August 29, 2011

So Exciting!

Hey all! Today is my birthday! I usually don't like bringing that up to people or even getting a bunch of attention because of it, but today (or at least this morning for sure) I've just been very thankful to God for so much! Not that I never thank Him on a regular basis (because I always do), but today is kinda special. Strangely enough, I turned 20, and I've never really been much of a person that likes getting older. It was always a depressing thought. Maybe it's maturity or maybe it's God working certain desires into my heart, but I think it is quite exciting to hit 20! I know that might sound crazy, but it's such a cool thought that God has abundantly blessed me with 20 years of life and right now, everything seems to be unfolding right in front of my eyes! Basically, God has taken His hand (since the beginning) and is guiding me along a road that requires me to have a lot of faith in what He's doing! Since I'm 20, it means I'm that much closer to getting my Bachelor's degree; I'm that much closer to getting into full-time ministry; I'm that much closer to getting married; and I'm that much closer to raising a family in the Lord! I know it means that I'm going to have to wait for a while, but I know it will be worth it, especially when it's in God's perfect timing!

You know what's neat? When I look at every aspect of my life, I can totally see how God is working all these little things together. He's got a plan and He only knows how to get there; He just requires that I trust Him and it will all work out! Easier said than done though. I've blown it a few times, but interestingly enough, He's given me second chances, sometimes even third chances, to try again and I've (with His strength) succeeded! Now I can see how it all works together! Granted, there are still many things He's working on in my life and there will be times that I'm gonna doubt. But with faith, trust, and perseverence, I know He'll guide me perfectly!

I'm just so thankful that through the years, God has really brought a lot of people into my life! Some have been for a season, others, hopefully for a lifetime! But each person has affected my life positively in one way or another and I'm grateful for them and God! I would not be the person I am right now without some of the people God has blessed me with! And at the right time in my life, God saw fit to bring the particular ones in! Looking back, I can see it as plain as day!

Growing up can be a scary thought for sure, but it can also be exciting! Especially if you know Jesus and are following Him! His hand is upon you and me and He will guide you in the way you should go, even if it doesn't make much sense! Until I got to where I am now, nothing really made sense, but now it does! So far, 20 years have gone by and God has been in the midst of it all! I see how good of a God He really is! Where will I be in the next 20 years? Only God knows and I can only faithfully wait, serve, and see where that will be! :)

August 25, 2011

I'm Not in Control. God Is!

I have a lot to do today, but I felt it wouldn't hurt to update you guys on what God has been doing the past few days!

God is good! You might hear that phrase all the time and not think much of it anymore. But have you really thought about it? How awesome it is to know that the Creator of the universe and the Creator of you, your heart, mind, dreams, aspirations, and spirit loves knowing you intimately and is intricately in control of your life! After hearing that, "God is good" seems like a phrase that just can't quite capture the true essence of who God is, which makes Him even more wonderful!!!

This past week, God has really shown me that He's got everything in His hands and that I shouldn't worry about whether I'll be provided for. The "Worry" passage in Matthew chapter 6 really rang true for me this week! As you all know, God has been leading me into youth ministry, but I just wasn't sure how I'd get there. I needed education and college was way out of my budget. I had found a free online Bible College, but it wouldn't meet my needs entirely. But God pulled through and opened a door to Trinity Seminary! The classes are online (which I needed so that I can keep my current job and still make money to afford "going" to this college) and they have a Bachelor's program in Youth Ministry! IT is super affordable because they have a deal going on until the end of this month! I had been praying long before about all this, so I knew this is where God had me headed! Well, long story short, I applied this week and was accepted!! Lord willing, I start classes in the Spring!

Granted, it is going to take a little more time to complete the degree than normal due to affordability. I have about 20 more classes to take (I got most the general requirements out of the way) and they have a "planned path" I can take. Basically, I can take 4 classes at a time and finish them in one year, instead of the typical 4 months! But of course, this will result in the process to get my Bachelor's degree to take 5 years or so :P I also have to get a second job too, but I trust that God will provide that in His timing! If He opens a door like this (the college), then I know He will provide me with the right job! It is truly amazing to see everything fall into place so perfectly! I just KNOW it is all God!!

I'm the kind of person where I love to hear other people's stories of God working in, around, and/or through their lives! I find it empowering and just reassuring that He's got it all in His hands! Yesterday I had that chance to hear how God is working in someone's life (my friend Sarah)! It was just the coolest thing to hear and, I don't know, I guess I'm just at a loss for words 'cause that's how God usually leaves me after He's done something too amazing for my finite mind to handle! Yesterday was too cool of a day and I got to see how God has His hand on ALL aspects of my life! I see many things in a whole different light because of the maturity He has developed in me over time! My priorities list has taken shape and is better listed now!

