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An Update on Trusting God with the Impossible

nightrun

I got a comment the other day from my Trusting God When Thing are Impossible post asking for an update. They wanted to know as I had written that post a few years ago if God had come through for me. This post continually gets hits every week, it’s the second most popular post on my blog. This is something that many people have to struggle with every day.

So has God come through for me since I wrote that post? I will have to answer that as yes*. The * means that He DID work through and made the impossible happen. It just was not the impossible I originally had wanted/planned/hoped but it turned out to be what I needed. Funny how it always works out like that right?

The thing I’ve learned the past two years about trusting God is this: sometimes you have to realize if you are holding onto something because you want it or because you know that God wants it for you. There have been times when I’m 100% certain this is the path God wants me to take and I need to trust that decisions and circumstances will come my way that will lead me toward that path. But then there are other times when it feels more like I’m manipulating the circumstances to make things go the way I want them to and then just trying to credit God with whatever happens.

There were a lot of times over the past two years when I got frustrated because I truly could not see how everything was going to work out the way I had wanted. There are passages in my journal that are basically water stained because I’m crying as I’m writing angrily over how I just could not see how this was going to work out. I knew I had to trust God with everything.and yet it kept seeing more and more impossible each and every day.

But those were the worst days. And even during that time period, I can look back now and see that God really was working behind everything. It sounds so cliché to say this but everything that happened was the best for me at the time. It helped to strengthen my faith and helped me to grow. Looking back now, I can see that what I wanted wasn’t necessarily what was best for me but I needed to go through it.

Everyone’s circumstances is different. And your impossible may actually become a reality. For me what I learned is that you cannot base your trust in “whatever the impossible is”. You have to place the trust in God and that HE is in control and that HE will make whatever your impossible needs to be come true.

All the worries of this world
I will lay them at Your feet
Surrender every anxious thought
For perfect peace, Your perfect peace

All the loved ones I hold dear
All my hopes and dreams and all my fears
I will choose to trust Your name
In everything, with everything
I will look back and see that You are faithful
I look ahead believing You are able

Oh and addendum: do you know how I know that God was working throughout ALL of this? God kept using Abraham and Sarah’s story as a way to show me to keep trusting in him. When everything was finally revealed at the end of this, the name Sarah became signficant and it really became clear that God was with me the whole time. And all I could do was laugh when I realized this. Never say that God does not have a sense of humor.

“Sarah said, “God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me.” (Genesis 21:6)

I’m still praying and still trusting that God will continue to make what I think is impossible become true for me…..according to His plan.

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That Time I Prayed For Someone I Didn’t Know

I prayed for someone the other day. Now I pray for a lot of people all the time. I pray when people ask me to. It’s nothing out of the ordinary. Except for this time, I didn’t really know the person. In fact, I have no idea if they would know who I am at all.

Wait……What? You prayed for a random person? What if they didn’t want to be prayed for? What if they don’t believe the same things you do? Did you tell them you prayed for them?

Yes, I did pray for a random person. I just felt at that moment that they needed prayer. I didn’t know why or what was going on in their life. They could be living a perfectly happy life with nothing wrong happening at all. They could also be living a life that’s full of turmoil and stress and just hiding it from the rest of the world. It was just one of those times when I felt very strongly about what I needed to do.

Yes, it’s very possible that this person didn’t share my faith at all and could also feel that my praying for them would be intruding on their life. This is why I am not going to walk up to a stranger and just tell them I’m praying for them. People get weirded out by this and I respect someone’s privacy and levels of comfort. Someone may think, keep your prayers and thoughts to yourself and please don’t include me in any of them. For the record, it’s not as if I go around every day being like….who can I inflict my prayer on? No, I fully respect people’s beliefs and privacy.

What would happen if someone else of a different faith from mine did the same thing to me? Honestly, as long as they didn’t wish something negative to happen to me or to others, I’m ok with that.

