God inspired me to share what He has been teaching me each week. I want to share with you the spiritual insight I receive, but these posts will not be limited to that. I will share whatever He puts on my heart as I look back on each week and discover what I've learned. I will be sharing from the heart because being vulnerable is part of who I am. There are some things that I may not be so specific about because they are personal, but I will definitely share from the heart. I hope to set aside time each week to post this blog and I hope that it encourages, blesses, and inspires you through what God is doing in and through my life!
I'm going to start with last Saturday. It had been a long week of working more hours than normal, and long days. I was exhausted. I got off around 2pm and went to my "happy place" of Starbucks and prayed for my usual favorite spot, the cozy chairs outside watching the airplanes land at Palomar Airport. Shortly after sitting down and trying to find rest in the Lord by simply being still, I saw something on facebook that caused me to cry. (It's too personal to share) But, I quickly began to dwell on it and recognize the severity of the circumstances regarding that situation. I was sad. There's this thing in my life, that has really challenged my faith. It's causing me to trust in God and believe even when I do not see any change. Even when I do not know when the change will come or how long it will take. But, isn't that what FAITH is?? 2 Corinthians 5:7 says "For we live by believing and not by seeing." God brought this scripture to mind in the midst of this moment when I felt so down and discouraged. He said, Katie, this is where you live by faith. And again I realized how my faith had been tested yet again. Was I going to continue to believe God is able to take care of this situation, no matter what the physical circumstances dictate? Or was I going to give up, stop believing, and have no faith? I'll be honest. The second sounded easier. And, choosing the first took some time. But, I know in my heart and my spirit I have made a decision that I will agree with 1 Corinthians 13:7 that says "Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance." And so, although I felt discouraged by the circumstances, I chose to press-on and pray. I also sent a few texts to friends who know the situation and asked for prayer. It wouldn't be like me to not do that. God also reminded me that it doesn't matter what I see in the physical because there is stuff happening in the spiritual working for this situation that I am unable to see. God is for us, not against us!
A friend reminded me, as God has spoken to me before, that it is my responsibility how I respond to my circumstances. I need to not let things like that effect me in a negative way. It is important to acknowledge what happened, and it's okay to be sad, but it isn't okay for me to give the enemy a foothold by allowing myself to become so wrapped up in it that it brings discouragement, doubt, fear, and worry. All of those things are not from God and they are signs that I am not trusting God.
After working so much the week before, my bosses decided to give me Sunday off. (They were moving into a new home and so both of them were off anyways) It was just what I needed! God is so good to give us exactly what we need, exactly when we need it. He knows each of us so well. I went to church in the morning and then spent the rest of the day at the beach in Del Mar. There is a place that I like to go and hang out with God. It's a place that I always go to when I need to set all else aside and sit with Him and listen. It's a place where I leave my phone in the car, and I journal. It's like my oasis. I stopped by coffee bean and got my favorite tea latte and managed to find a parking spot in the craziness of Del Mar with the fairgrounds going on right now. I parallel parked for the first time! That was exciting :) I had plenty of space, but still. I spent most of the time reflecting on relationships I had been in the past, as that day marked 5 1/2 years since I broke up with my high school boyfriend, who I had been with for 5 1/2 years. I dated him from age 15-20. I may post more in depth about that sometime, but in short, ending our relationship was the best thing that ever happened to me. It actually brought me back to God (I was raised in a Christian home, but stopped going to church in high school). Quickly after, I went on my first missions trip and then got baptized, re-dedicating my life to Christ. It was then (September 2008) that I recall actually coming to understand what it truly means to have a relationship with God. I actually picked up my Bible and developed my prayer life after this. I also reflected on relationships I have been in since then, and where my heart was at emotionally. For some reason, I have no problem getting attached to guys emotionally. This is not a good thing and hasn't ever worked in my favor. However, with each relationship I was in, or not in but emotionally invested my heart in, I learned something from it. I have truly discovered that no guy can truly satisfy me except Jesus. Although I've gained this perspective, it hasn't always been an easy journey believing it. I have moments, seasons, and days where I feel totally free, in love with Jesus and trusting Him to bring me the man of my dreams. And then I have moments, seasons, and days where I completely lack trust, and fear being alone and never entering into the relationship I've always hoped for. God has also been working on my heart in preparing me for marriage in many ways regarding sacrificial love and knowing that when that time does come, I won't have the freedom and time that I have with Jesus right now. Someone recently told me she loves my child-like faith to trust in God regarding relationships. I laughed and began to share from the heart that this area is actually one of the biggest struggles for me. Some people would never know it, but those close to me know it very well. It has been a battle for so long and I'm really learning to trust God and hold onto the promises. He told me in 2010, "Let the guy pursue you. And, you won't have to do anything but be yourself and he will love you for you. Just keep pursuing Me and he will pursue you." You'd think that'd be a simple thing to do, but I like to be in control and even though it hasn't ever worked for me, I still struggle. I'm so thankful that God does know who's best for me and He knows the best timing. And, He will work it all out. I do believe it will be effortless. Like falling in love with Jesus is effortless. I believe it will be orchestrated like God orchestrated many other things in my life. It will fall into place, without my efforts. Because like Jesus said, all I need to do is keep pursuing Him, and he will pursue me. That makes my part easy! So you'd think. Anyways, I walked away from reflecting on relationships thanking God for protecting my heart from each relationship that didn't work out because He truly did. My heart was emotionally invested in every single relationship and I realize now how emotions and feelings really can get in the way. And, I can pray, "Not my will, but Yours be done" since I haven't been successful in my pickings in the past. I also know that my story regarding relationships is a testimony and will be used for His glory to encourage and inspire young women one day. And I am also thankful for that.
