Friday, March 30, 2012

I lost a pumpkin!!

An average pumpkin weighs 9 lbs. That is how much weight I have lost since I started my journey to training for the Virginia Ten Miler, which takes place at the end of September.

This whole running/eating right thing is not about losing weight. It's not even about being a star athlete. I want to be completely obedient to God in every area of my life. I am not perfect. I will make mistakes and sin along the way. But, there are steps I can take that will be pleasing to the Lord. He has been telling me the past couple months that this is an area where He wants to mature me: to trust Him instead of food, to be a good steward of the body that He gave me, and to know that anything that I am able to achieve is completely based on His grace and mercy and love.

The reality is that I have lost a total of 9 lbs since I climbed up to THAT WEIGHT that was the heaviest I've been in my entire life. I'm not looking back. I'm not going back to that place.

No more! I am taking small steps towards freedom, whether it be yards, miles, or centimeters. I am moving forward.

My issues with food began a long time ago, but I believe that God began addressing them a few years ago. Here is a blog post that outlines what God was showing me all those years ago. It started with self-control, and Him showing me that I wasn't using any in specific areas of my life. Then it came to, "Okay, well I need to get a handle on this," then to, "I can't do this by myself. I need help."

That is where I am now. I am trusting that each mile, each pound, each choice of using food for fuel instead of a reward will be achieved completely by the Lord. Not by me. Because, if it were up to me, I would be having a doughnut hugging a box of doughnuts on my couch in my pajamas watching a "Downton Abbey" marathon.

"The only way we are going to get out of what we are currently in is to see that there is something greater." - Joshua Weir, pastor of The Village Vineyard, Columbus, OH

The truth is that God has more for me than doughnuts and pajamas and (as wonderful as it is) BBC. He has experiences and love and wonder and adventure and mercy and grace and healing and.... well... more things than I can list. And guess what? None of those things can be had by doing the doughnut-pajama-BCC thing.

Go figure.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Empty Handed

Long ago and far away, I made a decision to walk away from the Lord and everything He had for me. I gave it all up. I decided, "I've got this one, God. This guy is so much more appealing to me. He can give me things You can't. He offers me security that I'm not finding in You. He is my future, my world, my everything." And then I walked sprinted as far from God's will, His plan and my community that I could.... or Columbus, OH.

A lot happened in those years. Alcoholism. Making poor choices with all the wrong boys. Keeping bad company that encouraged me to keep walking away from the Lord. Getting fired due to the effect alcohol had on my life. Lying to family, friends and people I barely knew to cover up things I wasn't proud of. Building walls so high that I couldn't see the sun anymore. Shutting out people that cared the most for me. Doing those things that I told myself I would never do, Christian or not.

And then, came redemption in the form of a coworker.

Kicking and screaming is how God dragged me back to Him. Kicking and screaming and clawing and stomping and cussing and denying and lying and sinning. That is the hot mess that I was.

But He loved me. Oh, how He still loved me.

That is the part that is crazy. How can someone love you when you spit in their face? How can someone forgive you when you tell everyone you know that you are deliberately choosing not to live your life for Him anymore? How can someone plead with you to return to them after you keep abusing them? Isn't it sick? But it's not. That right there is the grace and mercy and love that God lavishes on us. It is just waiting for us. And He wants us to experience not just a little, but the fullness of His grace.

He is amazing.

So, what then? How am I supposed to face God after doing all those things to spite Him? How am I supposed to walk back into His will after being so far from it for so long? How am I supposed to face all those people that I turned my back on when I turned my back on God?

Well, you just do it. You walk in His grace. You humble yourself and stand before people you've hurt and apologize and ask for forgiveness and if it's possible, tell them about the journey back to God so that you can give Him all the glory.

In my story, part of the shame that I carried around was that I had nothing to show for all my choices. I had no marriage, no career, broken relationships, bad credit, and a whole lot of healing to walk through. I felt so empty-handed, limping back to Lynchburg, VA to go as He said, "back to where we left off." (For that story, review this blog post.)

