God is so so so so so so good. That’s pretty much all I can, and all I ever will be able to say.
Just this week, I read back across some of my previous posts. I don’t mean that in a vain or narcissistic way, but I’ve had this blog up and running for two years now and sometimes it’s just fun to take inventory.
What I found is that primarily, I’ve grown in and by the grace of Jesus more than I ever expected to. Grace, grace, what wondrous grace. Thank you, Lord.
Secondly, I have realized that His ways are SO not our ways. And that is how it should be written in the Bible. I imagine something like, “For my thoughts are SOOOOO not your thoughts, and my ways are FAR FAR FAR BEYOND your ways” Isaiah 55:8. Yep, that would totally suffice. No matter how big our dreams or imaginations are, we cannot come close to being able to predict the future He has for us, (unless you have the gift of prophecy and that’s awesome, but nonetheless that’s still of the Holy Spirit and not us).
Thirdly, I have noticed how much longer-winded my posts have become. I’m so sorry, to my faithful readers, and I promise to make these more convenient to read. (Ahem, I’ll edit them better).
Two years later, I am 24 and life is definitely not what I imagined. As a college graduate, I foresaw a steady 9-5 job, possible relocation from my hometown, maybe I’d be engaged or married, and with a few new friends at a good church.
But here’s how it really is. My employment is not like a steady 9-5 to job, I have not relocated and am actually still living with my parents, I’m as single as could possibly be, I have more new friends than I can count, and my church is heaven on earth. Up until that last part, by all worldly standards I am not what most would call “up to par” on life. However, I don’t think I could imagine anything better than where I am right now.
You see, the absolute thing that I know for sure is that I am exactly where Jesus is and I can hear Him and see His direction so clearly. To many, it probably doesn’t make sense that I’ve chosen to stay where I am and not ravenously pursue that 9-5 job in some super cool city. It probably doesn’t make sense that I broke up with a guy that I thought, for a while, I would marry. And it probably doesn’t make any sense that I’m as completely filled with the peace and joy that I wake up to every morning and go to sleep confidently with at night.
Back in August after I graduated from grad school, all bets were off.
If y’all have read the previous posts from the year, you know what happened in terms of events. But really, it became just me and Jesus, without the slightest excuse for a distraction, and even though it was a desert season, His grace was like a flood. As soon as school was over, the rush was gone. I wasn’t hired immediately, and instead my life was hushed so much that I could hear Jesus’ sweet whisper to come in to Him.
It began by starting every day by spending time with Him in His word, with a new kind of devotion that I never fully stuck to. Immediately, the simple peace and joy of His presence washed over me. If I had just been doing that one simple act with that much dedication, maybe school would’ve been less stressful. But it didn’t stop there.
In the midst of the confusion and disappointment of not being able to instantly turn into an “adult”, He began to teach me about what more I needed to do have a servant’s heart. A heart that He could use, and I needed to have before I took on the mission He had for me. The super confusing part was, I still didn’t know what that mission was. So through an amazing modern-day parable, AKA a book, the Holy Spirit painted the most amazing picture of a servant hearted woman I have ever seen. I couldn’t resist, because let’s face it: He’s irresistible. I started trying to find times throughout the day where I could change selfish actions (no matter how little), into selfless actions.
Next, I heard Him tell me gently that it was time to end a relationship that I saw a future for. I didn’t understand, so I asked Him why. He gracefully told me that we were not equally yolked. And after a week of being plagued with that message, I got up the courage to end the relationship. It wasn’t fun. It required sacrifice and it made me sad. But just as faithfully, the Holy Spirit literally picked my heart up, and put it where it needed to be which was even more for Him than it was before. It was hard to explain to some, but the most simple of answers is: it was Him, not me and not him.
Finally several months passed, and after so many rejections and lack of responses from companies and firms I could not understand why no one wanted me. My resume is outstanding. My gracious references gave glowing reports. How could I not get a job? I got to the point where I said, “Okay Lord, I’ve given you all that I’ve got. What else do you want?” Then He pointed to the very bottom of my heart, and brought up my childhood dreams: being in front of people and performing. Whether it was presenting speeches, singing, acting or modeling, I loved it. But the logic behind pursuing any of that was useless. No one ever makes it and it’s competitive, and I just completed school with zero training. But He said, “give it to Me, and come away with Me”. So I did. It was crazy, but I did.
