Good News

Tonight I went to a Christmas Eve service as is the customary tradition. This year, due to spending Christmas with my folks I went to a church I had never gone to for the service. Typically my family attends a Christmas Eve Service at our church which we follow with a trip to Marie Callender’s for pie and a drive through an area full of Christmas lights.

This year’s Christmas is all wrong. We are not in our own home. The place we are staying has no Christmas Tree or even a decoration to show that it is Christmas. We won’t have any gifts in the morning because no one can afford them. The worst bit: my sister is still in Southern California. Christmas is all wrong.

I am so grateful that I get to be here with my Parents, but this Christmas is different than any I have experienced before. This Christmas I realize what adulthood looks like.

This whole past month and a half has been a rough one for me and I say this not because I am trying to complain or garner sympathy, but in an endeavor to be honest with my experiences, this has been a rough season (I’m pretty sure it has been for everyone in my family in our own ways).

Lost. Anxious. Afraid. Confused.

This is where I am, this is where we are.

Tonight I went to a Christmas Eve service at a foreign church, but I am so glad we decided to go. Before we began to sing the Christmas hymns and carols they showed this video. By the time it finished I was crying.

It is cliche to say that this is what Christmas is all about, but it truly is.

I have gotten so frustrated with how things have been going, been consistently having anxiety, getting distracted with my own issues, but I was stopped…. God came down in the form of a baby.

Joy to the World, the Lord is Come!

How great is my joy! I cannot explain it, but I just felt this warm peace fall down over my shoulders pulling up this weight that I had been carrying unnecessarily. God is bigger than my problems and issues. Life will continue in spite of my struggles. I have been so focused on myself that I have forgotten who this is all about. How great is our Joy? The Lord is come.

He is here with me and he is with you.

Know this: this eight scale musical truth is the greatest news. We have hope because the Almighty has given us His son to die for my sins, to free me from that which binds me and inhibits me.

Joy to the World!

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Life can be rough, but God is good

Life can be scary and frustrating. Most of the time, unless you are a rare person, life is not exactly what you wish it to be. For the past few weeks I believed and hoped that I would begin my life in New York City. I was prepared to make the sacrifice to not be with my family to be in the city, after all, it’s all part of growing up and moving out.

I am currently in New York at a layover for a flight to Portland. Quite the opposite of what I thought.

As the weeks drew on, the realization that I would not be moving began to become more evident with opportunities not opening up in the city, opportunities remaining open in Christiansburg, money not coming in. I resigned myself to the idea that I would not be going to New York.

For some reason, probably blindness due to a form of arrogance I believed that I would be okay financially once my FAFSA credit check came in, that I would coast through the weeks of break and a bit of the new year on the steam of that engine, but then when I finally asked when it would appear, I learned it was to happen in February. Not far away, but too far to live on.

That’s when the panic set it. My hope had been that the money would save me, save me from my woes. That it could even pay for me to go home for Christmas for a little while, but the money was not to come when it was convenient for me. I felt lost. I made it through this last week on $30, but more than that on the grace of God and the love of friends.

In the process of searching for a job, a friend who was helping me get a job asked when I was going home for Christmas. I said I wasn’t and immediately, she and another friend began to older help to get to my parents for Christmas. I didn’t need help I needed a miracle, but that is what they provided, after telling them no repeatedly, what happened. They told me they would buy my plane ticket, I finally let go of my pride and took their offer as the answer to a desperate prayer.

I told them no at first, because I was convinced I needed to work and make money. The deeper issue was that I felt I deserved isolation for being so foolish and missing so much. That was when God spoke:
Stop punishing yourself, I will take care of you.
I wizened up (for a moment) and took the offer. Sunday arrives and I get a notice that a check I wrote three weeks ago just went through, which went through, and gave me an overdraft fee.

More panic. Did I mess up that badly?
God where are you?

Right here.
I’m sorry that you will not be with your friends as long as you hoped. I’m sorry that you are traveling meagerly.
I am right here with you.

I’ve been so selfish. I think I realize this most when I have nothing. I am given so much and have so much and yet I sit here begging for more. God is so good. He has taken care of me, he is taking care of me.
And I say this, not because it’s the right thing to say, but because I believe it:

in a few weeks, perhaps even months down the road this season will make sense, right now it doesn’t but I know that God is good, and He will continue to be so, for that is who He is.

Submerged

I’m under water. Submerged. I find myself struggling to reach the surface only to realize, I don’t which way is up. Where do I go? Stop panicking. Stop panicking. STOP Panicking!

Four weeks ago, I started blogging again. I was motivated by my friends and family to begin blogging as I began to make the steps towards moving to New York. I had just quit my job and I was preparing to make this big move of faith to New York City. Make a move to the calling God had on my life.

I wanted to record my journey, to inspire others to trust God, to have faith to go where he tells you, to step out onto the waves. I had to be honest in my writing, to show people what I am going through in order for people to have someone to relate to, an example of faith. That being said,

I’m drowning.

I’ve stepped onto the waves and I don’t know where I am going or what I am doing. I am trying to find the light, to hear Jesus. I know he must be out there calling my name, but for some reason, I cannot hear Him. I cannot see Him. I’m sinking. Where is my faith now?

