Saturday, August 25, 2012

Marvelously Helped

Life is full of challenges, hills and valleys. With divorced parents I find myself in many a valleys. One too many for my personal taste, but things are what they are. 

Through these challenges it is never easy to find the positive and I haven't found a way yet. Usually at the peak is when I'm screaming and struggling asking, "Why me, God? Why me?" But it is truly remarkable that after this moment of lowest of lows, it can't get any worse I find myself seeing a new perspective.

It isn't always one of understanding, but it's one of recognition. That these events that are placed in my life are there to shape me. I don't know the answer to what causes negative events in our lives, but I do know that God is sovereign over all of it and has the final word in the end. The "why" is still not answered but I feel more confident in getting a little closer to understanding. 

I know that these events have made me who I am. That if my mom didn't have MS and if my dad had not had cancer I would not be the person I am sitting here typing these words today. That if my parents would have stayed married I would be different, my surroundings and circumstances would also be different as well. As hard as these times may be, I know that I cannot change any of it myself so I might as well learn to adapt. Or at least try to adapt...there is a lot of room for some grace in-between!

I am currently doing Beth Moore's study, Stepping Up through the Psalms of Ascent and it is blessing me so. I loved the women I was able to do the Bible Study with but now that school is coming back this week I won't be able to attend anymore. I'm excited that I can still continue the study on my own! Her words could bless anyone and she has such a heart for the Lord, her words help me understand His more every time I sit down to do the study.

On the Living Proof Ministries' blog she posted a quick video of her ministering to all the ladies watching and reading that day. I didn't catch it when it was live but you can bet I watched it when I was able to! I loved it and was just what I needed in that moment, and ample preparation for the night to come.

I wrote down, "I would rather be marvelously helped than strong" and it hit me hard. We don't need to be strong, because He is. We don't need to be perfect, because He is. We can love everyone because of His love. I love it. I love Beth and her passion for Jesus. It inspires me and blesses me every second I get. I pray that as you go through your weekend and get back into the rhythm of school time you find yourself marvelously helped instead of strong. I hope you know that this is a choice and I pray that you'll make the one that blesses you most. I know that I'm waiting for the day for someone to ask me, "how are you?" and for me to respond "marvelously helped." All in due time!

Have a lovely weekend!

And he built structures on the walls of Jerusalem, designed by experts to protect those who shot arrows and hurled large stones from the towers and the corners of the wall. His fame spread far and wide, for the LORD gave him marvelous help, and he became very powerful. 
2 Chronicles 26:15

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Intention

As school comes back into focus I have only two weeks left until I go back. Going back to school for my senior year hasn't been my major focus and I'm wishing it was, I only dream I wouldn't have to worry about college in the middle of it!

With this new year ahead I'm trying to be mindful of how I start this year with purpose and positivity. I don't want to be aimlessly doing homework and counting down the minutes until the weekend on Wednesdays. 

I want to have intention with my school work.

One verse that has stuck out to me is Galatians 6:9, Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. I don't want to give up on anything I do this year and feel that everything relating to school is my "good work" at the moment.

I don't want to become weary. I don't want the stress that I feel welling up inside of me before a test to stop me from studying ever again. I truly believe that if I choose to be positive about this school year and the challenges that come with it, I will have a much better year.

I will be praying over this verse frequently throughout the months to come, I cannot wait to see how I can use this verse and other passages that I'm memorizing to help me throughout the seasons. 

How are you preparing to go back to school? How do you manage to keep a positive attitude throughout the year? I'd love to know!

Post inspired by this and this.

Friday, August 10, 2012

What I'm (Regretfully) Reading

(Update: As of Aug. 14th I feel convicted not to finish this book. We make choices every day and I am choosing not to finish it. I hope that you can see my heart with this post and in no way feel bad if you have read it.)

Right now I'm trying to read as much as possible before I go back to school because that's when I seem to lose all ability to read a book outside of the ones assigned. I'm trying to be more purposeful with what I'm reading and I've lost some steam in that regard lately.

I read Blue Like Jazz and loved it, an incredible book that I encourage everyone to read. It's challenged me in my faith and encouraged me in so many ways. I love it. 

After Blue Like Jazz the value of what I was reading started to decline. I don't care to read books (anymore!) that encourage infidelity, bad life choices, abuse, murder, etc. I didn't think it was that big of a deal but after reading Where We Belong by Emily Giffin I feel even more convicted to stay away from these "harmless" chic-lit book. I'm way too easily molded by these books and don't have enough strength to not let these books effect me. 

(Note: I have nothing against anyone reading these books and know that everything we read effects everyone differently. I was incredibly inspired by this post to consider what and why I'm reading the books I am.)

I was encouraged by Where We Belong to make poor decisions and those actions are not ones that I am proud of. I felt bad that I had Gone Girl on my shelf and had heard it was a book many were enjoying and was a must-read this summer. I picked it up, wasn't incredibly impressed in the beginning but stuck with it because of the rave reviews.

I'm addicted to this book and cannot wait to finish this story and see how it ends, but I wish I didn't have this story floating around in my head. Thoughts of murder, betrayal, abuse, psychotic plans and so much more are all that I seem to be able to think about. I hate it. I don't hate the book, I want to make that very clear, but I don't like how the book is making me feel. At all. 

I want to make sure everyone knows what they're getting in to before reading this book, because if I would have known I wouldn't have read it. I was up until the wee hours in the morning reading, not being able to put the book down and then not being able to sleep after I finally did. It's something I feel motivated to share about and hope that y'all can see my heart with this book.
 

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Convicted

Three weeks. Twenty-one days. The time I have remaining until school starts up again.

Crazy!

Summers always tend to fly by, they seem like they go on for years when you're nine, but now? They feel like they lasted three weeks instead of three months. 

I'm excited to go back but challenged to do so many things different right now and during this coming school year. I feel motivated in a new and different way to make the best out of everything that comes my way during my senior year. 

I don't want to spend my days speaking poorly of others, participating in pointless and hurtful gossip, or listening to unnecessary swearing in. I feel purposeful.

This summer I spent a lot of time focusing on my faith and studying the Bible; last year I focused on going to all the dog stores in the greater Seattle area. This year, much more powerful! But I also feel worried as I try to figure out how to incorporate my new daily readings with She Reads Truth while balancing a full school load Senior year. 

Time has gone all too fast and I cannot believe that I will be going to college this time next year, it's incredibly bittersweet. I don't feel old enough to be writing my Senior Thesis or wise enough to go off to college, living on my own without my parents. It's terrifying!

Through all of the challenges that I will face this coming year I hope to remain solid in my faith, using the words of the Bible as my guide and not feed off stress from classmates. I was incredibly challenged by Proverbs 4 today and feel like I could spend months reading it over and over again in different translations, trying to get every ounce out of what those verses have to teach me. 

I pray that I continue to have this passion for the Word, even as the school year starts up and the college application process begins. It's my foundation and hopefully will aid me in being more grounded this year and stop comparing myself to others.

Twenty-one days is not a long time, but I'm excited to soak up every minute of these free days I have left. I want to make much of myself throughout these weeks and do what matters. Spend less time on Facebook and Twitter, more time reading the Bible and books that I'm dying to read. I want to have meaningful conversations and spend time with friends laughing so hard that my stomach hurts. 

I feel so convicted about how I should be spending these days and what I need to get done. The school year will start and I'll be swooped up in the stress in no time, but for now? I have all my family here to do nothing but spend time with me. Ample time to draft and prepare for college essays and to narrow down the never-ending list of colleges. To read my two books for my thesis and read so many more that challenge me to be stronger in my faith. I don't want to let a single one of these days pass by without making the most of them. I pray that I will be able to know exactly what He wants me to do with these days and give Him the glory of all that I do because without Him, I wouldn't be able to do any of it.