Source of Life

During my college years, I would hear my sister & some of my friends say, “I just can’t imagine going a day without being in God’s Word!” They would describe to me how they could tell if they went through their day without being filled with His Word first. I didn’t really understand this because by the time they had their “quiet time”, I had already washed the dishes (turned the dishwasher on), ironed my clothes for the next day (threw my outfit in the dryer on the “scorch” setting) & pretended to finish my history paper. How would praying & sitting there help me in my day?

And then, my Savior, after relentlessly pursuing me for years & loving me before I was even born, CHANGED MY LIFE. Slowly, but surely, I began to understand what my sister & friends had tried to express to me before. After experiencing uninterrupted, personal one-on-one time with God on a daily basis, sometimes multiple times a day, I just knew that I’d never be able to go a day without setting time aside to share my heart with Him. But just as I was sure that I’d keep it up…I didn’t. At first I thought that maybe I’d just pray while I was being “productive” around the house. And then, I’d get so sidetracked with changing the toilet paper rolls in the bathrooms & scrubbing the tub, that praying went right out the window. And my favorite laughable reasoning was, “Sure, I WANT to spend time with my Savior. But I have too much to do. Plus, I don’t feel ‘needy’ today, so I’ll just spend extra time with Him tomorrow. Won’t He be happy about that.” Then 24 hours later, “I’ll just wait until tomorrow. I’m still doing good. I hardly cried over anything today.” Another day or two goes by and I realize that I’m really…just…in a funk for some reason. In fact, I’m feeling a little overwhelmed & empty. My faith is feeling a little shaky.

It’s written out crystal clear in Romans 10:17. It says: “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.”

So this is where you think I’d connect those dots and say to myself, “Hello! You know what you need. You need to plug into your life source! Easy fix. Now go do it.” But instead, like a broken record, I repeat to myself, “I’m way too busy; and really, I just don’t feel like it. I’m not feeling happy and I don’t want to come to a perfect God when I’m not feeling happy. I’ll try to perk myself up with some chocolate or something and then I’ll spend some interrupted time with Him. Tomorrow.” This mindset is not right! Why do I think it’s ok to fellowship with the Lord only when I need to get something out of it? The God of the universe wants desperately to spend time with me; listen to me pour out my heart to Him; comfort me. John 4:23 expresses how God loves our worship & longs for fellowship with us! Umm, WOW.

God-is-our-source-of-life. He is our joy giver, grace giver, abundant life giver. Without staying plugged into that source, we cannot & will not live each day to the fullest. We need to realize that we are not self sufficient & can not navigate our lives without Him. And praise God that we don’t have to! I declare Him faithful!

Who I Am

I don’t know about you, but periodically I catch myself letting out a deep, heavy sigh. Even if nothing in particular is happening at that moment, it doesn’t matter. Here comes the sigh. It’s like I’m releasing feelings of being overwhelmed from fighting a battle that I’m unaware of. Or maybe all the stresses of life combine into this huge pile, so I’m not thinking of just one thing that’s on my mind, because 1,000 things are. What do I do on days like this? Well, there’s the classic to-do list. Until I get distracted or realize I just don’t feel like making or doing anything on a list. I can allow myself to be a professional procrastinator if the occasion calls for it. I thought marrying a man who was super organized & motivated would change that about me. Or at least make me look better. But instead, I’m the one that is being asked to pick up my underwear off the floor or keep my paperwork semi-organized. Wow. That transition into superwoman wife didn’t happen as well as I had hoped.
Marrying a man that truly finds joy in being organized, having a dusted house & wiped-clean electronics doesn’t make it very easy to pretend to be organized either. I know we’re married, but I still have stories about my college dorm room I haven’t shared with him. Stories that would haunt & disturb him to his squeaky clean core. Marrying a man who thinks being 10 minutes early is being on time has also stretched my “fashionably late by 20 minutes” habits. During my sophomore year, my sister became a freshman at the same University I was at & we thought it would be fun to take some classes together. From the first day of our sisterly-shared classes, I’m sure my sister regretted it. I always knew it took me an hour to fully get ready in the morning. But for a little reason I like to call “loving my sleep more than life itself”, I made us late for every class. It got to the point where she would say, “I love you, Heather, but I’m going to be on time today. You’re on your own. See you at class.” At first, I could convince her that I was just a couple minutes away from being ready to leave & she would wait for me. But then my baby sister wised up & figured out that 2 minutes meant 15 minutes in my language. And I usually had a stressful, hurried walk to class…alone. I take full responsibility for that. But if I could just add one thing, I was always dressed nicely & fully accessorized. Sometimes I even remembered to bring my textbooks.
Up until about a year ago, I become completely emotionally depleted while trying to earn my father’s love & make him proud of who I was. But nothing was enough & love shouldn’t have to be worked for or earned. Every time I was told what I was doing wrong, I immediately claimed how imperfect I was & tried harder to change into something different just so I could feel approval to some degree. Comments in my childhood, regardless of whether or not they were maliciously said to me, deeply scarred me. I went from thinking I could conquer the world, to wondering if I was good at anything. I went from thinking I was the prettiest girl in the room, to not eating for days at a time so that I could be somewhat attractive. I almost always had breakouts on my face, so layers of makeup went on to help complete the mask that I liked to wear to cover up the ugliness I felt.
Looking back at all of the defining moments that hurt in my life, I see God’s hand. Times I was laying in bed, knowing my decisions were not only hurting me, but hurting the people I claimed to love, I still felt God’s grasp on my heart. He wouldn’t let go. I would cry & ask God why He still wanted me. There was nothing likable, much less lovable about me. At least that’s how I felt. I wasn’t interesting enough or beautiful enough to keep the attention of the people that I desperately longed for. I wasn’t the prettiest, the most talented or creative. I was just…me. And I was a MESS. I always viewed my messy life as a reason that I couldn’t be used by God for something bigger than what I was. I was empty. I didn’t have anything in me that could stack up against the amazing people around me. I had no 5-year plan. I didn’t know what my plans were for the upcoming weekend, much less what I wanted to do after college or the rest of my life.
So long story short, I’m a mess. There’s no cute little box with a perfect little ribbon tied around this girl’s life. But despite my messiness, God has ALWAYS been faithful. And I think because of my messiness, God is faithful. God never asked us to get ourselves together before we accept Him into our lives. What I’ve learned is that it’s impossible to get to a point where I feel ready enough, clean enough, organized enough, pure enough, holy enough to approach a perfect, unconditionally loving God. I can’t do anything to earn His love. But that’s the beauty of Who He is. He loves me no matter what.
Let that soak in.
God loves you. Nothing you’ve done or will ever do will change the fact that Jesus died for you. He died for you. He welcomes your messiness.
Listen to what 2 Corinthians 12:9 says:
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
So there we are. I’m a mess & God loves me. I am empty without Him. Anything good inside of me is from God. He is personal, loves unconditionally & pours out grace on me every single day. From the second my feet the floor in the morning, God has given me the strength & grace that I need to live that day; not just get through the day, but fully, abundantly & passionately live. Because I am empty without Him & because I am weak, Christ’s power can be made perfect in that weakness! Praise God! I declare Him faithful!