I know He’s there. I know He’s taking care of me. He always has. He wouldn’t stop now.

One month ago I quit my job. I needed to take a month to spend time on campus with my friends before I left, put all of my attention on passing on the ministry I have led well. I also just hated working where I did, if you ask anyone around me, it was killing my spirit. I had enough money to last me a month. I was going to trust God to amaze me with His provision and divine appointments, like he always has done. Besides that I knew my FAFSA credit money was coming so I knew that whatever God provided could be supported with that money.

Last Friday was the day I planned on leaving. Last Thursday I moved out of my apartment, into the one next door. It was becoming more apparent that I was more than likely staying for another semester. This is a great option and I should feel ecstatic. My leaders have more than welcomed me to stay and continue in the role I have had. While this is fantastic, I still feel lost and confused.

I thought it was time to go.

I know it will be okay. I know that this does not mean I won’t go to New York, it just means that the timing will be different. I know that is where God is leading me. In the mean time, I will live off my FAFSA aid check and seek God’s direction. I don’t want to miss out on what God is saying and this is a perfect time to just seek Him and work on stuff for Ignite.

Money is running low, but it’s fine, I will manage until my check comes.

Today is my Sabbath, so I wanted to spend more time just reading and spending time with God. I was blessed with a Starbucks gift card so I decided to go there. Before I began to read, I received a response to an email I sent to the financial aid office. It assured me that all my documents looked in order and they would release the credit check the 10th of February.

I can’t breathe.

 

I’m under water. Submerged. I find myself struggling to reach the surface only to realize, I don’t which way is up. Where do I go? Stop panicking. Stop panicking. STOP Panicking!

 My first thought is that I need a job. I could walk into Panera right now and begin working tomorrow. Then I begin to hyperventilate. I can’t go back to work there. I am so confused. I ask God what to do. I realize how foolish it was to put hope in this money that I did not know when it was coming. I have to find a job. I need to get back to my apartment to start applying.

What about this time we were going to spend together, God? What about the stuff I was going to write?

 

Peace.

Trust me.

I will be fine. urn. A survival lesson sticks out in my head, when you don’t know which way is up when you are underwater you have to let out bubbles, they will float up. You have to let out some of the precious air keeping you alive to get to know which way to go. 

I would be lying if I said I am not scared, but I know my God is bigger. Whether I go back to Panera, whether I get a job somewhere else, whether God plucks me up and moves me to New York next week, I know He is in control. I know He loves me and will take care of me. In the meantime, I will continue to trust Him and seek Him and do what I can.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
And do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He will make your paths straight.   Prov. 3:5-6

 

Matthew 6:25-34

 

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.     Phil. 4:6

 

The Road Less Traveled to the Beat of my Own Drum

What follows is the last stanza in “The Road not Taken”

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

-Robert Frost

Almost two decades ago I made the decision to take the road less traveled. I think for Robert Frost, the road not taken was more about not following society’s image of what life should be: education, job, marriage, family, etc. but it holds a different meaning for me. I walk the road less traveled.

Have you ever heard the phrase, “He goes to his own beat”? As much as I have tried to live by the beat of others, I cannot. I try, so hard, but something inside me will not let me. I follow someone else’s beat.

I would say I made my decision to walk the untrodden road, to play the offbeat, when I was five years old, but that is an objective age, because to be honest I don’t recollect a time I was not on this path, walking to this beat. 

Lately I have been becoming stressed out about my future. I know God will eventually take me to New York City. For much of this past semester I have believed that time to be now. To trust God, to make a leap of faith and go boldly to this impossible city of dreams.

…the one less traveled.

This weekend I came to face the very real possibility that this impression could be incorrect. What is incredible though is that I was an extended an invitation to stay, more than that, with the conviction and compassion of a father, I was told to stay if there was nothing out there. I would fight my impulse to go just because I told people I was going. I would take a step back and rest, seek God.

going to the beat of his drum…

What to do? 

I wondered, perhaps it’s time to give up on the timing being now, but what if this is the pivotal moment of faith and God is right around the corner ready to show off, ready to set me off on the road less traveled. I should keep faith and trust that God is moving in this, but what if I need to come the conclusion that I need to stay for another season. There are great opportunities if I stayed, only at the sake of putting off the city for some time in the future.

I saw before me two roads. I had to make a decision.

Two roads diverged in the middle of the wood, and I, 

Took the one…

which one…..which one….which one…I can’t be wrong….I can’t make the wrong decision….I don’t want to make a mistake I will regret the rest of my life….

Stop. 

Neither one is wrong. Whether or not I go now (I may not even be able to), but the fact that I have two equally wonderful choices before me (and they may not be mutually exclusive) should bring me to my knees in gratitude. I have two wonderful paths that are part of the road less traveled.

Thank you, God. 

I have made my decision. Take the road less traveled. I made my decision years ago, I am making it everyday, and I will continue to make it. I will follow the road less traveled. The wonderful thing though, I have come to see, this path has multiple diverging points that come back together and lead to the one who gives life. His is the road less traveled. How great is He that He gives freedom and life.

I walk to the beat of His drum. His pacing, his timing. Thank you God.