God has revealed many things to me over the past few months through scripture, my friends, and other people's experiences. I am doing my best to soak it all in. I am becoming more aware of Satan's influence in my life. I recently came to the realization that I have been looking at life too much from man's perspective. This perspective comes easily to me and to everyone. It's something I am faced with and influenced by each day- it's my mental instinct. Many times it's very easy for me to get caught up in the same cycle, same routine, and to just follow suit, but that is not keeping in mind the things of God. God requires us to make a deliberate choice to follow him everyday. I have failed in making this choice alot.

Christ invites us to deny ourselves and take up our crosses daily and follow him. In my current bible study, Beth Moore, Jesus the One and Only, our main focus has been Jesus. We began with his birth and we are now closely reaching the crucifiction. Throughout Jesus' ministry he healed a vast array of individuals. Although different in their sicknesses and problems there is one piece of common ground I have found in all their cases, they all had faith. Hebrews 11:6  says, "And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him". So moral of the story... "Everything is possible for him who believes" Mark 9:23.

Haha, so funny how God works, I was just watching the Hannah Montana movie before I started writing this and the she just sang the song The Climb. There's always gonna be another mountain, I'm always gonna wanna make it move, there's always gonna be an uphill battle, sometimes I'm gonna have to lose, It ain't about how fast I get there. It ain't about what's waiting on the other side... It's the Climb. Keep on Climbing, keep moving, Keep the faith, yeah!!!!

Some realizations that I've made throughout my climb:

- I was putting too much confidence in myself rather than God. The absence of positive influences, presence of negative influences, and lack of true times of prayer are a recipe for disaster.
- God will help us overcome our unbelief if our hearts are in the right place. Mark 9:24
-Conviction is a good thing- without it we would never be changed.
- I tend to be more of a Martha than a Mary.
- Many things are important in my life but only one is necessary. Luke 10:42 Mary chose Jesus. We have to make the choice daily.
- Christ values our journeys- testify

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Long Time Coming

As I was looking back on some of my previous posts, I realized how long it has been since I last posted and how much has happened in my life since then. This summer flew by! Between Aerospace class, Y.E.S. Bible Camp, and Special Friends Camp, I had maybe two free weeks of summer time then it was time for school to start again. We have been in school for 33 days and I've experienced more changes than ever in the past 33 days. I have stayed late, stressed, and worried about so many truly insignificant things.

Recently, I have come to the realization of how much I have slipped in my walk with God. I have made excuses and filled my time with so much "stuff" that I have been putting my spiritual life on the back burner. All these distractions in my life have made it hard to see God's revelation in my day to day life. The good thing is that I have finally come to terms with my actions and behavior and I am ready to make a change.

I love this poem by J.R. Tolkien

All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Chapel in the Woods

My last post talked about my lack of observation in life. Today I went turkey hunting for the first time ever and had to be very observant. It was definitely a challenge but I had so much fun! I've heard Carlos talk about his love of hunting for years. He's always explained it to me to be a very spiritual experience.

Both my grandfather's grew up hunting. I have a 9 point deer head in my basement that my grandfather killed named, Buck. I used to dress him up and hang stuff on his antlers when I was little. Although, I've never really had a desire to kill an animal I really wanted to have the experience of just hunting. If my grandfather was still alive, I'm sure he would have taken me hunting with him but since he is not, Carlos invited me to go with him.

Carlos picked me up about 4 A.M. and we drove out to the property in Ashland City. We met up with his other hunting buddy, Will. Will informed me that it was a really big deal that I was going hunting with them because I was the first girl that either of them had ever taken hunting.  It was so dark and cold and foggy and creepy at first, but the sun started coming up and it turned into a truly glorious day.

We walked alot to try and find where the turkeys were roosting and set up a few decoys to try and bring the turkeys to us, but those didn't really work so we went to plan B: chase and ambush. This was pretty fun and exciting. I got to see a turkey take off and fly. I saw four turkeys strutting their stuff and we saw two coyotes that scared the living daylights out of me. I practiced shooting a shotgun for the first time ever and didn't end up falling over! It was pretty sweet.

