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All the Feels

Psalm 39:7- “And now, Oh Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in you.”

This is gonna be really raw. Below is an entry that I wrote today in my journal: August 13, 2017.

“I’m overwhelmed with emotion today. Last night some of my good friends threw me a going away party and it was so good.. So great just feeling loved by beautiful people. But today I woke up heavy; because with deep love comes deep emotion. Especially when you have to say goodbye. And I don’t know how long it will be till I am here again.

It is more and more obvious that our lives are all on different paths right now. Even the thought of being so far away from my younger sisters makes me want to just cry. Sob. All of it. These people are mine; and as I step away I don’t know if they will come with me. Or at least in the way that I want them to.

I have no idea what I’m walking into- all I can see is what I am stepping out of. I have a loss of appetite, loss of excitement, loss of confidence. I have no desire to see people because I know it will hurt too much to pull away.

Yet in all of this I have an increased desire to run to You. A greater love of your presence. A need, a longing to spend time with you. And in the midst of my hurting and uncertainty; I’m grateful for that. Thankful that missing people makes me crave You more. And that You will always be there. You take this journey with me. In fact, You lead the way: and I just follow You up. Because You are there, I will go also. What it all comes down to is that I want to be closer to You, and that’s what You have called me to. So I am ready. Full embrace.”

And last Sunday I had a similar reaction:

“I’m diving headfirst into the unknown.

It is far. It is deep. It’s scary as heck.

But gosh how freeing.

How refreshing. How exciting

to jump with Jesus into a greater love for Him.

A flood of emotions as I swim.

I might walk, I might sink.

But I’m never letting go of His hand.

I’m ready, Lord. Steady my fall.

Hold my heart. I’m all in.”

August 6

Even when I begin to experience grief and sadness, I rest assured because I know that God works greatest in my weakness. And I am always drawn closer into His arms when I am hurting the most. The journey is exciting; but the transition is difficult. But what must I worry for? My hope is in Him. Always. Not in my friends here, but my future there. Not in my family but in my Father. Not in what I leave behind, but in His consistency wherever I am.

In reading a book the other day I was given some very powerful advice.

“Don’t get so focused on the messy reality that you miss the miracle in the midst of it.”

-Right now my reality is messy.. at least it seems that way. I feel stressed, overwhelmed at times, uncertain of what lies ahead, and saddened about leaving all I’ve ever known. But I am reminded that it was moments like this in the Bible that Jesus came in and did some of his greatest miracles. When everything was out of place- Jesus brought peace and restoration. So even in this time I can be expectant for Him to move. Because Jesus always shows up in our mess to bring His miraculous grace.

There is a song I have always loved called Holy Spirit. The bridge contains the line:

“Let us become more aware of your presence. Let us experience the glory of your goodness.”

I am always always convicted when singing this. My prayer is that God will constantly open my eyes to His presence moving in my life and in the lives of others. He is constantly present and active whether we sense it or not. But I pray that my eyes will be open to what He is doing and how He is working. That is when the miracles happen; right smack dab in the middle of our day to day lives.

“Don’t set into motion what needs to remain still.”

-This one is so good for me. Sometimes I see God’s hand leading me, or feel the promises He has given and I try to jump up and take control. I forget that He is still in control and I don’t have to worry about it. There are times when He tells me to move and to go and do. But other times He shows me the outcome, yet still asks that I wait for His fulfillment. I hope I can continue to trust and obey when I think I know where the road should lead. I don’t want to do anything on my own or outside of His plans. It is easy to sometimes get things moving when in reality God wants us to let them be left alone.

Thank you for letting me be raw and real. Up to this point I have been flooded with so many emotions, but it is important that I embrace all of them. To allow myself to feel both joy and sadness; excitement and grief. Ultimately He is good and He is God; so my soul rests in that. To anyone I have not been able to say goodbye to: I will see you again. Thanks for keeping me in your hearts and prayers. Love you all so big.

Fight, Good Soldier

“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” -Ephesians 6:12

Temporary home. Basically the only way to describe what I’m feeling right now. Not here, not there. Someplace right in the middle.

