Saturday, April 28, 2012

Who Am I?

Sometimes I find myself wavering in the knowledge of who I am. I look to my own wayward heart to figure it out, I look to those around me to validate who I think I am, I read articles and watch other people my age and in my stage of life and try and live like them, try and find my security, my worth in living the life I feel I am supposed to live.

Who do I think I am?!?

If I look to other people and try and live like them, I will not be the unique person I was created to be. If I try and find my security and worth through the thoughts, words, and lives of others, I will always be disappointed, hurt and confused. So then where do I go? Where can I find my place? Who I am? Who I am meant to be? How to live this life?

Why does it take me SO long to turn to God?

Why do I exhaust every other outlet? Every other person, blog, song, book, etc. before I give up on trying to figure it out myself, stop trying to figure out this thing called life on my own and just sit at His feet crying out "Father!". Here I am sitting at the feet of my Savior, the One who gave Himself up for me, who died for me and three days later rose again, who loves me even when I try to live on my own, without Him. He is so great, He is so wonderful, He is so gracious, so loving, so beautiful, so patient.

He is God and I am not.

How do I seem to always forget that? How can I look at the vastness of this world, everything that is in it and think that I am God, that clearly I have been here before time and clearly I created everything that I see. That makes much more sense than the fact that I am just a breath, here one day and gone the next doesn't it? Why can I not remember that I am one little piece, one (hopefully) bold and vibrant strand woven into the tapestry of this creation that not I but He, Creator, Maker of Heaven and Earth, God has created. I am not Creator, I am not Maker, I am not God, and yet I want to believe that I am. Of course only when I think I know what's best (which I don't, I might add) and I know what I want to do, but when things are hard and I don't understand, who do I turn too? God. So why is it that I can remember that He is God, All-Powerful God when it's hard but when I can see a path that I want to take and it seems "easy" why do I assume that I am God? Because I have this disillusioned idea that I have control, that when things seem "easy" or "simple" (which they never are!), I think I know what to do, or at least I know what I would like to do, and so me, who thinks she's in control, goes for it! Sometimes things are ok for a while, sometimes I pat myself on the back and say "Attagirl, good job taking charge and making decisions on your own!" But then the longer I go, the more I begin to see things not going the way I had planned, not going the way I had envisioned them going, "how dare they!" I think, wondering how in the world everything had not fallen into place the exact way I had seen it go in my mind! And then it hits me, sometimes immediately and sometimes I fight it for a very long time, but eventually I let myself see, I open my eyes and look around me, and you know what I see? That He is God and I am not. Sometimes it's a relief when I finally acknowledge it, it takes the pressure off and I can finally breathe again. But many times I go into a downward spiral for a while, and I beat myself up for being so stupid, because I know that I know that I am not God, I know that I know that I am not in control, so why do I do this?!? Why do I give things over to God, act like this "great Godly person" and then tank in the trusting/He's in control/His ways are higher than my ways department? It's so frustrating!!! And if it's frustrating for me, it's got to be frustrating for Him right? He's got to look down at me and think, "Seriously, again?!? What is up with this girl!!!" But He doesn't. He doesn't rag on me after the umpteenth time of me "taking over" occurs, He doesn't sit me down and make me watch it in replays as I, once again, choose that my way is better than His, not the other way around. He forgives me, He loves me, He showers me in lovingkindness, He is gracious to me. As I sit at His feet, asking for His forgiveness and repenting from my wayward ways, He acknowledges my sins, forgives them and separates them as far as the east is from the west (aka they are no more). How amazing is He? Now don't think that I get off easy or anything. Just because He loves me and forgives me doesn't mean that He takes away the consequences of the actions that I choose apart from Him. Those are still mine, I still have to live with the decisions that I made, but I am not alone, He is with me as I struggle through the consequences of my sins. What a great God, He allows me to learn my lesson while going through all the muck that I created for myself with me and not making me do it on my own. He is a God like no other. Are there things that I want in this life that I don't have right now? Yes. Do I want to go outside of His will in order to get them? Yes and no. Yes, because I am a sinner and my selfish spirit likes to rear its ugly head...daily, hourly, etc. No, because in my heart I don't want anything outside of Him. I don't want anything that is outside of God's timing, His perfect plan and design that He has for my life. So I hope I will choose "no". I hope I will daily acknowledge that He is God and I am not. That I will find joy, peace, contentment and hope where I am. I have a wonderful life. I have an amazing husband. We have our separate families who have become our own. We have a great home and a wonderful church family. We are truly blessed.

Jesus thank you for...
...Your gracious and loving care displayed in ways seen and unseen.
...our home that You have so graciously provided.
...the community that You have placed us in.
...our marriage that You are daily blessing.
...Your forgiveness and grace so freely pored out.
...Your patience and love in the midst of my failures.
...the beauty that is found in the breakdown of blessings.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

It's Official...

