The Way God Leads…

Have you ever wondered how God leads His people?

Well, I’ve been thinking a lot about what it looks like when God leads His people. I used to really wonder sometimes if God truly does speak to his people even today and lead them down certain paths or does he just let us choose our own path? God has never audibly spoken to me so I found it hard to understand God’s leading in others people lives when I had no personal experience of my own. But I have now come to a place where I have strongly felt and seen God’s leading in my life. God has made it known to my heart in amazing ways the path I’m supposed to walk down. Also, God’s leading in my life has been very unique and different than what I always imagined it would be. So I wanted to just spend a little bit of time today talking about what this has looked like for me in my life.

First thing I want to say, though, is that God leads everyone differently. I remember at the beginning of this hard walk I’m on, I wanted God to verbally speak to me. I waited in the silent, dark, night, but God didn’t speak to me in the way I wanted Him to. God spoke to me in other ways that night. But even though God didn’t speak verbally to me, I do believe that God does still verbally speak to some of His children. That’s why as I share with you about the ways that God has been leading me, I want to also acknowledge that these are not the only ways that God can lead his children. The way God leads you will be unique to your personality and to your story.

One of the biggest things I’m noticing about God leading me is that it’s a day by day process. I will confess that at the beginning of this walk I wanted all the answers right away. I thought, if God is going to tell me to take this path, then I need to know where this path will end. But God didn’t tell me in advance what to do. This is what He did do – with each new turn in the path that I came to, God was faithful to tell me what to do. I’m just so amazed when I look back at how in each moment God made it clear to me what to do.

Back in January God led me to make the decision to move with my family. I didn’t know for how long God wanted me to be in this new place, just that it was what God wanted me to do. I remember just feeling a strong burning sense of knowing that I needed to move to this new place and I knew that was God speaking to me. At first, I ignored that feeling until I got a specific question from a dear friend that lead me to seriously seek God and trust that this move truly was God’s will for my life. Then, soon after I decided that God was leading me to move with my family, God brought me to make the decision to take two months of space (no contact or communication in any way) from the relationship I was in. For some reason I had the idea of two months in my head, then I had dinner with a dear family and the stories they shared with me about their relationship confirmed in my heart that God wanted me to set a time of space from each other before deciding on anything.

Now that I am on the other side of the two months, I truly believe God was the one who put that in my head. Because here’s the crazy thing. I spent basically all of that two months not knowing what I was going to do next, but I believed with all my heart God would reveal to me the answer at the end of the two months. The first month I focused on God and prayed a lot for change to happen in him so I could have the relationship back. I was full of hope that God was gonna restore it all back to me in the end. But in the middle of the two months I found myself so overwhelmed and full of fear because I just didn’t know what God was going to do and I was scared about things not going my way. I kept telling myself not to worry because at the end of the two months God would make the next step clear. I had no idea the great ways that God was working on my heart in those two months.

When I finally came to the end, and not before, God had changed my heart. He made it clear to me that His path for me was to leave the relationship. God honestly gets all the credit for what happened because only days before the two months ended, I was still wanting things to work out. My sister told me that God did a miracle on my heart and honestly, I couldn’t agree more. I keep telling people it was like night and day – I woke up one day, the week that the two months was going to come to an end and I felt like I had new eyes and I saw things differently. I knew what God was telling me to do and for the first time I felt like I could do it.

Guys, let me tell you, our God is amazing and He is faithful. I am just awestruck at how God’s leading and direction came through for me in these last few months. He has always been faithful to show me the next step to take, and I’m beginning to see now that God doesn’t usually reveal to me what that next step is until I get to it. So when it comes to God’s leading in my life, I’m realizing that it looks a lot like resting in the fact that the future is unknown and all can do is follow God each day, trusting that God will make the next step clear in His timing. As I seek God, I know when the time is right, God will put the right thought in my heart or use the right question or word from a friend at the time my heart needs to hear it.

I also gotta say that it takes a lot of faith to live each day not knowing where God will lead me next. I’m a planner and not a day goes by I don’t stress about or get anxious about the big unplanned future ahead of me. But I’m also learning that this is such a sweet and exciting place to be! I’m living my life ready to say yes to whatever the next step is that God has for my life.

This post is getting a bit long and when I started this post I didn’t intent for the content to basically be a little peek into on my life these past few months. I ended up sharing quite a bit of personal stuff in this post because I feel like leaving out certain parts doesn’t give justice to the story of how God has been faithful to lead me. If you ever ask me if God is visibly at work in my life and this world, I will give you the biggest smile and most resounding, “Yes!” God is so real and He is so present in the lives of his Children! He Has truly led me in great ways and that’s what I hope and pray you will see from my story.