What do you do when you’re exactly where you are supposed to be, but are also waiting on where you know you’re going? I’m here for 6 weeks, but it feels more like 6 days. So much I want to do before I leave for 9 months which may turn into 9 years.. Trying to work, spend time with friends, family, and say my goodbyes all wrapped up into one short summer is definitely not easy. I want to be here, but my heart is already gone. I’m trying to love on all of my people, but at the same time I’m grieving their absence. I’m literally divided into two worlds right now and not sure how to navigate it. I’ve never been here before. It’s unknown and it’s scary.

And I’m vulnerable. Never having a quiet mind for a minute; I’m very susceptible to any and every attack that could be thrown at me. Insecurities, doubts, worries, fears, and questions that I have never dealt with before make their presence well known in my soul. Everywhere I turn I am hit with a new obstacle that I’m not ready for. And my mind takes all the bait and runs wild. The devil knows my triggers and pulls them. He finds my buttons and pushes them. He sees the weaknesses and expands them like a fire fed by fuel. I feel as though I’m drowning at times. I’ll be good for an hour, a day- spend time in my word; throw it all on Jesus and walk in his love. Then I’ll look up the next day or even week and I feel like I’m being crushed again. I’m sensitive, I’m emotional, I’m insecure. I want to live every minute to the fullest but each day I’m hit with the realization that I’m even closer to leaving this place. I can’t start my life in PA until I get there; but I’m also tormented because I feel like I can’t fully live here. The more time I have the harder it will be to leave. And knowing this has even made me lose motivation in some things. It’s harder to go to work because in my mind I’ve already left my job. Harder to be involved with friends because in my head I’m losing them. Harder to spend time with family because it feels like we’re all splitting up. I go back again and again and still have no reassurance from God. He has made the path so clear for this move and I let my heart already live there. When I finally questioned him this week to see where He was, all I heard from Him was “FIGHT”. And I knew exactly what that meant.

All across the Bible, the devil has done some of his hardest attacks when people were closest to their promised land. And this is no exception. Not that Pennsylvania is the end of my road, but it is the place God has been leading and preparing me for.. and the enemy knows that. When I first heard the Lord’s voice to go, the second voice in my spirit was one of doubt and uncertainty. And now that I’m so close to being there; the loudest sound in my ears is often one of insecurity and fear. The devil knows where God is pointing and often that destination is his biggest target. I’m reminded today of how very real and present the enemy is in our lives on earth and how the battle of our hearts and minds never ends on this side of heaven. Yes, the Lord has already won for us; Praise Him for that, but the devil won’t stop trying until Jesus comes back and his earthly kingdom is no more.

Sometimes I even have doubts if I am doing any of this right. If I’m making the best use of my time here or if these last few weeks have been pointless. The only thing I am confident in is that God says, “Well done”. I have a friend Melody up in Pennsylvania who is incredible and talented and I’m so thankful for her. She just came out with her own EP recently and the timing couldn’t have been more perfect in my own life. So often on my shuffle, her song Faithful comes on; and the Lord speaks through it every dang time. These are the lyrics:

 

\\ “Faithful daughter, Faithful son

Oh I have seen how you’ve pressed on

It’s not been easy, but you’ve worked hard

And you have pleased me by your heart //

\\ I’ve seen the tiny, tiny victories

But I count them as big battles won

On the mountain high, Or the stormy sea

Still you won’t let go of me //

\\ Oh I’ve seen how you’ve never given up

I have seen how you’ve kept pressing on

I hope you know just how much you are loved

And that I will never leave you on this journey you go through //

\\ I know it’s hard, Keep going forward

And in the end you’ll hear me say //

\\ Well done faithful servant

Well done faithful friend

At last you have finished

Now rest in my embrace.” //

-Faithful, Melody Joy Asper

 

So deep. So powerful. So true. That’s how God sees me. Regardless of my circumstances. He watches me fight and stand even when it feels impossible. And He is pleased. This song is a comfort to me in the midst of this battlefield. He says of me, “Well done”. He tells me to keep standing and keep fighting because I am on His side and I’m guaranteed the victory. I may not have all the armor or the training but I am a soldier of the Lord and I will battle with Him. He provides exactly what I need whenever I may need it. The devil can be relentless but my God is undefeated.

All that being said, I covet your prayers as I transition into this move. And I always appreciate any encouragement you feel prompted to give. Whether on facebook, text, phone call, or just a hug; the Lord uses people like you every day to help people like me. In the midst of these temporary struggles I’m still filled with excitement and hope for what God has called me to. I know great things are in store and I wait with anticipation as He leads me.

