When did I stop?

After a while, you build up barriers to block the pain. The burden is too heavy and the needs are too great. Far to great for anyone in this world to bear.

Whether you yourself are facing a personal crisis, or if life is just dandy at the moment, rather than risk opening your heart up to the knowledge of what’s happening outside it’s walls, you keep putting up defenses.

You fill your mind with daydreams, distractions and petty worries–anything to keep yourself from having to face what people half the world away are facing.

You get so caught up in the next episode of your new favorite TV show, or caught up in the all-consuming whirlwind of social media, or in the busyness of ordinary life.

And you choose to stop reading the news. You choose to scroll quickly past the occasional “world-in-crisis” news story that a concerned friend posts on his or her wall…that story that desperately needs to get out there.

And then one night, you decide to read the news. You see pictures of dead children, snatched from this life by weapons that were only aimed generally in their direction. You see fathers weeping because their son or daughter is gone.

You become angry. You cry for them. You wonder “how in the world did I get to this place, where my fantasy world has become more important than the real world”.

You wonder why in the world you decided to stop hurting for those around you. When did you decide that your own hurts and struggles were the only ones that really mattered.

Why did you stop “bearing one another’s burdens”.

Why did you take the easy route…the route that demands less of yourself.

You can’t fix the world’s problems. And the few that you do try to take on will probably lash out at you and injure you before they are tackled.

But when did you decide to stop feeling?

I don’t think that great change can come in this world without our Savior.

And I don’t think that He left his children behind on this earth to stand by and watch while others are hurting.

But great change can’t come about unless it is fueled by a God-given passion to love others.

I don’t think that we can fix the world—it is broken, sinful, and only going to be made new after Jesus comes back.

But there is still work to do, and I want to believe that we can still get involved. I can get involved.

Right now, I need to give myself a good talking to, and remind myself that this world does not consist of the number of “likes” or comments I get under my FB posts. It doesn’t consist of how many “hearts” my Instagram pics produce. This has always been a struggle for me. It’s ironic that it’s still a struggle (maybe even more ingrown) now that I’m about to graduate from Bible school.

But, change my heart O God. May I be like you … because I surely can’t change it by myself.

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birthdays….

…are good for reflection.

This birthday kinda snuck up on me…sure I’ve known it’s been coming. But with all the excitement and commotion over finishing up classes, packing up my life at school, GRADUATING (!!!), and moving back home for 12 days, the day that caused so much night-before-excitement when I was 10 kind of caught me off guard.

Or maybe it’s just less “thrilling” than it used to be. I feel like there’s other things in my life that get me all giddy.

Maybe I’ll getting old.

hahahahahah….

But, I think that birthdays are good for reflecting on all that God’s done in the last year.

Honestly, my emotions and analytical mind have been mostly stagnant since last Saturday, when I walked across that stage to take a picture with my school’s smiling president.

The last week and a half of the semester were full of all kinds of emotions. Mostly anxiety, worry, sadness, guilt, stress and frustration. Not pretty things. Not healthy, edifying things. Rather, things that kind of short-circuited my desire to “feel”. I’m not sure if I’m explaining this all correctly.

Basically, I’ve been in a “I-don’t-want-to-think-too-hard-about-things,-because-I-don’t-want-to-enter-that-downward-cycle-again” (<——–world’s longest hyphenated word right there).

That’s not to say that I haven’t had emotions and “felt” things. I have. I’ve experienced great joys and have touched the surface of feeling relieved that I don’t have to take any more classes. And I’ve been sad that this is it….no more classes with such-and-such-amazing professor. Sadness that I’ll never live in the dorm again, but joy that I’ll still live close by to campus and get to see kindred spirits on a somewhat regular basis in the fall. Joy at getting to spend time with my family, friends, and boyfriend…yet sadness that they won’t be so accessible these next 2 months while I’m in Germany. Joy that I actually get to go to Germany and work with some great friends of mine, doing what I love, which involves capturing what they love to do. Yet a bit of fear at all that needs to happen before I leave 1 week from now.

