Live for the Unobvious.

motivation: n. the reason or reasons one has for acting or behaving in a particular way.

intention: n. a determination to act in a certain way.

These words have been heavy on my heart lately.  I found myself reading something I wrote almost a year ago.  I could honestly feel my heart smiling greater and greater as each word was passing me by.  The reason for the smiles was that ALL of the words on those pages written back then were confirming the thoughts I had been having these past couple of months about what God is laying on my heart to do.  And then, all of a sudden, out of absolutely nowhere I saw, boldly written, on the page….THIS IS THE OBVIOUS, DESIRE THE UNOBVIOUS IN LIFE, NOT THE OBVIOUS.  Would my motivation behind writing those words confirm what I have been feeling all along?  Would my intentions prove to be enough to hold onto the glimmer of hope that these words were supporting what God is truly laying on my heart?

obvious: adj. easily discovered, seen, or understood.

As I obsess over the definition of obvious, I think I was a little off a year ago.  You see the things I was passionately writing about were surely not obvious.  The words on those pages were not easily discovered.  I had to take off my worldly glasses to find these words.  I had to dive so deep into God’s Word to understand what I was writing that sometimes I would find myself waking up with my face in my Bible (thank goodness I do not drool when I sleep).

No, these words God so perfectly laid on my heart were not obvious.  Truly it took twenty-five years and counting for them to “appear before me”.

I believe with all of my heart that we were created for more than something easily discovered.  I believe though that what matters is our motivation to be who we were created to be, and with that, our intentions too.  God wants our intentions to be pure; He wants Himself to be the ONLY thing behind our motivation for doing anything at all.

This is so important for me to remember.  It is not about what I do–obvious or not.  It is all about making sure my intentions and motivation is lined up with God’s truth.  It is about intentionally getting out of the way so that God can work through me.  For then, only, will God’s love be easily discovered, seen, and understood to every single person He places across my path who need Him most.

Acts 1:8

Advertisements

I Surrender All

I thought writing about India would be easy, easy for me.  I thought words would come pouring out onto paper and my pen just wouldn’t be able to keep up!  Four months after India and still trying to find the words to write proves these thoughts are far from true.

In India, I was nowhere to be found.  That trip was truly all Jesus.  He had to do it all for me.  This was the best part about my journey to India: The journey was His and my purpose was to surrender all of me each step of the way. 

I surrendered my fear as I stepped onto the plane headed for Mumbai.  I held onto God’s promise found in 1 John 4:18 There is no fear in love.  But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment.  The one who fears is not made perfect in love.  With God’s perfect love exploding from my heart, there was no room for fear to stand.  I had to hold onto this verse throughout the journey.

I surrendered my comfort as I stepped into my home away from home for the next couple weeks.  My comfort is nothing by the way.  Why do I so often think that I can do a better job than God at providing all of my needs?  I was uncertain as we arrived in India how asking God to comfort me would truly comfort me.  I was certain of His amazing comfort as soon as I opened up my “welcome card” placed in our room that housed one of my favorite verses:  John 10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.  This verse was introduced to me by my sweet sister it is her life verse as she likes to call it!  Seeing this verse reminded me of her and reminded me that God will always comfort me in every uncomfortable place I find myself throughout this journey.

I surrendered my words as I stepped into a room filled with sixty princesses of the Most High King.  I had a talk to give to these girls all about the Armor of God and all about God’s truth.  I decided to prepare a “safe” part of my testimony to share with the girls as well.  That day I stood in front of such precious princesses and my safe testimony was nowhere to be found.  Truly, God took over my words.  I do not remember what was spoken.  All I remember is looking deeply into the hearts of these “broken” girls and seeing Jesus’ healing touch inside of each one!  These “broken” girls became His beautiful creations right in front of my eyes!  It was like nothing I had ever experienced before in my life.  God was transforming the pain I had endured for so long into a beautiful remedy for bringing these girls to Jesus’ feet.  Pretty soon, we were all pouring out our hearts to God, letting Him in to fill all of the breaks, pains, torments, and memories.  The best part of our hearts are the scars, for in these scars is where we feel, see, and know God’s infinite love for us!