When Uncertainty Lingers

John 17:17- “Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth.”

So for the last 2 weeks I have been up in Pennsylvania visiting my family, doing some wedding planning with my cousin, and looking for jobs in the area. Since this is where I will be living this next year, I’m very thankful I got to spend some time familiarizing myself with the city. I could go into so much detail about the school up here and how tangible the spirit was from the moment I walked into the room. I have already spent several hours in the place where I will have prayer and worship each day before class. I have been prophesied over, prayed with, and encouraged by some of the greatest warriors of the kingdom I have ever met. But even in the  midst of such spiritual overflow, I can find myself feeling weak, discouraged, and insecure. Why?

Well, for the past 3 days I have been propped up on the couch icing and elevating my badly sprained ankle; the unfortunate result of my first (and last) solo run in the park. As I sat cooped up with endless amounts of junk food and netflix for my only companions, enjoying the remainder of my trip seemed virtually impossible. Doing anything spiritual was the last thing on my mind, and I had begun to wish that I was back at home; doubting that there was anything I could possibly get from this. Episodes of The Office rolled by like miles on a back road, and the longer I sat; the worse I began to feel. Insecurities popped into my head and stayed there, growing ever so slightly with the passing hours and days. Doubts rose up, and instead of addressing and combating them, I left them there- content to sit in my growing misery. Lies surfaced; but instead of tossing them, I allowed them to sit until I started to believe them. Hurts that had been forgotten started to sting again. Emotions grew, and anger became visible in me. Even hopelessness was tangible at times. Yet still I sat. Still I remained. Discontent but doing nothing to change it. I knew I needed to get in the Word but made excuses. Afterall, I was hurt. I needed to rest and heal. I couldn’t be expected to dig into scripture at a time like this.

With the words “Be still” written on my shirt, I continued to sit in my insecurity; hoping that my binge watching would eventually help me laugh my way into a lighter mood.  Finally, I got tired of letting myself be miserable without at least trying to combat it. Not really knowing what to read or where to begin, I prayed a forceful prayer that God would come in and help me fight off these insecurities that seemed to  be eating me alive from within. I put on the only song I could think of at the time; “Reckless Love” by Steffany Gretzinger. Without the strength to sing I just let the words echo over me as I sat with Him; speaking whatever came to my mind in the hopes it would become a beautiful prayer on the way out. Then I remembered the words spoken over me just a few days earlier: “God is singing over you. He is dancing over your heart, and He wants you to know this.” So with those melodies still echoing in my mind, I took out my phone and also started playing “King of my Heart”. A very completely different song, with a very similar cry. I let the chords from both pieces wash over me, sitting in the middle of heavenly melodies. It was virtually impossible to sing one or the other; but that wasn’t the point. I sat there, saturated; literally captured between the two songs, letting the music penetrate my head and my heart. God didn’t ask me to sing to Him, He wanted to pour His words over me. It was no longer a band playing, but the Lord of All weaving a melody of truth into my soul. I couldn’t explain that moment if I tried. But it was beautiful, and it was what my heart needed all along. Not another laugh, another bag of chips, another show to entertain me. No. I needed time with the one who knows me and speaks truth over me. The one who can take all my fears and lies and replace them with His complete goodness and love. The one who encourages like no one can. I didn’t need another distraction, I needed to be brought back to the  one my heart was made for.

As I sat in that room completely overwhelmed, I began looking up truths in the Word to speak over myself and rebuke the insecurities and pain. The line in the song “There’s no wall You won’t kick down, lie You won’t tear down, coming after me!” rang in my ears as I frantically google searched scriptures of my worth.

“To the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He has made us accepted in the beloved.” -Ephesians 1:6

“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” -Ephesians 2:10

“Now if we are children, then we are heirs- Heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in His sufferings in order that we may also share in His glory.”  -Romans 8:17

“He who has begun a good work in you will complete it.” -Philippians 1:6

Then He gave me these truths to speak over myself:

I AM GOOD ENOUGH.

I AM MORE THAN ENOUGH.

I AM NOT THE PROBLEM IN MY LIFE.

I AM LOVED.

As I read and repeated these I allowed Him to remove the ideas of who I thought I was to be replaced by who He knows I am and has called me to be. I went to bed that night with a heart abandoned and woke up the next morning feeling so alive and loved. Yes, my ankle still hurt. No, I still couldn’t run and was forced to rest and ice it. But when my focus was in the right place, my circumstances seemed a whole lot brighter.