Last night, God showed me something else. He shows me that I did not come back to Him empty handed. He told me to look down and see that my hands are filled with His grace, His mercy and His love.

The truth is that God uses the mistakes we've made and the sin we've committed for His good. He says that in Romans 8:28-30:

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified."

God knew all along. He knew that I would do the things I did. He knew that I would choose what I chose. And yet... in spite of all of that, He had waiting for me a grace that is so huge that it is literally spilling off the sides of my cupped hands. He was ready to downpour His unfailing love on me. He was patiently beckoning me back to His presence.

I am anything but empty-handed.

How He Loves

I've heard/played/sang the song "How He Loves" for quite some time. I've sang the lyrics and appreciated their depth, but also questioned some of the meaning that seemed a little more abstract.

One of those phrases is:

"Loves like a hurricane, I am a tree."

When I think about a hurricane I think about their mighty and rushing winds, their overpowering strength and the force of destruction that they cause. But, what does that have to do with God's love?

When I think about a tree caught in a hurricane, I think about how powerless they are. Some trees withstand the force of the winds. Others do not. But still, I asked myself what this had to do with God's love.

This past Sunday, at Celebrate Recovery, we sang this song. The worship leader shared something that had been shared with him a while back that helped him understand the context of these words.

This is what a tree looks like when it has been affected by wind. It is twisted permanently, but it is not dead. Just forever changed.

Isn't that what God's love is like? In Deuteronomy, it says that God lavishes His love on us. The origin of that word in Latin also is used for the word downpour. Doesn't His love downpour on us?

When His love is poured out on us, we can't help but be forever changed. Who would God be to change our hearts just to have us go back to our previously broken state.

So, embrace the tree. Embrace the wind of His love. Embrace the pain that sometimes can come with it.

And know that He does, in fact, love you like a friggin' hurricane.

Monday, March 26, 2012

14.77 miles down, tons more to go!

I decided it would be cool to track how many miles I run during my training for the Virginia Ten Miler. So far, I've run 14.77 miles. It doesn't seem like a lot, but that's only been the past three weeks. And before this training, I was hardly getting any exercise at all.

So, almost 15 miles later, how do I feel? Well, I feel like I want to run all the time. I was sitting in a movie this past Friday, and in the middle of it, I was getting all fidgety. I just wanted to change my clothes, put on my running shoes and hit the pavement. But I didn't. I'm not trying to be all obsessed with running, so I made a mental note: "I will run the next chance I have."

That chance came the following afternoon. I had such a great run! 2.17 miles- a PR for distance this leg of training :) It was 60 degrees, sunny, and so many of my condo community were doing the same thing, so I wasn't running alone. I also saw a Korean family (I passed them several times, as I was running on a loop course behind our complex), and got to practice one of my four Korean phrases on them, "Anyong haseyo," which is a polite greeting. They were tickled that I knew a tiny bit of their language. :)

Yesterday (Sunday), I was planning on taking the day off, since I didn't want to be running three days in a row. But, my emotions got the best of me! I had an extremely frustrating situation with a friend of mine, and wasn't ready to handle it in a mature way. So, I decided to run it off. I didn't use the training program I normally do, I just started up my Fireflight station on Pandora (amazing music, by the way) and told myself, "Don't kill yourself. Just run until you aren't mad anymore." So, I took off. I warmed up and then ran and jogged and walked and stretched in the middle until I was completely certain I was free from the anger. When all was said and done, I ran 1.93 miles at a slow-but-steady pace. I felt great!

I felt that "Angry Run" this AM during my workout, but it was nothing that was regrettable. I feel great still. The endorphins are a little addicting, but I don't want to get burned out, so I need to just be smart about how often I run. I also don't want to injure myself, as I have done in the past. No torn muscles, no nerve issues, no twisted anything. Just healthy running at a healthy pace.

Until next time,

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Birthday Vacation: Part Two (Port Canaveral via Aunt Jackie)

If you are just tuning in, stop right there. Read this and get all caught up. Don't worry, I'll wait for you :)

All caught up? Great! Join the rest of the group :)

So, the morning of my birthday was surreal. As you remember, I had already survived a run and a close-call with ugly geese. I was ready to get the road on the show!!

