Freedom

hiking

Last night I was sitting outside of the fitness class I take every Tuesday with my friends. The class hadn’t started yet, so I was sitting in the hallway reading over my Genetics notes. Another class-goer came up and we got to talking about our different majors and eventually she asked the question that I’ve been getting so much these days: “What do you want to do when you finish?” I just kind of laughed and said “Hmm, I don’t know. I’m not really worried about it.”

On my hour drive home after class, I got to thinking about this response. I remember when questions like those used to send me into a spiraling panic attack. My mind would start booming with all of the “what if’s”What if I don’t pass this class and finish school on time? What if I do bad on this exam? What if there is a mistake and I don’t have all of the credits I need? What if I can’t find a job? What if I never even use this degree that I’ve worked so hard for? What if…what if…what if…

A year ago, I’d sit down to take an exam and blackness would completely consume my mind. My hands would start sweating, my heart would race, and I’d end up making dumb mistakes all because I was so nervous and scared of failing.

What’s funny about this is that after I got baptized, I confessed to God that He is the One in ultimate control of my life. But I sure wasn’t acting like I believed that. What I really meant with this confession was: “God, you can have the parts I want you to have, and I’ll hold on to all the rest…because I think I’d do a better job of handling this than you would.”

So I freaked out over exams and over my future because I wanted to be in control of those things, not hand them to God. So, last night, I was driving and thinking about how weirdly amazing the peace is that I have now, how scarily calm I am about my future, and God said to me “It’s because you’ve finally given Me control. Have I not proven Myself faithful to you??”

My heart sank because the overwhelming answer to that question is Yesssssss. A thousand times “YES!!!”

Scenario after scenario of God’s faithfulness in my life began flashing through my mind…

He was there when I got hit by car at the age of nine years old…I walked out of the hospital that same day with only a scratch on my neck.

He was there when I was dating a guy that physically and emotionally abused me for 2 years…never condemning me for the choices I made, but just holding my hand through it all.

He was there when I was 24 and reading atheism books…

He was there when I told my mom over lunch “I don’t believe in God”…

He was there in my loneliness after I got saved, I had only one Christian friend who was going away for a year…He was there when I’d cry myself to sleep over this loneliness and He was listening when I prayed for more friends…

He’s there when I have a bad day or when I feel inadequate…I can literally feel His hugs sometimes…

The Lord has been faithful and kept His promises to me. He’s given me the friends He promised me (1000x over), He’s blessed Jason and I with the house we so fervently prayed for, He’s grown my heart just like I asked Him to, He’s protected the ones I love…So why wouldn’t I trust Him with my entire life and not just portions of it?? I’ve denounced Him, blasphemed His name, and through it all He stands with me. His love overflows to all of us.

One of my classes right now is Ecology. I think my professors goal is to create activists out of us all 🙂 But seriously, this class is one of the most informative classes I’ve ever taken. I’m starting to see how I affect this beautiful planet I live on. One of the things I often think about is how God has given us this wonderful Earth to live on and call our home, how He’s given us people to interact with and build relationships with, and all we do is destroy those two things.

We treat this planet like a waste-bucket, we talk about others behind their backs, we manipulate, lie, steal, and take for granted this world and the people here in it. I think how incredibly sad this must make God. To look on us and see all of this sin and carelessness that we have. And that’s just on the outside, imagine what He sees when He looks within  our hearts!

But still, He loves us. He looks upon us with nothing but adoration and love. He looks on us as a Father would a child that is walking for the first time…His heart bursting with pride and love for His children. It amazes me- that He knows the deepest parts of my soul (the bad thoughts, the ill intentions, etc) and even after knowing those things He still wants me. 

I’m not sure the purpose of this post. I guess…there is a freedom in relinquishing your whole life to Jesus. Not just parts, but all of it. Freedom and peace are found when you realize you aren’t in control. That isn’t an excuse to live a wreckless/disobedient life…it’s a invitation to live a life of peace in obedience.

One resounding truth about my future that God has spoken over me is this: “I have something waiting for you.” . And this is why I don’t freak out about my future career anymore…I’ve been obedient in the small steps He has asked me to take, I have listened and walked with Him, and I know I’ve found favor in his eyes. My Father has something waiting for me and His timing is perfect. So I won’t rush this last semester, I won’t wish for the future, I’ll enjoy these days and this life He’s given me right now.

And when I do go through struggle, it helps me to say out loud “This is already done in Jesus’ name.” How freeing it is to know that God speaks about our current problems in the past tense. It’s already done. 

