ABBA-Good Good Father

Father.

When people hear that word, they have different emotions. Some people smile a soft smile remembering,

long walks and being carried on shoulders at amusement parks. Others grimace remembering the fights

and the fear.

We sang “Good Good Father” at church the other day and I really listened to the words.

Regardless of your view of that word, God desires to blow the top off the box of who we think He is. I

mean, the lyrics say, “I’ve heard a thousand stories of what they think you’re like
But I’ve heard the tender whispers of love in the dead of night”.

We hear stories of who God is, but we’ll have to find out who He is for ourselves.

His quiet voice in the dead of night.

His breeze when you are dying of heat.

These things seem like coincidences but they may be God kisses.

I knew God loved me before my accident. I knew He was a good father, but through different things that

have happened recently, I’ve understood it in a different way.

The moments when I’m at the end of my rope, something happens to give me a little extra energy to

finish whatever I started.

A gentle breeze.

A touching note.

A baby cuddle.

An encouraging text message.

A soft smile.

I could go on.

No matter the hard times or the good times, Jesus-ABBA- is waiting with arms wide open to welcome

us into His arms.

Let Him encircle you in His arms-you don’t have to face this world by yourself.

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A Year Full of Expectation

I chose expectation as my word for this year. I didn’t know what I was getting myself into when I chose this word.

Man, was I unprepared for what God had in store for me this year!

Here are a few things that I learned from this year full of expectation:

  • God doesn’t like to stay in the boxes we tend to put Him in.

This has been a lesson I seem to learn time and time again. I try to put God in a box of what I think He can accomplish or how I think He’ll heal me. Time and time again this year, I put God in a box, and time and time again, He burst out of the box doing more than I ever imagined. I sent out letters for Ukraine and within week…WEEKS…I was fully funded due to generous people. I didn’t expect to fall in love but I did. Ukraine wormed its way into my heart within minutes of touching ground. I finally got content with being in my corner of the world, and God put hospital nursing back on the table. Through an unintentional interview, it was like God was saying “Your story is not over yet.”

  • Bravery and expectation go hand in hand.

Living with expectation takes a lot of bravery. I mean, if you expect God to move, you have to say the next brave “yes”. You can’t expect to sit on your butt and wait-just wait-for God to do something. Living with expectation means listening to God and saying the next brave “yes” that falls in front of you. It means making plans, but holding them loosely as you expect God to move in them.

  • Rest is not selfish. It enables you to be your best self later in the week.

Rest. Self-care. In some circles, these words make people cringe. Honestly, 2 years ago, they would have made me cringe. It wasn’t until I was literally forced to slow down that I realized how necessary it is. My energy is like an opaque coin jar. I keep taking change out of it not realizing I’m close to the bottom until I hit a wall, get a TBI headache and I’m put out of commission for 24 hours. I hate it. I hate that I can’t do everything. I hate that I seemed to need more rest than an average 24 year old. I realized something this year. If I plan time into my schedule for rest, it doesn’t feel unproductive or a waste of time. Over time, my mentality changed because I didn’t view it as selfish rather I viewed it as necessary for me to be my best self. I couldn’t help the littles feel better if I was at the end of my rope.

  • My story isn’t over yet. Your story isn’t over yet.

I don’t know where you are or where your story has taken you. You may be reading this and you are on a mountaintop. God has never felt closer, and life is perfect. I’m happy for you. Cling to that feeling. Soak it in, and capture it to remember in the hard times. On the other hand, you may be reading this thinking “What has she got that I haven’t? Why is life so hard right now? Why is God so far away? Is God even good?” Don’t…and I mean don’t be ashamed of those questions. They are real. I’ve been there. All I can say is try and remember the mountaintop experiences. It may not seem like it but that God is the same God in the valley. This is why reading the Psalms is good-oh so good. David lamented about where He was but he always said “remember when…” You may feel like your story is over. I’ve felt that way many of times in the past two years, but GOD. He has redeemed what I thought was lost, and put my mind and my heart back together. 3 years ago, I begrudgingly settled for Akron, OH when I really wanted the ends of the earth, 2 years ago, I had no choice in moving back to Mansfield, OH. Today, I am realizing that God is up to something at MCS and in Mansfield. I am honored to be a witness to what God is up to.