Lots of emotions.

But, amidst all of this desire to feel or to not feel at all, I need to remind myself of God’s faithfulness in my life. I think He’s done some amazing things for me this past year, this past semester, this past month, this past week. And if I’m not careful, I’ll miss it. I’ll miss the blessings he gives me to show me that He is near and He cares and He is a good God. I’ll miss the opportunity to give Him the glory…my feeble attempts to praise Him are just a drop in the bucket to what He deserves or can get from others…and yet He still desires my praise. I am important to Him.

So today, I am thankful for my health. It’s not something I should take for granted.

I am thankful for the loved ones in my life who care about me. Who desire to know when things are wrong. Who want to share in my celebrations. Who love me even when I am unlovable.

I am thankful for all that God has done in my heart this past year. Even though it’s involved lots of tears. He has taught me to trust him in a way I have not experienced for a while. He has brought me to the place where the rubber hits the road, and all that I’ve learned about God, truth, and myself actually have to be put into action in order to have a chance at victory.

It’s time to end this post…it’s kind of a random clump of words. But random is o.k. Random is real.

And God is good. All the time.

 

 

and then come the tears.

and then come the tears.

they’ve been buried deep inside.

welling up every once in a while because of the stress.

the panic. the anxiety. the worries. the hurts.

but now they well up because it’s been so good.

and I can’t believe this season is  closing

only to open up into a new, beautiful one.

 

the change hurts.

i’ve longed for the changed.

counted down the days until this change of graduation would take place.

dreamed of how great life will be once the change occurs.

and now it’s less than 3 days away and this season

is slipping away like the sand in an hourglass.

 

4 years of higher education.

deep sorrows and joys alike.

Scars and struggles on the way, but with joy our hearts can say…

You are faithful, God, you are faithful.

testimonies of His faithfulness in my life.

all almost-22 years of it.

You’re rich in love, and You’re slow to anger

Your name is great, and Your heart is kind.

 

i am different today than who i was 4 years ago

because of the work of Jesus Christ

and the fact that I’ve been poured into by friendships so rich

that they seem too good to be true.

yet they have been true.

i’ve been blessed with a mother who was determined to get me through school.

He is good to us.

 

life is hard.

the past week and a half are evidence of that.

we get broken and crushed in this life.

but we have a God who redeems, heals, and loves

better than anyone or anything else out there.

 

change is hard.

but with every new season,

comes new joys,

and opportunities to become more like Christ.

the learning doesn’t stop now.

the learning from these past 4 years

has only been preparing me for the learning I’ll be doing the rest of my life.

 

be still my soul, the Lord is on Thy side. 

let the tears flow. let the celebration begin.

 

 

 

 

 

grace & guilt & the sea in between

horseshoe 1

(Did you like that Josh Garrels reference? I know, you’re welcome 😉

44 days.

(I’m sorry if you are one of those people that my near-daily countdown annoys. Hopefully, if you read to the end, you’ll realize that I am in the same, rocking boat that you are…and not hate me so much. Tomorrow, is 43 days btw….ANYWAYS!!!)

In just 44 days, I’ll be walking across a stage, dressed in black, probably wearing heals, wearing a floppy hat, shaking a hand, smiling for a picture, then walking off the stage. I’m anticipating that it will be one of the most special days of my life, at least thus far. I’ll have at least 8 special people in my life, sitting in the audience, all watching this scene transpire. It’s gonna be great. (and hopefully, I don’t sound like an egocentric person at this point!)

But we still have 44 days to go. 44 days people.

It feels like it’s just one long inhaled breath away. And it also seems like an eternity away. It seems like it’s just a dream I’ve had for most of my life that will never ever get here.

I’m kinda scared about all that has to happen before those 44 days are up. I don’t even want to go through my syllabi and mental to-do list. It all just makes me want to curl up in a ball and just go to sleep. “Wake me up when the 44 days are over”.

