You Never Think It'll Be You

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Tonight was just like any other week night.
My parents and I headed to dinner & then my mom and I made our way to the mall to get a few things before I leave this week.
We were enjoying our shopping, as usual, and found ourselves laughing in a dressing room
deciding if we liked the clothes or not. 
The women that worked there came and knocked on the dressing room door, and said that she needed to speak to us.
I felt it was a little odd, why couldn't she just wait till we came out?
Maybe she thought we were stealing or something, I didn't know.
I looked at my mom and I could tell she had no idea what it was about either.
She preceded to tell us that there had been an armed robbery in the mall not far from where we were and that we were on 'lock down.'
As she called to find out more of what was going on we were informed that no one knew where the suspect was and that he had a gun.

These things only happen in movies right?
Actually it happens everyday, but you never think it's going to be you.
At least I never do.

My anxiety immediately began to sweep over me.
Breathing never felt so difficult to do, and I could hear my heart racing.
Each minute a little more crippling.

As I looked at my mom she gently reminded me that everything was going to be okay and said she was going to go out and see what was going on and that she'd be right back.
Those few minutes that she was out in the store seemed liked some of the slowest minutes of my life.

I sat in the American Eagle dressing room alone, and began to cry and as I felt the fear gripping me. My mind began to race with all the what if's. I text Andrew trying to let him know what was going on and asked some of my friends to pray for us.

Helpless, scared, anxious, and in some ways paralyzed by my fear, I began quoting scripture. 
"When I am afraid I will trust in You."
"Fear not for I am with you."
"You are my refuge, my fortress in times of trouble."

I'm not sure a prayer has ever been so desperate.

Probably one of the scariest moments of my life.
In those few minutes though...
It's like time stopped.
Suddenly the things that are important, truly important, is all that matters.
I began to wonder and think to myself did I tell them I loved them when I ended that conversation?
What was the last thing I said to Andrew before he went to work?
Would my Dad know how I felt about him and how grateful I am for him?

Millions of thoughts.
And crying out to the Lord in fear asking for his protection and presence in that moment was from the deepest place in my heart. 

I was reminded- that the Lord won't take me some place where He isn't.
and that even if the worst possible thing could have happened
I know where I'm going.

This is not something I would ever ask to experience.
And I pray I never have to relive anything close to this.
But who knew that I would experience God's presence in American Eagle tonight in a way I never have before.

I have never been so thankful for his protection over me and my mom and everyone else that was there tonight. And for the peace and reminders through His word that has been planted in my heart....

Maybe the Lord wishes my desperation in prayer and seeking His presence was more like this, and not just in moments where I'm fearful for my life or of something tragic happening.
Maybe the reality check and the reminder of what's truly important was something I needed.

I'm thankful for a God who protects and is near during my moments of fear.

May I be reminded of what I felt tonight when I begin to take things for granted,
and may my prayers and earnestness for the Lord's presence be more this way everyday.

"You are peace, You are peace, when my fear is crippling."

From Deep Within

Monday, October 22, 2012

I've noticed that sometimes I can't explain what I'm thinking or feeling.
It's something thats so deep within my heart that I'm not sure it knows how to surface into something that I can put into words.
But somehow when I sit down to pray and begin to tell the Lord that I know He knows my heart, and I tell him the best way I can how I feel, I feel like it's understood.
This feels good.
There's peace in that moment for me.

At times I feel frustrated that no one may understand me or my heart.
Why am I so concerned with this?
Maybe its just so I don't feel alone or so I feel validated.
But I've missed what's important.

The fact that the God of the Universe cares enough to listen to me.
To every minor, insignificant detail.
To count each tear that falls.
To understand the deepest parts of my heart and my desires.
To understand my hopes and dreams.
My frustrations and deepest hurts.
To know it all.
Every intricate detail.

Maybe its hard for me to accept that God knows me better than I know myself.
That the desires in my heart have been placed there for a reason.
Not to be left empty and for me to be left disappointed.
But to be fulfilled in His timing.

I don't believe this means we get everything we want, however I believe when our hearts and minds are set in the truth and we walk in what the Lord has for us, I believe that nothing but life exists. 
That desires are fulfilled.
That hope exists even in the midst of brokenness.
Redemption is no longer impossible.
Healing is a painful but beautiful process.
Peace is no longer hard to find, but available in His presence.

