Fifty-Two Cards in a Deck

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To give you my favorite deck of cards is nothing compared to my heart.
-Jeremiah Grey

I had always dreamed of being in love, married, a wife. The way my life was going it seemed so far into the future, but then God intervened and placed this sweet, weird, handsome man in my path and in fifty-two days I get to marry him!

When I met Jeremiah, I was in no place to be in a relationship. I was depressed, sad, lonely, and just getting back in touch with God, but I was drawn to him and his quirky and different demeanor. It didn’t seem like he was very into me, but we kept getting paired together and I worked hard at trying to get noticed. Through time and unusual circumstances, Jeremiah and I began a journey to becoming the best of friends. Through simple statements turning into all-night deep conversations, I realized that being vulnerable and honest was easy with Jeremiah. We saw sides of each other we would normally hide, but it was refreshing to be so close to someone.

It’s incredible how much things can change over a summer. Jeremiah and I grew so close in those two months, but when the school year started up again everything was different including our church home. This was the place where we met filled with people we though we were friends with, but it just didn’t feel like home anymore and we decided not to go back. I don’t feel leaving was a mistake, but the time it took afterwards to find a new church home was detrimental to our walks with God. We were trying new churches at first, but then grew tired of endless disappointment and eventually stopped looking. Things were going so great for us and between us, the concern of finding a church home was no longer on our minds.

A little over a month ago we stumbled upon a church that was perfect for us, but while attending service on Sundays, I began to feel guilty and far from God. I knew that I needed Him and He would take me back, but didn’t know how to get there. Last night I confided in Jeremiah about how I had been feeling and Jeremiah looked at my tear stained face and told me he had been feeling the same. Together we prayed to ask God to be the center of our relationship and to help us grow together, but toward Him. We want to cultivate a strong Christ-centered marriage. Jeremiah and I know it won’t be easy, but we accept the challenge and responsibility of getting ourselves right with God!

Unplanned Changes

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I had wanted to wish you all a Happy Independence Day (for those of you Americans), but my Fourth was jam-packed, so I didn’t get the chance.

I am a planner. I like to know what I am doing and when I am doing it. I use multiple calendars and an actual planner in order to keep myself on a set schedule and to keep me productive. Well, I expected nothing less of my Fourth of July.

  • 8:00 – wake up
  • 9:00 – be at my parents house
  • 10:00 – arrive at Hurricane Harbor
  • 5:00 – leave Hurricane Harbor & shower
  • 7:00 – arrive at my friend’s cookout for food and fireworks
  • 10:00 – sleep

Let’s just say it did not quite go like this.

I really enjoy being a planner and I take pride in the fact that I can stick to a schedule and fit everything and everyone in. Well, when I woke up on Monday, it was storming and my mom had texted to me to come around 10/10:30 instead, so I fell back asleep. When I woke, I decided not to shower since it was raining and we were going to a water park. I got up, got the pup, and got the boyfriend and we were off to my parents. We hadn’t eaten yet, so I asked my mom if she would cook a quick something, she said sure, but she needed milk and eggs, so we stopped at a nearby Walmart. When we started cooking, my dad decided to make pancakes and my mom egg quesadillas… all was going to the “new” plan since we were waiting out the rain.

Once the rain had stopped, we were ready to go except my brother had not shown up yet. We texted and called and he finally showed a bit late. Once were on our way to the water park, we paid for parking and my dad had to park about a mile away, so it took us forever to reach the front, but alas we arrived around 12:00. My cousin and other brother were supposed to meet us there, so after every ride we rode, we had to go back to the table and check and see their status. They arrived around 2:00.

All was going just fine until around 5:00. I was exhausted and sunburnt and hot and miserable. They kept going down body slides that I do not enjoy with long lines and I was about done. I was already supposed to be on my way home and my mom didn’t seem to care. She just wanted to go on one more ride then another. I was trying to be a good sport except we didn’t end up leaving until 7:20. Way later than I had planned.

When we reached the car and I checked my phone, my friend had called me and texted me multiple times, because I was supposed to be there. I tried texting her that things were running a bit behind, but that I would be there soon. We arrived at home, showered, and were getting ready to leave when I realized it had already been another hour. Driving to my friend’s place would be another hour and we would have missed food and would seem like we only showed for fireworks. My friend wasn’t returning my texts about being late, so I had to make a decision to skip her cookout and just go to dinner with my family.

We were eating on the patio at Boomerjacks (one of the only places open) and everything was going great. Laughing, talking, a good family outing until the arguing started. I was already irritated that I had to miss my friend’s cookout and fireworks and then my brothers had to make a scene. I didn’t get home until around 10:30 and I was totally exhausted from the day’s events.

I wanted to just be mad and stew that I didn’t get to shoot off any fireworks or even see any fireworks, but God has given me an amazing boyfriend who knows when he needs to calm me down and distract me from my own mind. He gets to my house after I dropped him off at his car and he tells me to come outside. He is sitting on the curb staring at the sky. Winnie and I come out, she runs around and I take a seat beside him and also look up to the sky. There is a lightning storm with no thunder. It is absolutely beautiful and bright and shocking and fun. It was like God’s version of fireworks. He held my hand as we gazed up at the sky and in that moment I wasn’t irritated and angry that my plans did not work out the way I intended. In that moment I was exactly where I needed to be. 

That whole day made me realize that making plans isn’t a bad thing, but it is not the end of the world when they don’t work out, because unplanned changes can result in the best memories!