This has been quite a journey, and I’m not there-wherever there is-yet. Thanks for walking this journey with me. This has been a year full of expectation. I started out the year hopeful, but depressingly realistic of where I was. I end the year overwhelmed with how God has blown those seemingly realistic thoughts of who I would be out of the water.

King of the World

We sang the song “King of the World” in church today. It really hit me.

As life has been getting better, I’m going to be honest and admit that I sometimes forget God.

I mean that not in a “I forget You exist” way, but a “I’ll put You in a box” way.

As I get better, I find that I tend to forget all God has done and proceed to put Him in a box of what I want to see happen. I proceed to tell God what I want him to do.

“I want to go to that place, date that person, or do that life-changing thing.” I proceed to shrink Him down and put Him into a small box.

When I dare to do that, God proceeds to find ways to break out of that box I put Him in. He says, “You might want to go to that place, BUT I, the One who set it all in motion, have you right here, right now. MCS is your mission field right now”.

I pause.

As I heal, I need to remember, Jesus speaks and the storms quiet.

Jesus breathes life out of dust.

Jesus is the King of the World.

I need to remember to hold my plans, my aspirations, and my dreams losely. I’m not who I was a couple months ago, and I won’t be who I am now in a couple months. I am always changing at what seems like a breakneck pace and a turtle pace at the same time.

I’m learning to be patient with who I am and where I am right now. It’s not primarily about the destination, but it’s about the journey.

It’s about falling more in love with the King of the World.

It’s about the quiet mornings when He speaks through the sunrises.

It’s about the way He provides rest on the busy days.

It’s about dear friends who push you to seek refuge in Him.

It’s about the people who speak life into you on the days when your soul is empty.

It’s about sharing your story of the wilderness, and the sweetness of our Father.

You will eventually get where you are going, but the destination might not look like what you planned it looking like.

God is the King of the World, and He is present in the wilderness as you journey forward.

Slow down

God often doesn’t use flashing lights or billboards. I wish he would. It would make figuring out His Will simply cut and dry. Most often than not, He speaks in a still small voice. I can often miss it because I’m too busy.

I need to slow down and notice the beauty in the seemingly insignificant things. God literally stopped me. After my accident, I’m forced to take life slowly. I need rest aka I can’t function on little energy for long periods of time. My energy level is like a colored coin jar which I keep taking coins from without refilling it until it’s empty. I’m getting better at pacing my energy.

As my brain is healing, I have this extra energy, and I want to do everything. I try to do everything, and I fall on my face. I’m learning that I need to be more intentional with where I put my energy. I need to stop running in place where I get tired but go nowhere. Rather, I need to learn how to walk slowly—it will take longer to get where I need to, but I’ll eventually get there.

This is so hard to put into practice. I want to say “yes” to everything, but stop when I think about what my best yes would be. What are those one or two things that I can give my whole energy to rather than scattering pieces here and there so no one is satisfied.

This lesson of slowing down is one that I am forced to learn because when I hit a wall emotionally, I am no good to anyone. I am learning to pace myself even in things that I enjoy—not speed through it, but slow down and savor the moments. This is a lesson that is good for everyone to learn no matter where you are in life.

It seems counterintuitive, but when we slow down we actually get more done, and we do it well. If I go, go, go, I’m more likely to make a simple mistake. But if I move slowly, I take time to think about the action and have time to relish in the accomplishment of the finished project. Thus, I ultimately get more done because I pace myself.

I’m reminded of the fable, The Tortoise and The Hare. The hare was definitely faster, but he got proud and boastful. He started off really fast and he took a short break because he got tired. The tortoise was slower, but he didn’t care what anyone else thought and just kept moving.

He ended up winning the race.

Slow and steady wins the race.

I desire to be like the tortoise-moving slowly, but still moving forward.

Work. Rest. Repeat.

Rest.

This is a word that most people hate because it eludes the idea of unproductivity.

