“I often pray that I want to know more about Your heart. I really do. I want to love like You. I know that I need to be selfless. My prayer is that what people remember me for most is You. I want to not just speak with my mouth but to move. Despite what my fleshly heart may feel, I want to pour out Your love…I ask You to fill these voids in my life. I pray that my relationship with You would be refreshed and revived. I give You my hurt and my pain to be used for Your glory. My heart is Yours. I pray that in these last 2 days we have in Japan You would work mightily. I pray that You would strengthen us as a team. We are Your vessels who want to be used by You. Same me from myself, Lord. I belong to You. Lead me in Your way.” // Journal Entry, August 2, 2017
I started consistently journaling when I was 18 years old. It’s how I pray and process my life. I shared in an earlier blog about how I started spending mornings with the Lord. Journaling and hot coffee were a huge part of that. In the past 5 years of daily praying and writing I have filled 13 journals and I finished my most recent one this past Sunday. I started it on February 4th, 2017 which was the beginning of a very dark spring.
When I finished the journal on Sunday, I took a few minutes and flipped through the pages from the beginning. So much had happened. It’s incredible to be able to look back and literally see what God has done. I was filled with many emotions reading over the past 8 months of my life. It’s been a year unlike any other. It’s not even over yet which is scary but relieving at the same time.
I went to Japan on a mission trip with my church back in July which was an amazing experience. If I’m honest, I was feeling very uneasy about the trip before leaving. I remember walking the streets of Osaka when we first got off of the plane, overwhelmed by the thick humidity and city lights. I had no idea what to expect and I tried hard to let go of fear. I desperately wanted God to work not only in Japan but in my heart. There is a lot that I could write about the trip (I should probably do a separate post about it soon) but for now I will say this – Going to Japan in the midst of this year was incredibly refreshing for me in my walk with Christ. I hope to be able to return.
Two weeks ago, I was humbled to get to share with the high school girls at our church. Our high school pastor’s wife Danielle asked me to speak shortly after I got back from Japan. I was pretty nervous because if I’m honest, high school girls kind of intimidate me. It was my first time ever writing and preaching a message. When Danielle asked me to speak I knew almost immediately that God wanted me to be open and share my struggles with these girls. The thought of that scared me. I rewrote the first part of my message so many times because I kept trying to cut out a lot of the ugly stuff. God assured me that my hardship had not been wasted and that it was a valuable piece of me that needed to be shared with these precious girls. I spent a lot of time praying and He led me to 1 Peter 4:10-11,
“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory and the power forever and ever. Amen.”
After sharing some of my testimony, I broke down this passage into four main points (No, the points didn’t all start with the same letter, I’m not that gifted of a preacher yet. I didn’t even have a PowerPoint) and shared with the girls about cultivating the gifts that God has given them. I’m not going to go through all of the points but I wanted to share the one that really hit home with me.
Verse 11 says, “If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ.” Whether you are in the best season of your life or the worst season of your life we are called to serve God. One thing that I have found is that serving in hardship is actually healing. It takes the focus off of you and puts it on others and Christ. This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t deal with and work through your issues and emotions but it offers a perspective that points outward and upward rather than inward.
A lot of this year has felt more like the worst than it has the best but regardless I am called to serve God. If you’ve spent any amount of time with me you’ve probably heard me use the term “girlboss.” This is a popular term in our culture currently but I want to talk about what that word means for me right now. I believe that being a girlboss means working hard and cultivating all that God has given me. I don’t want to miss out on anything that He has for me regardless of how I feel about my life in the moment. The reality is I’m going to go to bed tonight and I’ll have to wake up tomorrow and go to work. Life is still happening and moving. The days might feel the same but I trust and know that God is working. The possibilities are truly endless.
I currently feel as though I’m in a really weird season but I’m trying my hardest to keep my eyes fixed and focused on my Jesus. I’m learning more about His love and grace each day just like I prayed in the entry above when I journaled in Japan. God has shown me that all of this hard stuff is about what I do with it now. As a result of accepting this, I have felt more myself than I have in a very long time. I feel more confident than I have in years. I’m learning to love the woman that God has called me to be.
I cling to this passage:
“For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor; no good thing does He withhold from those whose walk is blameless. Lord Almighty, blessed is the one who trust in You.”
He is working. He is not withholding anything that is good. I trust Him.
I will serve Him with all that I have.