I have been stamped and approved to be a landed permanent resident of Canada. What a weight lifted off my shoulders!!! Yesterday was full of filling out papers and detailing all our "goods to follow" which are all of our wedding presents still sitting in my parents attic waiting on us :) We (Juanita, her mom, Liam and me) left around 8:30 this morning to begin our journey to the states for a day of shopping and "landing". It was great time spent but I am so glad that it is all over so that I'm not stressing anymore! We had a very nice lady at the border who walked me through the whole process and she answered all my questions and made the whole experience wonderful which was such a blessing! So it's been quite the long day, but a VERY successful day which is great! I will be receiving my permanent resident card in the next 6 - 8 weeks and now I have to apply for a SIN card/number (it's Canada's version of a SSN). So there is still more paperwork but the stress is over (I hope!) which is a great relief. I am so excited to begin this next journey of applying for jobs and hopefully being hired in the near future, it will be great to begin another chapter of this life!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

I'm a Permanent Resident!!!!

Yay!!!!! I officially have all the paperwork to be able to become a "landed" permanent resident :) The next part of the process is for me to drive into the states and then cross back into Canada, as crossing over the Canadian border is what "seals the deal", and this must happen before May 9 or we have to start the entire process all over again! So needless to say we won't be waiting too long. I'm aiming for within the next 2 weeks or so, and since Matthew doesn't have to be with me it gives me much more flexibility to be able to go during the week. After I become landed the job searching (which has already started), applying for health care, getting a Canadian driver's license, etc. will be begin. We are so excited but at the same time it feels like we're just trading one kind of crazy for another, but at least this up coming crazy is normal crazy right?! We covet your prayers as we have more decisions to be making, from purchasing a second car to where I should try and find a job (whether Ingersoll - probably part time, or Woodstock/London - probably full time), and I'm sure there will be more things that pop up! Thank you so much for all who have prayed us through this process, we are so grateful!

Monday, April 9, 2012

There is Always Hope

"Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me - to keep me from exalting myself! Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me. And He said to me "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness." Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weakensses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong."

2 Corinthians 12:7-10

Lyme. I have labeled it my "thorn in the flesh", and yet do I boast in it? Do I boast in my weaknesses for Christ's sake? No, not really. How do I boast and praise when I am unable to wash the dishes piling up in my sink, when the laundry hamper is over-flowing, and when I am in bed rather then investing in our youth group at church? Why? Why was I given Lyme? Why is it an invisible disease that many do not see? Why? I know and I don't know all at the same time. I know that this is the life that Christ has given me, that He has entrusted to me, to reveal Him and His glory in this life. I don't know why He chose me for this particular life and how I am to reveal Him through it, but He did. I want with all my heart to love and praise Him for that choice 24/7, but I don't. I put myself down and beat myself up for being unable to do the simplest chores, I wallow and complain about my "unfair and difficult" circumstances. And yet I have a home (yes with dirty dishes in the sink, clothes waiting to be washed, floors asking to be vacuumed and mopped, but it still a home), I have food in my cabinets and in my frig, I have a husband that faithfully goes to work and who would and will do anything to provide for me.

I am blessed.

Sometimes I miss the blessings, I get distracted from them, but they're always there if I am willing to just open my eyes and see them. It is hard in the midst of my inadequacies to see the hope and the blessings staring me in the face, because sometimes I just want to be miserable. I feel like that is the only way to be when all I let myself see is the hardship, the Lyme, the things I can't do. But there is more, so much more if I will take off the blinders that I have purposefully put on and see life through the eyes of Christ. If I will give thanks and bless my Lord as I stand smack-dab in the middle of my weaknesses. Will I give thanks? Will I let Christ put away from me the self-loathing, the self-pity, and let Him put on me joy, love, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control? Will I let God be God? Will I give over my weaknesses and let Him be my strength, even when I feel like there is no strength to be had? Will I rely on Him, trust in Him, acknowledge that without Him I am nothing? 

Will I hope?

Sometimes it's hard to hope, sometimes it feels like hoping will take more strength than you feel that you possess. Because what if hope fails? What if you're left stranded as your hopes pass you by? What then? Then comes faith, which has always been there but is being put to the test. Then comes trust, in the God who knows all and has a plan that is specifically designed for each and every one of us. As children of God we have chosen to pick up our cross...and carry them! Don't forget that it is not just about taking up our cross, it is about carrying it through life! We don't just get to pick it up so we can put if back down when it gets hard, we have been called to Christ, who carried His cross and died upon it. And yet God does not leave us to carry it on our own, in Matthew 11:28-30, Christ says, "Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in hear, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." He is with me, He will carry my burden with me, I am not alone, I am never alone!

Father God thank You for...
...never leaving me nor forsaking me.
...the opportunity to live in your strength and no my own.
...revealing Yourself to me in mysterious ways.
...opening my eyes to the blessing all around me.
...picking up and carrying Your cross.
...dying on Your cross and conquering death.
...Your hope.

This is the song Glorious Day by Casting Crowns: