Sunday, February 27, 2011

thank You God for depression

When I feel too tired to do anything, tired and weak and sick to the point where all I want is the sleep that my body won't agree to, this is when depression often attacks. I feel tired, unhappy that I can't be there for people, unhappy that I feel too weak to talk, type, text, do homework, or do much of anything besides rest. I feel scared. And I just want to sleep, but I can't...

It's hard and scary, but God is there. And I always grow closer to God through these times.

This time was different. Friday night I went to bed crying, feeling wounded. Feeling alone. Not alone from God, but alone in this world. Misunderstood. Unloved. Deeply hurt.

Saturday I woke up crying and deeply pained over the same thing. After all the nights of four to six hours of sleep (or of complete insomnia), going to bed after 4am and feeling this pain was just enough to pull me over and make me sick. I stayed in bed almost all day yesterday resting and sleeping. I felt bad for not being able to meet up with people I was planning to hang out with, but I couldn't do anything. It was only by God's strength that I had been so full of energy every other day!!! It was insane!! I should've been sick way sooner, but God really filled me with joy in order to keep me going and fill me with energy every day.

Once I finally got up and took a shower, Christian songs I have heard over and over again played from the radio. They hit me even harder. The words moved me and touched me, even deeper into my heart than ever before. These are words that come from mostly from Bible verses. Just the same way I can read the same passages in the Bible again and again, and God always shows me something more, reveals more, touches me even deeper within, all the comforting words about God and God's love in these songs were even more meaningful than the day before. I was like, "Wow, God! Thank you for this depression!!"

...And I had been feeling irritation and frustration toward others who feel like God is far away. Who feel like God has abandoned them. I had been frustrated with people who just couldn't see that God is everything we need. Who keep getting stuck in the same ruts again and again, and who keep not turning to God for Comfort, Strength, and Hope. I had been unable to understand a lot of the pain and thoughts my friends were feeling...

And I didn't want that!!! I only wanted compassion, patience, and love. But it was hard. I just couldn't understand them. Now, I feel like from all of this God answered my prayers. He has filled me with compassion, understanding, patience, and love for these people. I am sure I will still struggle to understand and will have to fight past any irritation that tries to attack, but I am so thankful for this deeper love and compassion for all that God has filled me with. I really needed to be humbled like this, badly.

Thank You Lord!!!

This morning when I turned on Pandora a beautiful song came on that I can really relate to. "You Rescue Me" by Salvador. I can't find it on youtube, but here are the lyrics...

"Something in the motion of my history
Like a desert highway flying under me
All these guilty wounds that cannot be redeemed
By time, by time

Aching in a place that only I can see
Tears have a way of catching up to me
All it ever takes is a glimpse of something free
Like birds in flight

So I'm giving up on clarity
Cause I want to trust where I cannot see and

You rescue me, You hear my cry
You shelter me through the night
And You are my strength when I am in need
You are my God, You rescue me

Caught between the ocean and eternity
Broken by the weight of my attempts to be
Everything that everyone expects of me
This time, and every time

So I'm giving up on my righteousness
Cause grace, alone, will give me rest cause

You rescue me, You hear my cry
You shelter me through the night
And You are my strength when I am in need
You are my God, You rescue me"

...And today the song that keeps going through my head, "Everything I need" by Kutless. This was the first song that played when I finally turned on the radio yesterday.

"When every step is so hard to take
And all of my hope is fading away
When life is a mountain that I can not climb
You carry me, Jesus carry me.

You Are strength in my weakness
You are the refuge I seek
You are everything in me time of need
You are everything, You are everything I need

When every moment is more than I can take
And all of my strength is slipping away
When every breath gets harder to breathe
You carry me, Jesus carry me

You Are strength in my weakness
You are the refuge I seek
You are everything in me time of need
You are everything, You are everything I need

I need You
You are everything I need
I love everything about You

You Are strength in my weakness
You are the refuge I seek
You are everything in me time of need
You are everything, You are everything I need."

2 Corinthians 12

Paul’s Vision and His Thorn
1 I must go on boasting. Although there is nothing to be gained, I will go on to visions and revelations from the Lord. 2 I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know—God knows. 3 And I know that this man—whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, but God knows— 4 was caught up to paradise and heard inexpressible things, things that no one is permitted to tell. 5 I will boast about a man like that, but I will not boast about myself, except about my weaknesses. 6 Even if I should choose to boast, I would not be a fool, because I would be speaking the truth. But I refrain, so no one will think more of me than is warranted by what I do or say, 7 or because of these surpassingly great revelations. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9 But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

holding on; love I don't deserve.

"If I could not hold a pen,
I would write of You on my heart instead.
You have bought me with Your blood,
And I am painted red by Your love.

Ooh …

If I could not say a word,
My life would speak of love I don’t deserve.

Hope means holding on to You.
Grace means You’re holding me too.

Ooh …"

-"Painted Red" by JJ Heller

Friday, February 25, 2011

Depression attacks...

Depression attacks hard this morning. I am weak. Sick. Tired. Vulnerable. But none of that is new.

My mood keeps fluctuating. God keeps filling me with joy over reminders of His love, but then Satan keeps reminding me of the pain again...

It is so hard. I truly do what I do out of genuine love for everyone. I do not want or expect anything in return. But right now the enemy (Satan) keeps reminding me how much I have not been thanked for what I've done. How sad it is that after everything we did and the love we poured out, the love He poured out, these people are back in their destructive lifestyles. Back in their ruts. Too stuck to even show thankfulness for anything. It is so hard. So saddening.

It's been hard to be around the world. Around anger over stupid things like academic tests. Around a world so unhappy about minor things--when God is enough to fill us with peace and joy. I know all these thoughts are incredibly selfish and hypocritical.