BUT... my favorite part of the day was when Carlos and I decided to sit under a tree and watch for turkeys in the field. We had been hunting for 7 hours and needed a little breather too. We leaned up next to a big tree and I took time to just observe my surroundings. I closed my eyes and listened to the sounds of nature. I was surrounded by God's creations. It was such a beautiful way to spend Palm Sunday. I felt so blessed and spent a little time just praising and praying. I totally got what Carlos was talking about how he feels that hunting is a spiritual experience.

I gained such a respect for nature today. Respect for the land, God's creatures, and for simplicity in life. We charted some rough terrain following deer trails and making trails of our own. It was such a wonderful experience! I can't wait to do it again.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Song of the Heart- Part 2

The Sara Groves song I posted in part 1 has been on repeat in my mind lately. It's gonna be alright. I wish it were that simple. I am reminded of one of my favorite verses in James having to do with perseverance. Perseverance must finish it's work for you to be mature and complete, not lacking anything- James 1:4. Also, that Smoky Norfolk song.. I will run till I finish.

So, the past week has flown by and I've had so much going on it seriously feels like I have been living in fast forward mode. Whenever life tends to get like this I just think of that quote from Ferris Bueller's Day Off,  "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it."

Sometimes I am so oblivious to my surroundings I feel like I "miss it". Maybe it's that I get so focused on one thing I am not observant to anything else or maybe I just need to slow down. I have some amazing friends that are helping me with this area in my life. I am so thankful to have these friends in my life. I don't get to see most of these people on a regular basis but when we do see each other we pick up right where we left off. These people have blessed me spiritually, mentally, and have challenged me to be a better person everyday. I love when I hear or read their thoughts about what is happening in their lives. When they take a moment to slow down, think, and process their ideas to share I benefit greatly.

As I was reading their blogs and  notes the other night, I just felt so blessed to be able to call those ladies my friends. As I have been working through this Daniel study, my constant prayer has been for the Lord to give me wisdom and discernment in my everyday life in this crazy world. James 1:5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. I feel both of these ladies strive for the same thing and we are very much of like mind and heart.

My friend Kathleen (we've been friends over a decade) recently posted a note on facebook called, Learnin' and Lovin'. It begin with her quoting a song from Sara Groves (we both have Sara on the brain) and continued with some truly amazing discoveries she has made in her own life recently. I totally identified with her situation and was so blessed by her sharing her heart.

Another friend, Molly (you know we were instant friends) has been a blessing in my life since the day I met her. She is such a talented, beautiful woman of God. One of her recent blogs completely called me out. She began by saying, "You can't keep one eye on Heaven and the other on hurt." She talked about focus and how our lives and circumstances so easily get out of focus. So many times I am guilty of focusing my lenses on the wrong thing. I get caught up in small insignificant details or when my life becomes less than comfortable.

Praise God for these girls in my life who keep me in check and inspire me daily. Love, love, love.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Song of the Heart- Part 1

It's going to be alright
It's going to be alright

I can tell by your eyes that you're not getting any sleep
And you try to rise above it, but feel you're sinking in too deep
Oh, oh I believe, I believe that

It's going to be alright
It's going to be alright

I believe you'll outlive this pain in you heart
And you'll gain such a strength from what is tearing you apart
Oh, oh I believe I believe that

It's going to be alright
It's going to be alright

When some time has past us, and the story if retold
It will mirror the strength and the courage in your soul
Oh, oh, I believe I believe,

I believe
I believe

I did not come here to offer you clichÈ's
I will not pretend to know of all your pain
Just when you cannot, then I will hold out faith, for you

It's going to be alright
It's going to be alright

Sara Groves-

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Man in the Mirror

So I have always loved Michael Jackson, ever since I saw the movie Free Willy and we danced to Heal the World as a Finale song one year, he's been my boy. I love old school Michael music so much! As I was listening to a random mix the other day I heard the song, Man in the Mirror. Wow, it's awesome how God speaks to us in so many facuets of our life. The song convicted me, "if you wanna make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and make the change." These past few months I have kind of been in blah land. I have been going through the motions and losing alot of my drive. I think about this and I just hate it because I realize it's pretty much all my fault. I'm letting Satan bring me down.

