Friday, September 5, 2014

Scared Stiff

Once upon a time, a long awaited day crept up on an impatient young woman. Her whole life (or that she could remember), she had dreamed of this very day! Oddly enough, as it came closer, panic set in. She was SCARED STIFF! How could a day she had awaited for so long cause panic? The night before her special day, she spent wide awake. The poor young woman tried everything that came to mind to calm her nerves. She went for a midnight swim (until storms blew in), she shed some tears, drank a glass of milk, and finally nestled into a cozy bed for the last four remaining hours before her day began. As she slipped into a peaceful slumber, she prayed,
"Please Lord, You know how I doubt myself... I am about to make a commitment that will last a lifetime. If this truly is the man You have chosen for me, please give me a peace tomorrow. Please show me that You are there with me on my special day. Then I will know, the man I give my heart to is the man You have created to be my husband. Amen."
As she awoke the next morning, her "groom to be" was waiting for her. The two were about to make one of the most beautiful, yet scary decisions they would ever make.

The young woman in the story is me, of course. The "groom to be" is my "now husband." I will never forget that weekend leading up to the day I said "I do." The morning of my wedding day, my husband came to my beach house to take me to town to get our marriage license. The ride to the mainland was silent. I was emotionally drained from the night before. No one really talks about what a bride experiences leading up to her wedding, but I'm here to give you my short spiel. I was a WRECK up until the morning of the BIG DAY. One minute, I was on cloud nine thinking about how wonderful it would feel to finally be a wife! The next minute I was crying because I felt I was forever saying goodbye to my childhood. Any time I visited my parents, all I could think about was them "giving me away." I became the ultimate worrier once again! However, I am here to say that the drive to get our wedding license the morning of our wedding put all my worries to ease. Though the drive in was mostly quiet, the drive back was spent discussing our fears about what the future held for us both and the excitement that awaited despite our fears.

After dropping me off at my beach house, the wedding preparations began. My bridesmaids, mom, aunt, and cousins joined me for brunch and headed to the spa to get pedicures and our hair done! Having them all around me for the afternoon was a blessing in itself. I am such a family girl, and for once I was getting everyone I cared about all in the same room! God kept reminding me throughout the day to live in the moment, treasure every minute, and not to worry about the future! I had spent so much time leading up to the wedding crying because I knew it would pass in the blink of an eye. Everyone gets so hung up on the wedding, and not the marriage! Well friends, I will gladly say that though I was hung up on the wedding, it was only because I knew it would be the only time I had so many people I cherish around me! I wasn't alone, my husband felt the very same. However, I was so thankful that The Lord kept whispering not to worry about the future. There was no reason for me to think about the end when the wedding itself had yet to begin.

As the afternoon passed, I found myself putting on my wedding gown! Time was ticking and the next thing I knew, music was playing! Like a whirlwind, I had linked arms with my first love, my dad. His eyes were lit up and I could see all the love he had for me and my soon to be husband. I can honestly say that my dad's life has not only impacted mine, but given me a taste for the love my Heavenly Father has for me. Gazing up at him reminded me of all the memories he has given me, and this one in particular was sure to last forever. The next thing I knew, Amazing Grace began to play and all I could see in front of me was my groom. Within a moment, my dad was handing me off to the love of my life as he smiled with the excitement of gaining another son. As our beach ceremony proceeded, storms were blowing in. A funnel touched down in the bay on the other side of the island. The Holy Spirit reminded me of something my mom use to tell me as a little girl, "Satan always tries to ruin what is good and holy." I knew that no matter what, stormy whether or sunshine, I would go through with this marriage because in my heart, I knew it was good and holy. My groom and I had prayed about it for so long, and the peace I had prayed for already set in.

We managed to get through the ceremony, take a few pictures, and eat as we waited out the storm. Lightening lit up the sky and the thunder shook the sand beneath our feet. Rain pounded the roof for a short while and then all was calm. We were amazed at how quickly it passed. Our photographer came to get the wedding party for sunset pictures and it was then I knew without a shadow of a doubt that The Lord was with me and looking down on our wedding. Approaching the beach, our photographers told us to look up. In the sky was not only one rainbow, but two. Friends, I teared up again! In the Bible, the rainbow is a symbol of God's promise. I firmly believe that He was not only with me, but blessing us. My fairytale came true and like a dream it has come and gone.