I've been there. I am there. I complain about stupid things and am constantly filled with anxiety about stupid things too!! It's been hard to be filled with these selfish thoughts. But I keep praying for more patience. More compassion. More love.

Another thing Satan keeps reminding me is how alone I am. How much I constantly reach out to others, initiate conversations, listen, give of my time. And how no one does that for me. How no one is there. How awful everyone is to me.

I don't want to care about this!!!!! I actually love it. I love the fact that God is all I have because God is all I need. I don't want to want anything from anyone.

The devil keeps reminding me how sad it is that there are no earthly results of the love I've poured out. How, instead, I am treated like crap. And how no one is there when I need someone.

I never feel these things! This isn't cool! I hate it!!

I am vulnerable. Weak. Human. Sinful and selfish.

And the thoughts the devil keeps filling me with are lies.

As I am being attacked this morning, I keep going from wanting to cry to smiling over God's constant reminders of His love.

That is why I smile so much and why I am smiling or even filled with joy. I know how much the world has been horrible to me. I know how much pain my family's abusive words have brought. I know that this world is horrible!!! But I know God is GREATER. All I need is here with me. He is holding me. Carrying me. And I can't help but smile!

God had me run into my friend Colleen right at the right time this morning. Everything we said was related to what I was feeling, talked of God's goodness and the love and strength He alone fills us with. This briefly brought joy.

Depression and sadness continued to attack. I opened Psalms. God had EXACTLY what I needed to hear. (For me the enemies it is talking about in the passage refers to Satan)

Psalm 142

1 I cry aloud to the LORD;
I lift up my voice to the LORD for mercy.
2 I pour out before Him my complaint;
before Him I tell my trouble.

3 When my spirit grows faint within me,
it is You who watch over my way.
In the path where I walk
people have hidden a snare for me.
4 Look and see, there is no one at my right hand;
no one is concerned for me.
I have no refuge;
no one cares for my life.

5 I cry to you, LORD;
I say, “You are my refuge,
my portion in the land of the living.”

6 Listen to my cry,
for I am in desperate need;
rescue me from those who pursue me,
for they are too strong for me.
7 Set me free from my prison,
that I may praise your name.
Then the righteous will gather about me
because of your goodness to me.

Psalm 143

A psalm of David.

1 LORD, hear my prayer,
listen to my cry for mercy;
in Your faithfulness and righteousness
come to my relief.
2 Do not bring your servant into judgment,
for no one living is righteous before You.
3 The enemy pursues me,
he crushes me to the ground;
he makes me dwell in the darkness
like those long dead.
4 So my spirit grows faint within me;
my heart within me is dismayed.
5 I remember the days of long ago;
I meditate on all Your works
and consider what Your hands have done.
6 I spread out my hands to You;
I thirst for you like a parched land.

7 Answer me quickly, LORD;
my spirit fails.
Do not hide Your face from me
or I will be like those who go down to the pit.
8 Let the morning bring me word of Your unfailing love,
for I have put my trust in You.
Show me the way I should go,
for to you I entrust my life.
9 Rescue me from my enemies, LORD,
for I hide myself in You.
10 Teach me to do Your will,
for You are my God;
may Your good Spirit
lead me on level ground.

11 For Your name’s sake, LORD, preserve my life;
in Your righteousness, bring me out of trouble.
12 In Your unfailing love, silence my enemies;
destroy all my foes,
for I am Your servant.

...And as I walked away from class with sadness and depression and Satan still attacking me with stupid, sinful, and selfish thoughts, God filled my head with a song...

"I don't care what the world throws at me now.
It's gonna be alright!

'Cause I know my God saved the day.
And I know His Word never fails.
And I know my God made a way for me.
Salvation is here..."

God thank You for Your love and mercy. It is more than enough for me.

Thank You for carrying me through and constantly reminding me of Your GREAT love for me. I am so weak. My spirit is faint. I am selfish and sinful.

But even if no one cares about me, even in no one is here for me on earth, You are here!!! You are my refuge and my portion!

You rescue me from my pain, from this world, and from Satan. Thank You Jesus!!! You set me free!

I am filled with Your amazing peace and joy again. I am ready to face the world. And to love. To let You love through me. Fill me with compassion, patience, kindness, gentleness, humility, and love dear LORD. Take away any anger, selfishness, pride, or sinful thought. Empty me of me and fill me with You.

Thank You LORD!!!!

...The rest of the day continued to be up and down. I kept singing the song in my head as sadness and depression attacked. I was mostly just very very tired and weak. Matt stayed with me and took care of me. He is so incredibly sweet!!!!! Kaitlyn and Annalisa had a praise party with me that night that was wonderful. God was there. And He has blessed me with too many amazing brothers and sisters in Christ who are there too!!! Thank You Lord, and thank you everyone!!!!! All the lies about being alone are NOT true.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

to remember His faithfulness

These past two weeks have been really hard, but the LORD is so faithful. I don't ever want to forget all that He has done.

Without Him, and many times throughout the day when I give in to fear instead of faith and when I let my flesh rule my body instead of the Holy Spirit, I am a selfish, anxious, sinful mess. That is who I am. That is who we all are apart from Him. Jesus is the only thing good in me. I don't do anything good, but He does good when He uses me. When I let the Holy Spirit have complete control.

I am going to write detailed entries about the last few weeks and put them in the dates they are talking about. Sorry if they are too detailed for you. I am selfishly writing for me. I want to remember forever what God has done...

John 15

The Vine and the Branches
1 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunesa]">[a] so that it will be even more fruitful. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.

5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

9 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. 17 This is my command: Love each other.

random Thursday thoughts

This morning God somehow allowed me to get up late, read the Bible and eat, shower and pray and praise, text and call friends, print off assignments, and make it to class on time! It doesn't make sense!