So if you ever find yourself wondering how God leads His people, this is what I hope you can remember – God does it in His timing and in His way. There are many ways God may lead you as you seek Him, it might be through certain people in your life or through a burning feeling or desire. But always remember that true clarity about God’s leading may not come until the time is right. God wants us to be so in tune with trusting in Him that we are ready to follow Him in faith with the uncertainty in our life. As we trust God with the unknowns in our life He will reveal the next step to us in His timing.

Something New…

Hey all!

It’s been a little while since I’ve written a post. I found myself busy with life and believe it or not, actually thriving. I didn’t have any sudden urges to write on here like I usually do when I am hurting. Since writing for me is like a coping method, maybe this is a good thing. Maybe my broken heart is finally healing. Still, I figured It’s about time for another post. This post is a kinda different, it’s like a little update about something God is beginning to plant in my heart. Bear with me as I try to be a bit vulnerable and express it in writing.

Only a few weeks ago I was in despair. I had this overwhelmingly strong sense of not being able to wait any longer. It was also the same week that was supposed to be “our” wedding day. I realize that the significance of that day had a lot to do with why my heart was hurting so much. But I got through that weekend and I only cried a few times. I felt like getting through that weekend was yet another step in the process of letting go and moving forward. I came to a point in my hurting and grief where I took all my hurt and my desires and gave them to God.

And something happened after that weekend. It is as if I’m seeing things differently for the first time. I have been holding onto hope for so long to have this relationship restored. I have been ready to jump whenever I get the green light to go forward again. But suddenly I am feeling like I don’t want it back. I feel like I am seeing for the first time the major things that were missing in the relationship and I don’t want to be back in that place. This is such a hard thing for me to process. Somedays I feel so confident I want to completely walk away, and other days I find myself still grieving all the good things I came to love about him. But most days I feel so close and loved by God that I forget about all of it. My walk with God has never been sweeter and I don’t want to give up this new closeness to God to chase after the things my heart wants.

To be honest, I never ever thought I’d get to this place, actually starting to desire something different, something better. I’ve been stuck on him for so long, my mind is having trouble adapting to this new idea. I have been waking up each day asking myself why do I feel this way? Is God really changing my heart? My inside is in constant turmoil, but I feel confident that God is in this. God is doing something. God is becoming more to me and I’ve decided I am truly willing to follow Him down whatever path He has for me and I don’t want to settle.

Anyway, all these feelings are still pretty new to me so I’m still learning how to process them. But for now, I’m once again reminded that the best thing to do right now is to follow God each day, choose Him each day, and live for Him each day. As I do that, I won’t have to worry about the rest of my life falling into place because I’ll be right where God wants me to be.

Content

Today I feel content

It’s the first time in a long time I’ve felt this way. And it’s strange. Nothing changed in my circumstances. I’m still in the same place, still not sure what God is going to do. But I it’s as if my whole outlook on things has been flipped around.

Only a few days ago I found myself consumed by stress and worry. I was having so many overwhelming feelings of despair and sadness. I actually began to be seriously worried about myself because of how depressed I was getting (I was having little panic attacks, and I never, ever, have panic attacks). But last Sunday, in the middle of those painful feelings, I decided to reach out to a few people. I asked for prayer. Then I went outside and rode my bike. I found a quiet place, I talked to God. I could feel all the inner turmoil inside me. I saw all the plans I had in my heart and I saw that I was holding onto them so tightly. I knew I had already surrendered these things to God, but somehow I found them once again in my hand. And I had a deathgrip on them.

But as I prayed and shared with God my heart something began to happen. My hand began to loosen up. I began to realize that it doesn’t matter how much I want certain things to happen in my life. God is the one who orchestrates all things. No amount of me wanting it can make it happen if it’s not in God’s will. And no amount of me worrying about it can stop it from happening if it is a part of God’s plan. God is the one who has brought me to this hard place I am in now. He was been with me all this time and I know that He will continue to be with me. I finally realized that I had to let go…again.

And the next day you won’t believe what happened! I woke up with such supernatural peace! I swear I was a different person. All the fear and worry I that I was drowning in the day before was suddenly gone. As I went about my day I started to get this new feeling. A feeling of “I’m content.” I’m content to stay here in this place. I’m content to keep waiting until God shows me where He is going to lead me. I wasn’t depressed anymore. Instead I was happy and I felt overwhelmingly content with the life I have right now. It once again clicked in my head that this is where God wants me to be right now and I can rest in Him.