I will most likely never know what happened that day or what will happen with that person. I do hope all the best for them and that whatever happens in their life is goes the way they want it to. I just know that there have been times in my life when I desperately needed someone to pray for me because I couldn’t on my own but I couldn’t tell anyone. Honestly it was kind of a weird moment for me too. Why am I praying for this person? I don’t know who they are. I don’t know what’s going on in their lives. They could be creeped out if they know what I was doing. And yet, I knew it was the right thing to do. There have been times when things could have only happened because of someone praying for me. I’m sure that throughout my life there have been tons of people praying about me, some that I know and some that I don’t.

I know that I did what I needed to do. And God will take care of the rest.

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Shattering an Image Doesn’t Always Mean Bad Luck

The other night there was a women’s event at my church. Now I think I’ve talked about this on here before but I get excited when there’s an event at church that is for ALL the women and not just for moms. I’m thrilled that there’s so many programs for moms and hopefully one day I’ll be able to do that but as I’m not in that stage of life, I tend to feel very left out. So anytime I hear about an event for all women, I will jump at the chance to attend.

This specific event featured a speaker that talked about shattered images and what it really means to be a godly woman. It was awesome how much I got out of her talk. It just really felt like I could relate to what she was saying despite not being in the same stage of life. I didn’t feel like I was being left behind or outside the circle. Maybe it was because this was what I needed to hear but everything in the talk just clicked with me.

In keeping with last week’s post about social media, I realize that I’ve created an image of what I SHOULD be like based on what I see my friends and others are doing in their own lives. For me it’s actually not the media or celebrities that influence me because I know that I will never come close to achieving their lifestyle and I’m perfectly ok with it. There are though some bloggers that do make me feel woefully inadequate because in their posts they look like they have perfect everything from hair to food to photography to the damn blog itself and how professional it looks. That can be extremely intimidating but then I remind myself again that bloggers are trying to reach their audience (and also the possibility of making money) and therefore they are only going to showcase their best lest they lose both.

But yet for some reason, that same line of reasoning doesn’t seem to compute as easily in my head with people I know. I see what they post online and even though with some people I know fully well what is going on in their lives, they still come across as perfect to me. They may have the worst lives ever but I will never know this because all they project is an image of bliss and happiness.

I see all these women and it’s so hard to NOT compare myself to them. When I do this, I mean it’s no wonder that the life I want to have seems like it’ll never happen. Because they seem to be everything that I can never be no matter how hard I try. Moment of truth: there are days when it’s incredibly painful to hear your friends talk about their children and how they are expecting more, how much they love their marriage or hearing of an engagement, buying a house or just being excited to have a place to decorate, not having to worry about money and can take trips whenever they want, or even just have someone take care of them when they are sick and not have to worry about dying alone and no one noticing.

The absolute worst (and I really should not be doing this, why I torture myself is beyond me) is when I see pictures and posts from the wives of any of my exes or guys that it didn’t work out with. Because all I see is just constant visual reminders of me not being what they wanted and makes me feel like I’m never going to be good enough.

This type of perspective even skews what my image of what a godly woman should look like. Because to me she is someone who is married, has kids, very hospitable, always wanting to serve, patient, full of grace, not outspoken, even IF she has awkward moments she plays it off easily and is incredibly humble. I see other women in church who I know are older than me but with their perfect hair, makeup, and figure look like they are years younger. They have kids but you’d never know it based on how they look. They appear to be perfectly put together. I know there are struggles behind the appearance but let’s be honest, they aren’t going to share them with me and do I really need to know everything? No.

We hold ourselves to a standard that can never be reached and then we hold each other to yet an even higher standard. These are all images that I need to shatter. Because honestly, what really matters (and this was my takeaway from the event) is that IF I am TRULY honest about my faith then I am an image bearer of God. Therefore I really need to stop comparing myself to anyone else. This goes for both people in the church as well as others out of it. If I’m supposed to be representing God, then I’ll do it in my own way and not everyone else’s.

I really don’t want to be like everyone because I’m not like everyone else. And I want people to see how different I am because of my faith. Not that I’m going around preaching at everyone or trying to convert anyone I come in contact with. But instead through how I act and that means with my own way of doing things. Sure it may mean being the quirky one that stands out awkwardly but that’s how God wants me to be. I won’t be the person with the perfect hair everyone envies and I may not (yet) have a husband and children who I can share stories about to others.