During class the weight of the world's pain and sin and refusal to turn away from ruts to God was filling me with sadness again. I kept wanting to cry. I was glad I got to vent to Kelsey after.

I looked at the grades for the Personality test. I got a 55. The highest grade. 87.5% or something (an A). It was NOT me but God. I barely studied at all. God truly helps when we have faith!!

I went to lunch and the new check out lady is always thanking me for being there for my friend who was struggling earlier this week. The lunch lady really has a huge heart! I vented to her that this week has been really hard because a lot of friends are depressed, suicidal, and not turning to God for hope and strength. She told me stories about how she's realized God is the only hope and strength. She also vented about how horrible her working conditions had been before because a mean coworker. She had been praying the coworker would be moved. The new check out lady had always always wanted the ob of check out lady, but she thought she would retire before Kise Jean. God answered her prayers in an unexpected way! She is happy! Hearing all of this brought me joy!

I enjoyed talking with others at lunch and spent the afternoon in much needed time with God.

Please pray for those who are lost. Pray for those who are turning to relationships for their comfort, strength, and hope. Pray they will realize relationships with people can't satisfy. People are going to disappoint. They are going to bring pain. They won't always be there. They can't satisfy. But God can.

"I lift up my eyes to the hills. Where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth."
-Psalm 121:1-2

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

we don't understand His love

Despite the fact I had a big Personality test that the teacher and other students had been warning me about all year that I really hadn't properly prepared for at all, I woke up on Wednesday filled with peace and joy. Again it was the Holy Spirit. It made no sense!! I have been barely sleeping lately, yet I am still filled?! I decided to start the day reading Psalms. I read Psalm 136.

Psalm 136

1 Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good.
His love endures forever.

2 Give thanks to the God of gods.
His love endures forever.

3 Give thanks to the Lord of lords:
His love endures forever.

4 to him who alone does great wonders,
His love endures forever.

5 who by his understanding made the heavens,
His love endures forever.

6 who spread out the earth upon the waters,
His love endures forever.

7 who made the great lights—
His love endures forever.

8 the sun to govern the day,
His love endures forever.

9 the moon and stars to govern the night;
His love endures forever.

10 to him who struck down the firstborn of Egypt
His love endures forever.

11 and brought Israel out from among them
His love endures forever.

12 with a mighty hand and outstretched arm;
His love endures forever.

13 to him who divided the Red Seaa]">[a] asunder
His love endures forever.

14 and brought Israel through the midst of it,
His love endures forever.

15 but swept Pharaoh and his army into the Red Sea;
His love endures forever.

16 to him who led his people through the wilderness;
His love endures forever.

17 to him who struck down great kings,
His love endures forever.

18 and killed mighty kings—
His love endures forever.

19 Sihon king of the Amorites
His love endures forever.

20 and Og king of Bashan—
His love endures forever.

21 and gave their land as an inheritance,
His love endures forever.

22 an inheritance to his servant Israel.
His love endures forever.

23 He remembered us in our low estate
His love endures forever.

24 and freed us from our enemies.
His love endures forever.

25 He gives food to every creature.
His love endures forever.

26 Give thanks to the God of heaven.
His love endures forever.

I was reminded that even though my test was coming up, His love is what matters. I wanted to make it to my Health Psych class. I've never missed it before because I know she does a lot of in class assignments, but the time flew by! As I finished sending Matt a text thanking him for keeping me down to earth and focused on what truly matters, I felt I should just give my desire to go to that class to God. I studied for Personality. God filled me with the Spirit and the ability to focus without anxiety!

Like I said before, I had been warned all year by our teacher and by everyone else. This was going to be a hard test! I should expect to do really bad on the first one. Everyone does. I should just learn from the first one. And shouldn't worry if I do bad because he offers extra credit and weighs grades. 85% and above is an A. etc...

Taking the test I was filled with faith and the Holy Spirit. I trusted God to help me pick the right answers. I was filled with joy. A lot of the questions were identical to the ones I already memorized!!! Thanks God!!

Afterward my friends asked me how I thought I did. Ever since high school I've hated when people ask. I know tests are NOT most important. God is!!! I don't want others to feel bad if I got a better grade than them. It doesn't matter!! I wish everyone did better than me. Seriously!! I do not want to get a better grade than others. I'd rather others be happy by getting better grades... But I also wanted to be honest. These were my friends. So I said, "I actually think I did really well. It's weird. It wasn't me. It was God. The Holy Spirit was with me last night as I studied and today. Last night I had thought it might be the Holy Spirit telling me to study the online quizzes, and a lot of the questions from them were on the test! You guys should study those next time."

My friends were clearly not happy. They looked depressed and angry. I felt horrible. I was so mad at myself. I beat myself up as I often do in similar circumstances. Always wishing I would've kept my mouth shut! I was filled with sadness that the world lets stupid unimportant stuff like tests get them so down instead of being filled with peace and joy over what matters! His forgiveness and love. When I say the "world" it includes me!! I constantly let stupid things like test and time consume me with anxiety too!!! So much of my life has been wasted studying. I don't want to my time doing that anymore. Instead I want to trust God and hold fast to what is true and good, His love and faithfulness.

I spent time in prayer giving all these thoughts to God. then I met Taryn from Cru to go witnessing. I had been praying all week for God to take away all my fear and anxiety about going out and doing this. I was determined to live by faith and not fear.

God brought us to a girl who was incredibly open to talking about Him and really wanted to learn more! We let the Holy Spirit speak and work through us and talked for a long time. Taryn and I were a great team! We don't really know each other and had never done this together before, but our stories about God working in our lives and our references to Bible verses built off of each other beautifully. Taryn and I were both filled with joy from letting the Holy Spirit use us and are excited to go out together again!! The girl we talked to drilled us with questions, was excited to learn, and truly might turn to God soon! The world is really ready to hear about Him!!

