I know I haven't written in awhile, but I really feel so called to share this with you all today. Praying the Lord is working and moving in all of your lives in new and incredible ways!
My relationship with the Lord is definitely not even close to where I want it to be right now. Although yesterday, the Lord gave me a lot of the afternoon to myself to realize just how far He's brought me. As I reflect on it today, I can only fall more in love with Him who never leaves me nor forsakes me, but who fights for me, changes my heart, and blesses me beyond measure in the process.
I actually was digging through some old CDs and DVDs yesterday--my basketball games from high school (that my mother so graciously took the time to put together and record EACH GAME), and a few CDs from college with tons of pictures on them that I had saved for backup storage from my previous computer.
I watched a couple basketball games first and just couldn't help but focus on the girl wearing #10--the young girl who tried harder than ever to make varsity as a freshman, who fought with intense passion and competitiveness in every sport she played, who wouldn't settle for anything less than perfection, and who (quite honestly), thought she was WAY better at basketball than she really was (aka, big headed and prideful). I found myself flashing back to high school--how I cared SO much about what everyone thought, of how prideful I was, of how much sports and popularity were my identity, and of how close minded I really was. It's crazy really! There is so much more to life outside of those things and high school in general, and I'm just so thankful for the ways in which the Lord has slowly (and painfully) torn down those barriers and led me closer to Him. I have so many regrets of things I said and did in high school, I wonder how different it wouldn't been if I had had a real relationship with Jesus at that point in my life. It is absolutely unbelievable the change that Jesus has produced in my heart and life from then until now. And the BEST part is that I KNOW He's not finished!!!! (CAN I GET AN "AMEN"???!!!!!) To my future children, whenever you read this, from a 20-something year old woman looking back--there is so much life beyond high school and popularity and grades and boyfriends and what other people say/think about you, and I pray right now in the name of Jesus Christ that He will graciously lead me as a mother to raise you with so much more eternal perspective at that age than I ever had. God prepare my heart right now in this moment to be a light for you especially with my future kiddos.
Then I started going through the pictures on the CDs. Now right around my freshman year in college was when I started to just figure out that I'm called not just to a religion but to a relationship with Jesus. And although at the time (throughout college) I made it known that I loved Jesus, WOW my actions did NOT prove it. On these Cd's I'd scroll through photos of me and my groups of friends on mission trips to New Orleans and Mexico, only to open up the next picture and see me out partying in college getting drunk and chasing after everything this world deems as "fun". I mean, if that doesn't show how much I was struggling to live in the world and not of the world I don't know what will! It was honestly 4 years of that in college. Well in reality, it's been 28 years of trying to be in the world but not of it. But those 4 years were escalated in spiritual battle. And the worst part is that most of the time I didn't even know it was happening! Man, what a mess I was (and still am, in different ways now) but God has seriously delivered me and redeemed me in so many incredible ways that I'm honestly sitting here laughing and shaking my head in complete awe and wonder and SO in love with Him because of it.
LORD THANK YOU FOR DELIVERING ME IN ALL CIRCUMSTANCES AND CONTINUALLY MAKING ME NEW IN YOU.
This is by no means to say that I'm now perfect or don't struggle with pride, selfishness, worry, and countless other sins. Essentially, I'm just as much of a mess as I was 10 years ago. The difference? I'm now perfect IN HIM. He used yesterday so much to remind me of His steadfastness and faithfulness despite my pride centered screwups time and time again. Gosh, I'm in awe of you Lord. People: There is NOTHING you can possibly do to make Him give up on you. He is working. Whether you see it or not. Here and now. And always.
"In you, O Lord, do I take refuge; let me never be put to shame! In your righteousness deliver me and rescue me; incline your ear to me, and save me! Be to me a rock of refuge, to which I may continually come; you have given the command to save me, for you are my rock and my fortress." Psalm 71:1-3
"For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with Him. Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing." --1 Thessalonions 5:9-11
"Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world--the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life--is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever oes the will of God abides forever."--1 John 2:15-17
"if we are faithless, He remains faithful....." --2 Timothy 2:13
Jesus, we are not of the world, just as you are not of the world. Sanctify us in truth; your word is truth. As you sent Jesus into the world, so You have sent us into the world. And for our sake you consecrated yourself, so that we may also be sactified in truth. --John 17:16-19, paraphrased, emphasis mine