But….I am me. Sometimes I wonder if God made a mistake when He made me and that even though I know I was created in God’s own image perhaps He got a bit distracted with me and I came out slightly flawed in comparison with everyone else. Ultimately, I know that it’s not true. It’s funny because all my life I’ve wanted to blend in with everyone else so that I wouldn’t stand out. Now I’m realizing that standing out could be a good thing.

My story is different from others. I’ve been realizing that my spiritual gift is leaning towards encouragement as I tend to do this, many times without even trying, it just happens. So I hope that God will use me and my story to help encourage others throughout whatever walk of life they might be in.

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Hints, Allegations, and Things Left Unsaid: Or the Story of My Year So Far

waterfall

It’s halfway through April and I’ve still yet to find what my personal theme for this year is going to be. I’m not too worried because I’m sure when I figure out, it’ll make complete sense. That being said, I’m still feeling that the year of “The Impossible Girl” is still lingering over me.

It’s funny because I’m still seeing God working in my life 100% in ways that I did think were impossible in the last few years. It’s kind of freaky to go back and read journal entries and see how much my life has changed in ways that I can only attribute to God working in my life.

One of the things I’ve been asking God to be more of this year is to be more clear to me. When things get murky and not so clear, I tend to get confused and then I wallow in it for a long time. I’ll get stuck trying to figure out details and I just don’t move on. It’s a very horrible feeling and it constantly makes me feel like I’m not trusting God enough because it’s my fault and that I’m doing something wrong.

But weirdly enough this year, I feel like God’s been making things pretty clear in my life almost to the point of bluntness but with a much kinder approach. It’s been kind of cool though. Doors are either closing for good or they’re not even opening at all. This is somewhat nice because it means I can instead focus on other things instead of just standing wondering if I should keep trying to work on that door.

I’ve never been a big fan of people telling me that when God closes a door he opens a window. Because this line from “29/31” by Garfunkel and Oates sums it up perfectly: “You realize that’s a smaller opening, right? You used to be able to walk out the front door and now you have to climb out some slightly ajar window somewhere, possibly falling five stories to your death. That is NOT an upgrade.”

But at the same time, I feel like the doors that have been closing in my life were pretty big things in my past that I needed to let go. These were circumstances where I wasn’t trusting God and was taking them by my own hands and sometimes they ended up working positive and sometimes they didn’t. Either way, in the past month I’ve been seeing them shut one by one, some by my choice, others have definitely caught me off guard at the sudden closure. It’s definitely showing me that I’m not the one in control here. It’s kind of a bittersweet feeling and yet….

Does it mean God’s closing the doors just to close them? Is He shutting all of them down because I need to move away from what I once held important in the past?  Or does it mean it’s because He has something planned even better for me? He could be doing either. Again the moral of this story is, gah. I just have to trust Him. You think by now I’d be used to this plan/idea but like I said we all know I’m a late bloomer.

I’m also trying to become more assertive in what I want. Instead of just passively waiting, I’m more actively waiting. This means praying first and seeing if this is something I feel God wants for me and then instead of just waiting for things to magically happen, I go for it. If it doesn’t work, it doesn’t. I don’t have to sit around getting emotionally invested wondering what might have been.

Does this mean I’m not waiting on God to work in my life? Far from it. I’m still 100% waiting on God to work in my life. I know fully well that He is in control of everything.

I’ll just say right now there’s a small situation in my life that seems SUPER CRAZY INSANE impossible. Almost to the point of I FEEL REALLY STUPID EVEN THINKING ABOUT IT AND HOW I AM VERY SUBTLY MENTIONING IT ON HERE. I’m not going to explain it because really it’s THE MOST ABSURD THING EVER AND THIS MAY BE THE ONLY TIME I EVER TALK ABOUT IT. And yet….I know fully well that God can make the impossible happen. All I can do right is pray that He continues to show me what He wants and to put what He desires into my heart as well. And if it’s not meant to be that He makes it super clear so that I know.

