What Plans?

Patience is key, yet patience is what I struggle with every single day.

I had plans for my life. I had dreams that I was dead set on and I had a path laid out before me to live out those dreams. I knew what the next five years of my life were going to look like. I had plans.

I had everything I dreamed of within my grasp. I was holding on tight to what I thought was what God had given me. I saw what I wanted, I took it, and I held on for dear life. As time passed, I began to doubt that what I was holding on to so tightly was really from God. I mean, if God had given it to me, why was I holding on as if it was going to disappear at any moment? Questions began to creep into my mind: Is this really from God? Is this really what you want? Are you really happy?

I spent months and months trying to answer these questions. Of course it was from God. I would not be having such a difficult time letting go if it was not from God, right? God would not want me to give up my dreams, would He? So I kept holding on with white knuckles. I think that the more I doubted that these things were from God, the tighter my grip became.

One day, I decided to really pray about my situation. My hands were getting tired from holding on, and I wanted to let go with the security that I would not lose anything. I cried out to God asking Him to lead me in the right direction and to reassure me that these things that I was holding were indeed from Him. I did not get an answer right away, which (surprise surprise) frustrated me. I still did not have an answer and I was beyond impatient. However, I continued to pray and suddenly, my prayers were answered.

I began praying with the belief that God was just going to give me assurance and tell me to keep walking my merry way; boy was I wrong. He answered my prayers by telling me that what I was holding onto was not in His plan for my life and that I needed to let go. I was shocked. I could not believe that God would have given me everything I thought that I wanted, only to take it away from me. However, He blessed me with this overwhelming peace that I cannot describe, and helped me open my hand and let go.

The moment I opened my hand, I let go of all of my plans. I erased the path that had been drawn before me. I opened up a whole new world. I struggled with this new unfamiliar lack of knowledge. One day I had dreams and I had means to live out those dreams; then the next day I still had dreams, but I had been pushed back to square one with absolutely nothing. It was one of the hardest and scariest decisions I have ever had to make.

Even though it was difficult and it left me feeling empty, slowly but surely, God began to fill the void in my heart. He began to show me how to enjoy not having a detailed plan of the next five years of my life. He taught me that as long as I trust Him and follow Him, I do not need to know the next step. He showed me that HIS plans are so much better than mine. I struggle with control all of the time, I am constantly praying that God will continue to teach me to surrender completely to Him. He is showing me that the life I had planned for myself was not the most fulfilling life. He is leading me down paths that I could never have imagined for myself and I am so excited to see what He has for me.

As He leads me through life and directs me in His will, I am being taught patience. Recently, God has opened a door that could potentially lead to fulfilling some of my biggest dreams for my life. I am incredibly grateful for His guidance and direction, but sometimes I forget to walk and I take off sprinting. I do not want to take the time to enjoy each stage in life, I want to jump to the parts of life that I look forward to most. Luckily, God has placed some very level headed people in my life and He uses them to remind me to walk leisurely and enjoy the little things. It is not easy and I feel like I end up crying out to God on a regular basis asking Him to show me where I am going. Without fail, He comforts me and continues to hold my hand as I slowly learn patience and to enjoy each and every step of each and every day.

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Broken, Constantly Being Repaired

Music has always been an important part of my life. There have been times where I just did not know how to put into words what I was feeling; so I would turn to a song. I have always been able to count on music to help me express what I am feeling. I love to sit and carefully listen to a song to really hear what is being said. Powerful music combined with inspiring lyrics can hit home with me.

Today, I was introduced to a Hillsong United song. I love Hillsong and have been listening to them everyday for about a month now, but somehow managed to miss this beautiful song. The song is titled Broken Vessels and is more than nine minutes long with only two verses and a chorus. It is one of those songs that is so incredibly simple, but tugs at every single one of my heart strings. It makes me want to fall to my knees and lift my arms to praise the One True King; and let me tell you, there are very few worship songs that I find that powerful.