I learned all about true surrender when I sat next to Princess One as I will call her.  After God’s talk through me, Princess One told me she needed to talk to me.  She so sweetly explained to me through a shaken voice that she has never shared what has happened with her to anyone but because I shared my testimony, she wanted to tell me everything.  I sat there with my hand in hers, as tears rolled down both of our cheeks, and I listened while she explained the tormented past she has endured.  I smiled as she shared the hope she has found in Jesus through miracles He alone has done in her life.  I rejoiced with all of Heaven as this sweet princess surrendered her life to Christ and rededicated her life to our Lord and Savior!  I felt my heart jump with joy as she excitedly told me she hopes that when she is my age she will get to share her testimony with others, just like I have.  All I could do was smile and say, “And I hope I am there when you do.”

You never know what surrendering your life to Christ will look like, but I can assure you His blessings will be far better than anything you can ever imagine!

A Glimpse of A Journey to India

“But that is not fair!”

“God never told us life would be fair Diane!”

This mini conversation was spoken by my grandmother and I pretty much every day when I was little.  There were so many things that were not fair.  Each time I began to complain about my “unfairness” my grandmother so gently reminded me of the truth that this life is not fair.  That was not a comforting thing to hear.  I did not want to be reminded of the unfairness, I wanted life to be fair!

After spending ten days in India, the phrase, “this life isn’t fair” takes on a whole new meaning in my heart.  Honestly, I could write an entire book filled with sentences ending in that is not fair.  Each sentence would start with something I saw or something I heard while in India. 

Coming back to Pittsburgh, back to my beautiful family, beautiful apartment, heels, clothes, and chocolate cake doesn’t feel good, it just feels really unfair.

When I left for India, I was nervous to leave behind my life.  No make-up, heels, cute clothes, and comfy bed for ten days.  I know this does not seem like a big deal, but for a girl who has always had an excess of wants and needs kindly handed to her, taking a step away from all of that onto a plane to India was a huge deal for me.  The only thing that kept me headed to India was God’s hand in mine leading the way. 

Landing in Mumbai, all that was going through my mind was, “What am I doing here, please someone put me on the first plane back to home as soon as possible”.  I am glad that those thoughts quickly found their way out of my head.  Finally, in the crowd of hundreds of people I recognized a face!  I do not think I ever been more excited to see someone I knew than in that moment of seeing Brock at the airport, and I didn’t even know him that well!  After about ten wet wipes, chocolate cookie crumbs, and a sip of warm bottled water, I decided to remind myself of how I found myself in a car in India in the first place.

God answered my prayers that I have been praying to Him for the past two to three years.  I prayed that He would show me His will for my life.  I asked Him to give me His desires for my life and get rid of my own.  I remember the moment I cried so much realizing that Jesus gave up His life for me and I told Him that day I wanted to give up my life for Him to use me however He wants to.    

As we were driving around lots of lost stray dogs, bodies lying on the side of the street, and shops that looked like they would crumble down to the ground if you so much as blew on the walls; I noticed a big smile filling my face.  I realized in this moment that I am here, because I asked God to bring me here. 

I had no idea two years ago that God’s will for me would mean being in India, but He knew, and He has been preparing me for these ten days since before I was a “screaming grape” in my daddy’s arms.    

As we arrived at the YWAM campus in I knew I was definitely in God’s will and not my own.  I personally, would never choose to spend my “vacation time” at a place that had no comforts of home other than a perfectly placed welcome card on the table.  As I read the card my heart filled with confirmation that I am exactly where God wants me.  John 10:10 The thief comes only to kill, steal, and destroy but I have come so they may have life and have it abundantly.  This verse has been the life verse for me and my sister since she first introduced it to me about a year ago and it just so happened to be the verse used to fill the left hand side of my welcome card.  When I closed the card, I thanked God for bringing me so much comfort in this uncomfortable place.

The first night I learned just how uncomfortable living in God’s will is.  I know this sounds pathetic for a 24 year old girl to admit, but I am a little bit scared of the dark.  When I cannot see what is in front of me, I am filled with anxiety that he is going to jump out at me.  Wouldn’t you know, shortly after closing my card, the power went out.  Quickly darkness filled my sight.  I tried not to be scared, but I failed on my own.  Martha’s “candle flashlight” seemed to of saved the night, but only later as I was not sleeping in my bed; I realized God saved the night.  God was bringing my fear to the forefront.  He wanted to battle my fear with me, when I just wanted to sleep in the comfort of that candle.  He wouldn’t let me close my eyes in peace until I realized He is my light, I don’t need to be scared of the dark.  With His gentle nudging I switched off the candle (yes it had a switch not a flame) and I went to sleep in His presence. 