Things may not turn out like I wanted or planned (though it still could) but I know that my God will always come through. Always.

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Hope in the Midst of Suffering

This past week, our church had a tragedy happen to a family in our congregation. I won’t go into detail on it here but this is a Facebook page where if you want to find out more info you can.

When I first saw the news on Facebook, I didn’t really think twice about it. I didn’t recognize any of the names and as our church is fairly large, I just assumed that it was people who I wasn’t connected with. But then as it kept popping up on my feed from numerous folks, I finally clicked on one of the links. It turned out that even though I was not actually acquainted with the family, I did know who they were.

Several years ago at a women’s brunch, the speaker talked about how she had gone through her divorce and despite how difficult it had been and all the pain she went through, she knew that God was with her through it all. Her talk was so inspiring to me. This is because that was exactly the time when I was in the process of ending my marriage and going through my divorce Her speaking was exactly what I needed to hear. Even though we didn’t go through the same situation, just hearing someone talk about that in the church was a blessing. Though I knew that there were many divorced people in the church, no one really talked about it. To hear her testimony in front of all those women was bold, brave, and incredibly inspiring. It showed me that I wasn’t alone and that I would get through it. I knew that the timing of that could only have come from God.

I never told her how much her talk meant to me. Honestly since that day, I sort of forgot about her because of everything that went through in my life. Until last week, when I saw the news of what happened to her family. And then I remembered. What she has gone through is something no one ever wants to.

This past Sunday, our church did something that we normally don’t do. Instead of continuing his series, our pastor led our church in a time of open grieving and prayer. We were allowed to cry and mourn. We were allowed to ask God why he let things like this happen. But we also were reminded that He is in control and that we can still trust in Him even when we don’t understand why. It was honestly one of the best church services I have ever been to in my life. Like someone in my small group said, it made me know that my church is the right one for me.

One of my biggest fears is that going through a hardship alone. This Sunday showed me that it won’t happen. You may not share my faith and that’s ok. I just know for myself I am glad to be able to have a faith where I know I can have the hope and trust that when hard times happen (and they will happen) I WILL be ok.

But this isn’t about me today. I’ve been praying for this family and I hope and know that the Lord will work through this situation in ways we won’t be able to see until later. His goodness will show. His plan will happen. We shouldn’t lose hope because He is our hope.

 “And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (Revelation 21:3-4)

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Enough. Enough Now.

loveactually1

I’ve talked a lot on this blog (as well as outside of it) about having to trust God when things seem impossible. About how I’ve been spending a lot of time waiting on God to see if what He promises will come true. How I’ve walked away from doors, leaving them open but turning my back on them and not looking back though still hoping.

Well the time has finally come to close a particular door.loveactually2

I’m being rather vague about this because it doesn’t need to be blasted in detail on the internet though if you know me in person you’ll probably have figured out what it is by now. But the actual reason for prompting this post really doesn’t matter. It’s what I learned from this entire experience that does.

I have probably mentioned this already so forgive me if I’m just repeating myself. When I share how I feel with someone I’m close to, I’m very open with how I feel because I trust you and I feel that you are a safe person for me to share what is going on in my life. I will not just spill my guts out to just any person. I’m actually more guarded with my life than you’d think. But at the same time, even as I’m talking to you, I’m also thinking I really don’t want you judging me. I just want you to listen.loveactually3

For the record I know that there are some of you who it just in your nature to want to give out advice. I know that you totally mean well when you do this. It’s just that because I know you’re already forming in your mind what you thought I should have done instead or how I really should feel or have I thought about it from the other point of view, it makes me having conversations with myself WHILE I’m talking to you. I’m doing it RIGHT NOW in fact because I know what the opposition to my decision will say. Plus I also realize things that I shouldn’t have done. But isn’t that part of knowing you’ve grown up?