My Aunt Jackie arrived in style and on time (which I loved!) She was going to make the best of the long trip by going to the beach down near Port Canaveral, so she was all packed up and ready to go for the day.

Now, my Aunt and Uncle have been married for almost 20 years, but I can't remember a time when she and I spent this much time by our selves. I was thrilled to be able to chat with her just the two of us. I was able to hear about what was going on with she and my uncle, as well as her story of becoming a mother (I LOVE hearing birthing/motherhood stories, even if they are traumatic. Pregnancy and giving birth are pure miracles!). I was also able to share a little bit about where I was in life and where I felt like I was headed.

Once we met my friend, Aaron, we unloaded my stuff and he and I headed into Ruby Tuesday for Birthday Lunch.
This is Aaron, preparing to feast on half of my birthday cupcake.
He rrrrreally wanted the restaurant to sing to me, but thankfully, that did not happen.

Going through security was a breeze. I was VIP, and whipped through the lines, and straight onto the ship. I told myself it was because it was my birthday, but in reality, it was because I was a guest of a crew member.

The ship? Amazing. I haven't seen a cruise ship up-close before, so I'm quite certain that my eyes were as big as saucers when I saw this....

My home for 5 days, 4 nights. I was amazed at how BIG those ships are! And this was the smallest one RC has!

Royal Caribbean doesn't play when it comes to Sail Away Day. Every thing is a party. Just past this sign, I was talked into doing a Glamour Shot with one of the RC's people. Apparently, everyone did it. But, when I walked up, I was the only one there. They guy told me to pose and "Have fun with it." My reply? "I don't do that." LOL. He gave me a funny look and said some sort of "Come on..." phrase. So, I did. I neither followed up to see how fabulous awkward I looked, nor purchased such a picture. What happens on the cruise ship stays on the cruise ship.

They made boarding the ship SO exciting! You couldn't help but get all wrapped up in everything :)

Aaron told me to meet him on the Fourth Deck. So, I went on the Fourth Deck, and after an incident that was completely Aaron's fault, he found me and we were on our way. He showed me to the room I'd be staying in, and I got settled in.

Cruise ships are one big party. And if you aren't convinced by my words alone, just take two tiny steps on board one. From the beginning, there is alcohol, laughter, music and celebration. They make these things a big deal. I can see why people love cruises so much. The atmosphere was so positive!

The infamous "Fourth Floor" where Aaron lost me (video of the story can be seen here).

Aaron's toilet. I needed to use it, and found this sticker. It confused me, I admit. (That story is also in the video)

The view from the room I stayed in. Love. Love!

One thing that I knew I would continuously freak out about was the fact that I would be in the middle of the ocean. I didn't know how it would affect me, but I prepared my heart for whatever God had for me on the trip.

Here's what He showed me: In comparison to the cruise ship I was on, I was tiny! It was so easy to get lost on it (which I did a few times). Now, just as I was tiny compared to the ship, so was the ship tiny in the middle of the ocean! I looked side to side. I saw nothing. I walked the track on Deck 7, and saw nothing but ocean. How vast was this ocean! In the middle of all that realization, God said to me, "See how big that ocean is compared to the ship and compared to you? I made that in a moment. I am SO much bigger than these waters. I can still them. I can make waves. I can make storms so big that your ship would be capsized. I am God."

Holy Crap! I wasn't expecting that. I knew God was big. Bigger than I could imagine. I knew that. But, I had never experienced something that was so very, very big, yet so much smaller than who God is. I was humbled, in awe, and amazed at the vastness of who He is.

Port Canaveral, where we sailed from.

Our view of Cocoa Beach. Lovely. :)

My last view of land before we arrived at CocoCay the next day.

Of course, no cruise is complete without a Sail Away Party. This one was hoppin'!
They kicked it off with a flash mob and the Cha-Cha Slide :) No, I did not join.

My good friend, Aaron. What a peach! Seriously, though, he is a great friend. I'm thankful for him :)

Just the Birthday Girl. No big deal :)

.....Birthday Vacation: Part Three (CocoCay via Monarch of the Seas) coming next......

