Peace In The Midst of Chaos

Saturday, May 29, 2010

I have been home for two weeks now. It's been pure bliss. Nothing to do, no where to be, just time to be alone, enjoy a quiet room, make dinner when I want to, and hang out with my parents and go to puppy school with my Mom and Izzy, kick-boxing with my Mom, and just enjoying sweet time at home. I realize how different things are when I come home each time, but there is nothing like being at 'home.

I know that I have found myself thinking man I'm bored, but oh how I will miss that in about a week when my life is in a constant rush with no time to slow down and catch my breath.

In the past few weeks since I have b
een at home, like I said I've had no responsibilities really, no tests to study for (I found myself looking in my planner to see if I have any upcoming tests, it's sad lol), and really nothing to crazy going on in my life right now. I have no complaints :)

While I am extremely thankful for this, I also realize that there has been mad chaos around me. I have watched some people that I love so dearly go through some difficult days in the their lives, where faith is being tested, unfortunate things are happening, and lessons that are hopefully learned have been taking place. I have watched some people that I love dearly make some poor choices and not even realize the consequences that are possible, but that's life. We all have our moments, and just times in life where we go through the valley.

The more I have sat back and watched, and just really observed everything going on around me, the more I realized how easily I can stress about things that don't ever involve me. It's just pure madness sometimes. I told my Dad about how I was feeling. Basically that my life is going in slow motion right now and I am watching everything else going on around me wondering 'what in the world is happening?' I realize now more than ever how crazy this world is, and how corrupt this world truly is. It breaks my heart if I really think about it....but anywho...

For some reason the last week I have had a Bible story stuck in my head. To be honest, I am not even really sure why. The story of Jesus on the boat with His disciples in the middle of the storm. They were freaking out. I know if I was there, freaking out wouldn't even be the term for it. Jesus simply says to them in my translation - Why are you so afraid, don't you trust me? Where's your faith? - He looks at the raging sea and says - Peace be Still. And everything was quiet.

This is kinda how I envision this in my head.

I can only imagine the power of that moment. The more that I have thought
about this, and the more I realize the feelings of heaviness in my own heart for the things going on around me and the powerlessness that I have felt at times, the more I realize how much I have to rely on God to be the one to intervene in HIS timing. This part is hard for me. I was born impatient. But how sweet it is when it is in the Lord's timing. Today, I was getting ready for a party, and I had my ipod on shuffle and the song "Amazing God" by Anthony Evans came on. While I've heard this a million times. The lyrics caught my ear today. It goes something like this...

You’re amazing God, You’re amazing God
You can bear the weight of every heavy heart
You can heal the pain, you can clean the stain
You can turn our tears into songs of praise
You’re amazing God

As I began to think of what this really means, I was overwhelmed at the thought of God taking on all the pain not of just one person that I have been thinking and praying for but all of them, as well as everyone in creation if they call on Him. That is truly amazing.

I am blessed. Not just because things in my life are going well right now, but because I know during the storms of my own life, he has been faithful to me. Just as he was for me, he promises to be that for those that I care about so much. What a blessing to know that everything around us may be changing, things are uncertain, people let us down, jobs fall through, people walk out, and this world is just plain crazy, b
ut God is Faithful, Unchanging, Full of Love and Grace, and begs that we bring our heavy hearts to him so that He can lighten the load we carry.
That is something to truly be thankful for.

I will end this blog with one of my favorite psalms. I can see this verse in my head. Maybe something like this.
The Lord reigns, let the earth be glad;
let the distant shores rejoice. Clouds and thick darkness surround him; righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne. Fire goes before him and consumes his foes on every side. His lightning lights up the world; the earth sees and trembles. The mountains melt like wax before the Lord, before the Lord of all the earth.The heavens proclaim his righteousness, and all the peoples see his glory.

No Such Thing As Coincidence

I finally made it back home for the next 2 weeks as life is slowing down just for a few short minutes so I can catch my breath and start going full speed once again, traveling all over this summer, doing what I love.

There hasn't been a whole lot to do since I've been home which is nice for rest, but I find myself going stir crazy at times because I am used to a constant rush. Tonight I went and worked out with my Mom and after we got done some of us got into a conversation about the "end times" and about the world today. It is not something I contemplate much, but as we began to start talking about it, I myself questioned some things that I never really have before. As we contemplated different ideas, and thoughts that we had, the question was asked "Bethany do you believe in coincidences? or divine appointments?"

This wasn't really something I'm sure I ever thought about for myself personally. I'm not sure I ever remember not thinking something was God, but I'm not convinced that I've always acknowledged it. Possibly an ouch moment for me. Regardless, the Lord began to bring a couple things to mind and I eagerly came home and found some way to share this with whoever (if anyone) is reading this....

People that know me well, know that I love quotes, song lyrics, and inspirational poems and readings. I have been intrigued with them, I have written some of my own, and have quite a collection of favorites.

The Lord brought 3 of these to mind tonight as I began thinking back over my life, and situations where I knew God was real in my life, and coincidence was not even an option.

My Mom and I have been talking about personal situations affecting our lives, and people that are close to us right now, and we have been reminded of this. Life is all about choices. It's all in perspective. Is the glass half empty? or half full? We all view life differently, and we all choose to handle ourselves in ways that best express who we are. Anywho, this cup, a Starbucks cup (gosh i love the quotes on these things)- was given to me by my youth pastor in High School. He saved it for me when he was out of town, and changed the words just a bit. This was something that I needed to hear at this point in my life...and oh I couldn't count the number if times I have read it.