No, netflix isn’t bad and I completely condone those nights of junk food and movies. But if you find yourself with too much idle time, make sure you know how to spend it. I let my situation get the best of me, and leaving your thoughts unattended and unguarded is a recipe for disaster. Take some time for yourself to rest and relax; but don’t forget to give God the chance to say what you need to hear. Your mind will always have something to tell you, and what you allow yourself to think on will dictate the emotions and condition of your heart. Uncertainty grows when we give it room to roam. Don’t let yourself be captured by your insecurity and anger. Don’t let your hurt control your hope. Go to God and let His truth be louder than the lies.

 

Filled with the Fullness

Ephesians 3:19- “…and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.”

Y’all. God is so good! Just in these past few weeks since my last blog He has done so much! In me, to me, and through me. I am just now beginning to realize the incredible way He is working everything in my life for His glory and my blessing.

A few weeks ago I went to a Bethel concert. Although I was completely stoked about this opportunity, I had no idea how this night would change me forever. First of all, I was given a free ticket, when I originally wasn’t going to be able to go. I knew in my heart that the Lord had something great in store for me to receive there (He always does). And although I could write pages and pages of what the Lord showed me at Bethel; I will have to condense it down to this: God told me that He was doing a work in my life. A good work. He was taking everything old and filled with the stain of the world and replacing them with His plans for me, which were new and holy and good. Right away, this resonated within my soul, and I was filled with Joy! But the biggest thing that God did at Bethel didn’t happen at Bethel. Well, I’m sure it did; but I didn’t begin to realize or see it’s effect until the next day, even several days later. Yes, God is bringing new things into my life out of the old; and I am thrilled to see this begin falling into place. But what happened that night is that He FILLED me. God filled me, in a way that I have never experienced before. I left that night with a fullness that I am only now beginning to unpack and it is absolutely beautiful.

Now, you may be thinking that this is just another “Jesus High” experience. And believe me, I was too. I have been to just as many church camp experiences as the next guy, and each one of them has been incredible- touching my heart in a unique way. But this was different. This wasn’t a temporary Spirit High that would slowly fade out. No; this was a physical filling of God into my soul that I can’t begin to explain if I tried. It consumes me into overflow that I can’t help but to pour out. It seeps into and out of everything that I do, say, breathe, and think. And I’m still in shock. “Why hasn’t this worn off by now?” “When will my spirit-high go back down?” “What even happened??” And although I can’t understand it, I believe it. That night changed me. Well, Jesus changed me. And the result is one that I will never forget.

I am full. So full. Full of love to give even when nobody shows love to me. Full of worship to pour out endlessly in praises at His feet. Full of hope for the future, and peace for today. Full of joy. Full of Him. I am constantly seeing His face in all that I do. Every day He pours out endless blessings on me that I could never deserve. Of course, I still have hard times and bad days. But the difference now is that even on my worst days, I view everything through a place of joy- with an eternal perspective. Knowing that this day; even this life, is temporary and doesn’t hold any comparison to the glorious perfection of eternity. Even when I am low, I don’t stay there because I’m quickly reminded of how beautiful He is, and how greatly He guides my life.

My sister recently came home from her trip around the world and it has been such a huge blessing! His mercies never cease to amaze me. At the beginning of this year the Lord gave me a word that this year would be one of “Joy and Promise” both for me and for the community around me. I held onto it, but never fully began to see the meaning of it until now. Not only am I filled with an eternal joy that isn’t determined by emotions or circumstances or people; but I now have come to a deeper understanding of the promises He has given and how He is fulfilling them through each passing day. Not only future promises, but present ones. Big and small. I am living them out and walking in them in ways I never could have imagined. He has promised comfort and proven to be a comfort to me. He promised peace and gave me His spirit. He promised restoration in relationships and I am already beginning to see the fruit of that- watching pieces fall into place in ways that only He could orchestrate. He has given me vivid dreams and visions of a future that has already been designed; and allows me to place my hope in His faithfulness to construct it. This is only the beginning of all that’s to come. I have so much anticipation for this next season He has called me to. I hold an expectancy and excitement that is simply unexplainable, and I know without the slightest doubt that God has big big things in store for me! I KNOW He will move. He already has! And it is simply incredible to live in this place.