In being vulnerable, I would have to tell you that some of the deepest parts of my heart have been crying out to the Lord so much lately. Things that I feel like no one else may ever understand. Desires that I fear may never be fulfilled. Moments of pure fear and anxiousness. 
It isn't hard to get to a place where I believe the lies.
In fact, it's easier than believing the truth most days.

But I (and you) have been promised plans of a hope and a future.
If we'll get serious.
The message says it like this 
"Yes, when you get serious about finding me and want it more than anything else
I'll make sure you're not disappointed. 
- God's decree. "
Jeremiah 29:13 

I don't know about you but nothing is worse than disappointments.
I fear them.
It consumes my thought life sadly.
But this isn't what I was called to live in.

So maybe I thought I was writing this for someone else, but in writing this, I am making a statement to the Lord, from the deepest parts of my heart. Letting go and out of my hands the deepest desires of my heart, my expectations, my fears, my deepest longings, my fears of disappointments, and I lay them down. 

I don't want to miss what the Lord has for me today.

Somewhere from deep within my heart there's peace tonight.
I haven't felt this in awhile.

Thank you Lord for your promise of fulfilled desires, and a life with purpose and plans.
Your undeserving but thankful daughter

Learning to Breathe

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

I'm not sure we ever really have to learn how to breathe. 
When we come into this world, our first cry allows oxygen to fill our lungs and from this moment on we are breathing, without ever really thinking about it.

I've been thinking about what it means to really breathe.
In life.
In the chaos, business, uncertainty, and all the different things life throws at us.

Take a deep breath.
Just for a few minutes.
Stop everything else you're doing.
Allow yourself to realize the power of quieting yourself

In the past week, my schedule has been non-stop.
I feel tired more than I'm not and there is always something to be doing.
It can be exhausting, and I'd be lying if I said I didn't feel overwhelmed with work, school, tests and papers coming up, all before a trip out of town in a week.

A few days ago I was spending some quiet time. 
I realized how long it had been since I took a few minute to be still, quiet, un rushed, and to just breathe.

How refreshing.

I began to think about how this correlates with what the Lord has been doing in my life.
I don't think it was a coincidence at all, as my mind went back to a place of fear and remembering all that I had been worried about, and I was reminded of God's faithfulness.
I've been reliving those moments in my mind a lot lately.
It's strength to keep walking.
It brings life to some of the most difficult moments in my life.

But maybe sometimes we have to teach ourselves to breathe.
To take in the goodness of each day that God has given us.
To breathe, trusting with each new day that God is already there and a part of it.
To not miss the moment in front of us because we are wishing to relive the past, or anxious for what's ahead of us tomorrow. 
To experience the life, fulness, and grace we have been given each day that we are alive.

I never realized how much I take breathing for granted.
I never think about it.
But this week when I began to think about the power in taking a deep breath,
I experienced God's presence in my life in a different way.

In the midst of the business you find yourself in, whether you are living on top of the mountain, or find yourself deep in a valley wondering when the storm will be over, take a deep breath.

Breathe in God's goodness and grace, experience the life He has given you
and rest assured that with each breath you take, He is right there and wants to fill you with His presence, love, and strength.

"I'm bringing the breath of life to you, and you'll come to life."
Ezekiel 37:5 (the msg)

Looking Back

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Almost two years ago I made one of the hardest decisions I've ever made.
Ending a relationship and trusting God with everything in front of me.
Scared to death doesn't even describe how I felt.
Lost. Confused. Running. Broken. Needy. Unsettled. 
This was me.

The other night I had this thought in my head to just get on the Kairos site and check out their old sermons. I found just what I was looking for.
 Feb 1, 2011.
As I listened back to this sermon, I can remember everything I was thinking.
I can also remember praying Lord please confirm to me what you want from me.
Mike Glenn began to talk about being lost. . . . 
and how Jesus says wait right there I'll come to you.
Suddenly we aren't alone or lost anymore, and yet we're in the same place we we're at.
He then made a reference to a movie and said " I love it when a plan comes together"
For every moment in our lives, each thing that doesn't make sense, and every difficult circumstance that looks like it will never work out, there is a plan and a God who literally comes to us exactly where we are and helps us find ourselves and gives us grace and direction.

