Twenty Eleven.

I think of this year as a boat being tossed in a storm.
It came in a whirlwind of forced responsibility and stressful scheduling… but as a new year always does, I had a hopeful outlook. I experienced many things in the past year, the most important one is that of desperation. I have never felt so desperate in my life, only it wasn’t always a bad thing. It started my health journey and kept me fighting. However, the one sentence that comes to mind when I think about my spiritual walk is this: I’ve never truly been angry at God before this year. It hurts to know I was there, it hurts to know that I neglected my relationship because of my surroundings and situations.
There are times when we must stop trying to fix things… That is, we must stop trying to stop leaks from springing and the boards of the deck from peeling back. There’s a time when even the sail can’t be saved from being torn into shreds. There was a point in the storm when I had to put all of my effort into holding on for dear life. I had to forget about what was falling apart around me. I had to make sure I stayed alive.
But I knew within those dark moments that I wasn’t going to give up. I made a decision a long time ago that no matter what happened, I wasn’t ever going back to living my life without Christ guiding me. I had to give myself some time to step back and look at my life, look at what I was doing and where I was going to go if I continued to let my life run me. One of the only things that kept me going was a small hope for a better future. In fact, I found myself dwelling so much on the future, I ended up finding the one thing I needed most for the future… A renewed desire to seek God. I held on to the tattered rags of promises I had managed to keep with me and finally began to put my life back into action 9/12 (nine-twelveths) of the way through the year.

    As I said before, it hasn’t been all bad.

I created this blog in 2010, which has helped my writing and become a major outlet to emotions.
This year I graduated from college. What was a source of a lot of stress during the process turned into an amazing feeling of accomplishment and good memories.
I also went to Washington D.C. on a much-needed vacation after graduation. I don’t think I’ll ever forget the awesome time I spent with my Dad and brother. It sounds so small, but when you dreamed of running away from life so many times in one year, a small vacation becomes a lifeline of sanity.
Of course, you can’t ignore what I started in the beginning of October. My health improvement. That in itself has changed me more than I could ask for. I am so thankful for that jump-start.
Then there was December… I was in charge of conceptualizing, directing, and finalizing the Christmas Eve service at church. It was the first time I’d ever been given such a great responsibility or trusted that much by any leaders in my life. I learned so much about myself and feel it’s the beginning of things to come. I loved doing it, and I loved being done with it. Haha.

    So what’s going to happen in 2011, you ask?

I have no idea! To tell the truth, I’ve been quite apprehensive about it. I wouldn’t call it scared, but I would call it gun-shy. Even with the last few month’s success, I can’t help but look at the year ahead and think, “What trial is coming next? Why was this past year so hard? Could it be that it was only in preparation of the even bigger storm around the corner?”
My boat is still sailing, but the repairs from the last storm aren’t finished yet. I don’t think I’ll ever have this boat looking the way it did prior to the storm and I don’t really want it to be. I want it to leave evidence of my journey so I never forget the lessons I learned, but I know that my boat is going to come out looking better than it did before.
Even though I don’t have any of my questions answered, I do have this feeling in the pit of my stomach.
This year will change my life.
I’ve already committed myself to more work for His Kingdom than I’ve ever undertaken. I’ve already received a word from the Lord that my main focus this year needs to be on ministry and not on furthering my career or finding a job. I feel a deep conviction every time I send in a job application… it says: “A 9 to 5 job will never work for what I have for you.” …I have student loans to pay off and a bill from the State of TN for damaging the guard rail that saved my life two years ago. These things need money. For my future to get started off on the right foot, I can’t take these debts lightly. It makes tears well up in my eyes to think about it. But I know God will help me make these payments. I know because he has already shown me through different situations that he’s got my back.
Also, this year our new church will be finished and I will say goodbye to the only building I’ve ever described as being ‘my home church’. It’s bittersweet, and entirely exciting. I can’t wait to see what God is holding for us there and what he’ll do in our lives to get us there!
I can only tell you one thing: This year will take everything I have and push it to the brink of greatness and beyond.

    With all of that said, Here are my 2011 resolutions:

I will reach my weight loss goal. I can’t tell you exactly what that goal is, but I know that I’ll know when I get there. For me, it’s not about pounds, inches, or dress sizes. Those are all relative factors. I am already happy with myself, I don’t need a number to tell me when I’m finished.

I will give everything I have to God. Spiritual increase has always been on my list, but this year is going to be different. The goal this year in our church is about spreading the gospel, and I’ve come to realize that a passion for souls has been lying dormant in my spirit since about 15 and only now am I letting it rise up in me. I am going to give everything I have to this and push myself further in other ministries I am passionate about as well. I also plan to amp up my prayer, fasting, and studying life. I do these things, but a step up is never a bad thing.

• I will not ask God for anything in the category of relationships. This one is kind of hard to explain, but I feel it’s another time when I should stop focusing on fixing the boat and focus on keeping myself alive. This isn’t one of those typical ‘I’m focusing on me’ times. This is about is focusing on what God is doing through me instead of what God is doing for me. Oddly enough, I see this one as the most challenging one. You really don’t realize how often you ask God for something until you make it a point not to ask anymore. I do pray that God honors this covenant.

All in all, This year promises to be the most challenging, most fruitful, and most change-filled year I’ve had yet. May your 2011 be the same for you.

Thanks for reading!

Too small a request for a Savior?

The story starts with my hair.

If you know me, you know that I pride myself in having great hair. I always have it up in some new hairdo and I get compliments on the artistry and length of it. It’s down past my butt which is a personal, as well as spiritual, choice.

So it may come as a surprise to you when I say that my dilemma is that I’m unsatisfied with it. It’s highly damaged and lately it’s been getting relentlessly greasy. Part of this is from the daily use of hair spray, and even though I’ve stopped putting my fingers through it, it gets greasy even the very day I wash it. And yes, I shampoo twice. I also just moved into a house where the water is extremely hard, and I know that much of my problems could be solved with remedying the water in my home.
The extent of the damage is a terrible array of dead and split ends that have caused my hair to look uneven and fried. The normal hereditary traits of my hair are it being flat and without volume. This is usually counteracted by myself with hair spray and the reuse of the way my hair was trained the day before.

I was thinking about all of this today, as I was sulking in the mirror at my lackluster hair. The simple answer to my problem of dead and split ends is to cut my hair. I don’t want to do this. I refuse to do this for spiritual reasons, and nothing can change my mind on that. I thought about just getting it trimmed which I have done before and maybe that would help…just this once, ya know? But that won’t work, because it would only get bad again and I would only have to trim it again.

Then it dawned on me. I have a God who heals cancer, raises the dead, causes the blind to see, the lame to walk, and the deaf to hear. He performs weather miracles and political miracles, he does the impossible everyday.
How come I have never thought about asking him to heal my damaged hair? I have to admit, I laughed at the thought as soon as it crossed my mind. I immediately thought that such a petty thing was stupid to ask for and with all the other grand things he’s busy doing, why would he stop to cure my split ends? Moreover, to fix the hard water that’s causing it so much detriment?
On the other hand, is it not insulting to God to not hand over such a small bullet point on a list of lifetime long requests? How can I trust and have faith in him for large miracles if I don’t have trust of faith for him to perform small miracles like making my hair healthy again?

I want to encourage you to trust God to perform small miracles, because in trusting him you build your faith for the situations to come, and in those situations you might need a large miracle to be performed. Start trusting now. 😉

The story ends with me trusting that my hair (and water) will be miraculously cured.

“Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.” – John 16:24