On top of this (yes, there’s more!) I have been in a completely and totally divine romance. God has opened my eyes to the most beautiful pursuit of all: His deep pursuit of the depths of my heart. His total pursuit of me. Intimacy in its truest form. He is romancing me in the purest way possible, and every day I am more and more aware of it. How He chases my heart. How He pours all of Himself out to me and asks that I do the same. How He lavishes blessing upon blessing upon me- More than I can contain. How my heart wants nothing else but just absolutely more of Him. I am my true self, and He loves me just like that. It’s the kind of romance where your lover is all you can think about, all you can smile about, all you can talk about. I feel like a princess because I AM HIS BRIDE. And I have never understood this so fully. It is a love that no matter what kind of day I have, what my week has been like, or what problems I’ve been dealing with, He is constant. And my heart is stilled. Nothing can shake me because my spirit is set. My focus is on Him and nothing else can compare. All the things that fight for my attention are thrown out and forgotten when I look upon His face. Fears that used to consume my thoughts are suddenly a fleeting vapor in my mind that fade quickly into memory. I can’t explain it. I barely understand it. But God is romancing my heart in the absolute realest way.

I am reading this book by Lysa TerKeurst called Uninvited. And let me tell you; It is incredible. I recommend it for any woman wanting to live a life of fullness; which is probably all of us. There is a quote that says, “We have to tell our minds to live loved.” At first, I didn’t see what this meant. ‘How could I do this, what did it look like?’ But now I am seeing; Living loved isn’t just for someone who is dating or engaged or married to the most incredible man in the world. No. Living loved is living your whole life from the position that God is love and He is in love with you. All of you. Not just the pretty pieces or the exciting things. He made you. He knows you. And He loves you. When I start to realize this is when I can walk each day in confidence and joy no matter what life throws at me. I can fully trust in ALL that He has promised to me, even when the fulfillment of it seems impossible. And I can constantly have joy and love towards others, although I may never feel loved from them in return. When you are in love, nothing else matters. You have eyes for one man only. And that is what this is; The ultimate romance, the deepest intimacy, the truest love. Jesus’ pursuit of your heart will be the greatest love you will ever know. Hold to it, cherish it, press into it. It will change your life. You will see His blessings in every day. You will know who you are and will learn to love yourself, despite what the world may say. You will live loved through every moment of every day and nothing can shake you. You will rest in all of His promises because they are true.

A good song that I have been dwelling on lately is called Your Promises by Elevation. The best line is one that goes:

“Doesn’t matter what I feel * Doesn’t matter what I see * My hope will always be in your Promises to Me.”

And that’s the reality. His promises are ALWAYS true; no matter how messed up everything is, nothing can keep Him from coming through and being faithful.

Lysa said something else that completely described everything I have been saying.

“People do affect us. But the peace of our souls is tethered to all that God is… the fact that God will work everything for good is a completely predictable promise.”

– Yes, girl, yes.

Letting God Speak

… For we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words…” Romans 8:26

Sometimes I just can’t talk to God.

There. I said it.

But it’s true. Sometimes my prayer life is dry. This can be frustrating, especially when you want to pray, you feel like you should pray, but you just can’t. You don’t have the words.

I think if we are honest, most of us have been here before. And believe me, it is VERY hard to admit. Saying you don’t have it all together can be extremely difficult and even embarrassing. It is just an understood thing that every Christian prays all the time, right? And it makes it that much more frustrating when we hit seasons where we feel weak in this area, we feel guilty, like there is something wrong with us and God must surely be upset with us. We have hit a ‘prayer rut’- and what’s worse is that we have made ourselves miserable by thinking we are terrible humans because of it. I have been here, and it is utterly exhausting.

These past few weeks have been trying, to say the least. I am constantly asking God what He is doing, and why He has to do it in what seems the hardest and most confusing ways. I have kind of been wrestling with this, and some days are definitely harder than others.

-He gives me things that I don’t think I want and takes away things I’m convinced that I  need.   // He gives me coworkers that are hard to get along with, and He takes away the young adults group that I had with some of my closest friends. He takes away my comfort and He gives me difficulty. He gives me confusion and takes my security.

And although in my mind these all seem like bad things that are detrimental to the “American Dream” or a Perfect Fairytale Ending; that isn’t how life is. And that isn’t how God intends our life on earth to be. We have an eternity of perfection awaiting us when we get up to Heaven someday, but here, we are living in a fallen world.