I know listening to that a second time was meant to happen.
I think it meant more the second time than it did the first.
If you have a few minutes, I encourage you to listen to the whole thing, and for the part I described here it's found in the final 10 minutes. 
I felt so blessed by this & at that point in time I had no idea just what God had for me.

Obedience isn't always easy but God has proven His promises to be true in my life.

I cried the other night just thinking about all that God has done for me in the last two years.
Not only did I find myself again, I feel like the Lord renewed a part of my heart that I felt would never exist again. To truly believe that God want's to give me the desires of my heart is something I felt like was a lie for so long.

I couldn't write this blog without sharing one of the biggest parts of my heart and life.
Ever since I was a little girl I've dreamed of loving big and hard, walking beside my best friend through any and everything, being pushed to be a better person as well as doing the same for my other half, reaching for the stars and going big, having fun and enjoying the little things in life, trusting someone enough to tell them your deepest fears and secrets, having someone to celebrate with even over the smallest joys, someone to chase all that God has for our lives together....
my list really does go on and on. 

One of the biggest ways God has shown His grace in my life is through Andrew.
I've said it before, but I've felt so overwhelmed with God's goodness to me through him in the past several weeks.

Its the simple things.
Fishing with Andrew and learning (attempting to learn) all the ins and outs. The patience he has is incredible, but doing something he loves together makes me happy.
Car rides that are full of meaningful conversation at times and some just silly. 
5 years later and we can still talk for hours. 
Having the privilege of working at the same place during this season of life has been different, but such a joy. Hearing how many people love him and think he is wonderful gives me the chance to sit back, smile, and agree wholeheartedly with them. 

And the bigger things.
His love and support as I have started my Master's program and a new nursing job is one I cannot say thank you enough for. I am not always the easiest person to be around but his belief in me is one I've prayed for since I was little.
Having the opportunity to support him as he's about to go after one of his dreams with Paramedic school. If I've ever believed in anyone, it's him. 
His work ethic and selflessness makes me want to be a better person.
Someone who's dreams and desires match mine. I never believed someone would share certain parts of my heart. God knew exactly what He was doing. 
Growing together. It's exciting to see how far God has brought us, how much we have grown together, and I can't wait for all that's ahead.

He's everything I've prayed for.
He's the love of my life.
He's my best friend.
He's my heart.

Thank you Lord for Your faithfulness and Grace in my life. 

Maybe Being Needy Isn't Such a Bad Thing

Monday, October 8, 2012

Being considered "needy" isn't ever usually seen as a positive thing.
However, in the last couple of weeks I've realized that being needy
has actually been a positive thing for me.

Right now, I feel needy.
Every part of my life has been changing. 
New job, moving back home, new school and classes, etc. 
It's all new. At times, it's still scary. I don't always feel prepared. 
I'm needy.
Needy for what?
Patience with myself.
A purpose that is bigger than what I am capable of seeing right now.

I've noticed myself praying at work more than I have in an entire week.
Confession: that's terrible, but true.
I've found myself in a vulnerable place trying to find my footing in everything I'm doing.
My mentality. Just survive.

Not the ideal mode that makes me thrive, but at this point its like you jump in the deep end and learn how to swim.
I miss being comfortable.
I struggle with confidence.

So what am I learning through all of this?

I appreciate quiet moments now more than ever.
If it's peaceful, I want to be there.

Quoting scripture in my head has become vital to making it through my shifts at work.
Clinging to God's promises prevent me from living in fear.
Believing that God's purpose for my life is not only for the moment here, but that He is preparing me for what's next allows me to go into each day striving to bring my best.
Being needy for God has pushed me to get back into the word, to focus my mind on the right things, and to grow closer to Him everyday....

It certainly isn't easy, but feeling needy for God has been a blessing.

"I will never leave you nor forsake you."


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

I'm reading a book.
It's called 'Hind's feet on High places'
An excerpt from one of my blogs came from this book.
My grandmother loved it. My mom just bought it.
& I found it tonight on my book shelf, with a note. 
This was given to me before I went to college, and it's no coincidence that I found it tonight.
I feel like I've missed out on the message of this book.
I feel like it was written just for me.