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Selling All My Shiz....

Part of moving to Korea is selling all my possessions (save the family art).

This weekend, I am selling a shelving-thing that I use as a dresser (don't worry, I have a HUGE closet to put those clothes in.

I don't want to be stuck at the last minute with tons of crap to get rid of, so this is how it's gonna be.

The last thing I'm selling is my bed, though. I love that thing, and sleep is still important to me.

A dresser? Not as much.

Items to still sell- a desk, a CD/movie shelf, a rubbermade 3-drawer bin, lighting fixture, books, hair-drying chair from the 50s, my bedframe, my mattress set, and an assortment of clothing (will probably give those away eventually).

This makes it official and real and crazy and exciting.


Why I'm Doing What I'm Doing

Why in the WORLD would I want to run 10 miles?

Well, I don't. Not in the least bit.

I like to run. I like to jog. I like to walk and mosey. But, I don't really desire to do all of that for 10 miles. That's why God invented an assorted amount of vehicles for us to choose from. Right? Right....

So, why am I doing this? And why so publicly?

Well, let's go with the second one first.

1. When you make things public, there is a certain amount of accountability that comes with that. I am usually cautious about sharing big things with so many people, but I feel like this is something God is pushing me towards. So, I want my community (near and far) to support me, cheer me on and most importantly, make sure I am following through!

2. So, the second reason ties into the first. God has had His finger on two areas since I moved back to Lynchburg. Sorting out my food issues is one of those things. Because of weight gain in the past few years, I have just not been able to be as active as I have in the past. I noticed that I was moving slower during softball, my knees would hurt more than usual, and I have also been tired more. Exercise can help that, but where is God in simple exercise? I want to trust Him. I want to know that He is pushing me, pulling me, leading me by the hand through it. In order to do that, I want to do something I could NEVER do without God. Enter the Virginia Ten Miler.

From what I've heard/read/seen, this is NOT an easy course. Lynchburg, VA is the "City of Seven Hills." It's not flat ol' Ohio. It is a loop course, with the beginning downhill and the end... wait for it... uphill. Oh, and it's 10 miles. Not a 10k. Ten Miles. That's seven more miles than I've run consecutively in my whole life.

But God has this.

Best. Run. Yet.

2.17 miles.

That is how far I ran today.

Approximately half way through, my legs were burning. My breathing was all over the place. I was sweating. I would have rather been reading.

But I kept going. I told myself out loud: "You can do this. You can do this. You can do this." When that didn't help, I just scolded myself, "You WILL do this. You WILL do this. You WILL do this."

And so, I did it.

I had a great soundtrack to root me along. All dance music. All great. A big thanks to Taio Cruz, Katy Perry, Janet Jackson, J Lo, Lady Gaga and Cascadia for making my running seem more like dancing in a club.

So far, a total of 7 pounds lost, trying my best to make good food choices on a budget to keep the number steadily falling.

Until next time.

Friday, March 23, 2012

An Ending and a Beginning...

I just finished two studies that I have been doing at church. I dove into them when I came back here from my dad's funeral in Ohio. I think that I was desperate to move forward, desperate to fill the negative space with a positive one.

So, what did I learn?

Good question.

One of the studies was called Discerning the Voice of God by Priscilla Shirer. What an appropriate study to go through as I was asking God all kinds of big questions. The other study was Life's Healing Choices by John Baker. This was referred to me by someone who was going to be helping me walk through grieving my father's death.

If I could sum up what Discerning the Voice of God did in my life, it would have to be that it made me much more confident in knowing...without a doubt... what God was asking of me. I had been questioning "What's next?" for a while, and felt like I was getting answers, but wasn't 159% sure that what I was hearing was God. You can read more about the journey here.

Life's Healing Choices is a little more complicated. When my father passed away, our relationship was really complicated. We hadn't really had a relationship for a few years, and although I wanted my father in my life, I was still learning what it was to have realistic expectations for an imperfect person while still trying to maintain healthy boundaries with a person who continually emotionally hurt me. What that study did for me was help me walk through a few areas of pain and allow me to forgive my father. The forgiveness allowed me to take huge steps towards letting go of him in a healthy way and remembering the good in our relationship. You can read about my big breakthrough here.

