Sunday, November 16, 2008

Being Refined.

Since I am partly procrastinating and partly really wanting to write, here I am! Be proud, since I'm not waiting a month in between posts.

God has a way of repeating Himself that's really hard to miss - even for a hard-of-hearing (spiritually speaking here, not literally - even though it's true!) gal who is very obtuse. And recently He's been teaching me many lessons. In fact, He's been teaching me so much that I've had to ask Him for some time to make sure I'm fully understanding and applying the truths He's showing me. It's very humbling to ask such a thing, since it shows how much I struggle with actually applying what I'm learning, rather than just writing it down somewhere and promptly forgetting it.

Since it's the season of Thanksgiving (and North Carolina has finally accepted the fact that fall is HERE and winter to follow), it's appropriate to ponder for what one is truly grateful. I had a cool conversation with a friend of mine last night where we took turns and asked the other any question we wanted and we had to answer. Many of the questions were just silly and superficial (which equals fun!), but then we had a couple that really made me think more about it.

We asked what we regretted most in our lives, and then we talked about what experiences or times that we would never change. Interestingly, I found that many of the experiences I've had in my life were in both categories. Those experiences where I found myself making a foolish or dangerous decision that had caused me and others pain... of course I regret those decisions. At the same time, I wouldn't change what happened because through that pain something good came out of it. Sounds familiar, right?

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28 (NIV)

It's so awesome to see the Word alive in one's life, isn't it? Makes me smile with gratefulness.

So, even though such times have brought me some sort of pain, my heart is truly thankful for that season of fire. God is always at work in our lives; bringing us through the purification process for His glory. And now, as I go through another time of struggle and pain, I'm joyful. I've never been this joyful of going through a struggle. Usually, I want to run away and hide until it passes. God knows I look forward to seeing the fruit of His transformation in my life. And He knows how much I desire to want to yearn and chase after Him... to understand His Word... to obey Him... to see His work for me made complete through Him.

What an adventure! I'm excited. I've been excited for the past month as I've gone through this. Each day brings new challenges, but also new answers. Every morning I wake up, I know for certain that He is still with me.

How precious to me are your thoughts, O God; how vast the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand. When I awake I am still with you. Psalm 139:17-18

I have to be honest here. I see what He's showing me, I hear what He's speaking through His Word, and I understand that He's growing and purifying me. What love! I'm overwhelmed as I think about this. That He should care for a sinner such as me... and actually desire that I grow in knowledge of Him - whoa! My human self feels completely unworthy of what He's doing in my life, yet my spirit basks in His glory and wants to soak up everything of Him.

I stand amazed in the glory of His presence.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Tip of the Iceberg

Sometimes so much happens in one's life that to sit down and write it all out is quite a daunting task. Especially for me, anyway. Hence, my silence for the past few weeks. Some things are just hard to put into words. To try to explain what God is doing in my heart is hard to explain. And to try to explain the new friendships that have popped into my life is hard as well.

I can try to do "bullet points" - we'll see how that goes:

- I'm learning to enjoy where I'm at in the moment. Instead of wishing for the next day or the future, I'm learning to enjoy the moment - whatever that moment is. And I've had some intense struggling moments in the past few weeks. But I rejoice in those moments because they make me fall to my knees in desperation for my Savior. I'm realizing that I need His truth and guidance more than I ever have in my life thus far. Along with that, I'm realizing that He's demanding my faith and trust even more. What's so amazing is that I've been blessed to see the fruit of this struggle. Life is just amazing right now. :)

- Like I said, I've really been struggling lately with some emotional things. To be a bit more open, I haven't been quite this broken in a long time. It's been a learning process for me to "pour my heart out" before God. I've never experienced such freedom in knowing that God truly sees all my struggles and hurts and everything that I think and feel, and through it all still loves me with a patient, merciful love. It's been simply healing.

- I get frustrated (a lot) with school work. Some people love to go to school and work toward a degree, do papers, take exams, read (boring) books, etc. I'm not that into school. I work hard and try to remain as diligent as possible, but there's always a class or professor that just loves to kick the crap out of me each semester. Trying not to be bitter can be hard, I'm finding.

- I've discovered that I've really grown in accepting myself for who I am. And because of that, I'm more comfortable around others (generally), instead of hiding in the corner like a wallflower. My insecurities will pop up, but learning to "turn off" those lies with truth has been a growth point for me. Back in college I would continually doubt myself, doubt whether others liked me for WHO I AM, instead of who I pretended to be. Now, to put it frankly, I don't care. I just enjoy life, and I enjoy who God is creating me to be. And here's what's interesting: because I enjoy life I find that I'm much more available for God. (Note: I did not say more "able" since I have very little of worth that would enable me to "do" anything.) I have a LONG way to go in this, but it's so good and so encouraging to see progress, even in the smallest amount. The gifts He's so graciously given me have been put more to use, and it's exciting to see Him move in mighty ways in my life and others' lives.

I think that basically covers the tip of the iceberg. ;) All in all, God is amazing in His Authorship, not only in His precious Word, but in our lives as well. He's the ultimate Adventure, and I can't wait to see what happens tomorrow!