Holding onto What isn’t Mine

“Lord, help me to let go of what isn’t mine to hold.” ~ November 16, 2021

I found myself there again. Holding onto the things that aren’t mine. My hands were gripped tightly. The past kept coming up to haunt me. I felt so trapped in my mind and sleep was not easy. Somehow I have been going through life and getting really good at this suppressing game. I focus so hard on staying busy with everything but on the inside, I’m crumbling.

I’m ready again, to give all to God again, to let go of the tight grip I’ve had on things. It all came to a point the other day. I rode my bike to the spot. I wrote in my journal. I prayed to God. I didn’t know what to say, but I know He could read my mind. I surrendered again.

I’m tired, tired of holding onto my past like it’s a secret. There are so many in my life that I haven’t told about my painful past and how it still haunts me. Is it wrong to keep it all in? It’s almost been a full year, is it time to share? Will sharing be another step in the healing? But how do I share my hurts without putting myself in the spotlight and making it look like I’m asking for pity? So many questions. But I know that God sees and God hears.

These are just thoughts. I don’t have much of a purpose for this post other than to let out some of the thoughts that have been circling in my mind. I’ve been asking those in my life to pray for God to give me peace. I have been guilty of dwelling on the past too much and it’s been a struggle to take every thought captive. I know that I need His strength each day and I want to have His peace again.

So here I am, simply asking that God would help me as I surrender again to Him. I want to hold my life again with open hands.

Another Year

Another year has come and gone. 

I can’t believe that November is here again and today (Nov. 8) is my *ahem* *ahem* birthday.  I’m another year older and another year wiser, right?   I have officially crossed over the halfway through my twenties mark.  And I thought twenty-five was a hard number to swallow, now I have to get used to saying twenty-six.  I’m officially in my late twenties, and I don’t know how I feel about this.

But if there is anything I’ve learned about getting older it is that you can’t do anything about it. You can’t freeze time and stay the same age.  You can’t go back in time and change the choices you made.  The only thing you can do is move forward.

Looking back at my life there are a lot of things I wish I could change.  A lot of choices I made that led to heartache and heartbreak. This past year particularly was not an easy one for me. Exactly one year ago I was in pure bliss. I was newly engaged and life was just… perfect. My phone keeps showing me pictures from last year and it’s pictures of my smiling face, my beautiful ring (but none of him because I deleted all of those ones).

I had no idea that when I celebrated my birthday and engagement last year how it was going to end. I had no idea that in just a few months it would all fall apart. I was oblivious to the deep darkness and hurt that was soon to follow. But I can say this. All the pain that I walked through led to something that was unexpected.  The closeness I have found with Jesus this year is a gift I never imagined would be mine.  Jesus has walked with me so closely this year and I wouldn’t go back and change anything because all of it lead me closer to my sweet savior.

Just the other day I was chatting with my mom saying that so much has happened this year that never would have happened if things went as planned. All of my writings were a direct result of the pain I was walking through. God spoke to me so clearly about what to write about during my hurt. I began serving and following Christ with a new boldness and fervor than I had before. I’m not the same naive Christian I was when I turned twenty-five. No, I am growing and maturing more and more in my walk. God is becoming dearer and dearer to me and I’m beginning to want only Him more and more.

Even though this past year was one of the hardest seasons of my life, it was also filled with so much joy.  I found purpose and passion in writing this year.  I made many new friends and I reconnected with many old friends which has brought so much joy to my life.  I had one of the busiest summers of my life packed full of serving opportunities, including spending a week up in Oregon serving my first time at a Joni and Freinds Family Camp.  I flew by myself for the first time this year and also planned a successful Disney trip with my sister (huge adulting points for this one!).  I explored many new hiking trails, including an amazing backpacking trip in the Trinities for the first time.  And that just briefly touches on a few of the many good things that came out of this year.

Now, as I stand at the end of this year, and after seeing all the good things that came out of this year, if you were to tell me that twenty-five would be the hardest year of my life, it would be hard to believe you.  But there is a saying I believe I’ve heard somewhere.  “Out of great pain comes great joy.”  Or at least I think that’s how the saying goes.  This has been my beauty from ashes year.  My year where through great pain I have found the greatest joy.

And now as I look forward to twenty-six, I’m excited to see where God will lead me.  God has captured my heart in new ways this year!  What will he teach me next?  What new things will this next year have for me? How will God grow me and change me?

Another year older.  It’s not that scary anymore.  Not when you realize that God is the one directing our steps and leading us on.  Here’s to Twenty Six!

Re-direction

I am learning something.

Sometimes it takes a huge setback or life change to get us back to God and onto His path again.