The first full day in India, I learned that when you are in God’s will, you still have fears.  Your fears do not go away just because you are doing what God wants you to be doing.  I thought for sure that because I was following God to India, He would make sure our path was bug free.  So, when a bug crawled in my pink shoe and all over my foot I was more than a little irritated.  I was furious.  How dare these dumb bugs try to cause to me to be paralyzed with fear.  Yes, it is true this 24 year old girl is not only scared of the dark, but also bugs.  Although, petrified might be a better word to describe my bug fear.  The moment after the bug freak out is one I am very thankful for.  God used Martha and Brock to comfort me.  They assured me that everyone has fears and it is ok.  I was reminded that God is always there through the fear.  It is all going to be ok.  And from that moment on, yes I saw terribly disgusting bugs and used the bug zapper ferociously, but I was fearless when it came to encountering a bug on our path.  Little did I know, God was not only taking care of these little fears, but the big ones too.  He is always taking care of me, and for that I am very thankful.

On October 19, 2012 I shared the following fear of mine in one of my posts for an online Bible Study for the book, A Lady In Waiting.

I have had thoughts of going oversees to work in a ministry I have come to love but I stop those thoughts from being anything other than thoughts because I am scared if I let that thought flourish and even start praying for that thought then I will end up far away from my family helping women who hurt so badly find Jesus; instead of having the dream wedding I have always dreamed of.  That was really hard for me to write, but it is or was should I say unfortunately the truth.  Today I decided to pray for that thought.

Eight months exactly after that first prayer for India, I find myself arriving back home from the very place I was fearful of going.  Now, five more days later, I find myself craving to go back!  It is amazing what praying God’s will for your life will cause you to do, especially when you do not fully realize what it is you are doing.

When I first decided to go to India, thanks to a very prominent sign from God, I had no idea what we would be doing.  After we met to discuss plans for the trip, my heart was once again filled with confirmation that I really am supposed to go to India.  Everything we would be doing in India, putting on a retreat for young girls who are victims of human trafficking, loving on girls we pray for every day, sharing God’s love with ones who are desperately in need of Him, now this is what God has been preparing me for since that wet May day when I rededicated my life to the Lord.

Before I left for India, God opened my eyes to see that He has been using every little and big thing in my life from the first scream to the last tear He hasn’t let anything go to waste.  The trouble I found myself in when I thought I was with the man who held the key to my heart is being used by God to minister to young girls who are now literally holding my heart.

The first day of our retreat, I honestly had no idea what to expect.  From the instant our table had to pick a name and together chose “Freedom in Christ” I knew this trip surely was going to bless each and every one of us involved far more than we could have ever expected. 

To Be Continued…

 

 

 

 

 

Trying to Find the Right Words to Say

Dear Lord,

How is it possible to find the right words to say for what you have done for me?  How do I begin to express the feelings I have towards you?  How do I begin to tell you what you mean to me?

Open my eyes Lord to find the answers I am so desperately in need of.

It is hard to find the words to say when I am telling them to someone who already knows what words I will choose before I even think of them. 

I could  do search my heart all day long for the most meaningful words I can think of and all I am left with is Thank you Jesus, I love you!

How is thank you enough?  Are there any words that have more of an effect than thank you does?  How can I love you Jesus be enough for all you have done and continue to do for me?  But yet, I find myself saying…

You created me just how you wanted me to be, special, for your perfect purpose.  Thank you Jesus, I love You!

You loved me more than anything else, you chose me and continue to choose me!  Thank you Jesus, I love You.

You left Heaven for me.  You traded Heavenly delight for this sinful world.  Thank you Jesus, I love you!

You lived a way in which you suffered through all of my sufferings, you felt all of my pain, you were tempted in every way possible.  However, you did not lose faith, you did not lose heart, you remained perfect still.  You know where I am, because you have been there too.  Thank you Jesus, I love You!

You died on a cross, taking my penalty for my sin.  You conquered the grave so that I may live a free life WITH YOU!  Thank you Jesus, I love You.

