Thursday, February 5, 2015

Beyond Me

“You gave me the stars, and put them out of my reach, You called me to waters a little too deep. You take me to the place where I know I need you. You are making me see, this is way beyond me.”

I was toying with the idea of writing this blog for a few days. You know, the kind that is raw and real and not necessarily all smiley faces and "hoorays"  LOL. 

 The part of me that says "Write it! Do it"  thinks that I should be real about the struggles and fears, because God is really moving in that, and without showcasing the struggle it would be impossible for you, dear friend to see how BIG and awesome God is, and all the big things He is doing in our lives and in my heart.  
The part of me that says "naw, don't write it" thinks it makes me look vulnerable, weak, and a little cray-cray.  haha! =)  And maybe it will. But that is okay.  I think Jesus is teaching me not to be so WORRIED about what people think of me.  I am learning it because I have lived it....I cannot contemplate God or anything He is doing in my life if I am busy obsessing over my image in other peoples eyes.  So, I am dedicated to showcase the struggle, not just the strengths, because that is real life, that is where God moves and changes and redeems and saves! I don't have it mastered. But I am growing. 

So many times in this process of packing and saying goodbye Matt and I have talked about how we have...peace. Just this weird feeling of calm and content.  Look back at some of these blogs, and they tell you the story of how God has shown us time and time again that this is where He wants us, that He is right here with us. It has been such an encouragement and something that Matt and I remember when we are feeling overwhelmed or insecure. 

That word. Insecure. Yup. I got it. I know that word because so often I LIVE that word. Moving to New York...the night we got in.  It hit me. I felt rocks in my stomach....boulders really.  I was thinking "WHAT HAVE WE DONE?"  and "okay, well, this was fun, bye New York, bye dreams, goodbye to the call on our life"  it was getting UNCOMFORTABLE.  Our friends who attended Elim last semester left only an hour after we arrived....I didn't want them to go because I wanted a friend, a lifeline.  But they left and I was in a new place and I had a moment of wanting to surrender.   See, this is kinda lame. Because I am still in AMERICA. haha.  I can only imagine what you are thinking.... "oh wow. just wait till this wimp goes to a third world country!"  haha.  I think that too sometimes. But the first night we were here I had those boulders in my stomach. I kept thinking, " I need to read my Bible" I need life, I need hope, I need TRUTH.  I don't need to hear what I say about this...I need to hear what Jesus says about this.  Matt and I prayed, we read. I fell asleep with those rocks. But when I woke I felt weirdly at home.  Not just in the 'i finally got sleep' kind of way.  I can't really describe it, but I felt at home and I felt calm, not only calm, but happy, excited, content.  Our apartment didn't feel foreign, it felt like home.  That is not me, not sleep, that is Jesus. 

See I am REALLY good at being no good.  People tell me all the time that I am so brave to go to Indonesia with Matt and with a child.  HA! Well thanks, but that's not me. I can be brave when it comes to hiking or 4 wheeling, or things that don't change my life. But when big change (even good change) comes....I am the biggest wimp.  I reallllllllly don't like it.   That's why I didn't want our friends to leave New York. (other than the fact that I like them)  =)   But it was something familiar to cling to. 

Friend, God has been REALLY good at removing my comfort lately...removing my "security blankets"  and it hurts, it's cold and I am exposed and shivering without that "blanket"  It's been months and months of it. And I have dealt with it in a whole lot of different ways.  Grump. Anger. Sad. Tears. Quiet. Rocks. Boulders. Grump. Snippy. Worried.

I have learned a lot about myself during the past 6 months.  The idea of moving to be a missionary was great, and ultimately I knew it was coming, and in my heart I wanted it.  But you know what I didn’t want, and it surprised me when I found myself ferociously defending it? My idol disturbed. Comfort, security.  My idol was threatened, and my heart was ugly.  I liked to think that I surrender everything……except that one thing…because I am afraid of what you might do with that. And when God came crashing in and ruffled my comfort I found myself throwing a tantrum like Grace does when I won't let her eat a second cookie, it's because I love her, and I know what is best for her even though that is not how she sees it.  Hmmm. maybe there is a metaphor there. =) 

But the beauty in that is, GOD Doesn’t leave us in these "growing seasons forever."  He has been so loving and so kind and gentle to me.  There are too many instances to share now, but He has taken such good care of our family. Reignited my heart,  and shown me who I REALLY am in such tangible and real ways.  

I wouldn't trade it for anything. You read it right. It has hurt at times. But it is BEAUTIFUL what He is doing.  God has changed my heart. He has been molding me, changing me. And I LOVE it. I don't love the discomfort, but I love what He is doing. And He couldn't be doing this in my life if He had left those pathetic security blankets on me.  He had to remove so much to take me to a place where I was raw and could see my need for Him. And during this I have never felt so LOVED.  There is something so refreshing to my soul to be stripped of more and more of me...because He is showing me more and more of Him.  And my friend He is....the best. HE sustains me. He is taking care of me. He is in control. And even if my worst fear, my dearest security blanket, my comfort is all taken away or shaken, He is enough and He LOVES me, and He will not, and has not left me there to shiver in the cold.  He is always right there to comfort me, to encourage me, and to show me that I can't do this on my power, but HE CAN! And his yoke is easy His burden is light.  His promises are beautiful. He will never leave me or forsake me. He will not give me more than I can handle. Those promises have never held such truth for me until these last few months. And without the struggle I would have missed all this!  Thank you Jesus! He knows what He is doing. 

"I could have called all of this a reason to retreat.  But you have given me some dreams that are bigger than me.  I might be outsized, out-matched, the underdog in the fight of my life. All of this is out of my league.  Anything that i have the strength to do is because of Jesus.  Being in over my head keeps me counting on You.  I am leaving the sweet spot, I'm shell-shocked, I am trading it all for the plans that You have.    You take me to the place where I KNOW that I need you. Straight to the depths that I can't handle on my own.  Is it so crazy to believe...that you gave me the stars and put them out of my reach?  You called me to waters a little too deep.  I have never been so aware of my need.  Jesus, you keep on making me see that it's way BEYOND ME."

A simple message that has come alive in my heart.  Thanks for reading dear friend. I hope this encourages your heart.

Love, Amanda

I am a new creation in Him!
 “therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.  The old has gone, the new has come” 2 Cor 5:17

I am saved by Grace as a gift, not because of my performance.
 “For by Grace you have been saved, through faith. And this is not your own doing. It is a gift from God. Not a result of works, so that no one may boast.  Ephesians 2:8

I am a victor.
 “no, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us” Romans 8:37

I have a calling on my life.
“therefore, holy brothers, you who share in a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession who was faithful to him who appointed him.  Hebrews 3:1

In Jesus I am FREE of my old self, and the bondage of sin.

“For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin.” 
Romans 6:6
Oh and P.S. we have a TON of snow! =)