After working on homework and talking to friends, I was starting to feel weighted down with the pain the world feels when they don't turn to Jesus for their comfort, strength and hope again. I was feeling tired and sick. I spent some time alone with God in prayer and went to supper. Still weak, but knowing He is enough.

At supper a friend was struggling A LOT. She was feeling depressed and suicidal. Questioning her faith. She wanted to talk. I was tired. I knew I could use rest and alone time with God, but I prayed hard for the Holy Spirit to be my strength and to use me to comfort and speak to her. I stayed with her until 8:30. The Holy Spirit spoke. She cried. The Holy Spirit comforted.

Afterward I couldn't be around people besides Matt. I went to his room and wept for the world. All the world needs is God. He's ALWAYS there. He is our Strength, Hope, Peace, Comfort, and Love. He is our Father, Friend, and our eternal Lover. He wants to hold our hand and carry us through. I wept and prayed for each of us to understand His forgiveness and love. We are all SO sinful. I slap Him in the face with all of my sins constantly. We refuse to turn to Him and to accept His love. I worry and become anxious. He bleeds for us. Bleeds for us. Bleeds for my sins.

But instead of getting what we deserve: hell, He gives us Life. Eternal life!!!! That will be better than we can ever imagine. And He loves us. With an everlasting unconditional love.

It is so incredibly sad how much we don't understand His love for us.

After weeping and praying for the world, I talked to Matt a little, and sang to the LORD the rest of the night. It was wonderful and needed.

"Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good.
His love endures forever.
-Psalm 136:1

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

giving Him control; a leap of faith

After staying up late to study, God woke me up early Tuesday morning. I was filled with joy from reading His Word and from all He had done the day before. I studied for awhile and took the Developmental test. After and during the test, anxiety was trying to control me. I was worried about my teacher thinking I plagiarized my paper! I didn't, but as I had glanced over it before handing it in, I thought it kind of appeared that I did... I just kept giving that worry to God over and over.

Between classes I started studying for the Personality test I had the next day. My friend who had struggled with suicidal thoughts the day before still hadn't texted me back to say how she was doing. This brought me anxiety. I kept giving these fears about her to God. "He's in control, He's in control..." When she wasn't in class (and she had said she was coming), I was sick to my stomach with anxiety. The anxiety spread to be about everything. I was worried about my Personality test the next day. I hadn't studied or finished the reading yet because I was trying to focus on one test at a time. I felt sick to my stomach. I had class all the way until 4:30, and I still had to shower. BLEH. And should I eat lunch? Would I ever get time to read and study at the wellness center? I was worried about the anxiety that tries to consume me most: time. I was filled with worry about my friend and with all these incredibly stupid and selfish anxieties. I kept praying and giving them all to God.

Finally, I couldn't take it. I was so worried about my friend. I stepped out of class to read a text from her. She had slept in. Sigh of relief!!! I gave all my other stupid anxieties to God again and again. But they continued to attack...

After my classes I took a shower, praising the LORD. The anxiety over feeling like I know nothing for my upcoming test and wanting to study until I feel like I know the material kept attacking me. The desire for control over tests and school work has been a giant anxiety trying to consume me (and truly consuming me a lot) since middle school. It is so hard for me to surrender control of this area to God. On top of my desire to study as hard as possible for my upcoming test, I was really wanting to get to the wellness center to ride the bike while studying.

I knelt to the ground and lifted up each thing to God, giving Him control. It was HARD!!!! I wanted control over my time and test and wanted to exercise so bad!! But I gave them to Him. I love Him so much more than those things!!! I gave God control, telling Him,"Lord, I want to love You with all of my heart, mind, soul, and strength. I am giving You this test. I don't even care if I get to study tonight or not. Do Your will. Use me the way You want. I give You my desire to exercise, Dear Lord. I don't want that to be an idol. It is not important. You are. I don't care if I get to exercise or not. I don't want to ever care about that any day. I want to let You have control of my bod. To do Your will and Your work. I don't care if I go to the wellness center or not tonight." And I gave Him my time. "Dear Lord, use me as You desire. I don't want to be so selfish anymore. I don't care what happens tonight or tomorrow or any day to come!! I just want to love You and show Your love to others."

After that all the weight came of my shoulders. I felt free!!! I was suddenly filled with energy instead of being tired. And, praise God, I was hungry!! For the first time in days, I was finally hungry!!

The Lord led me to Matt's room first to talk with, love, encourage, and listen to him. After that I went to supper. As friends talked with me I was tempted because of selfishness. I had to fight off anxiety about time like crazy! I kept praying for patience, and I thank the Lord that He filled me with it. I hate how selfish about time I am naturally. I stayed at supper a lot longer than I would've selfishly wanted, but as always, when I gave God control, His plans were so much better than mine!!! I am thankful for all the friends I was able to listen to and for all of God's love we poured out to each other.

Since I had given God control of everything that evening, I was filled with more energy than ever! God blessed me with enough time and energy to still go to the wellness center and study on a bike. However, I didn't get as much studying done while there as I wanted to. Studying was going very slowly, it was getting late, and I had a lot of reading and studying left to do, but God was good!!! God played a Christian song and some uplifting songs while I was there, to remind me of His love. Also right when I needed it, Kelsey sent me some really inspiring text messages, reminding me that loving God and others is so much more important than studying.

Normally I am filled with anxiety while studying for tests. That has always been the cause of the once a month times earlier this year where I gave in to binge eating to "help" me study. But this time I kept praying and was determined to live in faith not fear! God would help me on the test even though I barely studied, and He would help me as I studied. I was filled with the Holy Spirit and God's peace and joy. I still had two chapters left to read and hadn't even started most of the studying. It was midnight. I noticed our textbook said we could go online to take practice tests. I knew our teacher writes his own tests. It didn't seem likely they would help with the test, but I felt like the Holy Spirit might be nudging me to print off and study those practice tests, so I did.

