A Change of Course

Trials and Tribulations

In church a few weeks ago, the speaker taught about waiting on the Lord. Oftentimes, when the Lord reveals his plans to us and we choose to listen and obey, we have to wait upon the Lord. During this time of waiting, we are often faced with trials and tribulations. These tests are meant to build our faith in the Lord and our obedience to Him. They aren’t easy tests, but they aren’t meant to be.

In the last month, there have been multiple trials in my life. After I applied for the 3-month long Immersion mission trip to Costa Rica for the fall, I quickly wrote and distributed my support letter for the trip, believing that if this trip was God’s will for me, that the funds would come in. In the midst of sending these letters out, I became extremely sick. I have dealt with health/stomach issues for about a year and a half now, but never have they caused me as much pain as they did the week I was accepted into the program.

I went to the doctor for blood work and the results came back a week later with news that I tested positive for Helicobactor Pylori, a bacterial infection in the stomach that is actually present in about 50% of the people in the world. However, not many people experience the symptoms of H. Pylori. Unfortunately, I did. They put me on a triple dose of medication to rid my body of the infection and sent me for an ultrasound and an upper GI, which both came back clean of ulcers and damage (Praise Jesus!).

But I still felt miserable. The sickness and the medication took a lot out of me. I also had simultaneously began taking progesterone pills to help resume my period after not having one in over a year after coming off of birth control. As you can assume, my body was a mess and my mind wasn’t far behind.

To top it all off, the initial money I needed for my trip did not come in, despite my letters and prayers. I was extremely disappointed at first, but then I thanked the Lord, realizing that if this trip had truly been of His Will (which I thought it was), then I would have had the money in, no doubt about it. I took it as a sign of protection and emailed the program staff, heavy-heartedly declining the spot on the team.

Right Where I Need To Be

Immediately, I felt a sense of relief. I knew that the trip wasn’t what I was supposed to be doing. I know that the Lord has called me to the mission field, but I know that He will lead me to where He wants me, in His good and perfect timing.

And right now, I am exactly where He desires me to be.

I have been attending my friend’s church with him on Sunday mornings and joining their youth/young adult group on Tuesday evenings, while still going to my family’s church on Monday nights for prayer and to the Wednesday night services. I am falling so in love with this new church though. There is such a pure heart for the Lord. It radiates off of every single person there. There is such unity and a sense of family that I’ve never felt in any church before (and I’ve been to quite a few). I adore the church my family attends, but for the first time in forever, I feel at home when I’m at this church and with its members. I believe that is truly how a church is supposed to feel.

Plus, there is a large group of people my age in the church. People that I have quickly come to call my friends. I am so blessed to have been introduced to a group of Christians my age who live close to me and enjoy just fellowshipping with one another – no parties, no bars, no booze, no excessive spending on hanging out, but just watching sports, grabbing dinner, taking walks and playing games. It’s exactly what I have needed, exactly what I have been searching for.

Missions on the Home Front

I truly believe that God has placed me in this new group to help me grow further in my walk with Him. I believe that He will continue using me for His kingdom, starting right here in my hometown area.

I absolutely love spending my Tuesday nights with a group of children and young adults who have such a child-like faith in the Lord. I’m able to talk to girls who are coming into adulthood and will be faced with all the worldly pressures and temptations that I was, and I’m excited to be able to be an example and a confidant to them.

Right now, God has me right where He wants me. For the first time in a long time, I’m not looking to run away to a new life or get lost in a foreign destination. I am content, I am happy, I am full of love, and I am ever-so-grateful to be here.

Set It Free.

Forgiveness

I thought I knew what forgiveness was. It’s when someone says they’re sorry and you accept their apology, letting go of the offense they made towards you. Isn’t it?

Well, yes. But forgiving someone and letting go of what they did to you doesn’t always take away the pain and the hurt that they caused you, no matter how unintentional it might have been. And usually, people don’t intend to hurt us, but they do and it’s in those time when it hurts the most.

Today during church, the pastor said that he felt someone needed prayer for forgiveness. Instantly, my mind went to one person. It was the same person that just this morning I had written about in my journal…

“So many times I just want to text and tell him how much I miss him and how much I hate him for everything he did and to thank him for all the lessons I learned and tell him I’m happy for him and ask him what wasn’t good enough about me and just cry so that he can see and feel and deal with everything he just dropped when he stopped giving a damn about me. But I never will. I will never again let him know that he had such a strong impact on who I am today. Because he won’t care enough and I’ll care too much. And that’s not worth it anymore.”

I didn’t go up for prayer.

I continued sitting with my legs crossed in the very back row of the church like I normally do. I figured he wasn’t talking to someone else. I had forgiven A quite some time ago for all the things that he had done to me. It wasn’t until I was in Europe that I realized I was truly over it all. I let it go. That meant I forgave him, right? I said I forgave him. Then that day that I was back home and I broke down in tears because I didn’t feel like enough, the day that God met me right there on the driveway as I cried out to Him. Surely I had let all of A’s offenses go for good that day. Hadn’t I?

When he walked away, I was devastated. After everything we had been through. Even after it all, I had stood beside him, and then he left. Just like that, with no explanation. No phone call, no apology, nothing. I let him go, knowing that I needed to, but that didn’t make it any easier.

A part of me was still hanging on. Why? I don’t know, and I may never know.

