it’s time to celebrate

This time last year, I imagine I was probably sitting in a classroom in my athletic shorts and sweatshirt (that business school was cold in the mornings). I was also probably counting down the minutes until class would be over, so I’d be able to go grab food with a friend or head back to my room for my weekly Harry Potter marathon.

It was a hard season, truth be told. There were unexpected doctor visits with unexpected diagnoses, anxieties and thoughts like a black cloud in my mind, and the pressures of expectations for my adult life crashing in like all-consuming waves.

I clung to Jesus like I never had before, and depended on him for every morsel of strength. I wept almost daily as I fought spiritual warfare that I never expected to be so familiar with. I lost fellowship with people and yearned for someone – anyone – to understand me. I felt isolated, defeated, fearful, and robbed of joy.

I lost sight of my purpose, deemed myself unredeemable, and begged Him to take it all away.

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Now that the black cloud is gone and He has healed me, I am in a new season. Not just mentally and emotionally, but the world around me looks a lot different.

In May, I got engaged to the love of my life. We were married in July, and it was the happiest of days. He is my God-sent light in the dark.

Also in May, I graduated from the school I called home, and started my first big-girl job at the beginning of June.

Today, instead of the comfort of athletic shorts and a sweatshirt, I wear a dress and makeup. I sit at a desk that looks a lot different, in an office that’s cozy surrounded by a hallway of people I love, but who are different than my former classmates.

It’s all very different, and I’m really just trying to figure out how to go from being a t-shirt-wearing, coffee shop-habitant of a college student to an adulting Mrs. And I’ve decided that’s it’s okay to admit that it’s a beautifully hard thing.

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In this new, adult, married life, I am someone new. I have a new name, a new life, a new season in which I can be used by God in places I couldn’t before.

I’m in the process of learning the balance between mourning a season that has been lost, with all the built-in, relatable community and the free time, and rejoicing in this beautiful new season I’ve been given, that sometimes makes me do a double-take and ask God, “how in the world do I deserve such a blessing as this?”

Maybe you feel that way too? I don’t know where you are in life, or what season you’re in. Maybe you’re in a hard season, or are coming out of one like I am.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from where I just came from, it’s that there is always a new season around the corner, always redemption for the seemingly unredeemable, always a new song that you can learn to sing. And when Jesus seems the farthest from you, He is the closest, working everything out in your life for His purpose and your good.

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When I came across the words of Sara Gilmore, I realized something: I need to celebrate more, and I need to intentionally point out the things that are worth celebrating. I believe when we choose to celebrate, we invite God into our lives in a special way, and I believe we can breathe easier as we take every opportunity to thank Him for what He’s given us, instead of spending almost every moment asking Him to take the hard things away.

Like her, I feel prepped for redemption, for a season of celebration.

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So, I’ve dedicated my November to celebrating my new season. Every day leading up to Thanksgiving, I’ll be posting about something (or someone) I’m celebrating.

Will you join me in celebrating yours? Feel free to join me with this hashtag (#choosecelebration) on any social media. I’d love to see what you’re thankful for each day!

Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. – Psalm 100:4

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. – 1 Thessalonians 5:18

 

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Read this if you’re asking God for something.

My husband and I have a Great Dane puppy.


Rori is a little over three months old and, as you can imagine, is a ball full of energy. She makes us laugh with her backtalk (or backbark) when we tell her to go to bed, gives us a reason to work on our patience, and shows us what innocent love looks like.

Lately, I’ve had a bit of trouble getting Rori to eat. Now this is unusual for me because every dog (especially puppy) that I’ve known has always played the same part in the same scenario: they stare wide-eyed at the rattling bowl as I slowly make my way to the floor, and then proceed to eat every last crumb as if they have never had food in their life.

Not Rori.

It’s not because she’s not hungry or because she’s disinterested in the brand of puppy food, but because she’s too excited that I’m in the room.


She’ll only eat if I love on her a bit first. She’s not satisfied to give anything else her attention until I bend down, hold her in my arms, soothe her, and let her love on me back- slobber and all.

This morning as I once again bent down and held her close, it hit me.

We should be more like Rori.

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As I’ve mentioned in earlier posts, I’ve had a bit of a mental struggle going on the past year. As I’ve been praying for healing and wrestling with God over the ‘why’s, He’s been saying to me, “I want you to want Me more than you want the healing.”

Gosh, what a thought to ponder.

Rori gets it. She may not understand the ‘sit’ command yet, or even the ‘don’t wreck the house’ command, but she understands loving her mommy before she loves the things Mommy gives her.

God wants us to love Him like Rori loves on me – with wild abandon, passion, and excitement. He wants us to love and desire Him first, to come and sit with Him and be still in His presence, before we ask and expect and want other things.

Does He long to bless us? Of course He does, He’s our Father. But even more – He wants our hearts, He wants a relationship with us.

So I’m actively working on this, and I hope you’ll join me. Let’s choose to seek Him first before all things, and before we enjoy the blessings He gives us or ask for even more, let’s sit in His presence as He bends down, holds us in His arms, and soothes us.

After all, what in the world is better than being in the presence of our Savior? Absolutely nothing.

What I’m trying to do here is get you to relax, not be so preoccupied with getting so you can respond to God’s giving.

People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep yourself in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.

Don’t be afraid of missing out. You’re my dearest friends! The Father wants to give you the very kingdom itself. – Luke 12:31-32 MSG, emphasis mine

 

…and my people, my God-defined people, respond by humbling themselves, praying, seeking my presence, and turning their backs on their wicked lives, I’ll be there ready for you: I’ll listen from heaven, forgive their sins, and restore their land to health.       – 2 Chronicles 7:14 MSG

 

I’m asking God for one thing,
    only one thing:
To live with him in his house
    my whole life long.
I’ll contemplate his beauty;
    I’ll study at his feet. – Psalm 27:4 MSG