So what now?

When one season ends, another begins.

I think that I can safely say that God is pushing me towards applying what I have been soaking up these past months. I definitely feel that God wants me to go deeper in these areas. Life's Healing Choices stirred up a few things with my past that definitely need addressed in order to move forward in healing.

I think a large part of my testimony thus far has been a picture of God rescuing a girl trapped a the bottom of an empty well. I believe that I have been out of that dark, scary place for a while now. But, I also know that there are specific things in my life that caused me to be trapped down there. God wants to me to address those things so that I am moving forward, away from slavery... not being haunted by past choices and hurts.

He doesn't want me going back and looking down that well... tempted to jump back down in it and do That Thing just "one more time" or to listen to the lies that are stored up in that dark place. He wants freedom for me, and He is walking me through every step of the way.

Food Sponsor

I recently began "Day One" on my journey to pursue healing of my food issues with the Celebrate Recovery Team at my church.

It was a huge step for me.

God showed me a few things.

Such as, when I stopped drinking habitually, I replaced the alcohol with food. Wow. I didn't see that one at all.

Also, if I am going to get out of this rut, I need someone to walk me through it. Here enters my food sponsor.

She's hard core. Homework. Expectations. No B.S.

I've never had someone all up in my grill about emotional eating. I'm so used to hiding it, pretending it isn't there. But, this season in my life is about Radical Obedience to God. And one of the things He is putting His finger on is my food issues. He wants healing for me. And I want what He wants.

I've lost 7 pounds :)

P.S. I'm still poor, but God has not left me without. I have food to eat, an exercise partner, and my job allows me to get outside and move around. Praise God!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Birthday Vacation: Part One (DeLand, FL via Amtrak)

Hey there!

The next few posts are going to walk you through my experience for my Birthday vacation. I thought about doing one big post, but I knew it would turn into a novel and overwhelm the reader (and me too!)

So, here is part one (Amtrak train from Raleigh, NC to DeLand, FL)...

I did TONS of research when it came to how I was going to get down to Cape Canaveral, FL for the cruise. My flight home was taken care of, so the hard part was figuring out how to save as much money as possible. I found amazing prices via Amtrak (just $67 one way from Raleigh, NC to DeLand, FL), and it would be an overnight trip, so I was hoping to take some Nyquil and sleep the whole trip.

So, I got my ticket, found a friend to drive me to Raleigh and got all packed!!

Raleigh, NC to DeLand (which can be pronounced "d-land" or "da-land," but never how I was saying it. Sigh. Northerners...



This is a passport. You need one for a cruise (or at least a passport card).

I had to go through a lot to get my passport in enough time to get the cruise approved (because I was a guest of a crew member, I had to submit my passport number for a background check 4 weeks in advance!!), I was very careful not to lose it. I kept it sitting out in the open, kept very careful track of it, and made sure the day I was leaving that it was sitting on the table with everything I was putting in my bag.

As we were getting ready to leave, my brain kept saying, "You're forgetting something." So, I decided to be reasonable and NOT ignore it, since forgetting anything important would mean that part or all of my trip would be negatively affected.

I stopped. I thought. I panicked.

My friggin' passport.

I couldn't remember packing it. I knew I didn't put it in my bag, my suitcase, my wallet, my pocket. I didn't move it. But, it wasn't on the table anymore. I had about 10 minutes of freaking out, and then my friend delivered me with good news. She found it stuck between two books, hiding mischievously. Basically, that allowed me to be able to breathe again and wipe panic-induced tears that were starting to form.

So, we were off. Pretty much just a straight shot to the train station. The train was delayed a few hours, so after about 3.5 hours at the station and a 13 hour train ride, I arrive in DeLand, FL. Greeted by my wonderful Uncle.

I thought this would be a good series to begin on this trip. I was correct. GREAT READ!!!

