Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Perfect plans for imperfect people.

Last week was Leah's birthday and two days after was our anniversary, talk about a horrible week. Its good though, it feels like its finished somehow? I cant really explain it, it just feels like two huge milestones have past. Everyday I wonder, "If Leah was not the girl for me then where is the girl I'm looking for? What is she doing? What does she look like?" Thousands of questions fill my head about her, it makes me wish God would just put her in front of me and say "Here she is! This is the girl your supposed to marry!" Wouldn't that be awesome. But that is not the God operates, if it were no one would be required to have faith and a lot of our relationship with God would be lost. I have been pondering this a lot lately and I came to the realization that God may not have anybody picked out for me! He may want me to stay single the rest of my life. This scared me to think that she may not be out there waiting for me, wwhich is a very REAL reality. But this also made me think that even if God does not want me to marry then He will make me content in whatever I am doing.

As a Christian my biggest struggle has been finding contentment in God not in someone else. I have usually always had someone on a more personal level that I could go to talk to and be personal with. This has been a very big struggle for me to rely on going to God and not having "her" to go to. But actually when I think about it why would I want to go anywhere else but to God? There is nothing I can hide from Him so the personal level is so much higher than it could be with anyone else! Everyone has things they hide even from the most important people in there lives. But God already knows everything! So it makes sense to go to Him and not anyone else. But still this is hard for me.

Two weeks ago I met a girl in my Biology class. I thought she was pretty and I started to talk to her. The more and more I talked to her the more and more I liked her. She was smart, funny, energetic and a really awesome girl. One time when we were talking I asked her what she thought about God? She said that she loved the Lord and that she went to church. When I heard her say that I started jumping for joy. Then I asked if she was saved? "Huh?" Was what she said back. My heart sank. She was Catholic and believed that to get into Heaven you have to be the best person you can and hope God picks you. At this point I'm thinking, why? I'm mean seriously why? This is the first girl I have taken interest in sense Leah's accident and now she throws this at me? Needless to say I tried to explain salvation to her and she did not understand nor did she like the fact that I was telling her that her belief was wrong. So what should I do? Well I should stop seeing her and know that nothing can come of this. Is that what I did? Nope. I was stupid and naive. I knew what the Bible said about being unevenly yoked. " Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?" 2 Corinthians 6:14. I was so starved for affection and the love that I had with Leah I tried to justify seeing this girl. I would say "well maybe I can convert her or maybe she is just confused and would be open to exploring my views?" However she wanted nothing to do with my beliefs she already had her own. On the following Tuesday I had a little bit of time before work so I went to a park I asked God to speak to me. As I walked and prayed I decided to open my Bible and see if God had any conformation for me. I randomly opened to Psalm 23. I read it, but the first sentence resonated in my head. "The Lord is my Shepard, I shall not want". I knew that this was an encounter with God and I started to pray and God did speak to me. He told me that I could not continue to see this girl because she was not a believer. Something I should have known already. I continued to meditate on that first line and I realized God has it all figured out! God sees our entire lives at one time not just the day to day things we see. He is our Shepard and we are His sheep. This made me think of times when the cattle have gotten out on our farm and I go open the gate for them and try to herd them back into the into the pasture through the gate. But instead of going through the gate they decided it would be better for them to jump over the barbwire fence and get scratched and bloodied and cut. Do they end up in the same place? Yea. But could it have been better for them? Yupp! I think God is like that. He has the gate open for us but most times we decide to jump over the fence and get cut and scared. Do we end up where we are supposed to be? Eventually. But could the experience have been better and could God have poured out more blessings upon us? Of course!! But we thought our way was best because we couldn't see the whole picture. When I realized this I felt so dumb for not listening to God. I was compromising what I believed to for a relationship that is nothing compared to what God has for me. I was choosing some girl over God! Stupid, stupid, stupid!!! I know God has something so much better for me! I just have to trust in Him and know that He is God. Jeramiah 29:11 tells me he has plans for me. And His plans are perfect!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Your not ready yet

Today was the first time I cried in a while. The weather is warming up, the snow is melting and the date when me and Leah first met is drawing closer. This has been making me depressed lately which really sucks! Plain and simple, I HATE it! I felt like I had been doing so well, I felt like I was coming out of the darkness I had been in. Today made me realize that I'm not even close. They say you can't put a date on when you will be fully OK again. This is one reality I have been trying to change. I just want to know when is this going to be over?! The only thing I know for sure is that I'm not as close to being done as I thought I was.