The first verse:
All these pieces
Broken and scattered
In mercy gathered
Mended and whole
Empty handed
But not forsaken
I’ve been set free

I have made a lot of mistakes. I have made so many mistakes that have left me feeling broken, empty, and useless. I have felt beyond repair and hopeless. I spent several years dwelling on the feeling of being too far gone for help. I would try to move on, but then I would hear the ever taunting voice telling me I was not good enough, that I did not have anything left to give, that I was too broken. I wasted too much time dwelling on the fact that I could not pick the broken pieces up. I am not sure what was the final straw or what finally caused me to come to my senses; but I realized that I was right, I could not pick up the pieces, but I did not have to pick up the pieces. What I did have to do was rely on the one who gave His life for me, because HE was going to pick up all of my broken pieces. In mercy, He gathered all of my broken and scattered pieces. He mended my broken spirit, put me back together, and made me whole. I went to Him, but it did not matter how badly broken I was, He never forsook me. He set me free from my pain.

Chorus:
Amazing grace
How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me
I once was lost
But now I’m found
Was blind but now I see

Oh I can see it now
Oh I can see the love in Your eyes
Laying yourself down
Raising up the broken to life

The first part of the chorus is familiar to most people. It is such a simple verse with so much meaning. I think it is the anthem for new believers. We are all lost until the Savior finds His way into our lives. Once we accept Him to be our personal Savior, we are no longer blinded by the idea that we can do it on our own. The veil is removed from our eyes and we become aware of our never ending need of His grace and love. Without Him our lives become meaningless. Then, to just imagine the picture of the all-powerful, almighty Jesus Christ hanging on the cross. He hung on that cross for each and every one of us! He laid His life down for you! He laid His life down for me! He rose from the dead three days later so that we could be free of sin. He loved us so much that He took all of our sins upon Himself and now, all we have to do is accept Him and repent. He wants to take each and every one of our broken souls and build us up and create us into something great.

Second Verse:
You take our failure
You take our weakness
You set Your treasure
In jars of clay
So take this heart, Lord
I’ll be Your vessel
The world to see
Your love in me

Reading these words bring tears to my eyes, because for so long I did not think that I could ever be used for anything good. He took my failure, He took my weakness, and He uses them for greatness. I failed in so many different things. I set goals for myself. I set morals. I set ideals. I did not meet my goals, I sacrificed my morals, and I lowered my standards. I believed in God. I knew He existed and I believed that He wanted me; but somewhere along the way I lost site of Him and began to walk down a treacherous path. I allowed depression to replace His love. I allowed my own coping skills to replace His grace and forgiveness. I allowed sinful desires to replace His holy calling on my life. I pushed Him out of my life and I set myself up for failure after failure. With each failure I became weaker and weaker, until I could not stand on my own anymore. He used my weakness to get my attention. Once I realized that I was nothing without Him, I went crawling back into His arms. He used my failures to teach me where I needed Him most. He continues to use my failures when I come across someone who is walking down the same path that I did. I am able to share my testimony in hopes that they will not walk as far as I did, but to show that there is hope no matter how far gone you feel. He still sees me as a treasure even though I am not perfect. He took my heart of clay and continues to mold it into a heart that desires His will and desires to glorify Him. He continues to mold me and change me so that He can use me as His vessel.

My heart has changed completely. I went from feeling broken beyond repair to broken constantly being repaired. He is working on me and will be working on me until the day that I leave this earth. He has plans for me and a calling for my life. He wants to use me to glorify Him and to lift up His name. I am His vessel to spread the good news of His name. He calls each and every one of us into His kingdom, yet over and over again so many of us push Him away thinking that we can do it on our own. I am here to tell you that you do not have to do it on your own! He desperately longs for you to cry out to Him for help and to lean on Him when your strength is not enough. Life on earth will never be perfect. We will always have days where we feel broken and weak, but all we have to do is turn to Jesus Christ who seeks to comfort us in our sorrows. We will always fail ourselves and those around us, but our Heavenly Father wants us failure and all.