Nothing says, "Welcome to Florida" like a giant freaking palm tree. I love Palm fronds!

This is my Uncle Dale and his parrot, Tommy Bahama. This man is just about as cool as it gets :)

We grabbed lunch and headed to Blue Springs State Park. Not just any State Park that I have experienced in Ohio or even Virginia. What's so special about this park for someone like me? Freaking Manatees.

Oh, but how cool it would be to swim with an animal that is nicknamed "The Sea Cow!!" (Don't worry.... I behaved!)

Yes. I have never. Never. NEVER seen any form of a manatee other than on TV before that moment. Phrases that came out of my mouth: "OMG!" "He came up to breathe!" "LOOK! There's another one!" "I want one to take home!" "They're spooning!" "They're holding fins while they swim!" There was also an unintelligible sound that involved random vowels. "EEEIIIIIIIUUUUUAAAAAAOOOOO!" is probably accurate.

You can't see it very well, but these two manatees are courting. I noticed they were spooning (see above comments), then they started swimming while "holding" fins. Oh. My. Word. How adorable! I was smitten.

Loved it!

See the baby? I flipped my schniz when I saw that little thing. Miniatures of anything are always adorable... Always.

I guess this park was the grounds for an old plantation. Love the double porch! Reminds me so much of Forest Gump. :) (I know that at least half of you just had your favorite Forest Gump quote just go through your head. Don't deny it!)

My uncle and his family didn't realize my birthday was the very next day (I neither promoted it to them nor expected any kind of celebration from them), so when it came up, my uncle whipped out a nice cold bottle of Patron from the freezer and we all (my uncle, my aunt and her friend) did "birthday shots." Patron. Is. Lethal. Ohmigosh! It was so strong. I was good after one shot, and everyone else was too.

Cute little shot glasses for our Patron to take temporary residence in, courtesy Jackie Roberts.

The next morning, I went for a run at the gym in the hotel and had breakfast by the lake (which lasted about 4 minutes, because two geese decided I was too close to something important to them. I'm guess there was a nest, based on their aggression, but I hadn't seen anything. P.S. They were UGLY!!

1.53 miles: not my best run, but it was early and stiff from 13 hours of traveling the day before.

This was where "The Goose Attack" happened.
That nasty thing got about 2 feet from me before I realized he wasn't coming over just to say, "What's up?"

Then..... we drove down to Port Canaveral for..... the.... CRUISE!!!! (Can you tell it was exciting??)

.....Birthday Vacation: Part Two (Port Canaveral via Aunt Jackie) coming next......

Friday, March 9, 2012

Annyeonghaseyo Jal Jinae

That is a phrase that I will become very familiar with. It is Korean for "Hello, how are you?" In reality, I believe that most Koreans stick with "Annyeong."

If you read my last post, you saw that I was going through a process to try to listen closely to the Lord, getting more and more confirmation of what I thought He was saying.

Well, He showed up in a big way.

Korea is a big move. Bigger than Virginia. Bigger than anything I've done. God knew that. But, it is so much easier to be obedient when it is something that we think we can do, like say.... move back to a town you used to live in, or back home. It's easy to be obedient when it's something we do all the time, like say... tithe, or giving a person a hug (although I admit that can be tough for some people).

What do you do when God says, "I want you to move to Korea for possibly a long time" ? I don't know what YOU would do, but I can tell you what I did. I tested Him. I asked for confirmation. And when I got that confirmation, I asked for more (because, in our heads we need more/bigger confirmation with bigger things....right?). And then, God was telling me patiently, "This is something I want you to do" (how much clearer does it get than that?) I told Him, "Okay, I'm gonna pray about for a month and whatever Your answer is then, that's what I'm going to go with." Except.... God already answered me.

Wednesday night at the women's group I go to, we were watching a video on being obedient once we are able to hear God's voice. We studied the story of Namaan, from 2 Kings. Namaan asked God to heal him of his leprosy. What he had in mind was the prophet waving his hand over his sores and then being healed... the answer he got was to go and wash in the Jordan river. Not as exciting.