Whenever I go to the Palomar Airport Road Starbucks, I look up at the airplanes as they land. There is something about airplanes that cause me to think about trusting God. Throughout my travels, I always get on a plane thinking about how I fully trust the pilot to get me from where I am to where I am going. I have no way of understanding it. I simply trust the pilot knows what they are doing and where they are going. I trust that they have learned to fly the plane and will get me there safely. Even though I don't know them personally, I trust them. I have no control over the plane and it getting me to where I need to be. It causes me to think about my relationship with God. In some areas, I am really good at trusting Him to be my pilot. In others, I am not. I need to trust God and not doubt His ability to get me from where I am, to where I am going, safely. To travel without worry. And to be okay with being out of control.
Something that God has been teaching me over the last year is that He is always speaking, it's just a matter of if we are listening or not. He speaks even in the midst of the most chaotic situation. We just have to listen. Sometimes it takes stepping outside of the chaotic environment if that is possible, and quieting yourself to be still so you can hear Him. Sometimes it helps to be at a peaceful place. Other times He speaks even when you least expect it. Something He is growing me in is abiding in Him all the time, staying connected to Him throughout the day, and knowing that He is always with me. He is there to listen and there to help. It doesn't matter to Him if I've read the Bible or had an extensive time in prayer, He just wants to do life with me. He just wants to walk with me. I'm learning how to walk with Him, no matter what my day brings. But I'm also learning that I do need set aside time with Him at least every couple of days to process in my journal what He's teaching me and speaking to me.
At one point in time, I woke up every morning with instantaneous JOY and I was eager to get the day started. This past season has been much different. It is very hard for me to wake up. I'm a slow mover in the mornings and don't want to talk to anyone until I've had some coffee and I'm a bit more awake. I prefer to lay in bed a little longer, if I can. Some days, I don't even want to get up and face whatever the day has for me, but I know that's not an option. And sometimes, once I am up and moving, I still am not in the best mood. This last week I decided that I am going to set my mind to praising God every morning. Even if it's in the quietness of my heart, I am going to praise Him. For who He is, for what He's doing in me, for what the day has in store, for the blessings around me, for where He's taking me, for whatever He puts on my heart. I want to praise God at all times, just as Psalm 34:1 says "I will praise the LORD at all times, I will constantly speak his praises." I do not want my praising God to be dictated by my circumstances or location. I want to praise Him at all times, and I know that I am learning that is a choice I have to make daily.
God desires to pour out His love on us daily. Have you ever heard people ask "Is it easier for you to give away love or receive love?" I know for me it's easier to give it away than receive it. And, as I was saying above about relationships, God has been showing me that He is trying to show me that He loves me no matter what I do, say, how I feel. His love is unconditional and never-ending, not based on my actions. He loves me simply because He loves me! And the same is true for you. I've been recognizing that God shows me He loves me in various ways, but I'm often quick to thank Him and then brush it aside and move on with life. I am not receiving the love in the way I want to receive it (through a relationship) and so I don't even recognize the love He is pouring out on me because I'm so caught up in how I am not receiving love the way I want it. Wow. So, on July 1st, He brought it to my attention. I had recently read the scripture "But each day the LORD pours his unfailing love upon me." Psalm 42:8 and thought I'd do something fun for the month of July. I am on the hunt for love. I am on a the hunt to see how God pours out His unfailing love upon me each day. I know it's His desire, and I know He does it in various ways. So, I've opened up my eyes to see and my hands and heart to receive. And it's been fun to see how He shows me that He loves me thus far and I'm not even one week into it. I want to spend more time focusing on God and His love for me rather than the things I don't have and want.
Recently I discovered that I have been learning the hard way regarding some things. One in particular is this phrase "Just because it's a good thing doesn't mean it's a God thing." You can read more about this in my previous post below.