That being said, it’s weird how there are certain situations you can be in where even though you know you’re not being selfish, but that’s how it’s going to come across. But you have to take care of yourself first because if you’re not at your best, how can you expect to make others better? If I truly want to love others as I love myself, I have to love myself first. And taking care of me means loving myself so that I can love and take care of others properly.

I’m still not sure why all this happened. It wasn’t part of the plan. If I had had my way, I would have avoided everything regarding this and never gotten involved. But God had other plans. And maybe one day I’ll get to ask him why. I’m still not sure if there was any good in for me throughout all this. I want to believe that there was good in it for others because surely something beautiful came out of all this mess.

I’ve cried a lot over the last three years. I feel like that’s enough tears that needs to be shed. I know that it’s time to move forward and stop looking back.

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It’s time for me to finally close the door. To not leave it hanging open just in case. For me to walk away and never turn back and look. And know that everything is going to be ok. To know that I’m not going to lose my faith in God over this. That even though I may question and briefly doubt that I ultimately know that He still will keep his promises. I shall not be afraid.

I wrote this in my journal about 2 and a half years ago. I still feel it’s relevant today.

Right now I’m being pretty strong about this but I know also that days will come when I am going to feel really weak and emotional.  I am going to feel like I’m not good enough or that something is wrong with me.  I wish I could say that I am stronger than all that but I know that I am human and the temptation to listen to those lies is going to be really strong.  It’s going to hurt like hell……  Right now I want to say that I can deal with it and be strong and keep going.  But really what will probably happen is that I will cry, curse things, and be miserable.  What I’m hoping is that God will give me strength, wisdom, clarity, and peace throughout all this. I know that He wants me to wait.  I know that he wants me to trust in Him.  I know that I shouldn’t be letting my emotions control me..

The rational side in me wants all this. God has told me that if I trust in Him, the outcome will be good. Now I don’t know what the outcome is. I have no idea WHEN it is either.  I know that it is up to you Lord and you make all things work together for our good.  I think that is pretty much the story here.

So we’re good here? We’re good.

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I’m not sure if I’m not supposed to want this?

I had a dream the other night. And when I woke up in the morning I felt sad. In the dream I was happy because what I wanted was happening. But then I woke up and it’s not true, it’s not happening. And while I wasn’t angry with God when I woke up, it made me still ask him, “Why did you let that happen? Why give me that desire if you don’t want that for me?”

Desires are a funny thing.

A desire (noun) is : a strong feeling of wanting to have something or wishing for something to happen.

To desire (verb) means: “strongly wish for or want (something).”

I think one of the hardest passages to understand in the Bible for me is Psalm 37:4: “Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”

I’ve read/listened to many explanations of that verse and almost all of them agree that if you trust in the Lord and leave it up to him, he will then direct you to what he wants instead of what you want. And I do believe that is true. I believe that God will eventually turn you around towards his path vs what you wanted and then you’ll look back and realize He was right all along and knew better than you did.

But then why do we still want things? If something is not meant for us and IF it’s not in God’s plan for us (whether right now or ever) why do those feelings still linger? Even after lots of prayer and turning it over to God? Are we being tested? Is the enemy trying to see if he can make us get tempted so that we’ll go against what God wants and sin by coveting what we shouldn’t have? But how do we know if we’re not even supposed to have it?

I don’t know if any of you ever have had experience with addiction in your life (whether yours or someone else) but the road to recovery is a hard one. Just because you think you can easily give up something doesn’t mean someone else is weak just because they can’t do it that fast. Then there’s always the chance they can relapse even after years of being sober because just one thing triggers that desire again.

Not to say that all desires are like addictions but sometimes it can feel like that. You try to push away that desire, you’ve let it go and you’ve turned it over to God, you live your life hopefully the way He wants, but then one little memory can trigger back all those emotions all over again.

I still haven’t figured this out. All I can do is just keep praying. This is definitely one of the questions I’m going to be asking God when I get to heaven. (Yes I have a list. And yes I will probably forget them all when it actually happens).