How was I any different in what I was doing? I wanted some miraculous sign. I wanted a Korean to walk up to me and tell me God sent her to tell me to go and teach English to her people. I wanted a cloud in the shape of Korea floating over my apartment. I wanted gosh... something tangible, something all glittery and shiny.

I got something mildly glittery. Last Sunday, I was sitting at Panera and had just gotten done praying, "Lord, please make your desires for me more clear." Just a few minutes later, I heard a chime from my computer...a Facebook notification. I looked at it and it showed that someone had commented on a status update I had entered a few days earlier. This is what it said:

Me: "No longer do I frantically search for God's will; I frantically search for God." #truth
Friend: "FYI, God is in South Korea."

Wait, what? This person has NO idea that I had been praying this.

Then, Wednesday night, it was as if Priscilla Shirer was speaking right to me. She said, "Some of you that are sitting in the audience are radically obedient, and surrounding yourselves with other who are also radically obedient. You are testing God, pressing in, wondering if He's going to change His mind."

Whoa. I immediately felt conviction that I knew could only be the Holy Spirit. He was convicting me of my unbelief and my disobedience in taking small steps towards what I was hearing Him say.

That one glittery thing, Priscilla's word, confirmation in His word, prayer, and going through the Discerning the Voice of God book have led me to step into obedience and say, "Yes."

So there it is. I am moving again. Not tomorrow, as I am contracted at my job, but soon.

Stay tuned for a "I'm Moving to Asia and I Need to Sell Stuff" sale :)

Friday, March 2, 2012

God, Are You Hiding Something?

Have you ever been seeking God's will for your life and feel like it's a game of hide-and-seek? Except you count and then say, "Ready or not, here I come..!" and you still can't seem to find His will?

I feel like that sometimes too....

Like right now...

So, here's the thing. There is a possibly huge change coming up in my life. I won't go as far as to reveal it now, but I will just say that this is one of those changes that will alter the rest of my life, should I go in this direction. This is something that I have been praying about for the past five months, and am continuing to pray about. But a lot of times, my prayers look like, "God, do you want me to do ______?" Just asking "Yes" or "No" shallow questions. And, listening too, but I'm not really sure what I'm supposed to be listening for. I'm open to anything, but I feel a little desperate for God to show up in this area for some direction.

So, where is He in all this? Is He hiding his plan from me like it seems?

I have been doing a Priscilla Shirer study called "Discerning the Voice of God." I know... right? How appropriate! So, anyways, yesterday I as doing part of the reading and saw this sentence:

"God desires for you to know His will. He's not hiding it from you. When I ask the Lord to confirm what He is saying to me through the Holy Spirit so I can be sure He is indeed speaking, He allows the Holy Spirit to speak to me and verify His message through His written word, circumstances, or even a person."

Wait, what? I read that first part over and over again.... "He desires for me to know His will.... He's not hiding it from me.... He desires for me to know His will.... He's not hiding it from me...."

Over and over and over again.

So, what next? How am I sure that this is God telling me to do this life-changing thing and not me trying to tell Him what I want Him to want me to do?

I don't have an answer to that directly. But, I do have the wisdom that Priscilla shared in her book.

The Five Ms of Correctly Hearing God (and how I'm implementing them in the next season of life):

1.Look for the MESSAGE of the Spirit.
(Taking 15-20 minutes each day to listen to the Spirit)

2. Live in the MODE of prayer.
(Praying "God, I'm hearing that I should _______. Is that You?" Every time something comes up throughout the day-- even if I repeat the same prayer over and over again.)

3. Search out the MODEL of scripture.
(Doing inductive studies regarding this thing that I feel like God is calling me to, researching what God has to say about it.)

4. Submit to the MINISTRY of Eli.
(Seeking wisdom from a more mature believer, asking them to walk through this decision with me.)

5. Expect the MERCY of confirmation.
(Thanking God for NOT hiding His will, asking Him to make it more clear.)

So there it is.

For the next 31 days, I will be pressing in to listen to what God has to say, holding onto the promise that He doesn't hide his will from us.

This very well could be the next season of my Journey to the Center of God's Will.

Thank you for your prayers :)