Last week I felt lost, so lost. A lot of stuff was suddenly ending in my life and I felt so confused. I cried out to God because I didn’t know what else to do. And do you know what’s amazing! It’s amazing what a week can do when you decide to trust God and seek him in everything. I still am unsure about a lot of things in my life, but I feel like God’s been showing me each day what steps to take. My feelings of confusion have been replaced by God’s peace.

This past week I’ve been noticing that God has slowly been guiding me down a new path, in a new direction. I still don’t know where this is all going, but I feel God’s peace again. There is a sense of contentment again in my soul and I don’t feel the sense of despair and confusion anymore. This is a such a beautiful blessing from God to have this peace and I’m just so thankful.

Anyway though, I just wanted to say that I find it interesting how I suddenly have this overwhelming sense of redirection in my life right after going through another season of confusion and hurting. It seems to me that it is during the times in life, when we are at our lowest, that God really speaks to us and shows us what to do. When my life is good and full it’s hard to know what God is telling me. But when I’m hurting or feeling lost, God always makes the next steps clear to me. Break-ups, cancelled plans, broken dreams… these are quite often the means that God uses to bring re-direction into our lives.

I hope and pray that whatever it is you are walking through, will also lead you to a new sense of trusting God and following Him down the new path He is laying out for you. Redirection is not a bad thing when it is from the Lord. It may take some hard times and unwanted circumstances to get us back on the right path. But our God is faithful and He use’s everything we go through for His good purposes in our lives.

“The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.”

Proverbs 16:9

An Aching Heart

My heart hurts

My heart hurts, but it doesn’t hurt for me, it hurts for this world. Oh how it aches. I feel as if all of sudden there is so much pain and injustice in this world. One by one things are happening that are causing my heart to break. My heart hurts for all that is happening in Afghanistan, for a fire that is raging near my old hometown, for a dear friend recovering in the hospital, and for a young innocent life that was suddenly taken away too soon.

I don’t understand why God allows all these things that are going on. I know that there is nothing new under the sun and today’s evils are no different than yesterday’s evils. But so many of these things seem to happening all at once and so many the things that are happening are hitting so close to my heart.

I have been on my knees in prayer because honestly, there is nothing else I can do. All I want to do is pray for God’s justice to be done, for God’s peace to be given, and for God’s kingdom to come. Each hard thing is a reminder that this place is not our home. This world we live in is broken. Not only does my heart ache in pain over all the things happening in this world and all the evil, but it aches for that better place. That place where there will no longer be any of this pain. The place where a friend of mine is now residing. A place where day and night we will get to worship our King and be in His presence.

More and more I am finding myself longing for more of Him and for that day when we get to be with Him. If the evils of this world cause your heart to hurt, you are not the only one. It’s okay to let our hearts ache and hurt rightfully at all the evil in this world. But may it cause us to pray and long more for the day when we will be with our God forever.

Blind Trust

Something is happening.

I don’t know what it is.

I was overwhelmed with feeling.

I was crying out to God.

I distinctly told him that I felt so lost.

But I decided to keep on trusting in Him and hold onto the fact that He is good, even when I feel this way.

And then while I was feeling lost and crying out to God he started to do something. God brought a couple of new things into my life suddenly. It’s quite strange how suddenly it happened and I honestly don’t know what to do or where this is going.

But I’m learning to simply trust that God is at work in all things, even the things that I don’t understand. I’m learning that sometime God asks us to trust Him blindly. To put aside all our insecurities and have a heart that is open to new possibilities, new ideas, and new directions.

To trust God blindly doesn’t mean we throw wisdom out the door, it just means that we follow God even when we don’t completely understand what is at work.

Trusting God blindly is what he is asking me to do right now. It’s scary and exciting at the same time. But I know God will be with me and reveal to me what I am to do.

Oh how thankful I am that when I truly choose to trust in Him and follow Him, I don’t ever have to worry about Him leading me down the wrong path. God is faithful. I will trust Him 🙂

A Desire to be Held

I have a ache in my heart

I long to be loved, and cherished and held. For awhile now I’ve praying each day that God would bring a guy into my life, in His timing of course, who will show me true Godly love and who will cherish everything about me. I desire a man who truly loves God first above all other things and who will be open and honest instead of hiding things. A man who won’t hurt me, but will hold me.

And as I’ve been thinking about all these things I remembered that a few years ago I wrote a few things down on my phone about this desire I have to be held. So I thought I’d share the reflections and scripture verses I wrote down with you today:

“Hold me up, that I may be safe and have regard for your statutes continually!”

Psalm 119:117

I read this psalm the other day and all I can think about are the words “hold me”. They just stood out to me. The psalmist is experiencing a season of hardship and here he is crying out to God saying “hold me, that I may be safe.”