How do you pray when you’re not even sure how you feel? Part of me wants to praise Him because I know that His plans are greater than mine, that He is for me, and that all of this is for my good. While the other part of me is angry, hurting, and confused. My life doesn’t make sense, and I want to blame God for it. I believe that He knows best but is purposely making my life worse, refining me, and causing me pain.

The Word says, “The Lord gives and the Lord takes away.” [Job 1:21] If there is any scripture you can take literally, take this one. At face value it is the truest statement you may ever hear. And it is hard. Especially when the things He gives seem to hurt you, and the things He takes seem to break you. How do we deal with that? Go back to Job. The first part of the verse is the piece we always quote. But read what’s after that. “The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised!” Did you read that right? We are supposed to PRAISE Him.

Even when the Lord gives me something that I think is bad, or takes away something that I think is good; Even when the Lord gives me something that I have prayed for and thought that I needed- then takes that same thing away…. Even then, I praise Him. Without knowing what to say, think, or feel; we praise Him because HE IS GOOD, and all that He does is for OUR GOOD. [Romans 8.28] Especially when we don’t understand.

I saw a quote recently that went something like, “Every good and perfect gift is from above; if God doesn’t give it to you, then it must not be good and perfect.”

Talk about hard to swallow, as if we know our life better than God does. But it is still almost impossible for me to pray to Him when I don’t understand what He’s doing. What do I ask for? What do I say? I want to be honest with Him, but I also want to give Him the glory and honor he deserves. So, I don’t. You read that right. I don’t pray. Instead I get into my word, or sit in silence. I ask Him to speak to me. To comfort my hurting heart. To fill my mind with His truths and remind me that He is working in my life and that HE LOVES ME. All that He does is done in love. And when it is hard for me to see or believe that, I just let Him whisper it over me and to me and around me until it is all I can feel. Even in my hurt and confusion, I am showered with His love and His voice that speaks life into me. And that is what I need. That is what fills me. That is what heals and sustains and grows me. And then I praise Him. Sometimes with songs and words and sometimes just in the silence of my heart. Because even when I don’t know what He is doing, I know He is for me. So I trust and rest in that.

The song Ever Be by Bethel is so opportune in times like these. (If you have never heard this you need to stop what you are doing and listen to it right now. It will change your life.) It reminds me that even when there is nothing else I can say, even in my pain and confusion, He is still worthy to be praised. And my soul will still praise Him. When I can’t find the words to pray, I sing them instead. Or I read them over myself. Psalms is a great book for this as well.

And I don’t have to feel guilty or shamed when I simply can’t talk to God. When I don’t have the words and I’m not sure what to say to Him. Because when Jesus came down and left us His spirit, we gained direct access to the Father, and our Spirits are now filled with His. And when we don’t have the words to say or the prayers to pray; Jesus is sitting in heaven praying for us and over us- INTERCEDING on our behalf to the Father. Because of this spirit inside of us, we are being covered in constant prayer by the greatest intercessor to ever live. So we sit, and we allow HIS prayer to cover us and seep into us, and we dwell on what He has to say to our hurting hearts. And He reveals His love to us in His word as we read. Then He puts a song in our hearts to sing praise to Him, and one day before we know it, we have found our prayer again.

 

Made to Crave

“O God, You are my God; I shall seek You earnestly; My soul thirsts for You, my flesh yearns for You…” Psalm 63:1 

“Lord, I want to be excited about you. I want to want you. The way I anticipate and look forward to time I get to spend with my friends, I want to feel that way about you. The way I crave time and affection with a man romantically and desire to be loved; desire to be married and to constantly be romanced; I want to crave your affection even more.

 I want to count down the hours until I can be with you, I want to think about your love during my every waking moment. I want to crave time in your presence; I want to miss you. I want to wake up thinking of you and go to bed loving you.

I want to want you more than any man. More than any girl I have conversations with. More than an anticipated phone call or an unexpected hug. I want to crave you more than anyone else. To desire you. To desperately wait for you and to change my schedule just to meet with you.

I want to be jealous of you, and to know the jealousy you possess for me. I want to never be satisfied. Never be able to get enough of you. Always wishing for more, wanting more- and doing whatever it takes to get it. I want you to be my top priority. My first love. The subject of my affection and the object of my desires…

I want to want you.”

