Refiner's Fire

Saturday, May 25, 2013

I wish I was writing this blog from a place of contentment, peace, and a feeling of victory.
I write this heavy-hearted, convicted, weary, and as honest as I can be right now.
I pray in days to come, I can share more of the details but for now, this is where I'm at.

In my heart, I have had to own feelings of anger, bitterness, jealousy, discontent, anxiousness, and feelings that have just truly changed me.
Not in a good way.

Time has allowed me to step back and see it for what it is.
In love, being confronted, pointing out a change of my heart from joy to one of almost anger is not one that is easily accepted, but needed.

So what does that mean for me?
It means tonight I find myself, on my knees before the Lord.
Owning my hurt and the true feelings in my heart that I haven't allowed myself to admit.
Sharing my deepest secrets and desires. Opening myself to the deepest places of my heart.
Asking for forgiveness for the motives, attitudes, and envy within myself.

Accepting full responsibility of my actions and thoughts.
Releasing to the Lord all of my unmet expectations and the places where I find it hard to just be still.

I wish I knew how all of it would get better.
How it will all go away and change.
How I will be filled with the fruits of the Spirit instead of discontent, jealousy, weariness, bitterness, impatience, and all the other things I have been experiencing. 

I don't know much but I do know this.
I have asked the Lord to meet me exactly where I am.
In the ugliness, the shame of every place I find myself in currently and just be here.
I've asked Him to refine me. 
To be honest, this is one of the hardest prayers to pray. 
It hurts.

I have also asked him to be enough for me today.
And I will continue to pray this everyday.

That I will find my total and complete contentment and peace in Him.
Regardless of everything in and around me.

I have no control of my circumstances but I do have the promise of a loving Heavenly Father to be all that I need.
That I do know. 
And tonight that is enough.

This was not an easy blog to post.
It is raw, ugly, and real.
I am posting this because I am thanking God in advance for what He is going to do and I want to look back and see where He brought me from.

"Do you see what I've done? I've refined you, but not without fire. 

I've tested you like silver in the furnace of affliction." Isaiah 48:10

"looking back you'll see that you were carried all along"

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The title of this blog is my favorite lyric from one of Jessica Aaron's originals that's coming out in the next few months. 
I was listening to the song in my car when I began to think about where I am at currently.

I can't believe I am coming up on the year mark, in a little over a month that I have been home.
So many changes have happened throughout the past year. 
It's actually really overwhelming if I think about all that has changed, happened, and worked out in the past year.

In thinking about the past two years, I started to read back into my journals, my personal prayers, and my blog. My last year of college was one of change, excitement, but one that was full of fear for me.
Anxiety gripped me to my core and those were long hard days no doubt.
Counseling was hard work but still what I believe was the best decision I could have made.
I was reminded of the days where I would hurt my body by starving it of what it needed just because I felt that it was all I had control over. 
All too well I can remember the desperation I felt in my spirit, the fear that gripped my heart and crippled me from  what at times felt like everything.

As I read back through some of the desperate prayers, the longing and desires of my heart, I found myself recognizing those moments all too well, but shortly after that thought, tears of joy and thankfulness.
A smile that's full of life and peace.

While I am nowhere near perfect, or completely free of all I struggled with over the past few years, the Lord truly has met my every need that I had, and has given me way more than I even asked for.
Every desire that I had including my idea of the perfect situation for when I moved back home, He has pieced it all together in ways that I never could have imagined. 

The support of my parents, Andrew, my mentors and friends is more than I ever could have asked for. I feel that this season of my life has been one that has drawn me closer to wholeness that I could have imagined. While the days of unknowns still exist, God's faithfulness each and everyday has given me the strength to keep trusting daily.

The Lord has truly done a work in my heart. I have been pushed into situations where I never thought I would make it, where the pain in the depths of my heart felt so great that I couldn't imagine getting through it and being okay, and yet here I am. The lack of control and uncertainty at times made me feel like I was doing nothing but drowning. The Lord's refinement of my heart has no doubt hurt, and stripped me to the core. He really did bring me to of the hardest things to face, but I am thankful He doesn't show me all that needs to change, and says okay, come back to me when it's all fixed.
Instead, day by day, He is there to help me fix the characteristics that are not like Him, to strip away my pride, impatience, control, to show me how He sees me, and so much more.

There is freedom and victory in my life over some of the old battles I use to face. For the things I still struggle with, I am just thankful that God doesn't give up on me, and that He is changing my heart daily.

It is true, looking back in the moments where I felt like no one knew where I was at, where I questioned God's sovereignty over the situation, He was carrying me each and every step of the way.

It is my prayer that as I continue on the path that He has for me, that all these reminders of His faithfulness will draw me closer to Him even in the moments where it doesn't seem to make sense.

I feel blessed today to be here. I know I have been given more than I ever deserve. 

Thank You Lord for your faithfulness in my life even when I questioned you.
May I draw closer to You and continue to trust You and Your word with every new day that comes.   

For My Parents: thank you for your unconditional love and support even in the moments where you questioned my decision making. Your countless prayers and trust in the Lord to lead and guide me forever has changed me and made me a stronger believer in prayer. 

Andrew: you have been a Godsend. Long before our journey together, your care, protection, and genuine interest in my heart and life has made me a better person. For the long hard days, your commitment to me and your belief in me is something I pray that I can give right back to you. You truly are my heart and I am forever grateful that the Lord brought us together. 

To my Church family & Friends: your prayers, support, and love is more than I could ever ask for. Coming back home was nothing short of a big change for me, but I have felt loved, accepted, and thankful for the chance to grow as God continues to lead me. 

Life as of Lately

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

I am currently enjoying a nice cup of coffee, smelling clean laundry,
sitting at home on this dreary day
with Brooke Fraser music playing in the background. 

It's been quite awhile since I've had the time to sit down without an agenda.
So time to catch up.

Sunday night I  completed my second semester of grad school.
Health Assessment and Pharmacology are finished. Check.
I had to complete a head to toe assessment video that's 30 minutes long on my lab partner for a pass/fail grade. Let's just say preparing for this was more nerve wracking than I expected. 
Ha, Andrew and I have some funny memories from my practicing that's for sure. 
 All that to say, I finished and passed. 
Pharmacology involved an accumulative final and I am just so thankful it is over.

I have 2 weeks off and then I begin my summer classes.
Legal and Professional Behavior and Research. 
Sounds exciting right?

2 semesters down. 7 semester to go.

I can say I learned a lot this semester, and not just with school but about myself. I feel like this semester really challenged me as a person to dig deep and really work hard even when I feel like I couldn't do all that I was doing.

I'm so thankful for the support of my Parents, Andrew, and my friends.

So these two weeks off I will be working a lot and I'm thankful to have a break from school.

So what else have I been doing?

I took a few trips to the beach by myself and so enjoyed it.

My best friend Mary made a visit to Florida and I got to spend an evening with her and we had a sleepover.

I've made weekly trips to target , what girl doesn't?

Andrew and I went on a double date with our good friends Natalee and Chase and enjoyed an evening out. Spontaneous but perfect.

Life is hectic no doubt with crazy schedules constantly coming and going.
Thankful this season is temporary but finding joy in the midst of it all.

On a more personal note, I  have two situations among people I care about that have been really tough.
Without sharing many details I can honestly say that I feel like my prayer list is huge, my heart is heavy for these people, but I am believing in the Faithfulness of my God to come through as He feels best in both situations.

It's hard to feel helpless but I am fervently praying for both situations and will continue to support the best I can and trust God with the rest.

I am thankful for this time to just be still.

I'll be writing again soon I'm sure with more details of what's been on my heart and mind.
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