I find that there are times in my life where I want to be held. I don’t have a man in my life to hold me and let me just be honest with you all, it can be hard some days. There is a strong ache in my heart for someone to hold me and tell me it’s gonna be okay. I want to be re-assured everything will be okay, that I’ll be safe, and that I don’t have to worry. To simply have strong arms wrap around me tightly and promise to never let me go. To often I find myself getting sad, because, as a single girl, I feel left out.

But, I saw something as I read this psalm. I realized that God will hold me when I am feeling sad. When I cry out to God in my need He comes and comforts me. He cradles me with his love and says he will never leave me.

“It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”

Deuteronomy 31:8

When God holds me, I know I’m safe. The safest place for me to be is in His arms. God’s arms are strong and He can protect me from all my troubles and all the evils of the world.

“Cast all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.”

1 Peter 5:7

So, I just wanna say, that it’s okay to desire to be held. It’s actually quite normal. We were created to have this desire in us. But we must be careful so that we don’t end up looking for it in the wrong places. My desire to be held should lead me to God – my loving heavenly father who will never stop lavishing me in His love.

Do you desire to be held? Even if you have someone to hold you on your hard days, you will never be able to find perfect rest in anyone other than God. When that desire comes, take it to God. Ask him to hold you and then rest in his great love for you.

Oh, what a beautiful thing, that our great God holds us! He will sustain us through whatever season we face. I’m gonna cry out to him just like the psalmist did in this passage. Will you do so too?

“Cast your burden on the Lord , and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.”

Psalm 55:22

In God’s timing and in God’s way, I still pray that God will bring me a Godly man to love me. But as I wait I want to find my worth in God. God cherishes me like no man here on earth can. God loves me better than any human could. God will never hurt me like the relationships here on earth do. God is the one who holds me and I’m so thankful for this truth.

A New Change

Hey all!

I feel like it’s been awhile. Honestly, I’ve been doing really good. I’m realizing that if you don’t hear much from me on this blog it probably means I’m staying busy and I’m thriving because most of my writings are the product of strong feelings of hurt and pain. But, even though I’m doing good, I thought I’d still pop back in and say hi and give a little update.

I’m realizing now, when I look back, that a lot of things in my life have changed. I have this new feeling, like I’m at the beginning of a new season. I feel like I’m starting again, starting fresh. My hurt and pain is beginning to become less and less consuming. It’s not gone, but most of the time I have so much joy from the Lord and depression only comes if it gets triggered by some experience or memory. After having days where I couldn’t think without crying, it feels so good to be in this place.

Also, you may have noticed in the picture above, I decided to do a “physical change” too and change up my hair a bit. Welcome summer hair cut! This is the shortest I’ve ever cut my hair and it’s also the first time I’ve done this much highlights.

I’ve been wanting to do this to my hair for awhile but once I got home from the salon I honestly was shocked. I was not used to the person I kept seeing in the mirror. Initially I wanted the highlights to be a little more subtle. Somehow what ended up happening was close, but not exactly what I pictured in my head. It’s still the style I want and I’m learning how to rock it. I’ve gotten so many compliments on it from everyone. But for me, it has been taking me awhile to really ‘love’ it because I have always seen myself with long and dark hair.

As I think about this experience I had with having to get used to my new haircut and not instantly ‘loving‘ it right away, it kinda makes me think about life. Life is actually a lot like my haircut experience. We all have plans for how we want our life to go. But when things don’t go as planned, when you get home from the salon and realize the haircut looks a bit different than we had hoped. It can be hard to accept the sudden change. After the rough break-up, it took me three months to get to this place here; finally content and happy with the new direction God is bringing into my life. And even after these three months, I’m still healing.

It’s good to remember that the change isn’t bad. Just like how my haircut wasn’t a bad haircut. After a few days of learning how to style it and seeing myself with the highlights I have come to really love it. When drastic change happens to our life, we need to take time to evaluate it. We need to soak in what is happening. We have to look in the mirror and get used to the new person that God is calling us to be. We also may need to learn how to style our life again. A huge reason I didn’t instantly like my haircut was because I didn’t have much experience with styling short hair. When change happens in our life the unknown can be scary. Accepting the change is going to require us to learn new learn skills and rely deeper on God.

And somedays, as you probably have experienced, we will have bad hair days. We will see the new path our life is taking and desperately want the old life back. But in the end, it really is just a bad hair day and it can be fixed with a little bit of effort. When I get overwhelmed by my emotions, I’m encouraged that it’s just my emotions and when the next day comes, I feel better. When we fix our eyes back on God, He reminds us that He has such good plans for us. God shows us how to fix up our life again so we can keep following after Him.