I went to Matt's room to keep studying. In years past when I had tests, or lots to do, I didn't want to be around or talk with other people. I was too anxious. I just wanted to "get r done, get r done, get r done..." It took completely relying on God's strength Tuesday night to sit and listen to Matt. Selfish anxiety about studying was attacking me, but I kept praying for patience, asking God to change my heart to one filled with patience and love. I really enjoy listen to Matt!!! He was talking about God and loving others, and God and loving others are most important! Looking back, it is amazing how much patience God filled me with to listen to Matt. I would've never had it without Him.

I was really tired as I stayed up studying, but God helped me study without using food. I was tempted! But God's joy was my strength. I went to bed knowing I barely knew anything, had tons of studying left, and knowing I was not at all ready for the test. Instead of being consumed by fear and anxiety like I would've been in the past, I knew God was enough. God's love is all I need! And God would help me! I was completely filled with faith and not fear!!

"Early in the morning, as Jesus was on his way back to the city, he was hungry. Seeing a fig tree by the road, he went up to it but found nothing on it except leaves. Then he said to it, 'May you never bear fruit again!' Immediately the tree withered.
When the disciples saw this, they were amazed. 'How did the fig tree wither so quickly?' they asked.
Jesus replied, 'Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done. If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.'"
-Matthew 21:18-21

"You must
You must think I'm strong
To give me what I'm going through

Well, forgive me
Forgive me if I'm wrong
But this looks like more than I can do
On my own

Well, maybe
Maybe that's the point
To reach the point of giving up

Cause when I'm finally
Finally at rock bottom
Well, that's when I start looking up
And reaching out

I know I'm not strong enough to be
Everything that I'm supposed to be
I give up
I'm not strong enough
Hands of mercy won't you cover me
Lord right now I'm asking you to be
Strong enough

Cause I'm broken
Down to nothing
But I'm still holding on to the one thing
You are God
and you are strong
When I am weak

I can do all things
Through Christ who gives me strength
And I don't have to be
Strong enough"

Monday, February 21, 2011

letting Him extend His love

Waking up Monday, it once again didn't make sense how filled with the Holy Spirit I was. After an exhausting weekend of loving on people and a previous week filled with insomnia, He once again carried my legs to class, filling me with His joy and peace. He gave me enough energy to pay attention and enough joy to be excited to do what I hadn't done much of yet: study for the Developmental test I had the next day.

I read and study best and most quick and efficiently on an exercise bike at the wellness center, so I sat down, sent out a text message to a few girls who the Spirit moved me to encourage and immediately got a call from a friend. She was crying too hard to even get many words out.

God was with me. He carried me quickly to her side to listen, love, and comfort her. She was lost. Had nothing. Her family didn't want anything to do with her at the time and her boyfriend broke up with her without explanation. She had nothing. No reason to live. She wanted to kill herself. I was filled with love and compassion for her. The girl desperately needs Hope, Security, Love. She needs Jesus.

The Holy Spirit spoke through me telling her of Jesus's love for her. Telling her He, not relationships, family, alcohol, drugs, or anything else, is what she needs. I don't know if those words affected her. I desperately want her to understand how much Jesus loves her. I know it may take a long time, but I have hope for her. She is so dear to my heart. She is a very beautiful, loving, fun, and silly girl. I am so thankful for her friendship and thankful God gave me the strength to be there for her.

I was seriously worried for my friends life. Because she was suicidal, I felt that someone should stay with her all day. I stayed with her the whole morning and called my faithful partner Matt to ask if he could stay with her while I went to our Personality class and took notes for us. Matt is so amazing. He came right over.

Our struggling friend had gone to meet her boyfriend who was going to drop off all her stuff. She said she wanted to go alone and would be right back. I went to do some Psychology experiments and go to class. Matt was calling and texting. It had been almost an hour since our friend left, and she still hadn't returned!!! Matt was searching for her... My stomach was upset. I wanted to throw up the lunch I hadn't had time to eat. I ran into my friend Chelsea, which was such a blessing! She was willing to give up everything to help our friend for the rest of the day. Jared was also willing to do the same. Everyone in our LCM family of Christ was eager to pray, help, and love. The group is such a blessing!!!

During class I was sick to my stomach with anxiety. Matt texted me that she was on her way back, but I had to wait another half hour to get a text from our friend confirming to me she was back. I was filled with joy from her text, "Matt is a hufflepuff!"

I really experienced what it feels like to be a mom this week. Feeling sick with anxiety and worried about my daughter's life. Matt proved to be such an AMAZING partner. I know he will be a great dad. I am so thankful for our constant communication and how loving and sacrificial he is.

After class I rushed back to my friend and stayed with her while she rested until supper. I was really happy to be there. It is amazing I even had the strength during this hard, stressful, and exhausting week to give up my time and be there for her. It was all God!! I was filled with God's peace and able to study. At supper our group showered love and hugs on our friend. She was already doing better. She had been gone a long time ealier because her boyfriend was apologizing and explaining to her the reason for the breakup. He thought he was going to have to leave the country. But now he is probably staying, and he apologized to her. She was happy about that and hopeful. She was still crying a lot, broken, and really needed all of our love and support. Everyone came together and was beautifully loving.

After supper a group of five of us including our friend, two other girls, me and Matt, all sat on computers in the ROC. It was a party! It was definitely one of my favorite nights of the year. Hilarious and uplifting songs and videos were played, we wrote on each others facebook walls, and laughed a ton. It was a blast!!!

