Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. (Psalm 100:4)
To write of all the blessings, mercy, and grace that God has given me in my life would be impossible. First of all, there would be too much to write, and secondly, there is no word I can think of that would properly express my "gratitude" or "thankfulness". God knew me before I was born. Whoa. Take a second and think on that one.
God was there even when I didn't know Him and didn't want to know Him. I look back at the way I lived my life and I just can't imagine that God would have still given to me so abundantly when I was so obviously spitting in His face. What's even crazier is that now that I have God in my heart and my life, I realize that even though my life and the way I live it is so much better than before...it's still not good enough...not even close. I realize that no matter how "good" I am, it will never be enough to deserve what God freely give me. I realize that no matter how "bad" I am or how much I mess up, it was never be enough for God to leave me and stop blessing me. That blows my mind, man.
I still have the hardest time wrapping my mind around God's love. Being able to let go and have faith that God will be there and do good things through me, with me, and for me...all for His glory....is soooo hard for me to get. I constantly feel like I let God down. I want to understand His love for me, have faith that can move mountains, speak words of truth and encouragement, fear Him, rejoice always, give, serve, meditate on things that are true and good, love God, accept His discipline, trust that He is good.....but it's not easy. I know I don't deserve this wonderful life God has given me....mainly because I don't appreciate it. Each new blessing God gives me, I look at what I still don't have. The issue is this....it doesn't matter what job I have (even if I love my job...which I do!), where I live (even if it is an awesome apartment in DC), or how awesome my friends and family are (hello! They all rock!), I am still asking God for more...instead of simply being thankful and giving Him all the praise.
I get so frustrated with myself. No matter how much God has given me, I still think I can figure it all out on my own. I have faith only in what I can see and figure out. I allow life to overwhelm me. I think it's because in my own experience thus far, I haven't really known a man that I can really really trust...one that will love me, support me, protect me, fight for me, guide me, etc. Therefore, it's hard for me to get my mind wrapped around a God that will do that for me (and so much more) AND actually WANTS to. One thing I have realized though, is that God is the only Man that can be everything for me and never leave me or foresake me. Every other guy...is human..and therefore flawed...just like I am.
I have taken care of myself for a long time. Even when I had a boyfriend I hated to let them help me with anything. I think the reason was that I was afraid if I let my guard down and depended on someone, even just a little bit...that they would leave me and I wouldn't be able to take care of myself. It's been great to learn just how strong I can be. I have taken damn great care of myself. I can change a tire, carry my own suitcase/groceries/furniture, I can do minor household repairs, shot a gun, pay my own bills, work my butt off, cook for myself, clean for myself....etc. I love all that about me! But that very strength and stubborness might be what hinders me from letting go..and letting God (not to be too cliche).
I have a lot of strong, independent women in my life that I look up to so much. My mom for one...she is smart, beautiful, strong, independent, loving, caring, giving, hilarious, and my best friend. She taught me to be all of those things I listed above. She has made it through things that I can't imagine going through. When life gets nuts and I feel like I can't go on...my mom is always there, holding it together for me. She is my biggest fan and cheerleader. My Grammy is another woman that is totally amazing and strong. She raised two rambunctious boys (my Dad and Uncle Ronnie), plus me, Kirk, Bronson, and Bryn, loved my grandfather with a love so true and deep that I can't even comprehend it, and always looked gorgeous, put together, classy, and happy. If I have style, it's because of her. After my grandfather died, she didn't give up. She kept on trucking for her family. She kept it together as he slowly died of cancer, and she continues to keep to together for all of us. She is the McNemar rock. She has been diabetic for almost 40 years now and at the age of 86 still walks two miles a day, rain, snow or sunshine (like the postal service), eats healthly, and won't be seen without her hair and makeup done. She loves to laugh, and she loves to love! My best friends, Heather, Julie, and Wajhma are all amazing examples of strong, smart women that love God and love life. Each one of them has impacted my life in such a profound way that words can't even describe how blessed I am to be able to call them sisters. So....as you can see...I am surrounded by strong, independent women. Thank you, God for these women. Thank you for blessing their lives and blessing mine by having them in it.
I have no shortage of strong women to look up to.....but I definitely find it hard to depend on God. I'm scared. I'm scared that I will trust Him with something and then it will all fall apart. So instead of letting Him come into a crazy situation...I try, in my own knowledge and strength, to make it work. I worry relentlessly. I do my best to deduce the best way to do something in order to get the outcome I feel is best. I want minimal pain. But what actually end up doing....again and again....is create an outcome that is far below the awesomeness that could have been if I just would have trusted God to come into the situation and let His glory shine. I have a hard time remembering that it's not all about me. I know! Shocking, right!? It's alllllll about God! All of it. My ego doesn't like that. But that doesn't take away the fact that it's true.
Another thing I can't wrap my mind around...I'm going to die one day. I could die right now. Who knows!? No one but God knows when their time is going to be up. I just don't want to die without having more time to shine God's light. I want to get it. I want to really really get it. I want to be able to wrap my mind around God's free gift of salvation, grace, and love. I want more time to show people the truth about God. I want people to understand that it's not a religion or a list of do's and do not's. It's about love and relationship. Giving and serving. I want my life to matter. I don't want it just to be a brief mist in time that made no impact for God's kingdom. I want my life to change lives...not for me..but for God. I don't care as much that my name be remembered as much as that my life will change the life of my family for generations to come. The decisions I make now...will save my family for generations. I will leave a legacy of God's love. I am not afraid to die...to quote Pastor Clark yesterday..."what are they gonna do...threaten me with Heaven!?". I am not afraid to die. I know where I'll be. But I want to be able to stand before Jesus and know that I did my best to know Him while I was here.
I want more than anything for people to know the Truth. I know it's hard if don't already know Jesus. Trust me, I was there. But you can't say that you don't believe in Him if you never looked for Him. You can't say that He isn't God if you haven't given Him a chance to show you that He is. When I die and I stand before Him, I don't want Him to say that He didn't know me. I wish I could understand what it's like to live each day like it's your last. What would I do differently if I knew I was going to die soon? I mean, we're all going to die....we are currently all dying...but we live like we have forever to get it together. I used to be so scared of dying. When I was a kid I used to sleep in my parents room because I was afraid I was going to die in a fire. (No idea why I thought that). My whole life was based in fear. Fear controlled everything I did. With God...I need not fear anything. God is with me. He is with all of us. I thank God from the bottom of my heart for His love and am so sorry for not appreciating it enough. God is good. I write this as a cry out to God that I truly do want nothing more than more of Him and less of me. I know I don't have all the answers and the ones I do have are usually wrong. lol! I pray that God show me the truth. I pray that He show me how to love Him more, to trust Him more, and to have faith in Him.
Love you all!