The heart of a man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.
-Proverbs 16:9

Refusing To Acknowledge Doesn’t Make It Untrue

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It has been awhile, but I have finally come to an understanding. God has been faithful to me even though I refused to acknowledge it.

I prayed every day that He would bring Bailey home quickly, safely, and in good condition. I don’t think I have ever prayed so hard, so often, and so passionately for something. God answered that prayer. Bailey came back the last week of October and was generally fine.

God answered this prayer knowing the outcome. He knew it was not going to turn out like I hoped. He knew how I was going to be affected by Bailey’s inactions. But still He answered my prayer and my pleas to show me the power of prayer.

I now have this specific answered prayer to hold on to when I feel like God is far. He didn’t ignore me then to save me from the hurt and heartache He knew was coming, so now I can have faith and know that God will come through in all situations.

❤ a girl

1 Step Forward. 1 Step Stronger.

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Rollercoaster. The one word that describes my emotions, my thoughts, and my choices. I have been up and down, back and forth to end up where I started.

I have had a rough time for awhile now, but it mainly started falling apart back in February. Some things happened that I didn’t understand and just completely gave up. I was angry with God, so I decided to ditch the Christian life altogether. I stopped praying, reading my Bible, and going to church; by summer I considered myself a Deist who basically believed God created me, but wanted nothing to do with me.

At first this lifestyle seemed so great. I felt so light and airy with no expectations, but eventually the light and airy feeling changed to empty. I had nothing to believe in and no accountability system, but I was too proud to admit this to anyone. Little by little my negative feelings and thoughts got worse until I was a big ball of anger and hate. I didn’t know what to do and when the good things in my life started going downhill, I completely broke.

Over the past few weeks, I have decided that God isn’t dead to me and that I am not done with my faith. I have chosen to pursue the Lord again. Through so much love and encouragement, I am on the right track. A friend invited me to a homegroup that meets on Wednesdays nights that I have attended twice and now look forward to as well as having the opportunity to go on a retreat with that group that gave me ample time to spend alone with the Lord, listening to others stories of how He has worked in their lives,  and some powerful worship.

I am excited about this new journey. Although, I feel like I am back where I started, I am most definitely not. Before February I was going through the motions. I was under the impression that I had to do all of these things to be right with God and to have a relationship with him, but it wasn’t true and by believing that I had all of these expectations that couldn’t be met and I started to become frustrated with myself. Now, I have a much healthier outlook and I am actively pursuing the Lord and learning what He actually means to me. I feel so much stronger in myself now knowing that I am not fighting my battles alone.

❤ a girl

Trial Turned Testimony

testimonyIf you have been around my blog from the beginning or snooped a little, you may know that I am at an interesting spot with my faith/religion at the moment. Just a quick recap: I grew up in church, lived my life up until this past March as a goody-two-shoes poster child, then I decided to start questioning it all.

Now that I am back home for the summer, it is expected of me to go to church. This isn’t a big deal and I am not opposed to going and trying to learn something or hope that something starts to make better sense. So far that has not happened; I go and become even more confused and cynical than I was before. (That’s not the point though.)

Tonight I was at a Bible study at my old leader’s house and we were studying the book of Daniel. We read through chapters 3 and 4 and it wasn’t any new stories for me or anything. After we were done with the lesson, a guy whom I had never met before piped up claiming that he related to what King Nebuchadnezzar went through. My leader asked him to share his testimony with us.

Once he was done telling us his story, my leader thanked him and then my leader’s husband said, “Wow! What a fantastic testimony.”

Hearing him say that really bothered me. Don’t get me wrong, there was nothing wrong with his testimony and there is nothing wrong with sharing or encouraging those to share their testimony. I have always just had this off-putting feeling about testimonies ever since I was a kid. I just feel like by claiming one testimony is “fantastic” means that another one is not as good.

I have always felt self-conscious about my testimony (at the moment I am not sure what it is), but before March it was that cookie-cutter, ‘I’m a perfect kid that grew up in church and has never made any mistakes worth mentioning’ testimony. I never felt the need to share it and anytime I did, the leader would always tell me that I would reach someone with my story, but I felt that was what they had to say. Then tonight to hear a leader tell someone that they had a “fantastic” testimony was like reassurance that in order for someone to actually like your testimony is to have something crazy, horrific, or bad happen to you.

The only problem with creating a good testimony is that no one is proud of you while you are going through your “trial” in order to have that testimony. It is very one-sided. I have heard this so many times: “I’m sorry that happened to you, but I’m glad it did, because now you can reach more people.” I have grown up hearing that and there have been so many times when I feel like I need to go out and make some huge mistake just so I can reach people, because those people are sort of praised in the church.

The image above says that the trial you go through is good, because it “forces dependence on God” and I can’t help, but slightly disagree with that. It doesn’t always have this end result. Sometimes it pushes the person farther in the opposite direction. Yes, sometimes the person really does lean on God and grow closer to him, but in others it just makes them angry with him. I know when I am dealing with something God is the last person I want to deal with.

They tell us all the time that God says no or is silent which is why you are dealing with whatever you are dealing with, but you have to push through. Well guess what, I don’t have to do anything. If God doesn’t want to talk with me or say yes then I’ll just go do my own thing. That has kind of been my mentality for the past few months. I was perfectly fine until I came back home and now I am being surrounded with all of this church talk again and I am not sure how I feel about it.

❤ a girl