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Keep My Heart Slow

Whenever messages at church lean towards marriage and family, while I still try to listen and get much out of it as I can, it still can feel slightly uncomfortable. All the teaching and advice is very helpful but if you’re not at that stage of life and you don’t know if you ever will be, it feels like it’s not going to help you. And it hurts when you feel like the church has forgotten about people who are NOT married or with children. Sometimes you make the choice to be single and sometimes you don’t want to be in that state but either way it can feel like you’re overlooked in favor of those who are in a coupled relationship.

On Sunday, I knew that the teaching was going to be on Colossians 3:18-21. I’ve heard messages on this passage several times and while I wasn’t apathetic to it, I just wasn’t super excited because I didn’t think it’d apply to me right now in life. And then my pastor said this in his prayer to open up the message: “There may be a number here who are single but this is still very much for them. There is much here for all of us no matter what state we are in life.”

Well then.

The passage from Colossians says this:

Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.

As my pastor explained, the world view of submission and spiritual authority is different from it actually means.

The definition he gave: “Submission is an inner quality of willing obedience that is a gift to the husband based on Christ’s example of willingly submitting to His Father that affirms the leadership of the husband within the limits of obedience to Christ.” But it does not mean that if he wants her to do something clearly wrong she has to do it.

The husband and wife are equal to one another as Christ is equal to his Father, but He still submits to the Father.

Spiritual leadership can be difficult because a lot of guys have no idea what that is or what they are supposed to do. “Spiritual leadership is servant leadership which is a husband’s gift to his wife based on Christ’s coming not to be served, but to serve and give His life as a ransom for many.” He needs to submit to his wife meaning he will die for her and therefore she will submit to his spiritual leadership. A woman can have more Biblical knowledge than her husband but that doesn’t mean he should be intimidated. He just needs to see to it that her spiritual needs are being met and that the wife knows he is following the Lord and praying for her.

Couples shouldn’t use these verses as scriptural grenades at each other. The verses aren’t supposed to be used to attack each other, they are for  A man who has to tell his wife that she needs to submit to her probably isn’t leading very well and a woman who has to tell her husband to love her more may not be submitting very well. Any time you have to tell someone what else they are supposed to be doing probably means YOU’RE not doing what YOU are supposed to be doing.

“Show me a man who is willing to die for his wife and I’ll show you a woman who is willing to submit to her husband.”

The takeaway is to never ever lose hope. Your hope is not in your spouse. Your hope is in the Lord. “The gospel leads us to an ultimate hope in Jesus, not in a spouse or any other human relationship.”

This entire message was SUPER good. And I’m really glad to have heard it.

It can also be a hard message to hear. When you keep hearing how a man should want to die for his wife because he loves her just as Christ died for us, it can hurt to hear that when you’re single. I have to fight the voices of doubt that creep in telling me I’m not good enough and that no one wants to die for me. That even though I have a ton of friends who do care about me, in reality I should just prepare to die because they are going to take care of their spouses first over me. These are lies that can poison me if I spend too much time listening to them.

I’ve written before how I feel like I need to wait.

The song “I Will Wait” by Mumford and Sons has been rather significant for me over the year. There’s a line in there that’s been my prayer to God for the past few months:

Bow my head
Keep my heart slow

I’ve been asking God to help me with my heart. To keep it where He wants it now. I have the tendency to lose my heart very fast which then results in getting hurt more than I should have. I get excited about things very easily. If I’m interested in ANYTHING, I want to dive in headfirst and am very enthusiastic right from the get go. It’s not that I burn out easily, it’s just I invest more than I probably should. Which leads to a lot of heartbreak and pain a lot of the time.

So instead right now, I’m asking God to help me slow down. To focus my heart on where and what HE wants me to focus on and not necessarily on what I want. This doesn’t mean I’ve given up hope of ever finding someone (or someone finding me) and it doesn’t mean that I don’t want to be in a relationship or get married (again) but I’m not making it the most important thing in my life at the moment.

By keeping my heart slow, it means making wiser decisions. It means having clarity and discernment. It means spending less time worrying. It means letting go. It means really trusting on God. It means waiting. Every single thing God has told me over the past three years to do.

I still don’t know what God has planned in my life for me. All I know is that right now I know what I need to do.