A Trip Down Memory Lane

When I made this blog about a week ago I thought that I’d be lucky if I posted something once a month. However, I have made three (now four) posts in a week. I have enjoyed blogging far more than I had expected to.
I have always enjoyed writing. It is one of my favorite past times and I still turn to it quite frequently. About two years ago I wrote a spoken word/lyrical piece that to this day remains my favorite piece that I have ever written. It holds a lot of meaning and was written at a time where I felt like everyone was against me. Looking back now, my loved ones were just watching out for me. They spent a lot of time giving me their opinions about the situation I was in and all I heard was, “You are wrong and we are all against you.” I know that that is not what they were really saying, but I was stubborn and caught at a crossroad. It took me another year to realize that they were, in fact, right. However, I do find that people like to give their input where it is unwelcome. Throughout my life I have had people who support me and then people that told me my dreams were “stupid” and that I should reconsider. This is just an honest piece declaring that I am my own person and those around me cannot control me.
Done

You tell us to be who we want to be
You scream at us not to conform 
But you won’t take the time to see
Who me
Is.

You try to mold me into who
YOU
want ME to be.

You tell us to stop hiding away
You continuously try 
To pry
Whatever you can out of me

My lips remain tight
I WANT to put up a fight
You will not win tonight

But
When I come to you for help
You turn a deaf ear
You ignore the fear
No one wants to listen
To the hurt, the pain I feel
Your solution
To fill my vein
…with chemicals 
Maybe THIS will make her sane  

Stop.
I am not your puppet.
No more.
I will NOT
….let you control my life.

It is time I take a stand
Demand.
That you give me my life back
It is time to hand
It back to me

I refuse
To wear these chains
I will not let you abuse
….me anymore

I will run
Run away from you
Because I am done
With this life you created
It is not me
You taught me to be
Who I believed to be
Yet you
You tied my hands behind my back
Made me
Unable to tear the tape
You placed
….across my mouth

I want to speak
For once, hear my voice
I am not weak
I will win
This war
I will watch the handcuffs
Hit the floor
I will tear the tape
And be trapped
No.
More.

Oh Sweet Fairytale…

Everyone has their own fairytale. Whether that fairytale involves a man and woman falling in love and becoming a family, or an individual pursuing their dream career and succeeding beyond expectations. The point is, everyone has a dream and an ideal way to achieve that dream.

My fairytale involves me finding a man who sweeps me off my feet, wants a gazillion children like I do ,and wants to save every lost child! My fairytale involves me not going to college and instead getting married and starting a family. My fairytale involves me being able to plan my future and know exactly what is going to happen and when it will happen.

MY fairytale sounds wonderful to me. However, that is not how it has happened. I am about to graduate college with a bachelors degree and plan on getting my masters shortly thereafter. I am currently single and do not have plans to get married in the near future. I have absolutely no idea what is going to happen or when anything will happen.

GOD has His own version of my fairytale. When I realized that my way was not how things were going to happen, I was devastated. I had an extremely difficult time working through my feelings of disappointment. However, now that I can see clearly and look back, I am so incredibly thankful that God’s way is not my way. His way is so much better. He has a plan for my life that I cannot even comprehend. He is going to use me for His glory and I could not ask for a better calling. Maybe God will still give me a man that will sweep me off. Maybe God will still bless me with children. He also blessed me with the ability to go to college and not only work towards my Bachelors, but also make plans to get my masters. He blessed me by not allowing me to know the future, because I could never understand the amazing things He has planned for my life.

Our lives are supposed to serve such a great purpose. We are all here for a reason. God intentionally created each and every one of us to fulfill a purpose that is so vast and extraordinary. All we have to do is let go of control and hand our lives to the one and only God of the universe.

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