Y’all see the pattern here, right? Our love turned a corner back in August, and suddenly I just WANTED more than anything to be like Him more than I ever have before. I mean I was saved when I was 4, rededicated my life when I was 13, baptized in the Holy Spirit when I was 14, and been in quite a pursuit of Him ever since. But this? This has been crazy. I cannot find another word for it. I say that, not boastfully, but as a testimony to His Holy Spirit. In the most beautiful way, He began to mold the back corners of my heart that I wasn’t even aware weren’t fully for Him.
Stripped bear. I have nothing left to give. I know that I’m not perfect and as I continue to grow, I will continue to find pieces of my heart that are not direct reflections of Him and they will need adjusting. That’s just basic sanctification. However, the more I give, the more He has for me, and although it’s difficult, it’s so good and so right. It makes no earthly sense, but in His terms, everything is coming together according to plan.
At the beginning of the year, I went through the most strenuous fast I have ever gone through. It was one of the best things I have ever done. My diet was restricted to veggies and fruit as I continued my work out schedule, and I woke up before dawn every bone-chilling morning to experience Jesus. The analogy of coal being turned into a diamond comes to mind. By the end of the fast, He provided and I accepted an internship in an area that was right up my “dreams” category.
I learned and am continuing to learn so much. Added to that, He provided me with friends from Church of the Highlands Tuscaloosa, and suddenly the meaning of community in the sense of the way Jesus and Paul talked about community has VIBRANTLY come to life.
There’s a verse in John that has constantly been on my mind ever since January.
Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it. John 14:14-12
He tells us that we can do even greater things than the miracles that He performed, because we have been adopted! And we can experience heaven on earth, and that’s what’s happening right now, people. My earthly circumstances cannot change how I feel about that either, because the truth of the matter is He is always right here and He is my source of joy, my everything!
Where He goes, I will go, where He stays, I will stay.
So the internship ended a few weeks ago, and I wasn’t hired. It just wasn’t His plan for me and I am completely fine with that. Just as smoothly as possible, I immediately accepted a part-time job as a personal trainer at the University Recreation Center, just as I wanted to back in December. But this time, I’m more equipped. Part-time isn’t full-time, but it’s ideal.
Last week, the opportunity quickly came to participate in a model casting call for a “well known athletic brand”. My amazing, most Godly, most talented friend, sent it to me and encouraged me to participate. I haven’t been training as consistently for the past few months as I would’ve preferred, but I sent in my photos and sure enough! Nike cast me as a model for their sportswear. WHAAAAAT? (Y’all be on the look out for me around town!)
Had I been working full-time, that wouldn’t have happened. It was my very first shoot (actually, the first casting call I’ve ever done), and I had a blast. Ever so appropriately, God has lead me down this path and He has taken a big dream that a tiny little girl had and even though that’s only one shoot (and maybe the only shoot), it’s a dream come true.
There’s so many other little parts to this, but to save on words: His plan is so much better than ours. The truth is, if you’re evaluating your life by worldly standards of any kind, then it’s time to reevaluate. Everyone’s journey looks different, but regardless there is a peace and joy that surpasses all of it, because there simply is nothing like being in a non-complacent, intimate, relationship with our sweet, gracious, and SO LOVING Savior!
I may never know what tomorrow holds, but if it means that He is in full control then I don’t care and I don’t want to know.
Basically what I’m saying is this: He’s leading me in an amazing direction, and He has given me so many more promises, some that I wish I could tell you about, but you will know about soon enough. I don’t even know how any of it can possibly come about but He has taught me to never underestimate Him, because He loves me, wants the best for me, and He can do anything. But I do have an announcement!
Things are about to change for this ol’ blog. It’s been part of the centerpiece to this journey for me and certainly an amazing platform from where I can talk about God’s goodness. However, change is coming.
I’m embarking on a new kind of journey, and I want y’all to come with me. As I start my job at the Rec Center, I’m going to start back blogging about fitness, and nutrition. There’s also more to that, which I want y’all in on, but I’ll let that remain a surprise! My Daddy is about to take me some where super cool, but it’s not just for me. It’s for y’all too!
That all being said, I’m working on creating a new site. Basically, we’re gonna kick all this up a notch! I’ll still have all my old posts available in the archives, but this little space is just not big enough for what is about to come. I hope to write posts more frequently, with less to read, so that it’s more convenient and entertaining, and prettier! This has been fun, but it’s about to get even more fun!
It’s crazy to think what can happen in just two years. But I’m glad that Jesus is as wonderful as He is to make it all possible. Y’all will never cease to hear my praises on how wonderful He is. Nothing in my life or my life itself, is worth it without Him. I’m still working on the new domain, but look for it coming soon!
I hope y’all are ready for this wild ride. With a God this big, don’t expect anything small.