God has been shaping me and molding me through this entire process and I believe that he has something truly great planned for me. But what is it? I want to know now! I want to just take a peek maybe at what the next year of my life looks like? That's all I want. However God does not grant us peeks, where would faith be if we knew exactly what was going to happen? We probably wouldn't even follow Gods plan and try and make our own. But anyway, lately I feel like I have been spinning my wheels. I feel so charged up to go do something immaculate for God that I get frustrated and ask why am I here?  I ask "God let me go out and do something great!!! Is that not what You want?" Of course that's what He wants and that's what He has planned. But the simple fact of it is He wants me to effect change here and now. God wants me to bloom right where I'm planted. This realization struck me when I was doing my latest God study "Experiencing God". I was reading about how before we do something great God has to prepare us for that great task. It hit me like a ton of bricks. I was dumbfounded that I had been missing what God was trying to teach me right now. I have been trying my best to help other people and share my testimony. This has felt so small to what I feel like I should be doing. But it hit me, "God has me doing these tasks right now to mold me into what He wants me to be, so I can accomplish GREAT things through Him later." Duh? I mean if you think about it if the manager for the Atlanta Braves baseball club told a rookie pitcher, for his career debut, he was pitching in game 7 of the World Series he probably would be pretty excited, I know I would! But when that game came he probably would do so hot. Why? Because he would not be ready! He needs a lot more experience and more training before he is ready for game 7 of the World Series. That is how God gets us ready for His ultimate purpose, by starting small and building are way up. Jeremiah 29:11 talks about how God has plans for us to prosper. But we may not be ready for that prosperity yet. We may have some more growing to do. So, as sad and scary as knowing that I have a long way to go before I'm out of this, I find it terrifying. However I am also very excited! Just seeing how He has grown me in these past few months makes me excited to see how much I will have grown when this is over.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Why worry?

Everyday I wonder what will happen next? Where do I go from here? What is my career going to be? Who will I marry? God what is your plan for my life?
I really want to know what God has planned for my life and I want to follow His plan. I think as Christians we all do! But the simple fact is He doesn't lay it out for us. Do we think even if he did we would follow it? Do I think that if I looked at the plan for my life I would say, "Yep God everything looks exactly how I want it! I cant wait until I fall in love with that girl and then she unexpectedly dies in a car accident!" No, I don't think we would be all to excited to follow everything God has planned for us. We would want to change things, maybe skip some of the hardships and troubling times. How arrogant of us right? To think that we could make our plans for our lives better than God can? But no, God does not lay it all out for us. In fact he doesn't really give us a whole lot of detail about what are lives will be like? Look at what Jesus says to Matthew in Matt 9:9 "As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector's booth. "Follow me," he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him." What?! I mean seriously! If I was sitting on a bench and some guy walked up to me and said "Hey come follow me, I'm gonna save the world" would I be like "Yea OK, you look like an honest guy why not?" Heck no! I would say "Well I don't know who you think you are? But I'm not going anywhere with you." But that's not what Matthew did at all. He got up and followed Jesus! He didn't know where he was going or what to expect he just got up and went. That is EXACTLY what God calls us to do! He doesn't really tell us what is going to happen exactly, He just tells us to get up and go! Then He tells us to trust him and to know that His plan will be revealed to us if we follow Him. We as humans expect a plan and drawn out well detailed plan that will tell us exactly what to do. But God tells us to just go! "Just go? But God what about? Just GO!" So why do we worry? God tells us to just go and serve Him and he will take care of us. In Matt 6:25-27 This is what Jesus says "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?" He tells us not to worry, it does nothing for us? He tells us he will provide for us. So again why do I worry? I don't know? All I know is that God will provide if I just trust in Him!

