To Jars of Clay: This Is My Journey
This blog post is a collection of thoughts from this past year. Thoughts from my heart as I struggled for a deeper faith. From the beginning - where I was an excited (and maybe slightly scared) traveler about to set out on a journey - to the middle - with all of its realities and the return of normal struggles - to the end - as I look back at what God has done over this year. This is my journey.
"Delight in The Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart." - Psalm 24:7
I thought I knew what the desires of my heart were.
I've ALWAYS wanted to go to France. Ever since I could remember I was intrigued by the story of my French Acadian ancestors. I loved it when my Dad pulled out his big black book of family records. To walk the streets of my ancestors, I though that was one of my hearts desires.
I've always wanted to travel to Europe. My sisters and I, we used to play dress up. We were princesses in European countries. I always picked Austria, don't ask me why. I got a little older and I loved to read books about young girls in the 1800s who got to go on a European tour. A European tour, I thought that was one of the desires of my heart.
But as I lay here, unable to go to sleep on my last night at home, I know what my heart desires. That verse keeps running through my head. "Delight yourself in The Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart."
I'm about to leave home, family, friends, school, everything familiar and fly across an ocean. I'm about to be striped bare. Me and God. He's already started.
Because of that I know what my heart desires. I can feel it to my very core right now, and I pray I always do.
My heart's desire is Jesus.
March 8, 2014
This evening I'm three thousand miles from home. I'm living in a country I've always dreamed of living in. What I've left behind (family, friends, school, and all that is familiar), God has given me again. Not to replace those I've left behind. But He has given me family through very close friends and a French family at church. He has given me friends, over and in abundance. He has given me a school to plant roots at. He has given me my familiar: church, a Bible study, and so much more.
Yet as I sit here and type this, I'm playing Laura Story's Blessings on repeat.
Because even in the face of a gracious, loving, blessing God, I question Him and (as hard as it is to admit) ask Him for more.
I must sound like a petulant child sometimes: "What do you want me to do after college? Will I ever get to marry and have kids? Why can't I spend my time in Europe traveling?"
And then I kick myself for questioning God.
And then I repeat the same cycle.
So tonight, I listen to this song on repeat.
I can't claim to be going through any hardships right now. Truly, I am blessed. But sometimes I ask God for other blessings. I find myself at that point where, as the song says,
"We pray for wisdom, Your voice to hear. We cry in anger when we cannot feel You near. We doubt your goodness, we doubt your love, as if every promise from Your word is not enough. And all the while, You hear each desperate plea and long that we'd have faith to believe."
Tonight this song is a reminder. A reminder that God hears my hearts cry. He hears my fears, my frustrations. He sees my failure.
And He whispers, "I hear. Just have faith to believe. Enjoy the blessings I have given you. I have the rest figured out."
Father forgive me. For doubting Your goodness and Your love. Thank you for Your blessings. Help me to set aside my desires for the one thing that should be the desire of my heart: You.
July 4, 2014
Sometimes the love of God overwhelms me. Today is one of those days. The past few weeks have been wonderful. But spiritually they've been rough. I haven't been "seeking eagerly". I'm not really ready to go into the details.
They've also had their fill of stress. And as I rode a train headed for home, I felt so frustrated. And my thoughts, which although they were not directly aimed at God were my cries to Him, ran along these lines: "I do not want to be the strong one anymore. I simply want someone to take me in their arms and let me fall apart and not have to worry about anything. Just for a little while."
And while I didn't hear words, I knew in an instance that the God who created the universe had wrapped me in His arms. It wasn't the physical comfort that I wanted; it was better. Although circumstances hadn't changed and life still pressed on, I could feel every fiber of my being rest in the fact that the arms of my Father held me. In spite of my distance. In spite of who I am. He held me when I needed Him and brought me home. To once again desire Him with my whole heart.
December 8, 2014
When I heard God impressing those words on to my heart, I was so scared. Honestly, I was. I was not sure I wanted to go. France, even if it was something I wanted, was so far from the familiar. What if I couldn't do it? And yes, I do mean that in the sense of what-if-I-can't-be-away-from-home-for-a-year, but I also mean it in another way. God, what if I fail you? What if I can't do whatever it is You are asking of me?
Tonight I have a different theme from the one I started this year with running through my head. It's from 2 Corinthians 4:7.
"But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us."
I have not always been ready to do what He asked. I messed up. I did not always seek eagerly. I am imperfect. That imperfection makes me a jar of clay. And this life, this life is not about the jar. An imperfect jar leaves all eyes focused on the treasure inside: Jesus.
He has used a me - a broken, imperfect vessel - for His purpose.
I have watched God move this year.
I have seen Him glorified.
I stand in awe of God and what He has done this year.
I thank Him for allowing me to be a part of that plan, even as an imperfect jar of clay.