Only at the very end, by 10pm, did I start to feel test anxiety attacking me, breaking through the amazing peace I had been filled from the Holy Spirit for most of the day. I knew I needed to get away and give the worries to God. Loving my friend had been so much more important than anything, and God would help me on the test. I waited to make sure my friend would be okay. She said the suicidal thoughts had been gone since early afternoon. We trusted her to go to bed and contact any of us if she struggled again.

That night I struggled a little bit with text anxiety, but I was happy to give the test to God. I had faith He would help me. An academic test is nothing in importance compared to loving Him and showing others His love.

I went to bed thankful beyond belief for God keeping our friend alive. I was so incredibly thankful for all God had done that day!!! I couldn't believe how much peace and joy He poured out to me to keep me going. It was only by letting the Holy Spirit control me that any of the sacrificial love I gave was possible. It wasn't even me, it was all God!! God is SO GOOD!!!!

"Just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in Him, rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness."
-Colossians 2:6-7

"The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love."
-Galatians 5:6

Friday, February 18, 2011

even in insomnia...

I am so sinful and selfish. I deserve hell. I deserve sickness, insomnia, all of it.

But... God has been so good and faithful to me this week. I was unable to sleep for two days in a row, but I was filled with the Holy Spirit. As I rested in bed from 8:30pm onward on Wednesday night Bible verses and lyrics of songs kept going through my head. The Holy Spirit revealed to me that I should look into working for Campus Crusade for Christ in the future. Every day was a test of my faith. A test of if just resting with Jesus was enough. I wanted to be doing more. I hate resting!! But I was filled with peace and Jesus was enough!! Every day God would wake me up right before my classes without an alarm. God filled me with peace and joy and the ability to stay alert in class and to read. With constant little miracles showing me His extravagant love that I do not deserve, I was continually refilled with more than enough peace and joy to be my strength! God is AMAZING and faithful indeed!!!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

His Word fills me with joy

Tonight I was reading Psalms 119 and the Word filled me with joy. I italicized and/or bolded verses that I love most.

Psalm 119
א Aleph

1 Blessed are those whose ways are blameless,
who walk according to the law of the LORD.
2 Blessed are those who keep His statutes
and seek Him with all their heart—
3 they do no wrong
but follow His ways.
4 You have laid down precepts
that are to be fully obeyed.
5 Oh, that my ways were steadfast in obeying Your decrees!
6 Then I would not be put to shame when I consider all Your commands.
7 I will praise You with an upright heart as I learn Your righteous laws.
8 I will obey Your decrees; do not utterly forsake me.

ב Beth

9 How can a young person stay on the path of purity? By living according to Your word.
10 I seek You with all my heart; do not let me stray from Your commands.
11 I have hidden Your word in my heart that I might not sin against You.
12 Praise be to You, LORD; teach me Your decrees.
13 With my lips I recount all the laws that come from Your mouth.
14 I rejoice in following Your statutes as one rejoices in great riches.
15 I meditate on Your precepts and consider Your ways.
16 I delight in Your decrees; I will not neglect Your word.

ג Gimel

17 Be good to Your servant while I live,
that I may obey Your word.
18 Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in Your law.
19 I am a stranger on earth; do not hide Your commands from me.
20 My soul is consumed with longing for Your laws at all times.
21 You rebuke the arrogant, who are accursed,
those who stray from Your commands.
22 Remove from me their scorn and contempt,
for I keep Your statutes.
23 Though rulers sit together and slander me,
your servant will meditate on Your decrees.
24 Your statutes are my delight; they are my counselors.

ד Daleth

25 I am laid low in the dust;
preserve my life according to Your word.
26 I gave an account of my ways and You answered me;
teach me Your decrees.
27 Cause me to understand the way of Your precepts, that I may meditate on Your wonderful deeds.
28 My soul is weary with sorrow; strengthen me according to Your word.
29 Keep me from deceitful ways; be gracious to me and teach me Your law.
30 I have chosen the way of faithfulness; I have set my heart on Your laws.
31 I hold fast to Your statutes, LORD;
do not let me be put to shame.
32 I run in the path of Your commands,
for You have broadened my understanding.

ה He

33 Teach me, LORD, the way of Your decrees,
that I may follow it to the end.
34 Give me understanding, so that I may keep Your law and obey it with all my heart.
35 Direct me in the path of Your commands, for there I find delight.
36 Turn my heart toward Your statutes and not toward selfish gain.
37 Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to Your word.
38 Fulfill Your promise to Your servant,
so that You may be feared.
39 Take away the disgrace I dread,
for Your laws are good.
40 How I long for Your precepts! In Your righteousness preserve my life.

ו Waw

41 May Your unfailing love come to me, LORD, Your salvation, according to Your promise;
42 then I can answer anyone who taunts me, for I trust in Your word.
43 Never take Your word of truth from my mouth, for I have put my hope in Your laws.
44 I will always obey Your law,
for ever and ever.
45 I will walk about in freedom, for I have sought out Your precepts.
46 I will speak of Your statutes before kings
and will not be put to shame,
47 for I delight in Your commands because I love them.
48 I reach out for Your commands, which I love, that I may meditate on Your decrees.

ז Zayin

49 Remember Your word to Your servant, for You have given me hope.
50 My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life.
51 The arrogant mock me unmercifully,
but I do not turn from Your law.
52 I remember, LORD, Your ancient laws, and I find comfort in them.
53 Indignation grips me because of the wicked,
who have forsaken Your law.
54 Your decrees are the theme of my song wherever I lodge.
55 In the night, LORD, I remember Your name, that I may keep your law.
56 This has been my practice:
I obey Your precepts.