You forgive me for all of my yuckiness.  You have transformed my life.  You have healed my broken heart.  You have protected me from a dangerous someone who tried to destroy my life.  You loved me even when I seemed unlovable.  You gave my heart and life a new song, full of your praises.  You comfort me, You make yourself known to me, You give me a peace that is unexplainable.  And these are just the beginning.  I could go on and on forever and ever about your faithfulness, goodness, joy, beauty, perfectness, and love in my life.  Do you believe that the only words I can find in response to this is, Thank you Jesus, I love You?

I know it to be true that there will never be any words this side of Heaven to be able to even come close to having a worthy response for all Jesus has done for me. 

I know God loves my words of praises and thankfulness.  I know God’s heart smiles when He hears the sweet sound of my words of adoration towards Him.  But my actions, what does He think about those?

Matthew 25: 35-40

35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.

37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?

40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.

Lord, I was the least of these and You helped me. 

After reading this how can I not turn my Thank you Jesus, I love you into ACTION?  Acting out those words I say to God every day, is how I can find a way to make those words all I truly believe in my heart they are meant to mean to God’s heart.  My actions are from my heart to His they are for HIM alone.  When I see the least of these I see myself so much in their faces.  I know their pain, I was there once.  God has said the same about me.  He fed me, He gave me something to drink, He invited me into HIS home, He clothed me, He never stopped visiting me in my pool of disobedience.

Once again, you open my eyes to see the answers you have for me.  When I cannot find the words to say, all I can do is act.  I open my eyes to the least of these, and serve them, relate to them.  I use my past disobedience as a way to help them.  You thank Jesus through your actions.  You love Him through your actions.  My serving heart is the “right words I have been trying to find to say to God”.

As for me, my motto in 2013 will surely be, Let the words of my heart overflow into the least of these!

Thank you Jesus, I love You!

Three Elevens, Take me to the Heavens

October 11, 2011.  My day of complete freedom in Christ.  This is the day I watched the Lord take all of my hurt in his hands.  Never to be picked back up by me EVER AGAIN.

June 11, 2012.  This is the day the PFA I have had on a very dangerous man is over.  Three years ago I received this protection from abuse.  I have always struggled with knowing if that was the right thing to do or not.  That piece of paper did not protect me from anyone.  I have learned that GOD is my protection.  I do not need a piece of paper, I have God. 

If you would have told me three years ago that today, I would be living in my own apartment, decorated adorably, and ON MY OWN, I would not have believed you.  If you would have told me three years ago that today I would be working in a job I ABSOLUTELY love, I would not have believed you.  If you would have told me three years ago that today I would be free from this crazy, awful man who tried to destroy me, I would not have believed you.  I remember three years ago today, like it was just yesterday.  I remember being so scared, hopeless, depressed, used, unable to function, distant from God, alone, abused, fighting for the Diane I used to be, not realizing that was one of the problems in the first place. 

Today, I am happy, hopeful, loved, secure, safe, free, joyful, and thankful to God alone, that I am all of these things today.  I have learned in the past three years, that as badly as I wanted to go back to the way things were prior to making this man a part of my life, that would never be a reality for me.  It is not about going backwards in life.  It is all about moving forward, in the direction God so gently guides you in hand in hand.  Yes I will in a way always be the Diane I wanted to go back to so badly, but I am even better now because I am embracing the Holy Spirit in my life.  He is guiding me to Heaven.  There are many moments in these three years that I have seen God.  The times when I was able to see Him, feel Him, know He was there, are the happiest times and memories of my life.  I cannot wait until those are all of my memories.  The day that I am in Heaven with my Mighty Savior, spending every moment feeling Him and seeing Him.  The day all the distractions will be gone, and all that is left is Jesus’ hand in mine.  I am so thankful to the Lord for the miraculous transformation HE has done in my life.  He is my complete satisfaction, He is my all in all, He is all I ever need, He protects me, He keeps me safe, He loves me unconditionally, He is guiding me to Him in Heaven.

I love you more than I could ever describe in words.

Today could have been very different for me.  Truly, three years ago, if you would have told me I would not be here today, that I would have either been destroyed by that man or self destructed myself, I would have believed you.  It is by the grace of God alone, that I am here today with the story I have to tell.  The story of embracing God’s love and letting go of all that desires to keep me from finding the love He has for me.  Have you found God’s love today?  It is my prayer that you grasp tightly the love of God that is never out of reach!  I found and continue to find His love just in time, now you do the same.

Proverbs 18:10 The LORD is a strong-tower, the righteous run into Him and are SAFE. 

Thank you Jesus that I am safe!