I hope this helps someone today, it’s been on my heart since I came home last night 😀 May God bless each and every one of you throughout this week! I’ve got an exercise post half-written that I hope to share soon. Happy Wednesday lovebugs!

Xoxo,

Stacey B

 

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5 Books That Will Make Your World Feel A Bit Bigger

Howdy 🙂

Thought I’d pop in to share some of the books I read over winter break. I love to read all kinds of books, but the books I read over my break seemed to all have the same theme: They all took me out of my corner of the world and allowed me to somewhat experience different cultures/ways of life/hardships/love stories..etc. They each expanded my mind in their own ways.

Jason says I read “depressing” books. He doesn’t like to read, so I’ll read a book and tell it to him like a story from beginning to end. I can see how he would think these books are depressing, but I don’t view them that way. They just remind me to be thankful for what I have. Like I said, they gave me a glimpse into another (sometimes heart-wrenching) world and I appreciate them for it 🙂

So let’s get started! (In no particular order)

1. Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity by Katherine Boo

Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity

There were times this book was hard to read. I found myself getting so frustrated with the characters, but I also grew attached to them as well. The book is fast-paced and is based on Katherine’s 3 year observations of life in the undercity. She does a great job of portraying the people she followed and how they felt in certain situations. This book will definitely expand your mind. This book made me feel so incredibly blessed to live where I do and to have the life that I do. Go get it, like NOW 😉

2. The Suitcases by Anne Hall Whitt

This book is not very big, I think I read it in a day. But I personally loved it because the author grew up in my hometown Charlotte, NC. It was really neat when she’d mention certain places in the book and I was like “I’ve been there!!”. This book is about 3 orphan sisters (how they become orphans is very sad/tragic–I may have cried) being sent from foster home to foster home. Anne recounts the different foster homes and what they were like (some good, some creepy). I don’t want to give too much away, but it is worth the read! It’s very short and is kind of old but it is still a great autobiography.

3. Love Does: Discover a Secretly Incredible Life in an Ordinary World by Bob Goff

Love Does: Discover a Secretly Incredible Life in an Ordinary World

Surprise! This is a happy book! Jason would be so proud 😀 Before I read this, I thought it would be sort of self-helpy…like how to make yourself happier..that sort of thing. But it isn’t. It’s more an account of Bob’s like and situations he’s been in that have shaped who he is. I loved reading about his adventures, especially the adventures with his kids. Jason and I plan on implementing some of those ideas on our own family one day 🙂 This was a fun read, it had me laughing out loud. It’s kind of like story-telling with a side of life lessons. It’s delightful and I wish I knew Bob Goff because I feel like we’d be great friends, haha!

4. The Invisible Wall: A Love Story That Broke Barriers by Harry Bernstein

The Invisible Wall: A Love Story That Broke Barriers

Oh. my. gahhhh. This book is sooooo goooodddd. This book is about Harry and his siblings growing up in a town somewhere in Europe (?? I think) in the early 1900’s. The characters are very well portrayed, you feel what they are feeling, you laugh and cry with them. This was the last book I read during winter break. It has a sequel called “The Dream”, but I didn’t have time to read it! Can’t wait until I have time to read again, I’m going to get my paws on the sequel for sure. This book is mainly centered on Harry’s street. The Jews live on one side, the Christians on the other. It is a love story, but even beyond the love story, the mothers story alone is enough to make this book wonderful. Highly recommended!!

5. Travels with Charley: In Search of America by John Steinbeck

Travels with Charley: In Search of America

This book is about John and his French Poodle, Charley, driving across America. It’s delightful. I am a huge Steinbeck fan- if you haven’t read “The Pearl” or “East of Eden” either, then I highly suggest those too! This is a small book, easy to read. It is mainly about his adventures cross-country, the people he meets, the sights he sees, the things he learns and ponders. It’s kind of a broad view of America in his days, John also wrote this in his older days, after he was already “famous” for his other works. It’s a descriptive, relaxing read that takes you out into the country with Charlie at your feet 🙂

 

So there’s my top five (recent) reads! I have 147 books on my to-read list for when I finish school and I. can’t. wait. Jason and I are planning a celebratory camping trip for July, and camping trips and books go hand in hand if you ask me! School is chugging along fine so far.  I have my first exam in Zoology this Thursday. The hardest thing for me so far has been getting back into school mode after winter break. I have terrible senioritis. Don’ wanna do nufin’. But I’ll triumph! In Jesus Name! It’s already done 🙂 4 more months to go!

Also- I’d love to hear your book suggestions! I like all kinds and I’m not sure my to-read list is quite long enough 😉

Xoxo,

Stacey B.