The other day I had a realization, I read something in my bible study that made this light bulb go off in my head. I'm doing a Beth Moore study on the book of Daniel and it has been awesome so far. This study has challenged, stretched, and focused my heart and mind. The last section I studied was called, "Oppression of the Saints" which focuses on Daniel chapter 7. Verse 25 says, " He will speak against the Most High and oppress his saints. This chapter discusses the power of Satan and how he manipulates God's people by literally "wearing them away".

I have definitely been going through a season in my life where I can relate to this. It's been a difficult past few months for me for many reasons. Dealing with my dad and his health, ending a relationship, and other day to day stresses have definitely "worn" me down. My feelings have ranged from exhausted, discouraged, guilty, and just plain sad.

2 Corinthians 4:7-10 is my jam right now. Check it out! But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all surpassing power is from God and not from us.  We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our mortal body.--- Can I get an A-men?

Beth said, "God uses our circumstances to help us develop compassion." I believe that is 100% true. I know that this period in my life will be part of my testimony some day. I will be able to look back on this time in my life and see God's hand at work. Maybe I'll even have the opportunity to empathize and comfort someone else in a similar situation.

So, this is me kicking my own butt back into gear. I've gotta make the change. I've gotta be the change, yeah Ghandi.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Crystal Ball

Sometimes, I just wish I could see into the future. I wish there really were pretty sparkly crystal balls that gave me all the answers I am seeking. Especially at moments like these in my life.

Geeze, I feel like I've had nothing really big going on in my life for the longest time. Now, as of two days ago, my whole plan of what was gonna be going on in my life for the next few months is up for grabs. A month ago my principal approached me asking if it would be alright for her to nominate me for a new thing Metro is starting up this year. It's called the Teacher Leadership Institute. I didn't really think much of it other than, "awe that's a really nice compliment for her to think of me". Over the past month, I've had so many other things to think about I had kind of put it at the bottom of my list of things to do. So this past weekend, I started thinking about it again. I looked at the website and decided to go for it. I began the process of filling out the application, redoing my resume, and writing an essay. Four hours later, I finished and starting thinking about what it would actually mean if I was selected. I have been praying and trying to think this through to decide if this is really what God wants for me.

Here are some Pros and Cons:
-I get to be a part of a select group of special educators
- I will learn many leadership skills
- make connections within my district
-free IPAD!!! (I like this one alot)

How it affects my summer:
- I'll have more time to travel at the beginning of the summer
-I would get to work YES Bible Camp

- rejection of not getting picked
-I won't get to take the free flight class from MTSU this summer
-suspense of waiting to find out if I get picked- I have to wait till April freakin fools day to find out. That is sooo not funny.
-It's gonna take up alot of my time and energy
- lots of expectations and pressure

As of now, I wait in limbo land until, they decide if they want a personal interview with me. Ahhhh, nervous feeling. Ahhh, I haven't done anything like this in a long time. This will either be a great opportunity for me to do something special or a good lesson in humility. I have always had a hard time balancing confidence and humility. I never want to jump the gun and get excited before something actually happens because I hate getting my hopes up then being disappointed. If I do get selected, I'm gonna have mega responsibility next year. My principal already told me she wants me on leadership team and wants me to be the K team leader next year.

This is scary for me because I feel so tied down now.  I still have such a passion and desire to teach abroad . God planted that seed in my life a long time ago and it has been growing steadily in my heart since then. I feel like this is a time in my life where I should still feel free to make choices about what I want to do. There are so many conflicting ideas in my head right now. Life, career, passion, and desire. So many choices.  No matter how scary it all seems, I just have to believe that God will equip me with whatever skills I will need for whatever path he brings me to. He's never failed me before. Amen