It’s Not What I Thought

Thanks be to God for His glory is within me!

I was going to try to start this post all catchy and stuff but then I realized I don’t need a tag-line to talk about Jesus. Being a Christian isn’t anything like I ever anticipated. 

I found the Truth in high school and called myself a Christian. But honestly, I wasn’t saved. I truly came to Christ on my own terms in September. Here’s the reality I’ve come to face these past few months: being a Christian is the most painful thing you’ll experience. 

I have lost so many people in my life whom I thought were good friends until I saw what a true, Godly friendship was through a girl I met in Cru named Joanna. After meeting and bonding with her, I stepped back to look at everyone in my life and realized I wouldn’t settle for friends who came to me when they needed something or only when my friendship eased their burdens. I wanted friends who sought me out when I was drowning from fear and faithlessness. But also friends who joyfully celebrated the big milestones. I wanted to be unconditionally, genuinely, and faithfully loved. 

I hurt my family. My nasty tongue and painful actions tore my relationships apart. I didn’t talk to the majority of my family for months at one point. And if you know me, you know how important my family is to me. Seeing how Jesus loved all people made me want to love my family better and be a better sister/daughter/cousin/niece. 

I have also had to face the reality of who I was before coming to the foot of the Cross. I was a liar, I used manipulation to get everything I wanted in life, I partied, and worst of all I hated who I was. Everyday. I struggled to look in the mirror so I hid myself in desperate attempts to get attention from anyone anywhere. And that hurt. Oh my, it was the most painful process to work through. To look at every aspect of my life and let Jesus change me bit by bit was so incredibly tough. 

Thankfully, God’s grace isn’t based on me. 

The “Christian lifestyle” looked happy-go-lucky from the outside. I thought being a Christian meant I’d always be satisfied and life would just work itself out. That I wouldn’t face anything too terrible and everything would be easier. But that’s not the reality of following Jesus. The mountains and the valleys grow us every single day. Everything the Lord places in our path is intentional, and the pain we feel is never in vain. 

He took this angry, hateful girl and turned me into who I’m still growing into today. I begged for change from the inside out, and I got it. I’ve learned to surrender, but not quit. All I had to do was take my hand off the doorknob, allowing doors to close so He could open others. Even my “bad” days aren’t that bad, because I know I’m loved and things can still be good. 

These changes have brought about a lot of joy and faithfulness in every outlook of my mind. I face challenges with an optimistic perception and laugh in the face of fear. I’m growing into this shell of a loving heart and soul that I’ve always had and it feels good. I’m thriving, not merely surviving. 

I mean, Jesus tells the story of the prodigal son for a reason. No matter what we’ve done, we can still come home because we are wrapped in loving,

         boundless,

                        endless,

                                      grace.

God, Can I Ask You a Question?

Bethel Music wasn’t kidding- You have called me out beyond the shore into the waves, and You make me brave. 

A month ago I took a step of faith and went to conference with Cru. During this time, You broke down my walls of self-righteousness and insecurity. I laid so much pain and heartache and suffering at the foot of Your Cross. And unlike in the past, I actually left it there. I experienced genuine healing and comfort when I didn’t know I could in such damaged parts of my life. I became new in You.

That week in Portland led to what seemed like a small, innocent prayer- to use me for Your will. To be transformed into Your image, as well as guidance and strength to follow Your true path for me. Little did I know You were about to turn my life upside-down. 

The theme of the conference was an Upside-Down Kingdom and You’ve definitely shown me what that means in my life. I have since taken leap after leap of faith, pursing You in bold surrender for the past month. You took my hand and pulled me out onto deep waters and showed me that with You, I can do all things. 

But at the end of the day, I still sit here and wonder:

Why me? Why now? 

I’m honestly not surprised that the very thing You have called me to do scares me the most. 

But, I seem to be battling with feeling unworthy in this new adventure You have called me to. But, I seem to be coming out on top more often when I put my trust in Your hands. I still don’t understand why You chose to rock the boat, but I’m starting to find rest in Your timing. 

No matter how hard this gets, I refuse to let the uncertainty of not knowing how this will end stop me from starting, and I won’t let the voice of my desires overshadow Yours. 

So for now, I’m going to find rest in this beautiful thing You’ve created called imperfect progress– slow steps of faith wrapped in grace.