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

Your Sickness is Not a Sentence

When looking forward to college, there are three things I definitely did not expect to happen. Yet on a rainy Monday morning as I sat in a chair across from a professional counselor, the words were spoken softly in tone but loudly to my vulnerable heart: OCD, anxiety disorder, and minor depression.

It turns out these three things have walked with me for a while and I just didn’t know. Scary, huh? As you can imagine, the days after were full of questions, fears, and shock. Well, shock and a lot of “ohhhhh, that’s why” moments.

It’s nice to have a name- or, names- for what I’ve been struggling with. But at the same time, it’s completely overwhelming. All of the symptoms and the diagnoses and the treatments in all their long lists and various severities just feel like a sentence.

It feels hopeless, all-consuming, permanent.  

In steps truth.

God is my healer, my protector, and my safety. My identity is not found in the three names that currently walk with me, but in the name of my holy and perfect Jesus. I am sick, yeah. But I am first and foremost a daughter of God and nothing can take that away from me.

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 “Praise the Lord, o my soul, and forget not all His benefits- who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion.” Psalm 103:2-4, emphasis mine

He brings light into all darkness, goodness into all bad news, and this is no exception.

These things are hard, yeah. They come with things that I can’t control and things that make me mad. But God is still using it. He’s using these things to grow my faith in Him and to help others who struggle with the same issues.

He’s also teaching me how to be thankful for the way I am and how He designed me, despite the ‘disorder’ my flesh has created. He’s teaching me to redirect my tendency to obsess to being obsessed with being more in love with Him. He’s showing me how to use my love of lists and need for structure to help in building His church.

I find my hope not in the possible treatments and medicines and doctors, but in the One who created me and has a plan for my life.

In the name of Jesus, OCD, depression, and anxiety have no power over me. I do not belong them, nor am I a slave to them. I am free in Jesus.

That is good news. For me and for you.

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I don’t know what’s going on with you right now. Maybe it’s something similar to what I’m walking through or maybe it’s something else.

Wherever you are today – happy or sad, content or dissatisfied, lost or found, strong in faith or doubtful – hear this: your sin, your sickness, your deepest darkest issue, and your most shameful hurt is not too big for God.

He delights in showing mercy. He is our healer and our safe place. He longs to bless us. He bears our burdens with us. And He will never, ever leave.

+ + + + +

As you probably assume, this post was hard for me to write and even harder for me to publish. Vulnerability is something that I continually have to work on and, especially in times like this, I can find so many reasons not to share. But God asks it of me, so I show up and write what I can.

It is my hope that God spoke to someone through this post. It is also my hope that we would all be willing to pray for each other in all the issues we face.

I ask that you pray for me during this time. For healing, yes. But more importantly that God is glorified above all else and that He’ll use this situation for good. In return, I’d love to pray for you. Feel free to reach out in the comments; I’d love to know how to be praying for you as well.

Accepting His Gifts

I went to class as I’m (for now) in the habit of doing. I sat in my seat and watched as people came in, one by one. My professor sat down and cracked open a small book and started class by reading a prayer – one that spoke to my heart so beautifully with every word.

“Teach me, O God, not to torture myself, not to make a martyr out of myself through stifling reflection, but rather teach me to breathe deeply in faith.”

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I’d never heard something that pinned me so well.

You might’ve noticed I haven’t been here in a while (and trust me, with an uplifted spirit, new glasses, and a red tint to my hair, I’m glad to be back). Part of staying quiet was just not being able to discern what God wanted me to write about, being that I was learning so much and healing so intently that I couldn’t imagine where to begin. Most of it was because I needed the quiet to process and heal.

If I’ve learned anything about myself over the past few months, it’s that my mind is all kinds of screwed up. I can start with a thought and five minutes later I’m completely anxious and nearly shaken at the made-up scenarios and thoughts in my head.

Sometimes God has to even remind me that it’s okay to be joyful in the good things He’s provided. I’m an over-thinker, vulnerable to confusion and disorder in this mind that’s constantly spinning. The Anxiety is real and comes with a mission.

It’s so wonderful how God works in the most personal ways. This prayer, probably randomly chosen by my professor this morning, spoke to my situation and my healing process that I’m currently in – and perfectly matches the phrase God’s written on my heart for this season of life.

Breathe in My blessing. Breathe out My praise.

Accept His blessing and make Him known for it. To glorify Him, I must first acknowledge what He’s given and accept it as a gift.

That’s hard for me.

I guess what I’ve been mostly wrestling with these past few weeks is the idea of being blessed with a gift from God that I’ve been waiting for. I’ve had my desires match up with God’s plenty of times, just never in this capacity. Following what I want, even when it’s what God wants, sometimes feels selfish, like trusting myself, and too good to be true.

It’s in the moments when I believe those lies in my soul that I question my intentions and why God would ever want what I want.

You are probably thinking, “that sounds completely screwed up,” to which I would completely agree. Herein lies the problem.

But God.

He’s constantly showing up and calming my heart. Healing me each day at a time, I’m seeing clearer and walking in more confidence. He’s faithful to speak truth to me again and again, even when I’m doubting Him and His goodness over and over. I doubt His willingness and desire to bless me with good things, and there He is again blessing me even more. He’s helping me to remember that it’s not about what I’ve done but who He is.

Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you;
therefore he will rise up to show you compassion.
For the Lord is a God of justice.
Blessed are all who wait for him!

Isaiah 30:18, emphasis mine

Can I just say what a beautiful Father we have? I’m constantly amazed. I don’t know if anyone else deals with this struggle like I do, but it was on my heart to share. If you’re with me on this, I hope you’re encouraged today that He wants to bless us far past what we’d ever begin to feel worthy of.

Maybe you don’t deal with this particular struggle, but still face The Anxiety in other ways.

I would love to hear your thoughts and experiences in the comments below! What verses do you cling to when The Anxiety hits? Do you struggle with the idea of blessing?

So You’re Afraid

I can’t even count on my fingers how many things I’m afraid of.

Some of them are small, while some of them are big – and more often than not I have a hard time distinguishing whether they’re actually small and I’m making them too big or not. Because if you haven’t figured it out already, I’m a worrier.

So let’s take a moment and talk about some specifically, because maybe I’m not the only one with some of these.

Here are just a few of the fears I have that affect me on any given day:

  1. fear of failure
  2. fear of trusting people
  3. fear of people under my car
  4. fear of not doing the right thing
  5. fear of being stuck somewhere
  6. fear of fear

I listed the first two at the top because those have been on my mind most prominently this week.

Whether it’s grades or relationships or postgrad or life in general, I’m afraid to fail. Mostly because I know me and I know my weaknesses and shortcomings.

The second one, the fear of trusting people, is essentially the fear of other people failing. This is one of my big ones because, like everyone else, I’ve been a victim of this. It’s a huge part of my story and my life growth. Have I forgiven those who have failed me? Yes. But it still haunts me and invades my view of the future.

It raises questions in my mind and gives me the expectation that people are going to fail me.

Maybe you’ve got this too? Maybe you also feel like you can’t get over the fear of people failing you and it keeps you from trusting people. Let me say something to ya: you’re not alone.

Fear is strangling, binding, consuming. It distracts, tightens, and grips our hearts and our minds.

I’ve found the best way to battle fear is to replace the fear-thoughts with the freedom-thoughts.

For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.

2 Timothy 1:7 (NLT)

Let’s ask the Lord to help us have a sound mind and the self-discipline to take captive every thought that goes against His promise of freedom. Let’s not be timid to approach the things we find scary, because our God is bigger than even those.