Another thing that I have been recognizing in this season is that everything is out of my control and I have a great need for God to come through or I'm not really sure what is going to happen. I'm not going to go into great detail on this because it is more personal, but what I will share is a scripture that came to mind as I was thinking about this : "The Lord is good to those who depend on him, to those who search for him." Lamentations 3:25 Therefore, God promises to be good to me when I'm in this place where everything is out of my hands and I am forced to depend on Him. One thing I will share is something I have shared before. My financial needs are great with Bethel coming up. I do not have a job (yet) and have financial needs to take care of before I move to Redding, as well as tuition for the school I will be attending, and monthly rent. It is a scary place to not have a job, but plan to move anyways. I don't have a plan B. It's a new place of trusting Him. But, God reminded me the other day when I was reflecting on this that He is fully capable of meeting all of my needs. He brought the following scriptures to mind. "...your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need." Matthew 6:32-33 "And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:19 "Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us." Ephesians 3:20 Now that I have these truths written down and planted in my heart, I can believe God to move on my behalf and meet all of my needs, just as He promises in the above scriptures. I am excited to see how He works everything out. And, I am expecting and believing for a job and all my financial needs to be met. The other things that are out of my control, I am doing my best to remember that it is better they are out of my hands and in God's. That God can and will work out every situation and I can walk resting in that truth, without carrying the burdens because He has it all in His hands. And, it doesn't matter what I see happening or don't see happening, He is still working on those situations and there is nothing I can do to change them, except partner in agreement with Him through prayer.
I've been thinking about Love Languages a lot lately and while reading "Keep Your Love On" by Danny Silk, he touched briefly on them. If you haven't heard of the love languages before, there are 5- Quality Time, Words of Affirmation, Touch, Gifts, and Acts of Service. Often times we give away the love language we need the most, to my understanding. There is a book called "The 5 Love Languages" by Gary Chapman and it expands more on it if you're interested. I discovered my top two love languages are Words of Affirmation and Quality Time. Here are some notes I took from the Danny Silk book about them: Quality Time: "A Quality Time person feels love and connection when you find them interesting- with the evidence of this interest being that you want to spend time with them...For a Quality Time person, pain enters the relationship when you don't listen or pay attention to them. When you don't make time to fully engage with your Quality Time person, you send them the ugly message that you are not interested in them, or worse that they are not important to you." Words of Affirmation: "Words of Affirmation people feel most enjoyed and appreciated when your words and body language include a positive tone of voice, facial expressions, and word choice. They notice the "spirit" or intent of words exchanged, and that aspect impacts them powerfully. For the Words of Affirmation person, anxiety rises and falls with the way words are used in conversation. A simple word of encouragement goes a long way toward creating safety and connection. Love flows into them with every positive word, and they relax as they experience someone verbally expressing their enjoyment in them." To be honest, I was a bit hesitant in buying the book on my Kindle due to tight finances, but it was only $8.00 and I knew it would be a beneficial read for me right now. I am so thankful that I did because reading the above things about my love languages was really helpful and put together the pieces for certain situations.
Life as a nanny is so much fun! I am learning more and more each day about myself, how to parent, and God often speaks to me through my time with Charlee. Last week I still worked a lot, but it was later in the day and into the evening rather than early mornings. It was nice to be able to get more sleep and have some solid time in with the Lord before work. The other day, I told Charlee not to go in the tennis courts because we went to the park to play. She listened, but the next thing I know she was walking through some trees through a back gate to the tennis courts! Again, I told her we are not playing in there and redirected her to the park. Then it dawned on me! Even though I told her no, she found another way around it to get her way. And I thought about how often I do that. I tend to think God needs my help with something, so even if He says no or it's not time yet, like Charlee, I try to find another way around it. Another time we went to this place she loves playing at called Kidsville. We arrived too early for open play and had to go spend some time else where so I took her to the coffee shop across the street. She got really upset because we were leaving Kidsville after we already went inside. She didn't understand or wasn't listening when I was telling her that we would return shortly, because she was so caught up in how we were headed to the car, which means we were leaving. She cried the entire way to the coffee shop, which wasn't far at all, and as soon as we got there, guess what? She was fine! She was totally content sitting in the chair having a snack and drinking some water. She actually enjoyed it and didn't want to leave when we could go back to Kidsville. In relation to God speaking to me about this, sometimes I want to stay at Kidsville where I know it is fun and I feel happy. But, God takes me from Kidsville to the coffee shop because it is not time yet for Kidsville. (This may be making no sense to you, and that's ok. If it does make sense, awesome! If not, just disregard it. lol) And, He's teaching me to be content in the coffee shop because I will get to return to Kidsville when the time is right. And, He showed me that just as Charlee found contentment and didn't want to leave the coffee shop, so can I.
Well, that's everything I learned this week. Hopefully next week will be shorter! Lol Definitely not a short summary at all. Oh well, I hope it inspires and encourages you !