Real quick, I want to make a interesting observation here. There is something strange I’ve noted that always happens to me right before I receive some sort of direction or answer from God. I find myself overwhelmed with so many feelings. I cry and tears flow down my cheeks in a steady stream (which isn’t normally how I cry). I can tell that these tears are different. Usually I’m in the process of doing what I know God wants me to do and I am crying because it’s not an easy choice. My whole body, and especially my arms shake (which is also not normal for me at all). The last time my body was in a distressed state like this was the first time I surrendered my situation to God. And the day after I surrendered I also was filled with the same kind of peace. I just find it so interesting how my body reacts noticeable different the day before God leads me to do something involving surrender and how it’s always followed by peace.

Anyway, as I try to bring this post to an end, I just want to say how thankful I am to God for the new peace He’s given me. I know it comes only from Him. But I also want to tell you that even though I have this peace, I still have my hurts and my desires didn’t completely go away. I still have days where I’m sad and I miss my ‘old’ life. I also understand that the hurt and sadness I experience is normal and only time can take it away. We live in a world full of sin and sadness and I’m realizing that until we are in heaven with Jesus there will be pain and hurt in our lives. But I no longer feel like I need things to happen my way anymore. I feel like I can rest now in knowing that whatever happens will be the path God wants me to take.

This new place I’m in right now is a good place to be! Honestly, I never thought I’d get to this place, especially after such a rough few days. But here I am and how Good is our God! After so much fighting and crying, my heart welcomes this peace and rest. God has finally shown me how to be content right here 😉

I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

Philippians 4:11-13

I Want God More

There comes a time in everyone’s life where we must ask ourselves a question?

Do I love God enough to forsake the things that mean the most to to me and follow Him? And then after asking that question, do I have the guts enough to do what I must do to follow through in obedience?

I have been thinking of the story of Abraham… It think it’s ironic that my bible study group has been studying Genesis and we just finished up Abraham’s life. What a testimony this man of faith had. I’m thinking of the time that God asked him to take his only son, Isaac, up to the top of a mountain and to sacrifice him. Abraham must have thought this to be a weird request from God. But not once does it say in the Bible that he questioned this request from God.

Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!”
“Here I am,” he replied.
Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, whom you love—Isaac—and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.”
Early the next morning Abraham got up and loaded his donkey. He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. (Genesis 22:1-3)

Abraham didn’t even hesitate. The very next day he took Isaac up the mountain with intentions to sacrifice him. I have to say, I am amazed at such faith. I wonder what Abraham must have been thinking. He must have been holding so firmly to God’s promises and the things God told him, that He was willing to do this thing. Such faith is inspiring! There was no promise Abraham would get Isaac back, but because of God’s promise to him, he must have believed that somehow, God would restore Isaac back to him.

When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. 10 Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. 11 But the angel of the Lord called out to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!”
“Here I am,” he replied.
12 “Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said. “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.” (Genesis 22:9-12)

Abraham reached that point where he was willing. He took the step of obedience without hesitation and was about to sacrifice his son. But then God intervened and rewarded him for such great faith.

God wants to ask us that same question that he asked Abraham. I don’t know what it is in your life that you hold so dear. I know what it was for me. God desires us to give that thing over to Him, just like he asked Abraham to do. And just saying that we surrender isn’t enough. I believe that a huge step in us surrendering to Him is to follow through with a step of obedience. I can look back on my life and see that I’ve said the prayer “I surrender” over and over, but never truly taken the steps of obedience.

Today I did something hard, but I know it’s what God wanted me to do. Even though I have truly surrendered this relationship that I desire to God, I have felt like there was one more step I needed to take. I returned the ring (my engagement ring). I believe that this was my step of obedience, like Abraham. I am completely giving the future of this relationship to God. But I am encouraged in Abraham’s story, how God looked down and said to Abraham “now I know you fear the Lord.” After Abraham took that step of obedience God restored that thing that he held most dear back. Abraham passed the test.

I am not expecting God to instantly work and give me back this relationship. I have finally come to terms in my heart, that if it isn’t meant to be, than I’ll be okay. But I do know that whatever God does, he will bless me and restore joy to me, just like he did with Abraham. I have decided to believe that God has something good instore for me at the end of this hard season. And I’m grateful to be standing here knowing that God truly is more to me. Oh how I would rather hear God’s voice saying to me, “now I know you fear me, my child” than to have my relationship back. I pray each day that I will have passed the test and be able to choose Him first.