Whatever change God is bringing into your life, maybe your first reaction is to cringe. Maybe it’s to hide. When God throws you a huge, unexpected curveball in life, it’s going to take time for you to truly grasp what God is doing. But you can trust that in time, you’ll see that God truly is doing something beautiful. Over time you’ll learn how to, not just walk, but thrive in the new season God has called you too. It time you’ll see that change, when it is from God, is oh so good.

So are you ready to accept the change in your life. I sure am! I feel so ready and confident that God has great plans for me. He was with me through the dark season and now as I begin to see light again, all I can do is rejoice.

(Also, I hope you enjoyed my little haircut story. I find it strange how well it applies to what I’ve been learning about God and my life)

Every Season

There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens:

Ecclesiastes 3:1

Have you ever heard it said before that life is a gift?

Life truly is such a beautiful gift from our Heavenly father. But lately I’ve found myself thinking a little bit deeper about this idea of life being a gift. Yes, life is gift, but I want to also say that each season we walk through in this life is a gift.

I’ve been thinking a lot about how everyone’s life is different. Some people get married young, some people end up waiting for many years. Some people have children right away while others don’t. I went from almost being married to suddenly being single again and for awhile I really struggled with being back in this season. I felt so many emotions and the last thing I wanted was to see being back in this season as gift. I will admit, I struggled with many bitter thoughts about those who seemed to be getting what I wanted. But slowly, God’s been working on my heart and I’m starting to see now the place God has me at truly is a sweet place. I deeply long for the next season in my life to start but I am finally able to see now that each one of these seasons we go through is a gift.

For the single girl, these years we have alone are a such sweet gift. We get to draw closer to our Lord and Savior during this time and serve him with pure devotion. We can serve God in ways that those who are married can’t. The time we spend single, however long, is a gift from God. It’s so easy for us to look at those married and become bitter. We tend to view them as the ones receiving God’s gift and blessing without realizing that our single years are also a blessed gift. When the timings right God will bring us to the next stage, but let us not miss all the good that is awaiting for us in this season of being single.

And for those who married young, you also have been given a gift. God wrote you a beautiful love story and allowed you grow alongside your man while you were still young. You have been given something that many singles have longed for, so cherish the gift you were given. It was always my desire to get married young and when it didn’t happen I had to wrestle with all the pangs of disappointment in my heart. For a while I felt myself growing bitter and I would try to find ways in mind to prove that it is better to stay single. But I can see now that whether God calls some to be single longer, and some to marry young, both are good gifts that come from God. Our job is simply live our best life for God in whichever season he has called us too.

And I also want to say that for the ones waiting to have a family, you’re season is a gift. God has asked you to rely on him in greater ways as you walk with Him through your waiting. Cherish the closeness you have with God during this season. Just like being single, it’s to easy to see what others have and become bitter. You may see many friends starting families and getting what you desire. But remember that their season is also a gift from God and it is the path God has called them to walk which is unique to them.

So, as you can see, I’m starting to realize that each season, not just life, is a gift. A gift is not something you can make happen. You don’t buy yourself your own gift, that just simply is not how the art of gift giving works. A gift is something that can only be given. If God has called you to wait longer than others, don’t view it as something to be despised. Realize that it is a gift. Serving God in your time of waiting is as much of a gift as receiving the things you desire.

This may be a cheesy way to end this post, but the quote from Lord of the Rings when Gandalf is talking to Frodo is running through my head right now – “All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.” Whatever your situation or season, choose to see it as the beautiful gift that it is. Once you can view it in this way you can truly live out your calling and make the best use of the time that God has given you here on earth.

A Poem from the Past

I found something the other day.

I was looking for an empty journal and came across some of my old journals. I can get lost whenever I find my journals. It’s such a weird feeling reading through my thoughts from years ago. As I was scanning through one of my very first journals I found a little poem that I wrote all the way back in 2015. Of course when I wrote that poem then, I had no idea that future me would still be in this season of waiting.

Stumbling upon this little poem has encouraged my heart greatly and reminded me so much of how God’s ways truly are best. Even though I’m still waiting for the things my heart desires most, I can rest in knowing that God is working for me and not against me. God’s timing will be better. This little poem from my past reminded me of that truth.

So here’s the little poem, I called it “Why, Why?”

I keep asking why, why?
Why does this keep happening to me
Why am I not where I want to be

I keep asking when, when?
When will I understand my life
When will it all make sense to me

I keep asking how, how?
How will it come together in the end
How can I make any sense out of this

I keep asking and asking
You keep listening and listening
All is silent
Then I hear you

You keep saying trust, trust
Trust in My plan for you
Trust that I know what I’m doing

You keep saying wait, wait
Wait and it will soon make sense
Wait and you will be rewarded

So I say yes, yes
Yes your plan is best for me
Yes I will trust you and wait patiently

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Isaiah 55:8-9

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