ח Heth

57 You are my portion, LORD; I have promised to obey Your words.
58 I have sought Your face with all my heart;
be gracious to me according to Your promise.
59 I have considered my ways
and have turned my steps to Your statutes.
60 I will hasten and not delay
to obey Your commands.
61 Though the wicked bind me with ropes,
I will not forget Your law.
62 At midnight I rise to give You thanks for Your righteous laws.
63 I am a friend to all who fear You,
to all who follow Your precepts.
64 The earth is filled with Your love, LORD; teach me Your decrees.

ט Teth

65 Do good to Your servant
according to Your word, LORD.
66 Teach me knowledge and good judgment, for I trust Your commands.
67 Before I was afflicted I went astray,
but now I obey Your word.
68 You are good, and what You do is good; teach me Your decrees.
69 Though the arrogant have smeared me with lies,
I keep Your precepts with all my heart.
70 Their hearts are callous and unfeeling, but I delight in Your law.
71 It was good for me to be afflicted
so that I might learn Your decrees.
72 The law from Your mouth is more precious to me than thousands of pieces of silver and gold.

י Yodh

73 Your hands made me and formed me; give me understanding to learn Your commands.

74 May those who fear You rejoice when they see me, for I have put my hope in Your word.
75 I know, LORD, that Your laws are righteous, and that in faithfulness You have afflicted me.
76 May Your unfailing love be my comfort, according to Your promise to Your servant.
77 Let Your compassion come to me that I may live, for Your law is my delight.
78 May the arrogant be put to shame for wronging me without cause;
but I will meditate on Your precepts.
79 May those who fear You turn to me,
those who understand Your statutes.
80 May I wholeheartedly follow Your decrees, that I may not be put to shame.

כ Kaph

81 My soul faints with longing for Your salvation, but I have put my hope in Your word.
82 My eyes fail, looking for Your promise; I say, “When will You comfort me?”
83 Though I am like a wineskin in the smoke, I do not forget Your decrees.
84 How long must Your servant wait? When will you punish my persecutors?
85 The arrogant dig pits to trap me,
contrary to Your law.
86 All Your commands are trustworthy;
help me, for I am being persecuted without cause.
87 They almost wiped me from the earth,
but I have not forsaken Your precepts.
88 In Your unfailing love preserve my life, that I may obey the statutes of Your mouth.

ל Lamedh

89 Your word, LORD, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens.
90 Your faithfulness continues through all generations; You established the earth, and it endures.
91 Your laws endure to this day, for all things serve You.
92 If Your law had not been my delight,
I would have perished in my affliction.
93 I will never forget Your precepts,
for by them You have preserved my life.
94 Save me, for I am Yours; I have sought out Your precepts.
95 The wicked are waiting to destroy me,
but I will ponder Your statutes.
96 To all perfection I see a limit, but Your commands are boundless.

מ Mem

97 Oh, how I love Your law!
I meditate on it all day long.
98 Your commands are always with me
and make me wiser than my enemies.
99 I have more insight than all my teachers,
for I meditate on Your statutes.
100 I have more understanding than the elders,
for I obey Your precepts.
101 I have kept my feet from every evil path
so that I might obey Your word.
102 I have not departed from Your laws,
for You Yourself have taught me.
103 How sweet are Your words to my taste,
sweeter than honey to my mouth!
104 I gain understanding from Your precepts;
therefore I hate every wrong path.

נ Nun

105 Your word is a lamp for my feet,
a light on my path.
106 I have taken an oath and confirmed it,
that I will follow Your righteous laws.
107 I have suffered much;
preserve my life, LORD, according to Your word.
108 Accept, LORD, the willing praise of my mouth,
and teach me Your laws.
109 Though I constantly take my life in my hands,
I will not forget Your law.
110 The wicked have set a snare for me,
but I have not strayed from Your precepts.
111 Your statutes are my heritage forever;
they are the joy of my heart.
112 My heart is set on keeping Your decrees
to the very end.

ס Samekh

113 I hate double-minded people,
but I love Your law.
114 You are my refuge and my shield;
I have put my hope in Your word.
115 Away from me, you evildoers,
that I may keep the commands of my God!
116 Sustain me, my God, according to Your promise, and I will live;
do not let my hopes be dashed.
117 Uphold me, and I will be delivered;
I will always have regard for Your decrees.
118 You reject all who stray from Your decrees,
for their delusions come to nothing.
119 All the wicked of the earth You discard like dross;
therefore I love Your statutes.
120 My flesh trembles in fear of You;
I stand in awe of Your laws.

ע Ayin

121 I have done what is righteous and just;
do not leave me to my oppressors.
122 Ensure Your servant’s well-being;
do not let the arrogant oppress me.
123 My eyes fail, looking for Your salvation,
looking for Your righteous promise.
124 Deal with Your servant according to Your love
and teach me Your decrees.
125 I am Your servant; give me discernment
that I may understand Your statutes.
126 It is time for You to act, LORD;
Your law is being broken.
127 Because I love Your commands
more than gold, more than pure gold,
128 and because I consider all Your precepts right,
I hate every wrong path.

פ Pe

129 Your statutes are wonderful;
therefore I obey them.
130 The unfolding of Your words gives light;
it gives understanding to the simple.
131 I open my mouth and pant,
longing for Your commands.
132 Turn to me and have mercy on me,
as You always do to those who love your name.
133 Direct my footsteps according to Your word;
let no sin rule over me.
134 Redeem me from human oppression,
that I may obey Your precepts.
135 Make your face shine on Your servant
and teach me your decrees.
136 Streams of tears flow from my eyes,
for Your law is not obeyed.

צ Tsadhe

137 You are righteous, LORD,
and Your laws are right.
138 The statutes You have laid down are righteous;
they are fully trustworthy.
139 My zeal wears me out,
for my enemies ignore Your words.
140 Your promises have been thoroughly tested,
and Your servant loves them.
141 Though I am lowly and despised,
I do not forget Your precepts.
142 Your righteousness is everlasting
and Your law is true.
143 Trouble and distress have come upon me,
but Your commands give me delight.
144 Your statutes are always righteous;
give me understanding that I may live.