So the next chapter begins! Life with my husband is living a new dream! I didn't marry him for the wedding; I married him to have my best friend, encourager, support, and one of my biggest fans going through life with me for the rest of my days on earth. There is no more sadness because our BIG DAY is over, but happiness for new beginnings. We have entered a phase of marital bliss and the occasional "You're Right, I'm Wrong"....... or my version of "I'm Right, You're Wrong."  There will be hoops to jump through, fun to be had, places to go, people to see, and memories to be made. As long as we keep the One who brought us together in the center of our lives, I know we've got it made! As they say, a family who prays together stays together! Don't let fear hold you back from living the life God has created for you!

   
Scripture for the day:

"I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be a sign of the covenant between me and earth."
Genesis 9:13

"Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."
Matthew 6:34
   
"And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
Philippians 4:7







Friday, May 2, 2014

The Joy in Waiting

Once upon a time, a young girl was engaged to be married! Life was about to change and a new chapter was about to begin. Many questions raced through her mind as she sat and planned her wedding.

  • "How do I know I am marrying the right man?"
  • "What will people think of me, since I have never been in a committed relationship before?"
  • "The world makes it seem as though having sex before marriage is no big deal. It's a human need that should be satisfied. What will they think of us for remaining abstinent until we are married?"
  • "When we say I do, will it be forever?"
  • "Am I marrying this man for the right reasons?"

How many of us find ourselves questioning? The great thing about asking questions is that we discover truth. The young girl engaged to be married is me! These questions I've asked myself lately have done nothing but reassure that I am on the right path. For those of you who don't know, I'm to be married to my best friend June 30th of this year. I couldn't be more thankful! This year has been full of questioning, seeking God, waiting, and praising! Through this blessing, I've felt The Lord asking me to share with my readers about His passionate love for you and me.

Summer of 2012, I renewed my vows with God. I felt that the only way I would ever marry here on earth is if I truly committed myself to The Lord. That summer was one of the most difficult summers of my life; but The Lord knew that if I remained close to Him, He would get me through. I've heard many pastors preach that hardships bring you closer to God and without them we may forget our need for Him. As the year progressed, I found so much truth in that statement. I may not have made the best decisions at times. I'm sure I disappointed Him more than I can count! However, He proved to me that his passion was too great to ever let me go! With each hardship, I grew closer.

In December of 2012, I told Him I knew I could never find a man as perfect as He. He would forever be my husband! I yearned to put Him first in every aspect of my life. I told Him of my desires to bring children into the world who would go out and be a light to others. The only thing I asked of Him was to reveal the man He wanted me to marry on earth for His glory. The ONLY way I knew He would reveal this man is if the man He chose for me was seeking Him as much as I was, and the timing was right. Little did I know that the man He brought into my life right before Christmas of 2012 was an answer to prayer.

I want to make a BOLD statement--one that I hope no one takes too offensively, but as truth.

The life we live is a train wreck without our Heavenly Father.

Every time I've tried to go my own way, it failed. The reason I never committed to any man before is because they weren't who God chose for me. I prayed each time I began talking to someone new, that if God didn't intend on me spending forever with that person, He would send him away. Friends, He remained faithful to His promise. I prayed when I met Steven (my fiancé), that if he were not the right man, God would take him out of my life. He's the only man that stayed! Anytime I find myself questioning if he truly is the right man, God reminds me of His faithfulness.

As far as the other questions go... here are the answers God gave me:


  • Who cares what other people think of me! I sought God and continue to do so. I know Steven is the right man. Everyone else can think I'm crazy, or be happy for us!  Glorifying God is ALL that matters!
  • If God placed this man in my life for His glory, why would I think of doing something that would take away from His glory? I'm married to God first. Steven is married to God. If we had sex before marriage, it would be like cheating on our Bridegroom. We are suppose to come together as one-- one with God. Our marriage is to honor Him. I have never felt the need to give myself to Steven before we are married, and he has never made me feel that I need to because of his love for The Lord and respect for me.
  • We will be united as one under God. It is up to us to make our marriage last! As long as we continue to put God first, I have no doubt that our "I do" will last forever here on earth!
  • I am marrying Steven for His heart. I couldn't help but fall in love. He is as passionate about our Heavenly Father as I am. With each new day, my love for him grows! We have an undying love for our Savior and He has a passionate love for us greater than we may ever know. 