But that doesn’t work.

Today, I was swinging on a swing, eating lunch, and trying hopelessly to cram for a quiz on Psalm 2 (yes, Dr. Crutchfield, this is why I didn’t do to well today).

I was thinking about this serious case of senioritus that I seem to have (ya’ll, I used to judge people who said they had this horrible affliction…uh, yeah…times have changed and I must seek forgiveness for my hypocrisy).

Anyways, on the swing and then just now, I realize(d) that this whole semester, I’ve had the attitude that “I can’t finish all this work before me unless I become a tired, friendless, bored student, so I’m just not going to try my hardest”. And then, I’ve decided that because I won’t be able to get everything done [well], I’m not going to try at all in some cases”. The F’s I’ve been getting this semester are proof of that.

I’ve tried to tell myself not to worry. “D’s are for degrees”, one of my favorite professors says. (Maybe he doesn’t realize how seriously I’ve taken him on this!) I’ve tried to tell myself that relationships I’ve been investing in are more important than a good grade.

But in the back of my mind, I realize that I haven’t been a worker with good workmanship. This is so different from the Amy I was 4 years ago…a little freshmen leaving homeschooling behind and joining the ranks of all those smart, studious college students. I realize now that my grades and my smarts gave me an unhealthy sense of pride and twisted my identity.

I don’t want that either.

I know there’s grace. I know this is normal. I know that there are so many GOOOOD things that are taking my time now-a-days. So many things that will have just as much, or more, impact on my life in the future, than my studies. I know that just because I’m at a Bible college means that I have to have a certain standard of “biblical knowledge” or “spirituality” when I graduate.

So, all this to say, please pray for me these last few weeks. Pray for discipline where needed, and grace where needed. Pray for me when I fail, that I would cry out to the Lord. Pray that I wouldn’t make failure my easy default. The independent, self-confident Amy wants to say that I can do this by myself, that I can pass even when I’m getting F’s, (just had a deja vu moment there), and that everything 44 days from now will be to my credit.

But the other Amy knows differently. God has humbled me and delivered me enough in this life for me to know that it has been HIS FAITHFULNESS alone that I can give credit to.

The song “Never Once” truly is my anthem in this season of life (and for my life as a whole).

Today

Today, I went up with about 6 others, and was recognized as a new member at my church.

It’s kind of funny.

Funny, because I’ve been attending my church for almost 22 years. I was born into my church. So, when I tell people, I’m becoming a member”, they’re like “Whaaaa? What were you before?”

Yeahh….

But, becoming a member means a lot to me. Not just because now I’m “official”, but because of what it signifies to me. To become a member at my church, you have to acknowledge Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior. You have to recognize the Bible as the only infallible rule of faith and doctrine. Those are some pretty big “I agrees”.

And honestly, I haven’t been able to say that “I agree” to those at various points of my teenage/adult life. They have been the basis for so much spiritual/emotional struggle in the past 5ish years.

But, because of God’s mercy, patience, and grace, I can now say that I embrace these statements as my own.

I’m thankful for where the Lord has brought me and for where He is going to lead me in the future. The future is scary, hopeful, and unknown…but the Lord is holding it in His hands….He’s holding ME in his hands.

And for that I am thankful.

2014 goals

2014 goals

It’s January 19, but I guess it’s better late than never, if I want to make some official “goals” for this year.

I’m not really good at being disciplined, so I kind of hesitate to write the standard blogger’s “this is what I hope to do/become this next year”…I guess it’s a little humiliating to embark on some great project, only to realize later that you never finished what you told everyone you were starting.

But hopefully, there will be some good accountability that comes from posting these goals … and hopefully I’ll see some unexpected fruit in December.

I also realize that I need to depend on the Lord to help me accomplish everything that follows. I’d like to think that any difference people see in me is because of my own good and my own works. But the truth of the matter is that it’s not.