 

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This is from a prayer I wrote in my journal a few nights ago. I was sitting at home thinking about all the incredible friends and community that I have, and so excited to get to spend time with some close friends of mine throughout the week. And then the thought hit me: “Why don’t I crave God like that? Why don’t I get excited about Him? Why do I not take every opportunity to grow in the knowledge of Him and hear what He has to say about me?” Because no matter what my friends or my family may say; ultimately I am defined by Him and Him alone. So although community is good and something we were made for- something we crave; it can’t sustain us. It can’t define us.

Anyone who knows me knows how social I am. I thrive in conversations with people. My love language is quality time, and that is most easily expressed by me going out to coffee with people, or having deep phone calls, or just meeting up randomly during the week to catch up. Spending one-on-one time with others is what makes me come alive. I live for it. I get excited about it. I am constantly looking forward to my next visit with a friend. I love community, and I enjoy people. To know and be known. Love and be loved.

I’ve been blessed with some incredible friends, and my time with them is valuable. My dates with Jesus are so much more important, though; yet are often less frequent. Why? Why don’t I have the same expectancy with Him as I do with a friend? Why am I more excited about a text message from someone I’m close with than a revelation from the living Word? I want that to change. Instead of waking up thinking and dreaming of my plans for the day; I want to wake up gazing at Him. And when I lay down at night, I want Jesus to be the only name on my lips. Not consumed with worries of tomorrow or memories of the day, but simply filled with the desire of HIM. I don’t really know what this looks like. But I want it. That is my prayer. To be consumed by Him through every fiber of my being.

Surely community is important; He made it. He created it for our benefit and His glory. But if I run to people as a source of my identity, my fullness, my love; then I am only receiving a piece of what He has for me. I am only experiencing a taste of all that I could have in my relationship with Him. Earthly community is vital; it is a representation and a glimpse of what Heaven will look like in all of its glory. But if we do not desire Him above all else, we are missing the whole point of it. We crave community because He is our community. He made us to be in communion with HIM. And the more we taste of it, the more we will want it. Through relationship with God, our earthly friendships will be made stronger. Our love will go deeper. Our knowledge of ourselves and others will be greater. That’s just an overflow of what His love does in our lives.

So yes, I love people. I see them. I know them, and desperately want to go deeper with them. But more than that; my greatest desire is Him. That is the spring from which all else pours.

Lord, I want to want You. This is my prayer.

A New Adventure Awaits

” The heart of a man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.”     -Proverbs 16:9

Even though this blog was a bit longer in coming; this post is actually the one I have been most excited to write since I started. In fact, this post is the REASON this blog was started. Aside from the prayer and the advice from loved ones about writing a blog, this event is what made me really decide to go for it. And it is proof that God is faithful!!

So I am going to start with a little bit of background. My mother is from Pennsylvania, and that’s where her whole family lives. Ever since we were born; we have made family trips up to Lancaster County twice a year to spend a week or two with our grandparents and cousins! Even though we have always lived about 800 miles apart, we are so close with this side of our family. We have literally grown up together, and each time we go visit it’s as if we never left. We have made so many memories and continue to make them each time we return. My cousins are more like siblings- and the miles don’t represent how close we are at heart. In fact, I am going to be a bridesmaid in my cousin Brianna’s wedding this summer and couldn’t be more thrilled!! (Anyways, more details on that later)

As many of you know, my sister Leigh Anne is currently on a nine-month mission trip called Gap Year where she has been to 3 different countries!! For the past 7 months the only real communication we have had is through facetime. One day several months ago when she called me, she mentioned this School of Supernatural Ministry that is taught through my grandparents’ church. She told me, “Kaylee when I come back I’m gonna go to this school. You should look up their website and come with me!!” The conversation came out of nowhere, and besides a small laugh and a “Now Leigh Anne that’s a little ridiculous, I’m not moving up there just for a school; and you probably won’t either…” the conversation ended there. Little did I know that this exchange, in fact, was just the beginning of a future for me.