There is a great joy that comes with waiting. By waiting, I know I am marrying the man God wants for me. In waiting, I have discovered the Lord's passion for my life. When Steven and I become one, we will be one in Him. No greater love can be so pure. His love endures forever. 

Joy in Scripture:

"For The Lord is good and His love endures forever; His faithfulness continues through all generations."
Psalm 100:5

"Wait for The Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for The Lord."
Psalm 27:14

"You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart."
Jeremiah 29:13

Monday, February 10, 2014

Identity Crises

Once upon a time, there lived a young girl in a big city similar to one she had lived in before. She was attending college and working towards the finish line of her undergraduate degree. Life was passing her by as she tried to keep up. Within a year, she had changed her address 3 times, changed schools, worked 2 jobs, entered into a relationship, and got engaged! She's the same girl in the rat race mentioned in the post before... in fact she's the same girl who wrote this entire blog! Woah... and to think the stories keep on coming!

Well hey there friends! It's me, the author of this blog... I know it's been a while, but I'm back.
Recently, the Lord laid a topic on my heart that I really feel like he's been working on in my life and urging me to share. I've been struggling with my identity. I don't believe young adults are the only one who experience this difficulty. It seems to be one area that reoccurs a few times over a lifetime. This past year, I found myself becoming obsessed with my grades in school and what people thought of me. Sadly, I must admit I've struggled with "what people think of me" for years; but worried over grades to the extreme of last year was unusual. The worst grades I've made were two C's, one in high school and one in college. In December, upon pulling up my term grades, I received two B's, one C, and one D. I made a C in Chemistry and a D in biology! In my mind, I was a failure. I was worthless; my professor probably thought I was dumb and incompetent, and I needed to give up. The college I attended not only wrecked my plans but ruined my identity. I was no longer a smart, involved, academic achiever. In fact, the dean's office sent me  a letter explaining to me that I was now on Academic alert for Spring semester and required me to complete seven hours of tutoring. How could a girl who started out with a 3.78 GPA be put on Academic alert? The dean must have thought I'm an awful student.

Oh my stars, how many of us find ourselves with this mindset? We give Satan a foothold and start believing his lies. We fall into a trap that magnifies our insecurities. In the grand scheme of things, those grades didn't matter. My identity is not found in my grades or what my professor or the dean thinks of me.

As the year came to an end, I felt God tell me of a different plan for my life than the one I had chosen. My dream to become a therapist came to an end. God laid something BIG on my heart. One night I was laying in bed thinking about how I could make a difference... how God could use me. Then I thought, it's not the physical needs that God is worried about with His children, it's their heart. A new fire started to burn within me. I no longer felt the need to fix people in their earthly body; I yearned to help their spiritual body. I could travel the world bandaging up children in third world countries; but where would they end up if no one cared about their heart. As I began to pursue this idea, I felt the urge to change my major. I am now a Communication major and hope to accomplish a Master's in Special education. I want to bring Jesus into places where He is not allowed, such as schools. The song, "In Christ Alone" seems to put everything into perspective.

Though days pass when I doubt the Lord's presence, question His motives, and wonder what others think about my crazy life... I know He will not forsake me.  I do not define myself in who others say that I am. I do not define myself by my achievements. Many times we get caught up in who the world says we are: a teacher, spouse, parent, student, etc...  My identity is found in Christ alone. Who are you? Do you care who people say you are, or who God says you are?

Prayer:

Dear Lord, 
Let us remember what is important in our life, to follow You. I pray for all of the broken hearts in this fallen world. Please lead us as your children to seek out those who are in need of You. Let us be a light unto this dark place. Use us as your hands and feet that we may be a witness to those around us. God, I pray that we find our identity in You. Give us an indescribable peace and confidence within that we may be empowered to proclaim Your name among the nations. Forgive us for the times we put our secular identities above our heavenly identity. I pray that we keep You in the center of our life shining bright for the world to see. 

In Jesus' name,
Amen


Scripture:

"You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven."
Matthew 5:14-16

"But you are a chosen people. a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light."
1 Peter 2:9

"Command and teach these things. Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity."
1 Timothy 4:11-12