Yesterday, one of my coworkers kept commenting on how “Amy always tries to be positive about a situation”. Throughout the day (and throughout the job I’m in), we sometimes run across some unpleasant people. The natural thing is to want to be rude back (a big no-no). The next natural thing if you can’t be rude to their face is to talk about them once they leave (another no-no, but we commonly resort to it). I know that I often try to give the benefit of the doubt in a situation (“maybe they weren’t really doubting us…maybe they just really didn’t see that we put that sauce in their bag” or “maybe they’re just having a bad day and wouldn’t normally be so rude to us”). I definitely have been guilty of venting and gossiping about customers before, don’t get me wrong…but my coworker’s compliment has just made me realize how much more my flesh would rule the situation if it wasn’t for Jesus. If I didn’t have Him in my life, I might be the top gossiper and complainer. I know that I have that potential. Just want to point back to Him as being the source of any “difference” people see in me. It’s not Amy.

How did I get on that rabbit trail? I guess I want to use that to segway into my last “disclaimer”: Any good stuff or transformation that comes as a result to me accomplishing these 2014 goals is going to have to be by the work and help of the Holy Spirit in my life. I want to be more intentional about seeing how He wants to work in my life, using, refining, and disciplining me.

O.k. let’s go:

MY 3 WORDS FOR 2014

  1. Yearn – My desire is to yearn more for the Lord this year. I don’t want to grow satisfied with “just enough” to get me through the day, week, month, or this season of life. I don’t want to see Him as a “supplement” for my sin, hurts. I want Him to be my life-source, my daily bread and water, and my first love. (Psalm 42:1-2 “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. Where can I go and meet with God?”)
  2. Trust – I like to be in control. I like to try and figure things out by myself. I become so me-focused and lose sight of the big picture…the story of God’s faithfulness in my life. There’s a lot of big things (especially in this season of life, and in 2014) that I need to trust the Lord in. It doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t do my job in seeking Him for discernment and guidance. But I guess it means leaving the ball in His court and having faith that He CAN and He WILL act…whether that be to answer my questions with a “yes”, “no”, or the hard “wait”. (Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding; think about Him in all your ways, and He will guide you on the right paths.”)
  3. Wait – What a perfect segway (I’ve used that work twice in this post so far…I must like it). Related to Trust and the whole issue of control, I need to leave the future to the Lord. My timeline looks different and unique from that of those around me. I think that sometimes God reveals a long-distance view of the path He is leading us on. Other times, it’s only a few steps ahead of us before the future becomes a foggy blur. But either way, He wants us–me–to be so secure in Him, that even when He changes the direction of the path we thought he wanted us on for a long time…even then, we will be rooted in Him. Even when I’m shaken, I will not become unrooted. But for the present, while I have some ideas as to what’s ahead, I need to trust Him for the unknown. (Psalm 130:5 “I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope.”)

GOALS

  • Get at least 8.5 hours of sleep each night.
  • Go running at least 2 times a week
  • Memorize the three verses that go with my three words for the year, above
  • Read some from the Bible AND from a “secondary source” (like a devotional or Christian book) each day (besides finishing the whole Bible before I graduate, which is a graduation requirement).
  • Grow more in the spiritual discipline of prayer
  • Make sure that grades don’t become more important than investing into friends; and that being entertained doesn’t become more important than applying myself to my studies. Seek the Lord for balance in this.
  • Proactively seek to be a better daughter, sister, girlfriend, and friend.
  • Keep following Jesus, even when it’s hard.

[college] friends

The Lord has really blessed me in the friend department.

Just this morning, I was reminiscing with a friend on how I had been so terrified about our move to Taiwan in 1998. As a 6 year old, I was so nervous about leaving all my friends behind in the States. I think I even scribbled a note to our church pastor, to see if he’d ask the church to pray that Amy would be able to make friends when she got to Taiwan.

And now, I look at my life and I am amazed.