Tonight I took the long way home. 
Just a chance to sit in silence and in some ways a place where I find it the most freeing to tell God everything on my heart and mind.
Tonight, that's exactly what I did.

After reading some of that book today, and in my time with the Lord in the car, I realized something.
Maybe it isn't all about getting to the "top" or reaching the destination ahead but instead being willing to trust enough that on the way to the top, even though each step of the way is unfamiliar and new, that strength will be given, endurance will be built, fear will slowly lose its power, love will develop deeper and deeper, and character will be refined each step of the way.

Maybe out of control is exactly where I need to be.
My least favorite feeling in the entire world.
No planned dates. No checklists to mark off.

And maybe the idea of it being a process is something I need to come to grips with.

no overnight fixes, no lifelong maps laid out, nothing consistent except God

In being honest I would have to tell you that I struggle.
My flesh fights the unknown.
The desires of my heart get heavier and heavier waiting for the time when they will come to pass.
I'm impatient.
I get discouraged.
Fear seems to get the best of me every time [fear makes me do things I don't want to do].
I begin to question 'will I ever be enough?'

This vicious cycle has gotten the best of me before.
But not tonight.

While I still have all the same questions and feelings about being out of control, the Lord graciously reminded me in a gentle way tonight that it isn't about all of the things I'm waiting for ahead of me, but instead it's about the step by step journey I'm taking to get to the places He is taking me.

So I'm back to where I was. A time of preparation. Another leg of the journey.
I certainly don't have it all right but I'm learning.
I'm growing.
and right now that's enough to keep me walking tomorrow. 

It's Always Fall Somewhere

Monday, October 1, 2012

My favorite coffee drink.
That's what this blog is named after. 
You can get it at Edgehill Cafe in Nashville, TN.
I've wished multiple times in the past week that I could make weekly(sometimes multiple times) visit.
I love the name.
I can't believe it's here already.
Here's my attempt to bring Fall to the Sunshine State. 

Homemade Apple Cake 

Absolutely Delicious.
My favorite part
While Florida doesn't bring the sense of fall quite like Tennessee does, a season of change is here.
The last couple of weeks have been extremely busy for me.
I had my first day of work by myself. All of my patients were still living, and so was I at the end.(I guess that means it was a good day) :) 
It still is surreal that I am a nurse and I am learning a lot each day, but I am slowly getting the hang of everything.
I completed another first this past week.
My first grad school paper & my first test.
I got an A on my first test so I was pleased. It's been a challenge but I'm so glad I'm working on a Masters.
Andrew and I went out of town for the weekend and I experienced my first college football game.
It was a blast!!

We spent Sunday in Orlando with some of our good friends, spent 2 hours in Bass Pro Shop (who knew it could be so fun?) and then off to Universal for the rest of the day! 
I was thankful for our weekend away with good friends!

While this has been a season full of newness in what feels like every aspect of my life, I have been thinking a lot the last few days about the season 'Fall.

For me, fall is a season that not only represents newness but also preparation for the things to come. While I love palm trees, I sure do miss the beautiful leaves changing colors.
It's beautiful. nothing else like it to be honest.

Just as the seasons are changing, in my own life I really feel like this is a season of preparation. 
For what? I wish I knew the answer to that question.
Just as I have mentioned in previous writings, I have realized now more than ever how much I compare myself to other people, their successes, situations, timing of circumstances, and the list is endless.
Comparing yourself to others never gets you anywhere.
As I have continued to work on this in my own life, I continue to realize that I am exactly where I need to be.
My desire to find contentment in where I'm at is one I pray for daily.
I don't want to miss what the Lord is preparing me for right now.
Maybe the fact that I don't know what's coming is the best part. (as much as I dread it most days)
As the Lord is continuing to refine my heart and life, I am finding so much joy in what is happening because of this.

I love this season.
In fact, it may be my favorite.
I have come to appreciate this time of change more than I ever thought I could.
God has continuously been showing me just how much He is in control.
With Every desire, worry, and important matter to me, He has shown me how much of a priority it is to Him. 

Ecclesiastes 3 says it so well 
"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens..."

What is the Lord preparing you for right now? 

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