In the “going…going…gone” mentality of society today, it appears lazy to rest and take time for yourself.

Selfish even.

I have learned though, that rest is not a bad word, in fact, it is necessary for life.

God rested. Why shouldn’t I?

What is keeping me from taking time out of my busy schedule to refresh my soul? What is stopping me from resting my body and soul from the craziness of work etc?

The answer was simple.

Nothing.

I offered up the excuses of “I am too busy.” and “Everything is important.”

But the bottom line is if I do not rest, I get burnt out and then all my hard work being productive is for naught because I crash and burn.

Burnt out, I become a shell of a being striving, but failing to thrive.

Since my accident, I’ve realized the value of rest. Normal people, when they are tired, can push through and still get things do. I can’t. When I’m tired, my injuries get more pronounced. My voice slurs, my limp gets worse, and I get double vision. I NEED to schedule in rest, which is sometimes frustrating. I want to do everything, but I realize that I cannot.

Recently, I allowed myself to believe the lies that I was okay. I could handle anything life threw at me.

I could not.

Unconsciously, I stressed myself out with needing to be everything to everybody, and the people closest to me receive the brunt of my jaded sarcasm because I was not caring for myself well.

I was growing and being challenged by God, but I was not allowing time for my soul to relax and truly absorb all the wise and wonderful things He was teaching me.

This past weekend, I chose rest.

I chose sleep.

I chose to soak in the sun.

I chose to refresh my soul, allowing God and inspiring friends to pour into my soul.

Rested, I am more productive and energized because I am not stressed out and sleep deprived.

Scheduling in rest periods or Sabbath time will not be easy as life happens, but the practice of taking time out of my daily or weekly schedule to remind myself that I am valued, loved and cherished by the Creator of the Universe will benefit me in the long run.

By taking time out of my week, I remind myself that my identity is not found in all that I can accomplish.

The catch to taking a Sabbath is that the time that I devote to checking items off a list needs to be effective and useful. If not, I get stuck in the rest/rush cycle that is just as exhausting as working around the clock.

Rested and refreshed, I am reminded that I need to continue to find time to sit at the feet of the Creator.

Learning to Rest in a Hectic Life.

Rest.

This a word that most people hate because it eludes the idea of unproductivity.

In the “going…going…gone” mentality of society today, it appears lazy to rest and take time for yourself.

Selfish even.

I have learned though,  that rest is not a bad word, in fact, it is necessary for life.

God rested. Why shouldn’t I?

What is keeping me from taking time out of my busy schedule to refresh my soul? What is stopping me from resting my body and soul from the craziness of school, work etc?

The answer was simple.

Nothing.

I offered up the excuses of “I am too busy.” and “Everything is important.”

But the bottom line is if I do not rest, I get burnt out and then all my hard work being productive is for naught because I crash and burn.

Burnt out, I become a shell of a being striving, but failing to thrive.

This semester, I allowed myself to believe the lies that I was okay. I could handle anything life threw at me.

I could not.

Unconsciously, I stressed myself with needing to be everything to everybody, and the people closest to me receive the brunt of my jaded sarcasm because I was not caring for myself well.

I was growing and being challenged by God, but I was not allowing time for my soul to relax and truly absorb all the wise and wonderful things He was teaching me.

This past week, I choose rest.

I chose sleep.

I chose to soak in the sun.

I chose to vacate my life for a week and refresh my soul, allowing God and inspiring friends to pour into my soul.

Rested, I am more productive and energized because I am not stressed out and sleep deprived.

Scheduling in rest periods or Sabbath time will not be easy as graduation looms closer, but the practice of taking time out of my daily or weekly schedule to remind myself that I am valued, loved and cherished by the Creator of the Universe will benefit me in the long run.

By taking time out of my week, I remind myself that my identity is not found in all that I can accomplish.

The catch to taking a Sabbath is that the time that I devote to checking items of a list needs to be effective and useful. If not, I get stuck in the rest/rush cycle that is just as exhausting as working around the clock.

Rested and refreshed, I am prepared to hit the ground running through the home stretch and graduation with the reminder that I need to continue to find time to sit at the feet of the Creator.