Especially this week, as I prepare to celebrate with my roomie as she embarks on the exciting adventure of marriage. It’s kind of weird to finally be at the age where your friends are starting to get married, and you’re the “support group” that is helping make things happen, roadtripping up to celebrate with “your girls”.

It’s like I always looked up to those “cool college kids”. And now I’m one of them (actually, I’m about to stop being one of them! Ha!)

And, my heart just overflows at all of the wonderful ladies the Lord has put in my life this last year and a half. While I’ve been blessed with some amazing friends at my church, who will always be lifetime friends and mentors, the community at my school is one of the kind. I guess that comes from living 24/7 with these ladies. Experiencing life’s greatest joys with one another, as well as supporting each other through life’s greatest heartaches. But I think the ultimate “glue” that holds us together is the bond of Jesus Christ.

It’s kind of funny how different my closest group of girls are. Extroverts and introverts. Good ol’ never-flown-on-a-plane type friends and itching-for-the-next-overseas-adventure type, as well. Night owls and early birds. Coffee drinkers and tea drinkers. Artsy and athletic. More spontaneous and more planned out. More emotional and more steady. We are so different.

And yet, I’ve found some kindred spirits among this group.

And I truly believe that Jesus is the reason.

I don’t mean that flippantly.

This past 17 months, God has really been working in my heart. Showing me that just because we’re different, doesn’t mean that someone is “less of a Christian” than I am. God works on all of us, sanctifying, polishing, and purifying us at different paces and in different areas. Yet we are all the same in that we all had a sin-debt we couldn’t repay. And, if we have accepted him as Lord and Savior, we all have been bought at a price and are now free from the chains of guilt, sin, and death. 

That’s why we are about to have unity…because it’s in Christ.

So I’m thankful for all the memories we’ve already had (roadtrips, cry-sessions, laugh-sessions, those life convos that are just what’s needed to encourage one another to continue seeking the Lord, Walmart and Trader Joes runs, meals out, study parties in the lib, and obnoxious dinners in the caf).

And I’m looking forward to this bright future ahead of us. Even though these friendships are going to be filled with change, hurts, and goodbyes, I know that we have a lasting friendship made possible because of Jesus.

And so, today, my heart is full, and I’m thankful God didn’t design us to be solo Christians.

 

2013 in Review

flowers 7If you’re like me, you’re also having to pause when writing dates down. “Wait, is it 2014 or 2013?” I’ve been looking forward to 2014 for a long time. I graduate from college this year, Lord willing. It’s going to be a year of firsts. First time to graduate (I was a homeschooler who didn’t get an official “walk-across-the-stage” graduation”). First time to travel internationally by myself. First time to get my “big girl job”…one that has to do with my major(s). And I’m sure there will be other firsts.

2014 is not only an opportunity for a lot of firsts; it’s also an opportunity for a lot of fear, anxiety, and worry. I seem to have those spiritual gifts down pat…just kidding. But, I really do have those habits down well.

Which means that I need to also see 2014 as an opportunity to do the following:

  • Trust the Lord even when the future is foggy, scary, and illogical 
  • Feed myself truth instead of lies
  • Go to the Lord instead of relying on my own strength & wisdom.
  • Strive to be molded into who God wants me to be–not who others or who I want me to be
  • The object of your faith is more important than the amount of faith you have, as long as there is a little
  • Don’t simply go by feelings. 
  • Remember the big picture: God has been faithful to me. God is changing me. God has my best interest at heart. God’s ways are not always easy, but they are good because He is good. Just keep swimming (just to throw a little Finding Nemo in there).

