Sunday, October 27, 2013

All good things must come to an end

It's been a long week. The type where the days go by too fast but the week never seems to end. I'm sure everyone has experienced this at some point or another. Nothing in particular happened really...just a long week.

Today was kind of a big deal actually. I of course fell into my Sunday routine that consists of sleeping in, making my coffee while I eat breakfast, avoid starting homework, eventually starting said homework, getting distracted, somehow finishing what I needed to get done, checking the Post Secret website at some point and sending out my Sunday prayer text to some 50 people whom I know and love with all my heart. I've been following some version of this routine for the past four years. Always drinking coffee, always checking the Post Secret site for 4 years and always sending out the text.

But today was different. I sent out my last Sunday prayer text and it was really hard.

Now, it wasn't because I had a hard time figuring out how to send a group text to 50 people on my new iPhone(that was just time consuming) but because I've been holding off on what God has been telling me I should do for a while and today finally felt right.

I started the prayer texts when I got home from working at a Young Life camp my Junior year of high school as a way to keep in touch with the people I met there. Then it of course included friends from home, and then surely my friends from the time I worked at camp after my freshman year of college, and of course included family members and family friends. It became less about keeping in touch and more about a ministry. I have said before in this post that my friends have become my ministry-my way of strengthening my faith. The text helped my relationship with God grow, and it gave me confidence that I was a positive presence in the lives of others. I felt like I was doing my job as a Christian, being able to say that I ask at least 50 people a week, from all walks of life and all around the country how I can pray for them. It gave me purpose. And I loved it.

I knew that I couldn't send out this text forever, and last year I started contemplating when I would send my last one. I thought I would do it until Christmas, or New Years, or until the end of college, or when I found a job. I couldn't find a time that I thought would be appropriate because I felt like I was still NEEDING to send the text. I still needed the reassurance from my ministry.

The last few weeks I have felt God hinting that it is seeming like it is becoming too routine. The texts were losing their 'spark'. I still whole-heartedly prayed for those who request it, and I would never try to delete someone from the list even if they only responded once in the four years-what if the next week they needed my prayers? What if they liked just the idea of me being there for them?

In the past it was a way to find God, I could see how my prayers were affecting people's lives week by week. I could reassure someone (and myself) that there was a person praying specifically for them.

I think my relationship with Christ has gotten to a point that I don't necessarily need the reassurance it gave me when I started the text. I am finding much comfort in my relationship and I wanted to stop before sending the text becomes a chore. In the past I would get caught up in 'doing' so much of what a Christian should do and forgot about simply 'being' a Christian. I could go to a weekly bible study, send a weekly text, go to church, say 10 Hail Mary's and still not be a Christian. Rather, I could do what the Bible asks in Psalm 46:10- "Be still, and know that I am God" and find fulfillment.

I will find another ministry, and another way to find reassurance eventually. But for now I want to take some time just to BE a Christian. I want to let myself know and be with Christ. I don't want the chore of something to be what makes me lose that relationship or make it less appealing.

I'm going to miss it with all my heart. I hope that I still keep in contact with everyone who has received a prayer text and I will surely be sending out a few here and there. And I will still gladly accept prayer requests any day of the week.

My routine will change drastically for the first time next Sunday and for a girl that doesn't necessarily like change, proactively choosing to change my routine is a big step.

Where will God take me next, I wonder!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Catching up during a tough semester

Did you think I forgot about my blog?? To be honest I did for a little while. This semester has been Crazy...yes with a capital C. I have really missed this blog, and I feel really guilty right now for not having a cup of coffee by my side, but I figure I will be forgiven.

It's around this time of the year that I really start feeling God's presence. The crisp air, the beautiful changing colors of Fall, I figure it'd be appropriate to blog tonight on this cozy fall night.

Let me catch you up since I have neglected this blog for so long. I entered my senior year here at Arkansas with high hopes for a great year, excited for my sister Kelley to be getting married, excited for my best friend to study abroad in Africa, excited for a new roommate and new experiences. All of those things I continue to be excited about, I guess though with such high hopes I didn't expect a few lows to hit. This may be the hardest semester I've had here, hence why I haven't really blogged much because it's hard to put into words.

Within about a month, I had two friends lose a parent. On top of that I'm enrolled in a class called "On Death and Dying"-needless to say I am using personal experience in that class. It's been hard. Really hard, I hurt for them more than I ever imagined I would. I praise God for the community each friend has around them, for the prayers they are receiving constantly, but I always wish I could do more than pray. I caught myself asking God what else I could do because I didn't feel like I was doing enough. What I am realizing is that I am doing plenty, because God is working on their side. He is there for them, in their hearts, their thoughts, He is making sure they are okay. That's all I can ask for because God's support is enough.

What has brought me so much joy this semester has been the preparation and celebration of Kelley and Matt's wedding last weekend. I don't know exactly how Kelley and Matt feel about how it all went down, but I thought the day and night was perfect. Just perfect. I can't thank God enough for bringing together two people (two families) more perfect and worthy of each other. If their wedding was any sign of how their marriage will be it will be fun, happy, and full of surprises! I can't wait to see where their marriage takes them!

School is hard. Classes are really hard. I've been sick for about a month now(Mono-never fun) so it's been really hard to stay motivated and determined. I have been praying and asking for prayers for motivation and patience through all this, I know I will be healthy soon but I am just frustrated that I still don't feel like 'me' after so long.

With all this being said, I am SO excited to see where God takes me from here. I had a conversation about life with my wonderful professor Dr. A(whom I have spoken of on this blog many times before!) today that told me I needed to "have a little faith" in the next year. As excited as I am I catch myself getting a little anxious(me? anxious you say?) about the future. I like a plan as we all know and I am trying to turn the anxiety into excitement. God has blessed me with more than I could ever thank Him for in the past year despite all the low points of the semester, I am still finding myself praising His name each day. Especially on beautiful Fall nights.

This semester God has truly made his presence known more than I can remember him ever doing...or maybe I'm just more aware now. Either way, I like the direction He has put me in, I just have to keep "having a little faith".