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Say something, I’m giving up on you

Something must be wrong with my phone.

I mean that must be the reason why I haven’t heard anything back.

It’s not showing me that I have any notifications.

I don’t see a text. Or a call. Or a email. Or a chat.

After all I do have Sprint. I mean sometimes their service can be unreliable.

Maybe my message didn’t go through. Or perhaps the return message didn’t go through.

So it must be the phone’s fault.

It can’t be because I’m being deliberately ignored. Right?

I could think of a bunch of excuses. To justify the reason.

People get busy. People forget to respond.

Maybe it’s the OTHER phone’s fault. Maybe it got stolen. Or broken.

Or maybe there was a kidnapping, illness, natural disaster, moved away.

Hoping that there wasn’t a death and no one contacted me about it.

Most likely though, it’s not intentional. Though it could very well be.

Maybe there just needs to be space. And time. And waiting. And being patient.

There’s always a reason. I just don’t know it yet.

The point is that despite all the things I just wrote, I’m not worrying about it.

The message on Sunday in church was yet ANOTHER one of those ones when I was NOT expecting it to be relevant to me and yet it was again. The speaker filling in talked about having a “black water” experience, and how hard helmet diving is a good illustration about facing a trial when you’re a Christian. Just like diving into places where everything is pitch black and you can’t see anything, going through trials makes you feel like you’re isolated, alone, and in the dark. You don’t know what’s going to happen and you get lost and scared. The only thing that you can rely on is having trust in someone who will tell and show you what you need to do. And then when it’s all done, you’ll come out of the pit, the hole, the darkness and you’ll look and be amazed at what you went through and still made it.

God is the only one that knows what exactly is happening and why it’s happening in this way. From past experiences, I know that I’ll be in the pit looking up and I have to trust that God will rescue me and bring me back up. And when I do come back up, everything seems so much better. And I also know I couldn’t have done it without my faith.

The waves of death swirled about me;
the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me.
The cords of the grave coiled around me;
the snares of death confronted me.
“In my distress I called to the Lord;
I called out to my God.
From his temple he heard my voice;
my cry came to his ears. (2 Samuel 22:5-7)

Basically, it’s going to be ok. It’s scary now not being able to see and not knowing what’s ahead. But because I know that I can trust in God, because I know that he’s not failed me in the past, it will be ok.

Maybe the phone will ring or a text will come. And maybe it won’t ever. It’ll still be ok.

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Don’t Believe the Lie

Although I laugh and I act like a clown
Beneath this mask I am wearing a frown

This is going to be a two part series. Part 1 is from other people’s thoughts and then part 2 will be next week with my own thoughts.

Funny, I had been planning for a few weeks to write a blog post on this subject. Then we had a guest preacher on Sunday which can be hit or miss depending on the subject matter and/or style of teaching. This week it turned out to be a hit because the sermon ended up being almost exactly what I was going to write on. I SEE WHAT YOU DID THERE GOD.

I’ve paraphrased the sermon here, so not direct quotes but pretty much the gist of what I got out of it.

We’ve all got troubles. But we don’t like letting other people know that we do.

Ephesians 6:10-17 talks about putting on the armor of God so, among the things you will defend yourself against are flaming arrows. These arrows show us our shame, remind us of our secrets, and whispers the lie that God could never love you.

The power of this lie is that it plays on our deepest fear, which is that we want someone to KNOW us, the REAL us and not the person that we pretend to be on a job interview. We want to allow them to see the skeletons that are in the closet but also want that same person to love us.

We’re so afraid that the dream can’t come. That if someone actually knew the real us, saw behind the mask, before the makeup that they would walk away. Our fear is to be known and be rejected. And when those things that we fear keep us from being loved and they are held in front of my face, we believe every bad thing about us.

We try to defend ourselves by putting out a version of ourselves that we think is lovable. We take all the real stuff and put up yellow caution tape and say keep out. We put up the good stuff on Facebook because what will happen if others see all the other stuff? They’ll walk away.

