Tuesday, September 27, 2011

I know the plans I have for you...

A year ago today I started my prayer journal. If you don't have one I suggest you start one. Not that I want to keep track of what I've asked God for and what He has delivered... but it's so good to see how my heart has changed over the past twelve months. It's especially crazy to see the irony and humor of God when I go back and look at certain things I was praying for and how He answered those prayers. Most of them were "no", many of them were "wait a while", and few of them were "yes". But I've been so blessed and the people that I've prayed for have been blessed. There are people in that journal that will never know how many days I prayed for them, but I hope they see the difference God has made in their lives this year.

My prayer journal went from asking for forgiveness all the time (because I didn't feel like I was worthy to ask for anything) and has evolved into
"Sun Stand Still" prayers. And ever since August 23rd, my vision has radically changed not only the way I pray and who I pray for, but my understanding that even though I got a glimpse I will never see God's WHOLE vision. Things that a year ago I would have brushed off as crazy coincidences are now being recognized as God's hand at work. It used to be that I just prayed and expected dramatic changes... but now I listen, pay attention, and if that doesn't work I ask Him to be so in-my-face that there's no way I can ignore it. (Warning: That prayer can often times lead to God pulling things out of your life that you weren't willing to get rid of yourself - but have faith it's always for the better)

The cover and theme of my prayer journal is Jeremiah 29:11 (see inset).picked it because a year ago today I knew that I needed to trust in God's plan. Every plan I had ever made had fallen apart at my feet. God had been trying to lead me for years and I kept walking down my own path instead of His straight and narrow one. 

God has something so amazing in store for all of us but the hardest and best thing for you really is just giving up all control. Let go.

The secret is praying for the desires of your heart and aligning them with His Word. Pray powerfully.

The most meaningful way to acknowledge Him is to praise Him even during your hardest times because you know that something so abundant will come from your trials. Have faith.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Lose Yourself. Lose Your Hair.

     Identity is a tricky thing as a Christian. We all get recognized for something but what happens when that one thing becomes too distracting for others to see God in you? It could be anything from a job, your style, hobbies, or your past. For me, I've realized it's my hair. 

     As funny as it sounds, lately I've been feeling like God has been sending me little messages here and there telling me my hair has got to go. Well, little messages AND very clear ones. I've been dying my hair since 6th grade so of course I came up with all the usual arguments... "but God a lot of people who aren't saved ask me about my hair!" or "God, my hair isn't making me or anyone else stumble... and it's ME" or even "it's just hair, so why ask for this when you know how much I love it?". And with every question there was a reply, "people should be asking you about ME", "you're identity should be in ME... I am a jealous God", "leave yourself and hold no idols above ME". 

     Ouch! For years I've had this crazy hair and part of what I love about it is that people who normally wouldn't speak to me walk straight to me to ask about it or tell me how much they like it. God has been asking that I humble myself, get rid of the daily ego-boost, and do something that people will ask about where I'll be forced to talk about His glory. Changing my hair would do exactly that. All my friends know that my hair is held in high regard in my life and going back to a plain brown would certainly raise some questions for anyone who has ever run into me. I've been asking God for months to show me what gets in the way of our relationship or what I haven't given up from my old life and He definitely showed me. Not to say that I couldn't go back to crazy hair later, but it has to go for now. And as I've told people that this has become a recent struggle they're also taking notice of how many people comment on my hot pink head on a daily basis. This may sound like something very trivial to many people but to me this is a HUGE deal... and God knows that. So He asked me, "Why are you holding onto this one small thing when I'm offering you so much more?"

     I'm losing myself daily. I must become less so that He may become more. So now the problem is how do I get back to the basics? I'm already on a tight budget. My hairstylist, who is also in love with the freedom he has in doing my hair, would probably kill me if I ever asked him to return me to my roots. I feel like everyday I hold off on doing this I'm postponing God's plan for my life and the nonprofit. So I'll continue to pray that if this is what He really wants He will provide a way. 

She knelt at his feet. She was crying and washed his feet with her tears. Then she dried his feet with her hair, kissed them over and over again, and poured the perfume on them. -Luke7:38