The word that God has instilled upon my heart recently has been "wait". I've blown the waiting game so many times, but He seems to give me other chances to make up for the previous mistakes. I've waited recently and God provided! Now He's asking me to wait again and I will listen because I see what happens if I wait! Sometimes He has us wait for a day, a month, a year, or maybe many years! Personally, I have many years to wait, but while I am waiting, I'm gonna enjoy the journey and see what amazing things He does and how He blesses me in the process!

God is totally in control!

Jeremiah 29:11- "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

Isaiah 55:8,9- "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways," declares the LORD. "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts."

August 18, 2011

God, Changes, and Decisions

From August of 2010 to August of 2011, I have experienced a lot of different changes in my life. Not only did I experience changes out of my control, but I also experienced changes that God morphed in me. I look back a year ago and see a nearly-nineteen-year-old kid who thinks he knows what growing up is like. A kid who thinks that he's got things figured out. A kid who thinks he's maturing a lot. Hindsight is 20/20, and when I look back, I can see that I didn't know what growing up was like, I didn't have things figured out, and I wasn't maturing in the way I thought I was. God sure has an interesting way of growing us. Even though I don't normally like it, I know it's good for me. It teaches me a lot about trusting His timing. And that annoys me sometimes. His timing. I don't know about you, but doesn't hearing that phrase sometimes make you cringe? It does to me, especially when I think I know what's best. I'll be honest, it is tough for me to trust God at times. I won't deny it. Who doesn't have a tough time with trusting God? I think it's natural for our response to God to be, "God, I'm sorry, but I don't understand why You're doing what You're doing. Why don't You try this? It might be better!" Just because it's our natural response though, doesn't mean it is the right response. I'm currently working on that right now.

Have you ever been in a situation where you're not sure if you should do something in your own power and it seems like God isn't revealing that answer to you? (Obviously, this isn't a hypothetical situation that I'm referring to) It's frustrating, I tell you! It drives me nuts, but then I feel if I actually do something about it, I'll blow everything out of proportion and ruin what I have. Recently, God has been pressing a lot on my heart; about my life and others in my life. I'm trying to sort everything out in my heart, but sometimes I feel as if I'm wasting time. I ask and pray and ask and pray and ask again, but what answer am I looking for? I don't even know. Although, the one word that I have been hearing a lot is "wait". Wait. I have a strange disliking for that word. It means I can't do/or get what I want or what I think what's best for me right now. It means I have to hang around and see what God does. But when is He going to do anything? And am I going to like it or not? It's almost like I'm in suspense or something and I've never been much of a fan of suspense movies :P

So how does this all tie in together? I just know that I see things in a whole different light than before and I know what I gotta do and say. It's just...when? Well, only God can reveal that to me in His timing and I'll have to trust that for now. Easier said than done though...I need His strength and wisdom :)

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8
Philippians 4:13

August 09, 2011

Exceedingly Good!

I know it has been quite some time since my last post! I could say, "I've been busy", but that would be a lie. I won't deny that it has been busy for me to a degree, but I just didn't know what to really write about without repeating what I have already said. Summer has been going pretty well for me. I passed my Liberal Arts I class over the summer and, Lord willing, I'll be tackling L.A. II over the Fall...yum :P But it's so great to know that I only have two more classes until I get my A.A. degree!! So close! God has really brought me a long way to get here, but at least I made it!

I know I talked about taking some free online Bible College courses next Spring, but now it's possible that those plans might change! I came across Trinity Seminary and they have all online courses! Long story short, from what I can see so far, I can get my Bachelor's Degree in Youth Ministry for around $75 a month!!! Isn't that amazing?!?!?! That would help a lot because then I can stay here, keep my job, and then pay for my schooling! It's an opportunity that I'm not gonna let slide! God has got it all in His hands!

I just wanna take some time to say how thankful I am for what God has done in my life! Granted, I didn't have the greatest childhood, but God used even the worst to produce great results! I would not be where I am today if God didn't bring me through some pretty tough times! And I still continue to grow even now! The "thanks" list could go on for a long time, but I wanna say how especially thankful I am to have my job, education, family, ministry opportunities, and the people who have really changed my life! :D God is exceedingly good! No words can really describe it! And even if I didn't have all these things or people, God would STILL be exceedingly good! Amen? Amen!!