“When you meet somebody for the first time, you’re not meeting them. You’re meeting their representative”. Chris Rock

We only show the version of us that we think others might love. We only get out the stuff that we think is worthy of love.

What if someone saw behind the mask? What would someone say if they really know us?

Satan shows you your sin and tells you God doesn’t love you. God shows you His Son and says “Oh yes I do.”

A friend of mine wrote a comment in a Facebook group we’re in and gave me permission to share parts of it here. I feel like it pretty much summarizes what the message on Sunday was saying but with a personal touch.

I stopped dating when I was 19 and didn’t go on another date until I was 23 ( I think?). Guys. Never. Asked. Me. Out. I went on about it kind of ad nauseam on the blog back in the day, and everyone had a reason for it that read kind of like these articles. I was too “picky”, I was too “contentious”, I was too “masculine”, I was too chubby and didn’t care for my physical appearance enough to attract a man. All the guys I knew were *right* not to ask me out because I was, apparently, at 23, a hateful spiteful disgusting hag.

The gross thing is, I *believed* them. I believed it was my fault that no one wanted to go out with me and that the responsibility for it rested squarely on my shoulders. If I were more spiritual, or more beautiful, or less opinionated guys would be into what I was selling.

Between 23 and 25 I began to start rejecting the “theology” that had kept me single for so long. I started Online dating and saying yes to everyone, and I went on a lot of dates with a lot of disappointing men. No, not “they have a blue collar job and that’s beneath me” disappointing. “I can’t carry a conversation” disappointing, “I have no real life plans” disappointing, “I figured it was about time for me to stop being an irresponsible playboy and settle down” disappointing. I thought that these kinds of guys would be the only ones who could ever possibly like or be interested in someone like me, because the message I heard constantly and internalized was “You’re not good enough.” I was beyond settling, I thought I needed to find someone out there who was willing to settle *for* me. “You’re not good enough” resonated with me because it was something that I had internalized a LOT as a bullied child and a young adult who just never felt she could chin up on the adequacy bar. No matter what I did, I always felt like people around me were disappointed. That was baggage I carried into my relationships.

After a four month relationship with “I didn’t finish high school and am dangerously emotionally attached to my mother” disappointing, I started to suspect that there was a common denominator in the kinds of guys who asked me out. — They were guys who wanted to date the kind of woman I was trying to sell myself as. The idyllic quiet, unassuming, unquestioning sweet gentle good Christian girl I was trying to learn to be. They wanted someone who was going to mother them, care for them, make them happy and solve all their problems. The Conservative church had taught me that I was supposed to be a problem solver. My role was to be a “helpmeet” and if I couldn’t live up to whatever that entailed for whatever specific man I was supporting, then I was a failure as a woman. I finally had to come face to face with reality: I could never be that woman.

Thankfully, I had been becoming involved in a less conservative church over the years, with women who reeducated me in who I was. I was loved regardless of my doing, and that my ideas were not less worthy simply because they originated in my female mind. These strong women of faith retaught me to trust my own discernment when it came to seeking out God’s plan for my life. I came out of that season and I began to get a different perspective on dating: What if — instead of waiting on guys who didn’t ask me out to take me on a date, or accepting whatever crumbs might fall off that fundamentalist table — I began to date the kinds of guys *I* wanted to marry? Decent guys with good life plans who shared my goals and interests. So I began to consciously seek those guys out. I worked hard to surround myself not with guys who talked a good “spiritualized” game, but with guys who were engaged in their careers, who set goals for themselves, and who had hobbies and interests beyond impressing people with big talk and being seen at Church and friend events.

All this to say, sometimes we put too much emphasis on the asking. At the end of the day, in any marriage, you both have to learn to make decisions together, as a couple. If you know what you want out of a relationship and you see those qualities in another person, then run after that! There is no biblical mandate that says you can’t. Don’t internalize the story that you are only worth what washes up on the beaches of your life, or you might end up with a bunch of six pack rings and some kelp and a lot of time on your hands.

Well said. Probably better than what I’ll be saying next week, but I’ll still give it a shot.