Monday, January 24, 2011

There is power in prayer

Most of us underestimate the power of sincere, consistent, prayer. Its such a powerful thing! However we mostly only pray when we are in trouble and use prayer as a last resort when really it should be our first! This past week I haven't been feeling all that well. I keep feeling as like I'm spinning my wheels and going nowhere? I wonder if I will ever stop feeling this pain? But I have been continually praying everyday for everything and anything no matter how big or small. I believe that's how God wants us to pray He wants to know everything we are struggling with. God wants us to come to him with everything, not just the big stuff. So everyday I pray for everything I can think of. Everything from thanking God for another day to serve him to asking him to take away the pain and misery I feel. I pray for my future spouse that where ever she is, whatever she is doing that He is raising her to be a Godly young woman, but most importantly I pray that God will make his plan known to me and allow me to accomplish His will. On Thursday of this past week I got out of my JCC classes and I decided to hang out in Jackson until my college group at my church that evening. I wasn't feeling well and I really didn't want to go to college group, but my friend Annie convinced me to come anyway. So I did and I was glad I did, I had a good time learning about God and being with friends. But on my way home I stopped at a speedway to get gas. I was stressed over this because I really didn't have the money to spend on gas. Then I thought "if I just trust God He will provide!" Right then I prayed and asked God to help me have more faith in him and to trust him in all things. Then I asked him to use me for his will in whatever way he wants to. Not 10 seconds later as I was walking into the speedway a young woman stopped me and told me she had ran out of gas on the entrance ramp and asked me if I could take her to her car? I said yes and we proceeded to drive to her car.On the drive there we made small talk and she asked me what I was doing in Jackson? I told her I had just got out of college group at my church. She asked what church I went to and I said Grace baptist. She said she had been there before and it was a good church. Before I knew it she started pouring our her heart and told me how she has strayed away from God and how she really wanted to feel him again. I was AMAZED! I had just asked God to use me and he did! She said she grew up in church and was a christian but lately found herself not serving the Lord at all. I told this girl my testimony and invited her to college group and she said she would come! We got to her car and I put her gas in for her and she drove away. I was dumbfounded the whole way home. It was one of the biggest God moments of my life! I had asked God to use me and he did when I least expected it. This is proof that when your heart is open to God and his plan he WILL use you for his ultimate purpose!  James 5:16-18
16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.
 17 Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. 18 Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.
Prayer is powerful and effective so pray earnestly and often!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Doubt and Discouragement

Happy New Year!! Its now 2011 and so begins another new year. This also means that it has been over three months since Leahs accident and that brings new feelings and thoughts. Since Leahs accident I have been bombarded with fake people, lies, and empty promises of people who say they are sorry but really don't mean it. People will walk up to me and say "I know how you feel, Leah was one of my good friends, we will get through this together." I have a news flash for YOU people, just because you sat next to her at lunch and asked her to pass the salt, doesn't entitle you to label yourself as one of her "good friends". So don't try and tell me that you know where I'm coming from, YOU DON'T KNOW!
    I also hear lies, from people I would never expect to hear lies from. Lies of people talking about how much they impacted Leahs life and how good of a relationship they had. When the only time they may have talk to Leah, was when they wanted to borrow something or they needed something from her. I see all the facebook posts and I hear the fake stories of people who claim they new Leah better than anyone else! This makes me want to look those people in the eyes and say "If you only new, if you only new what she actually thought of you. If you only new how much she disliked you and what kinds names she referred to you as. You claim to know her but you have no idea who she really is." I don't say this, even though I want to so badly! But lately I have been wondering what if? What if the Leah I knew wasn't the real Leah? What if everything I knew about her was fake? Did I really know who she was? Is everyone else right and am I wrong? The short seven months I knew her, she told me everything all her secrets, her fears, her desires. Was she pulling the wool over my eyes that whole time? Did I really know her?
       Way back in the beginning of time in the garden of Eden. God told Adam and Eve that they could eat from any tree in the garden, except one. We all know the story, Satan convinced Eve that it was OK to eat from the tree that God forbade her not to eat from. In turn she convinced Adam to also eat from the tree. How was this possible? Why would Eve deliberately eat from a tree that God specifically told her not to eat from? Because of deceit. Satan is also referred to as the deceiver. He can fill us so full of doubt and deceit that it can be hard for us to discern right from wrong. No wonder God tells us in Hebrews 3:13 "But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called today, so that non of you may be hardened by sins deceitfulness." Satan can make us feel discouraged and doubtful and make us question ourselves and second guess what we really believe. I have felt so discouraged lately and I have been questioning if the girl I knew was really the girl I knew? I know now that she was and still is. So don't ever forget to give an encouraging word to someone because you never know what it might mean to them.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Not the greatest Christmas