So fast forward a little bit. I’m sitting in church one Sunday in October and the pastor, our good friend T Rousey; preaches on Taking a Risk for Jesus. At the end of the service he says a prayer and invites everyone to really search their hearts and see if God is calling them to any deeper waters of the unknown or risky places with Him. Of course I ask God to show me whatever that might be, while knowing in my heart that I had already taken plenty of risks, and what more could He ask me to do? Within the minute, the Pennsylvania school popped into my head, and my mindset quickly changed. I hadn’t been praying or even thinking about this school since my conversation with Leigh Anne several weeks prior, and I knew that this was an idea that was only crazy enough to come from God. So I needed to listen.

After a week of wrestling with it and constant prayer, the Lord confirmed for me the following Sunday during worship that this was indeed coming from Him; and that I should go to this school. Besides the fact that I knew NOTHING about this place (I hadn’t even really checked out their website that my sister sent me) I was also very restless with the idea of moving. “Did God really say that?” “What about my family and friends?” “I was just starting to get settled and established here.” “What will my future hold?” The most important question I was asking was “God, where is my peace?” Philippians 4, verse 7 says that “The peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Even though I didn’t understand why God was calling me here, I should still have peace about it. But I didn’t. Not at all. I was more uneasy than ever before. I started to wonder if that was God’s voice at all. And what was wrong with me.

I will never forget the moment that changed. I was sitting during worship and the song It is Well was being sung from the stage. I was crying out in my heart, “God, I know all is well in my soul. But why do I have no peace in what you have said? Please show me what to do.” Just then the voice of the Lord spoke to me again. Even clearer than the last time. He said, “The reason you have no peace is because the devil is doing everything in his power to stop you from going. Don’t let him. I have something for you.”

Woah. Of course, the tears started falling and I looked like a hot mess in the middle of service. If I’m being honest with you; I don’t have the faintest idea what the message was about that Sunday because I was so focused on the words God had just spoken to me and over me that nothing else mattered.

Side note: Y’all, when you hear the voice of God; the living, breathing, voice of God- nothing else in that moment matters. I could go on and on about this but I’ll just end it here for now.

After that, I realized more than ever that I had to go!! I needed to see what God had in store for me. If the enemy was fighting that hard to keep me from going; there had to be something up there that I needed! And I was not about to let him have it. God was inviting me into a deeper relationship with Him and allowing me to know His heart. How could I not accept this invitation??

All that being said; this is my public announcement that I will be traveling to Lancaster County, Pennsylvania this September (along with my sister, what a perk) to attend HarvestNET School of Supernatural Ministry! Y’all, I literally can’t wait. I am so so so so excited about all that God will do in me and through me and all that He has already done to my heart in preparation. Basically, the school is a 9 month discipleship program of Prayer, Scripture studies, and development of Spiritual Gifts. There will be worship, teaching, and evangelizing; combining both local and international mission trips. It will involve a lot of reading and personal study, but I am so passionate about the word and just can’t wait to learn more. I know in my heart that this is going to be the adventure of a lifetime, and I am beyond thrilled that He has called and allowed ME to take it.

We will live with my grandmother because she is only about 10 miles from the church! And all of our cousins are super involved there as well so it has been wonderful being able to ask them questions and get feedback and even information on where to find jobs once we get up there. God has already been orchestrating this since the beginning and it’s incredible to watch how everything has lined up throughout my life in order for it all to fall into place at just the right time. I never, ever, in my life would have seen myself doing something like this or even imagined that this journey was possible; but His plans truly are greater than ours. His ways higher than our ways and his thoughts bigger than our thoughts. This is proof of that! In my mind or heart or my life plans, this idea wouldn’t have even existed- but I’m so thankful that I am not in control and that He holds the reigns to my life.

The school itself will cost about 3 thousand dollars not including the month long mission trip at the end; neither of which I have the money for. But honestly, through all of this God has been faithful and all He asks is that I trust Him; and that He will provide for me. He said, “I have called you, now let me provide the way.” As crazy as it is, what more can I do but to believe that? Even with transportation and all, He has already worked it out down to the last smallest detail; so my job is to watch as He lays it all out before me.

This is probably my most exciting blog yet, but I believe things will only get better from here. I pray that this blog can be a tool for you guys to follow along with me on this adventure. To share what God is doing in my life and in the lives of others; whether in Georgia or Pennsylvania or anywhere else! I want to be able to keep people updated, not just for the exciting stories and adventures (of which I’m sure there will be plenty) but for the way that Jesus is moving and working all around, that you all can be a part of with me. This can be just as much your trip as it is mine, and I hope you all can see Him moving in your lives as well! It only gets better from here!