Besides these themes, I’ve also learned/experienced some other things:

  1. I won my first airline voucher because I took a later flight, when my own was overbooked during a trip this summer.
  2. A 19-hour semester in college is near-lunacy (at least for someone like me, who is still lacking in the discipline/motivation department). Praise the Lord it got done. Only by his grace and intervention!
  3. I’ve seen God’s faithfulness in getting me to a point where I think I’ll be graduating next year
  4. My nickname is now “Camel” thanks to one of my roommates. I realized I have a serious attachment to my waterbottle. Just ask my boyfriend.
  5. I got to go to NYC and Chicago.
  6. I was a second shooter for my 4th and 5th weddings
  7. I went from smart phone to dumb phone, then back to smart phone. And I’m lovin’ instagram.
  8. God’s Word is precious
  9. I need more than 8 hours of sleep in order to avoid being a slug
  10. This was not the year of the mug. Broke 3 of my favorites. Good Will and my uncle brought the number back up.
  11. I need music in my life. There are so many songs I could list that would be my “theme songs”, my “battle cries” from this past year. But I’ll just list titles, so that I myself can look back on this later and remember what God used to speak to me: “None But Jesus”, “Draw Me Nearer”, “God I Look To You”, “Blessings”, “You’re Not Alone”, “Psalm 62”, “Still My Soul Be Still”, “All Men are Broken”, “Oceans”, “Hallelujah”, “Though You Slay Me”, “Drowning”, “You’ll Find Your Way”, and “Be Thou My Vision.

I’m thankful for all that 2013 held. Even the hard things.

1 Peter 1:6-9

In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in himand are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

I’m thankful that HE IS FAITHFUL. And even when I don’t always “feel” like He’s with me and by my side, I know that He is.

“And I would like to share with you what makes me complete,
I don’t claim to have found the Truth, but I know IT HAS FOUND ME!
The only thing that is not meaningless to me is Jesus Christ and the way He set me free!
This is all that I have, this is all that I am!”

– Sara Groves, “Conversations”

Welcome, 2014. You’ve been a long time coming.

Thanks.

Happy Thanksgiving. It’s truly a day when we are more aware of the blessings that we have. And, if you’re a believer, it’s a great opportunity for us to thank the Lord for his undeserved goodness to us.

But, I think there are a lot of us (including myself) that, come the holiday season, look at the instagrams, Facebook posts, and blogs with envy. “How come my Thanksgiving doesn’t look like so-and-so’s??”

Thanksgiving has the potential to bring out more “I wish I had’s” than “I’m thankful I have’s”. (Just take a look at Black Friday…the irony of the whole thing just astonishes me. On Thursday we claim contentment and then the very next day (actually, it’s become just a few hours later on Thursday), we go out and buy a ton of things we often don’t need. Yes, there is a great opportunity to get Christmas gifts at a good bargain, but that’s a whole different topic.)

Not everyone has access to the typical Hallmark family Thanksgiving.

For some, that’s an intentional choice (maybe it’s not feasible to make the long-distance trek this year, or more peace is found celebrating at home than battling through all the family dynamics).

But for others, it’s a situation they don’t want. This wasn’t there choice. Maybe loved ones have died, families have been split apart, sickness demands a quarantine, cars break down, flights get canceled, there’s no money in the budget for traveling.

The first response is: “My Thanksgiving is going to stink”. Then, it’s easy for the bah-humbug attitude of Scrooge to set in.

Today, if you find yourself in that boat, let me encourage you with Habbakuk 3:17-19

Though the fig tree does not bud and there is no fruit on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will triumph in the Lord; I will rejoice in the God of my salvation! Yahweh my Lord is my strength; He makes my feet like those of a deer and enables me to walk on  mountain heights!

I fell in love with this verse last year during my Old Testament class. I hope I get the context right. Basically. Habbakuk the prophet is saying that even if his world falls apart and God does not provide earthly rescue, he will STILL trust God. He will STILL love Him. He will STILL follow Him.

How Habbakuk views/treats God is not dependent on how God views/treats Him.

Friend, maybe you are feel the same way. Maybe the world around you is falling apart. What’s the point of celebrating God’s blessings. “Where are His blessings?”, you may ask. I know my words are not the most eloquent, and my logic may not always make sense. However, we can trust God because of the ultimate blessing He gave us: His Son, Jesus. Jesus’ blood paid the ransom for my sin. And your sin.