Today I woke up to my brother telling me it was time to open presents. He had been up since 5, I think, and it was about 9 when I woke up. I went down stairs and in typical Hart family fashion we all proceeded to open up our gifts to each other one by one. I didn't ask for anything, in fact I told my mom I did not want anything because I have enough stuff. I mean its all just stuff anyway, we cant take it with us when we die and nothing on this earth can compare to what we will have in Heaven. However I did get some clothes and a GPS but probably the best gift I got was from my brother. It was a picture of Leah and I on prom night, this past year. I hadn't expected it at all, it was a really great gift.
      I really had not been looking forward to Christmas this year, it didn't seem like anything I could get would replace what I lost. The one thing that I desperately wanted was the only thing I couldn't have. I never got to spend a Christmas with Leah but still thoughts of what It would have been like filled my head. I know that whatever she got me I would have loved and that seeing my eyes light up by her gift would bring her shear joy! I also wondered what would I have given her or what plan would I have concocted to see that beautiful smile spread across her face? I didn't think today, even though she is gone, would be that hard. However it was one of the most difficult days yet! I was so down most of the day and I didn't want to do anything. I didn't feel the joy of Christmas that everyone else felt today. But it didn't seem like today should be this hard because nothing had changed? Christmas traditions still were as they usually are and Leah not being here didn't change a thing! But yet I was so sad all day.
            Lately, I have been so angry for no reason at all. I think its a part of the grieving process? No one has done anything to make me mad and there is no way to justify it, I have just been SO angry! This brings new thoughts and new questions that fill my head. Questions like, "Why hasn't his plan been carried out yet?" "Why cant I see him working, what plans is he setting into motion?" "Why cant he just reveal everything that is supposed to happen right now?" Questions like these are constantly on my mind. I have accepted that Leah is in Heaven and that she is a real person there, she is still living. However if Leah isn't the one I am supposed to marry then who is?! Where is my spouse and shouldn't she be here with me helping me through all this???!!!!!! It just doesn't seem fair! God has her all picked out for me, why cant her bring her to me now? I need her, I have no one like that to help me through this and she is supposed to be here for me when things like this happen! I look around at everyone who is grieving and see that they all have what I lost. Don't get me wrong I know that they are also in just as much pain as I am. But still the person that you are supposed to be able to turn to in times like this, is there for them. There go-to guy or girl didn't just die, mine did! How is that fair??!! I know this is selfish of me, but I want my spouse to be here for me now! This has been teaching me a huge lesson, that I have to trust the Lord and be content in him. I have been praying everyday, that his will be done in my life. But also that he would be preparing my wife and keeping her on a Godly path no matter where she might be. I don't even know who this girl is and I worry about her day and night. Is she OK? What is she doing? Is she making the right decisions? I know that God will bring her along when his perfect timing allows, I just wish it was sooner.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Some people..

Have you ever wondered what Heaven will be like or what people in Heaven know about people on earth? I do all the time!! One of the biggest questions I have had is can Leah in Heaven, see me on earth? I have come to the conclusion that no she cannot because of what the bible teaches in Revelation 21:4 which says " He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the older of these things has passed away." Now in Heaven we have emotion, we are not, contrary to popular believe, a bunch of mindless idiots that when God brings us into Heaven he takes away all of our emotions accept happiness. We still have all of our emotions, but I believe we do not have any need for emotions such as sadness and fear. So this leads me to wonder, if Leah could see the pain and sadness that I am in right now, would she be happy? Could she look down, see my tears falling and still smile? No I do not think so. That is what I believe. However not everyone sees it like I do, especially non-believers. I find the most common annoyance is to look and see posts of Leahs facebook about people asking for Leah to watch over them and for her to be their guardian angel. I see posts of people basically praying to Leah and asking for her guidance, which Deuteronomy 11:18 clearly forbids. Also I find people believing that Leah is still around like a wandering spirit, which 2 Corinthians 5:8 also disproves. It drives me nuts sometimes and I just want to tell these people to wake up!!! Like I told my mother the other day "Some of these posts irritate me soo much, how come they are so ignorant?" To which she replied, "But J.W. aren't those the people who need are help the most?" Yup, of course she was right again. But it stopped and made me think, even though some of those people really get on my nerves, God calls us to make disciples of all nations we cannot just pick and choose. Even though I may not like some of the people I meet, God still loves them unconditionally and it our job as Christians to tell them about his grace, compassion and mercy.