But I do know that when the pastor continued waiting as one then two and three then four others walked up for prayer, that he was waiting for me. I kept sitting, shifting ever-so-slightly in my seat from the discomfort of the heaviness I was feeling in my chest. With each second, it burned even more.

Before I knew it, I was moving towards the front. I heard a whisper, “there she is” from someone in the pews as I walked. I stood at the front of the church fighting tears as I twisted my rings around my finger, as I often do when I’m thinking over something I’m not sure of.

“What if it wasn’t me he was talking about?”

Usually when someone else goes up for a prayer call, I sigh a breath of relief that it wasn’t me who the Lord was calling out. But not this time. This time, I knew the moment pastor spoke that it was me he was talking to.

He confirmed that when he anointed my head with oil and breathed the words “thank you for your obedience” onto my forehead.

He clasped both his hands on the back of my neck and I sobbed. His words aren’t something I’ll soon forget, nor will that prayer of forgiveness I repeated. In that moment, I was setting it free. I was once and for all letting go of the hurt and the anger and the resentment that I had towards this person who had damaged me so badly.

For the first time, I was finally forgiving him and meaning it.

Mother’s Day Weekend.

What a nice, good weekend.

I spent Friday after doing what I now can’t quite remember (darn you early onset forgetfulness!), then I met my mama at the gym after she got off of work for our workouts. After that, I headed home to make some dinner – GF pizza for her, leftover grilled chicken with asparagus and a sweet potato for me. As soon as I had gotten out of the shower, a friend text me and invited me to join her and some friends to see Ironman 3. However, I’m not a huge movie fan (not to mention I haven’t seen Ironman and Ironman 2), so I planted myself on the couch and watched/helped the girls play games (my mom and sister were playing Apple-to-Apples and Headbanz with my nieces and two of their friends). I was quite content.

On Saturday, I woke up early for breakfast and devotions before I was off to the gym for some cardio and core. Kali, the new trainer, kicked my butt in her core class. But I completely enjoyed it! After a quick lunch and shower, I set off with mom and sis to get some grocery and dress shopping knocked out. Chesterfield Bottoms, Whole Foods and West County Mall on a Saturday afternoon – not our best plan! But we accomplished everything we set out to do, and when I got home, I threw together dinner (while helping put away all the groceries, I might add) before heading over to Kory’s for a relaxing night in with friends. I absolutely love nights like that. Nights where you play cards, take goofy pictures and stay up just talking, laughing and joking – it’s such a good time. By the time I got home and took a shower (I knew if I waited, I wouldn’t get one before church — oh the perks of living with a ton of people!), I didn’t get to bed until nearly 2:30am!

Sister

Sister

Luckily, I was wide awake at 6:30am on Sunday morning to start my busy day in the kitchen. First up, GF banana nut pancakes, eggs and bacon for a small Mother’s Day brunch! Then a cake in the oven for sister’s 21st birthday (a very drunk Barbie cake) and a GF apple cinnamon streusel coffee cake for mom (and me!). I got the girls and myself ready for church, decorated the cake and managed to prep a bunch for dinner before we headed to church. It was such a great sermon. Pastor spoke on how we don’t see ourselves as clearly (or near as beautiful) as everyone else sees us. What a much needed message! While out shopping Saturday, this young girl who was passing me stopped to say, “you’re really pretty, just so you know” – it completely made my day! It’s amazing what a simple compliment can do! I suggest you look for an opportunity to compliment someone today, as I promise you, it will make their day a bit brighter.

Mama Bear

Mama Bear

Mother’s Day with the family went off without a hitch! Well, unless you count the strawberry sauce that fell and broke, leaving glass all over the floor. Or the grill that kept going out because of the wind (I love/hate propane). Or the million other little things… but I didn’t let them get to me. I grilled, set up dinner, washed all the dishes, cleaned up after – all so my mama could enjoy her day (which she did, btw). By the time everyone left and I sat in the recliner, I was exhausted. I passed out in the chair at 8pm!

Next up…

Now, it’s a glorious Monday morning and I’m feeling so very blessed. I’m off to work on internship things before heading to an interview, a chiropractor appointment and the gym.

I may not be where I was expecting to be by this point in my postgrad life, but I know that I’m right where I need to be, right where God wants me. I’m working on being content where I’m at and living in the moment, rather than being so wrapped up worrying about the future. Let me tell ya, it isn’t easy, but it’s so worth it.

I’m going to try not to disappear.

But I’m already drowning under chapters to be read, terms to study and summaries to complete.

I’m liking most of my classes so far, it’s just that they all require so much work. I’m hoping to find a weekend to visit Sam in Springfield and fly out to Vegas with Liana, but things are looking slim. I’ve decided that I’m not going to obsess over working out. I’m going to do it when I can, I’m going to eat well, and I’m going to keep working on my weight loss goals, but I will not stress myself out if I only get 4 half-hour workouts in a week instead of 6 hour long ones. I will be proud of myself for accomplishing what I can while maintaining my GPA, learning at my internship, working on weekends, planning Alpha Chi events, going to church, seeing my family and keeping my apartment from looking like a tornado hit it.

 

We’ll see how that goes.

 

I really love blogging for fun though, so I’m going to try to continue with that.  However, I’ve already seen my Facebook and Twitter activity slow though, so this could be next. So, if you read my blog, try to bear with me as I trudge through my final semester as an undergrad!! xx