Again, New Year’s Eve was a great time spent with fabulous people from my church family here at home. I couldn’t be more thankful for the people at SCC. I’m convinced that there truly is no other church family in the entire world like them. I truly can’t begin to express how fantastic they are.
I could almost swear that the older I get, the quicker the year goes by. Thinking back to last year, WOW. I was a completely different person, but on the other hand, some things never change. =P So, here’s a few things I noticed about the year.
Emotions. I’m WAY more emotional than I have ever been. It’s a good thing. Trust me. I used to never allow myself to really .. hurt. Growin’ up with a football coachin’ dad meant you walked EVERYTHING off. Not just a sprained ankle. You walked off emotional pain as well. In a conversation with a few friends this past year, I discovered that truly did not understand some emotions. I was never taught what they were, but instead I bottled everything up, had to “man up,” and continued on. This year was definitely a year of just learning how to feel and working through situations on a deeper, more emotional level.
Trusting God. I know that sounds so ridiculously cliched and I agree. To go a little further with that, my trust has been with relationships. I was pressured pretty heavily by a handful of people to say something to a certain someone this summer about dating. I didn’t want to because I knew the answer, yet I was finally talked into it. Well…I did…And surprise surprise, it turned out the way I knew it would. That was on July 4th. On July 6th, I made a deal with God that I would not pursue anyone for a year. If someone came after me, that was a whole different story. I’m an alpha. I’m headstrong, I’m determined, and I’m driven. This means I typically am the one who pursues. I finally decided I was done doing so. As a female, I deserve to be chased after. I can say I’ve kept that pact.. until a few weeks ago. I made a few moves that, as I look back now, were moves of pursuance. And guess what. Things didn’t go as I wanted them to. Oh big shocker, Hannah. I lost sight of what I told God I would do, and he reminded me. So, here’s to another 7 months of blissful silence on my part. :)
Most Unforgettable Moment
This is more on a serious level, and there are actually three. In sequential order, the first was the call to China in February. There’s a whole blog on that one. Just search through February’s archive. The second would be a night where God brought me to my knees in fear for what’s in store, but reassured me that HE WOULD BE THERE every step of the way. After our last night of the summer for the college bible study, the crew was heading to Steak ‘n Shake, as always. For some strange reason, I wound up driving separately. When I got to Hillsboro, it was absolutely clear that I was NOT to go to S&S, but I was to head home and spend some time with God. So, I texted Amber & told her what was up & headed home. The strange thing was I felt absolutely no tug to read certain Scripture and there wasn’t really anything on my heart that I needed to pray about. When things like that happened, I’m usually inclined to just opening up to a random spot in the Bible and reading. I chose to do this then. I opened up to Romans and immediately read
“Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written:
“For your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”
I stopped and asked God what in the world that was for. It was clear that I was to continue on elsewhere in Scripture. Again, I randomly flipped forward to Hebrews..
“Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you stood your ground in a great contest in the face of suffering. Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated. You sympathized with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possession.”
At this point, my heart rate is speeding up. Over to 1 Thessalonians..
“But Timothy has just now come to us from you and has brought good news about your faith and love. He has told us that you always have pleasant memories of us and that you long to see us, just as we also long to see you. Therefore, brothers, in all our distress and persecution we were encouraged about you because of your faith. For now we really live, since you are standing firm in the Lord.”
-1 Thessalonians 3:6-8
Scripture after scripture. Persecution. Persecution. Persecution. I finally came to the point where I was crying because it couldn’t have been more obvious to me. Over to 2 Timothy..
“You, however, know all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance, persecutions, sufferings—what kinds of things happened to me in Antioch, Iconium and Lystra, the persecutions I endured. Yet the Lord rescued me from all of them. In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil men and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.”
-2 Timothy 3:10-15
I finally came to the point where I was admitting to God that I was scared. I couldn’t do this, I could not have this happen to me. My faith just isn’t strong enough. I was crying.. and hard. Ever have those moments in your time with God where he couldn’t seem more real? That was one of those moments. I was on my knees, face buried in the blankets on my bed, and I was goin’ to town with the crying. The coolest thing was, I knew it was okay to cry because I knew it was okay to admit to God that I was scared. And the whole time, all I heard was, “My child, I’m right here. I’ve always been here, and I always will be. I’m here. What more do you need? I will build your faith. Trust me. My child, I’m here.” And I just knew it was okay to cry, so I did. But the whole time, I swear it was the coolest thing in the world. For the first time EVER, I truly felt like I was praising him in the storm. I might have been scared out of my skin and feeling completely unprepared for what was to come, but I knew it would happen when and how he said it would. So I had my cry, and again, I must not have been done reading. And this is how He wrapped up..
Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life.”
This will probably forever be my favorite moment with God.
And moment number three occurred on Christmas Eve. I’d messed up pretty big earlier in the week and it was starting to really bite me on Christmas eve night. I laid awake from about 12:30 til 3:30 crying my eyes out. Why? Because for the first time ever, I not only realized that God allowed me to give myself up to sin, but I was also as far from the cross as I’d ever been. At some point I had allowed my relationship with the Creator to begin to crumble, and on that night, it absolutely fell apart. The realization of a lot of things hit and I just.. yeah. Lost it. And it was AWESOME. Okay, stick with me on this. I know that there is no possible way for me to ever be alone, and I knew this when all of this was happening. But I truly felt as alone as absolutely possible on this night, yet still knew God was there and understood that. I’m not sure that’s going to make sense to everyone, but, hey. Welcome to my mind. =P I spent three hours begging God to not give up on me yet. There was a whole lot of fear that I had finally drawn the last straw. I rode his last nerve and I truly thought he might be done with me. No, that wasn’t it, but he DID give me over to sin. And whose fault would that be? Yes, mine. It’s not that he wouldn’t take me back, but he finally let me go my own way. I needed this. I needed to be scared out of my mind the way I was. Now, to make the story a lot happier, things have gotten considerably better. God has spoken in awesome ways. This was definitely something that needed to happen. =)
Those are three of the most memorable moments for me of this past year. I’m excited for the year ahead, but also highly concerned. Our illustrious government is more powerful than ever. We’ve started to put way too much trust in our leaders and I think we’re starting to see the repercussions of said trust. Don’t let anything sneak up on you, guys. Be alert. Be informed. Arm yourselves with knowledge of what is going on. Read, study, research. Be aware!
Well, here’s to a year of lessons learned, and to a year of surprises ahead…
Pray on friends.