As little as a cup from Starbucks may seem to some of you, I read this over and over and over. This was given to me when I was at a choice in my life to either accept the fact that I could not help myself alone, and needed to seek professional help as well as pray and commitment on my part, or my journey to becoming a healthy person was not going to happen. This little poem means a lot to me. God was in every situation during this point in my life, and nothing was an accident.
"Wrangling fear is the biggest challenge the world faces now and a challenge we all face, now and again, at our crossroads, in the dark moments, at those times when we are asked to compromise, at those times deep down where we know we must make choices that define our lives."

Another thing that happened today, that caught my attention more than usual was a simple sticky note that I have in my shower. I see this (or used to see it) everyday when I lived here at home when I would take a shower. This post-it note has been hanging in my bathroom since I was a Junior in High School. I'm not sure how it hasn't fallen off, or been ruined yet but regardless it is such a sweet reminder to me of God's promises. I hung this up during a time in my life where I simply needed to be reminded that when everything around me felt like it was falling apart and I was so tired, that God promises us that in his arms we find strength and can be refreshed. It fell down today, but was in a sweet place, face up, and I couldn't help but pick it up and now it is in my Bible as this has been such a sweet little reminder to me during some difficult days. Nothing happens by accident.

Isaiah 40:31

Also tonight as I began to think of the question that was asked to me about coincidence, I was immediately reminded of Jeremiah 29:11. I got quiet, and didn't say much but in my head I was only thinking what this meant for my life so far. I am thankful that God has a plan for me and that NOTHING is my chance, accident, or coincidence. Even the small things that I so often take for granted. What a promise to remember and to hold onto. Again, nothing happens by accident, whether a hurt, joy, triumph, or valley...God is in it all, and I am certainly thankful for his faithfulness to me in creating beauty of the messes I have made in my own life.

what a promise.

In a weird way tonight, I felt challenged in my own heart to think long and hard about how God works in my life and who he is to me. It is easy in big things to think it is God, but also in the little things I should remember who He is. I am blessed to never have grown up outside of church, or with too many negative things in my life, but it is scary how often I find myself taking advantage of faith, religion, and who God is and wants to be in my life. It is so easy to take for granted, but one day I don't want to look back and wish I had done something different with my faith.

I decided tonight, that I am going to open my eyes and consciously be thinking and looking for what God is doing in and around me, and to remember to give him ALL the praise, for he certainly is worthy of it all.

Sweet moments in time :)

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

"Even though we've changed and we're all finding our own place in the world, we all know that when tears fall or the smile spread across our face, we'll come to each other because no matter where this crazy world takes us, nothing will ever change so much to the point where we're not all still friends."

Life on the road is a blast...well, sometimes. :)
For the most part it's crazy fun but just like everything, it has it's moments.
Everpraise for those of you who don't know everyone consists of...(pic left to right)
Lindsey, Brittany, Tricia, Jordan, Andrew, Me, Scott, & Parker
Oh what a very unique group- each person extremely different but somehow we all have become very close & we're family. This by far has been one of the best experiences of my life. Traveling with these 7 people every weekend to different churches to sing, hang out with teens, meet new people, lead sunday school classes we didn't know we would lead, give Trevecca talks, play games, long van rides, lots of food, flat tires, flip cameras, jokes and laughs, and all the memories that have been created- it literally has been such a fun year!
I considered myself blessed to be able to travel and sing every weekend because I basically get paid to do what I love but even more than I love singing, PR has been so great this year because of the group. We hang out even when we don't have to be together, quite often actually. We genuinely enjoy being around each other. :)As much fun as we have, and as many times as I find myself laughing hysterically at something that happened when we're all together, and miss being with everyone when we are back at school, some of the sweetest moments that we have had together are some I will treasure for the rest of my life.

The other night we all got together at Mel's house to talk about the year, and just spend time eating her wonderful cooking, and enjoying one another. We went outside on the porch and it was beautiful outside. We talked about events from the year we liked, things that went well & other things that didn't go so well. We began thinking of next year and all that it will bring, and continued praying for God's guidance as he directs the final decisions for who will be in the group. We decided to pray and go around the circle...lifting up different needs that we had in mind and things on our hearts. I couldn't help but in this moment to think -

"Please just stop the clock right here."

I wanted to badly to stop time. Why? It was here that I realized just how wonderful everything has been this year and how much we take things for granted. Tricia will not be traveling with us this summer and even though we are sad that she is not going to be with us, we are excited for and with her as she starts an awesome new job! This is the last time that Scott will be on PR and so this summer he is finishing a great career on PR at Trevecca and has been such a vital part of who we are. As we reminisced over the year, and began to pray, I enjoyed listening to each person as they prayed. It's wonderful to see someone's heart on their sleeve when they pray for things that matter to them. Each member brings so much to the group, and plays such an important role in who we are this year, and I am so blessed to have friends like them. I do not want change, but I know when that season is here, God will be ready to do something new and exciting and I look forward to great things to come. But looking back over this year I can only thank God for the great things he is doing in and through each of us, we do not deserve to be used by him but what a blessing it is to share who God is in each of our lives on a regular basis. I am looking forward to the summer and all the fun it brings.
Only a few more chances to hold onto the sweet moments that are passing by.
I know I won't take them for granted.

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