We may not be blessed with a lot of happy family time, lots of beautiful decorations around a Pinterest-perfect house, cold temperatures, fall leaves, or Frank Sinatra singing Christmas carols in the background. Our hearts may be broken and we might be exhausted. We may feel like failures. We may want to blame our circumstances on the failures of others.

But don’t let your circumstances steal your joy, your hope, and your confidence in who the Lord is and what He has ultimately done for you.

“The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.”

-1 John 2:17

My Jehovah Jirah

early ciu morn

This semester God has been teaching me things that I didn’t really have on my radar as “things I want to learn”.

One of them has been how I need to be more generous with my possessions.

I have no problem with expecting  other people to be generous with me. I take from them freely.

Yet, when they take from me and I haven’t extended the “gift” to them, then my heart starts to clamp shut. “What right do they have thinking that they can just take my things without permission and without reciprocation.”

[Note, as you’re reading this, please don’t start psychoanalyzing your life to see if you’ve taken anything from me lately. Yes, my flesh is wrestling with wanting people to feel convicted if they’ve taken from me…but the point I really want to convey in this blog is that God is at work because I am a sinner … so don’t be calling me up apologizing for taking a cookie from me. That’s not the point 🙂 Don’t feel bad! Ok….]

Maybe “for the sake of friendship”, I decide to avoid confrontation. So instead, I let the resentment and bitterness grow inside of my heart. Festering. Spilling forth all sorts of nastiness that, instead of protecting a friendship, starts to destroy it.

I still need the Lord to help me know when the confront.

But the bigger problem, the root problem that I see in all of this is my unwillingness to give freely. As one of my close friends gently rebuked me recently (thank you dear, you know who you are), “It seems like you’re generous with giving when you’re the one who gets to decide when to give, how much to give, and who to give it to” (she didn’t say it in those words, but that’s what it means to me).

So if that’s my definition of and expression of “generosity”, is it really generosity?

Maybe hiding behind the call for us to be generous is the even greater command for us to take up our cross and follow Him. To sacrifice, live humbly, and to give without complaining.

I used to think I was a generous person. However, now i’m starting to see that I’m only good at giving to people when that they give back (whether in more material good or admiration or praise). I’m not very good at giving when I will get nothing in return or when my I start to suffer a loss (even if it’s as silly as “oh…I’m out one cookie now, because she took it”…that’s a fake example, by the way…don’t go wondering if you’re the one who took my cookie 😉

The funny thing in all of this is that I’ve seen God provide for me in ways I wasn’t expecting this semester. In the midst of coming to grips with my selfishness.

1) Someone left $20 on my dorm door with instructions that it be used for a weekly ministry I usually pay out of pocket for.

2) A girl on the hall was offering 2 perfectly good containers of healthy yogurt “because she got the wrong kind”. She didn’t want to be paid back.

3) I had 2 DVD’s checked out from the school library. They were overdue (soooooo my fault). Yet, when I brought them back tonight there was no overdue charges accumulated.

4) In just two days last month, I got offered 2 big photography jobs for the month of October. Such a financial blessing and a great opportunity to get behind my camera again!

He is my Jehovah Jirah. My provider.

My money is His money. My life is in His hands. Why do I worry?

I need to live in the confidence that He’s got me. Even if I suffer a loss, my job on earth is to be used as a vessel for His glory.

Yes, there are definitely times when boundaries need to be set with one’s possessions. (That’s another lesson I feel that He’s trying to teach me at the same time. Definitely some tension there!)

Yes, I don’t have to let people run all over me.

However, the anxiety I feel when my things are taken is not right. The anger I feel is sin. The insecurity I feel is a lack of trust.

Jesus, help me. Continue to be my Jehovah Jirah. And all that I need!

A little blurb I saw on someone’s dorm white board today: “Jesus + nothing = everything”

Preach.