ק Qoph

145 I call with all my heart; answer me, LORD,
and I will obey Your decrees.
146 I call out to You; save me
and I will keep yYour statutes.
147 I rise before dawn and cry for help;
I have put my hope in Your word.
148 My eyes stay open through the watches of the night,
that I may meditate on Your promises.
149 Hear my voice in accordance with Your love;
preserve my life, LORD, according to Your laws.
150 Those who devise wicked schemes are near,
but they are far from Your law.
151 Yet you are near, LORD,
and all Your commands are true.
152 Long ago I learned from your statutes
that You established them to last forever.

ר Resh

153 Look on my suffering and deliver me,
for I have not forgotten Your law.
154 Defend my cause and redeem me;
preserve my life according to Your promise.
155 Salvation is far from the wicked,
for they do not seek out your decrees.
156 Your compassion, LORD, is great;
preserve my life according to Your laws.
157 Many are the foes who persecute me,
but I have not turned from Your statutes.
158 I look on the faithless with loathing,
for they do not obey Your word.
159 See how I love your precepts;
preserve my life, LORD, in accordance with Your love.
160 All Your words are true;
all Your righteous laws are eternal.

ש Sin and Shin

161 Rulers persecute me without cause,
but my heart trembles at Your word.
162 I rejoice in Your promise
like one who finds great spoil.
163 I hate and detest falsehood
but I love Your law.
164 Seven times a day I praise You
for Your righteous laws.
165 Great peace have those who love Your law,
and nothing can make them stumble.
166 I wait for Your salvation, LORD,
and I follow Your commands.
167 I obey Your statutes,
for I love them greatly.
168 I obey Your precepts and Your statutes,
for all my ways are known to You.

ת Taw

169 May my cry come before You, LORD;
give me understanding according to Your word.
170 May my supplication come before You;
deliver me according to Your promise.
171 May my lips overflow with praise,
for You teach me your decrees.
172 May my tongue sing of Your word,
for all Your commands are righteous.
173 May Your hand be ready to help me,
for I have chosen Your precepts.
174 I long for Your salvation, LORD,
and Your law gives me delight.
175 Let me live that I may praise You,
and may Your laws sustain me.
176 I have strayed like a lost sheep.
Seek Your servant,
for I have not forgotten Your commands.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Let the waters rise

When fear and anxiety rise up within me,
I pray to the LORD.
I cry out, and ask for His help.

It is then that He gently invites me
to His Word, His promises, His arms.

His love and promises are so much greater.
My worries are nothing.
Not important.
But His love is greater than anything, unbelievable, eternal.

"Praise the LORD.

I will extol the LORD with all my heart
in the council of the upright and in the assembly.

2 Great are the works of the LORD;
they are pondered by all who delight in them.
3 Glorious and majestic are His deeds,
and His righteousness endures forever.
4 He has caused His wonders to be remembered;
the LORD is gracious and compassionate.
5 He provides food for those who fear Him;
He remembers His covenant forever.

6 He has shown His people the power of His works,
giving them the lands of other nations.
7 The works of His hands are faithful and just;
all his precepts are trustworthy.
8 They are established for ever and ever,
enacted in faithfulness and uprightness.
9 He provided redemption for His people;
He ordained his covenant forever—
holy and awesome is His name.

10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom;
all who follow His precepts have good understanding.
To Him belongs eternal praise"

-Psalm 111

And His peace and joy fill my heart again.

"Don't know where to begin
Its like my world's caving in
And I try but I can't control my fear
Where do I go from here?

Sometimes its so hard to pray
When You feel so far away
But I am willing to go
Where You want me to
God, I trust You

There's a raging sea
Right in front of me
Wants to pull me in
Bring me to my knees
So let the waters rise
If You want them to
I will follow You

I will swim in the deep
'Cuz You'll be next to me
You're in the eye of the storm
And the calm of the sea
You're never out of reach

God, You know where I've been
You were there with me then
You were faithful before
You'll be faithful again
I'm holding Your hand

God Your love is enough
You will pull me through
I'm holding onto You"

-Let the Waters Rise by Mikeschair

losing control

For a lot of my life I've clung to control. Of my time. Of what I eat. Of making sure I get to exercise as much as I want to, when I want to. I hate going into academic tests with out feeling like I know all of the material. I want control. I want to feel completely prepared.

...But I know I need to let go. There is so much freedom, peace, and joy in giving God control. It feels amazing to give God everything!!! But it is always hard to do completely.

I don't want to live for what I want. I want to live for You, God. I want to do Your will God! Please help me lose my grip of anything in my life that I want control over. I want to give You control over me and my life, dear LORD.

"I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me."
-Galatians 2:20

Mostly, I want to live by faith. Not fear. Not anxiety. But faith!!! God's got everything under control. God has amazing plans for me. His plans are always so much better than my own! I want to carry my cross, and living every second out of love for my Savior, Jesus. I want to bring glory to Him in whatever way would bring glory to Him most. Loving Him and others is so much more important than anything. I have no reason to keep worrying about time or getting things done.

"This is a giant leap of faith.
Trusting and trying to embrace.

The fear of the unknown.
Beyond my comfort zone.

Giving in to Your gravity.
Knowing You are holding me.
I’m not afraid.

I’m letting go
Of the life I planned for me
And my dreams.
I’m losing control
Of my destiny.
It feels like I’m falling, and that’s what it’s like to believe.
So I’m letting go."

-"I'm Letting Go" by Francesca Battistelli

I love you LORD!
I want to give You complete control.
Even if it is scary. I want it to be my sacrifice to You.

"Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship."
-Romans 12:1