And I hope that you can find encouragement from the story of Abraham too. The next time you read the story Abraham, think about the areas in your life that God has asked you to give to him. Prayerfully consider what that step of obedience might be, and don’t be afraid to follow through. I wish I could say that I went through with obedience without hesitation, like Abraham did. But I fought hard to have my way. Still, the peace that God gives to us after we choose to surrender and obey, has been overwhelming. So, don’t worry about how difficult it will be, or how long the wait will be. Just start with choosing to take that step of obedience, that leap of faith, knowing that in due time God will restore it all back and bless you just like he did with Abraham.

Surrender

What does true surrender look like?

It looks like tears falling down your face. It looks like standing at a crossroads, knowing only one way is the right path to take. It looks like defeat. But it is not defeat. It is something beautiful. It is letting go of the things we hold onto so tightly and giving them to God. It is saying that what we want is not as important as what God has for us. It’s opening up the door for God to lead us to what’s next.

I wonder sometimes if I’ll ever be done learning my lesson of surrender. I’ve always partially surrendered things to God. I’ve said that I love God more but I only would walk away if I had too. I see now that it never really was surrender because I was still holding tightly onto what I wanted. I was saying I was surrendering while being ready to jump back as soon as God gave me the slightest sign.

But today I found myself at a crossroads. I had a choice to make. Two obvious choices were before me. Never in my life have I felt so torn between such a choice. One choice would keep me closer to the thing my heart desired most, holding onto my relationship. The other choice felt like a leap of faith because it took me away from that hope. Today an opportunity to stay do what I wanted most was placed right in my lap. All I had to do was say yes and I could keep holding on tightly to the thing I wanted most. But when I checked my heart something wasn’t right.

I have never before felt such strong resistance between making a decision then I felt today. I have been fighting to have my way but deep down I had this gut feeling about what was right. After much distress in my soul and prodding question from a dear friend I went on a walk to clear my head. I cried most of the way. I had a “hard” conversation with God. I begged him to speak to me and show me what to do. I even sat down and waited, hoping to hear a physical voice speak to me and tell me what to do. I didn’t hear anything. Probably because I already knew what God was asking me to do. The rebellious spirit in me just wouldn’t stop fighting.

I know that today was a defining moment in my life. I came back from that walk with a heart that was decided on what to do. I made a choice. I chose to choose the path of faith. The path of surrender. I gave the outcome of this relationship to God and I will leave it in his hands. Then I cried in my closet.

I wish I could tell you that once you surrender to God, the pain will all finally go away. I’m sorry, but it won’t. I’m still hurting immensely. I am choosing the path that is hard and everything that is within in me is screaming to go the other way. But I can tell you that surrender does bring peace. I know that if I chose the other way, I would never have peace. I would not be truly trusting God to work in this area of my life. There is much pain in my heart still, but it’s okay. It’s alright because I know God is with me.

I’m overwhelmed when I think about the possibilities that this choice may lead to and the hard days to come. But today I made the choice to surrender and that’s where I’ll start. I’ll take it one day at a time and follow God in this life because I know that in life that is what matters most. Living a life completely surrendered to God is what I am called to do.

"But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." Matthew 6:33

This Isn’t My Story

This isn’t my story.

This is not the path I would have chosen for my life, this pain, this heartache. I wasn’t supposed to have such a sad story. This isn’t my story because it’s not the story I want for my life, but I am comforted in this one thing. This is His story that I’m living and all this pain and hurt has a reason in God’s plan.

I remember hearing stories of people who get so close to marrying someone and then just days before the wedding day they cancel everything. I have always told myself, that will never be me. I will never let myself get that close to someone unless I know for sure it’s gonna work out. But I got engaged to my best friend and I knew we had issues. I somehow hoped they’d resolve before our wedding date. But the problems he had were deep, sin runs deep and sin hurts others. We made the choice to postpone our wedding date because of the distrust that has formed in our relationship.

My story isn’t one of walking away. I have always loved this guy and I always will. But right now God is asking me to wait. My story is a story of waiting for healing, waiting for peace, waiting for reconciliation, and waiting for the fulfillment of my dreams.

So in my waiting, I have decided to fill my days up with writing. I want to write about the hard and raw emotions I am experiencing and about how true rest and peace is always found in Christ. I want to be open with you about how real the pain of sin is and how much it hurts. I want to share my story because I know I am not the only one with this story. I hope that by sharing, those who are also waiting, will be encouraged to keep trusting God.

When I realize that this story isn’t my story, I finally have peace. I can let go of control. God has called me to live out His story and to wait. That’s what this blog is for. It’s for my waiting. If my story intrigues you can read more here. If you are also in a season of waiting please follow this blog for encouragement and hope.

I’m already anxious to get to the end of this season of waiting and see what God is going to do with my story, but right now God has said wait. So will you join me while I’m waiting.