miracles

That seemed to be the only way that I could title this post. My God is a god of miracles and I saw one happen right in front of my eyes today. Let me preface it by saying this… Yesterday was a bad day. It was a doubting Thomas day, where I was questioning my trip to Australia and trying to figure out if it is actually “do-able”. Yes, tears were involved, and yes, I had my moments of frustration with people making things harder than they needed to be. I went to bed feeling downright defeated. Saying “God, I can’t do this car wash tomorrow on my own, I need you, otherwise it won’t happen. I just don’t have the strength.” His response? “Of course you can’t! That is what I have been trying to tell you!” So here I am last night trying to fall asleep and making sure that I remembered everything that I needed for the day, kicking myself for once again being so foolish and thinking that I could do any of this on my own.  Then I woke up this morning and first thing was first, I gave the day to God. The day of the car wash. No phone to call people to make sure they were coming. Just me and my dad going in faith that others would show up. Obviously I have good friends and Aliah and Deanna showed up, half asleep, but they were there! I should have known it would be a great day from the first car. We got done washing a car of a friend of mine and I was handed a $100 bill. What? God are you for real? Yes, my child I’m here, even at a car wash. Ok, just checking… I’m still human, He’s still God. As the day wore on and cars never failed to fill the spaces to be washed, God kept showing up. Of course there were those hugh Suburbans that only gave us $5, but every little bit helps. Friends stopped by to offer their support for a little while here and there. They had a tough time leaving because so much help was always needed. We didn’t even have people holding signs! cars saw the ones we had posted and kept pulling in to get their filthy cars cleaned from the winter grime. By the end of the day, our backs were broken, the wind chill was starting to kick in, finally cars slowed down. We cleaned up, and made our way home to count God’s blessing. We quickly showered and got warmed up, and then my mom and dad, Deanna, Courtney and I sat around the table as we made our guesses to how much was in the canister. 300, 350, 600, 550, 400, but my God had other plans. At the end of the day God raised $823.18! It’s true, people were so generous and God was glorified. We sat at our dining room table with our jaws dropped, grabbed hands and thanked Him for His blessing. What a day, what a boost of faith. and on top of all this, the weather was absolutely amazing, it couldn’t have been any better. Thank you all for supporting me, I needed today and God knows how to take such great care of us in our inadequacies. That’s the cool thing about being connected to the source of life. That’s my miracle today!car-wash.jpgThanks for the photo Joe. Here I am in action! Washing away, I think I even got a little sun on the cheeks! 

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weakness=strength?

Really? Let me explain… I was reading in my devotional time tonight in 2 Corinthians when Paul was talking about what and what not to boast about. Here is the verse that really stuck out to me:“9But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12 You see, I’m one of those people that likes to “have it all together”. For the most part, I do, on the outside. I try to be the strong one that anyone can come to, the one that works hard and everyone can count on. There is this one little thing though that always seems to catch up with me. My face. well my face is always with me :), but seriously the pain that I go through daily living I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. The other day, I was talking with my parents, my life has been in a crazy state for the last few months. I’ve been digging deep to find these roots that seem to have gotten rotten along the way. In my search i’ve found that I’m great with masks. Yes, masks. I tend to put them on so that people don’t really see me. I’ve been working on being real with people. You know, this is who I am and this is what you get. like it or leave it. Some like it others do leave it. So, back to what I was saying… talking with my parents. There is in me a lack of confidence, i know, i know, I come across as very confident, but deep inside I’m still trying to figure out who I am and I’m not always sure. So, here I am laying it all out and you may be curious as to why or what that verse has to do with anything. Well, my mom asked me the other day where that lack of confidence and lack of self-esteem came from. The only place that I felt I could pin-point it to is when I got sick with a sinus infection, ended up having surgery to fix it, and now 7 years later i still live in daily pain. There is something in my life that I can’t fix, I can’t make it better. I’ve been to numerous doctors and it won’t go away. This brings me back to Paul. He had a thorn in his side that he repeatedly asked God to remove, but he didn’t. Guess what the other question that my mom asked me was? “Natalie, what if you’ll always be sick like this?” oh as in this could be the thorn in my side Lord? You mean that I could have to live with this forever and get used to it and continue to live with a reminder of how weak I am? I guess it is a great way to keep someone humble. I’m not perfect, I never will be, and I might be sick for the rest of my life. Frankly, I’m really tired of spending money trying to get better, when maybe, just maybe, are you listening Casey Treat? It might be a part of God’s plan for my life to be sick like this for as long as I live. “When I am weak, then I am strong” That is what it says, then that is where i’ll find my joy. Goodbye acupuncture, goodbye ENT, goodbye neurologist, goodbye allergist I’m done trying to fix something that is there for my own good. 

love: redefined

I’m in the midst of reading a McManus book, if you haven’t read him, you should. I’m reading Soul Cravings. I have just barely started it and it is already making me think twice about a lot of stuff.

The first section, which I’m about half-way through is talking about love and how we all desire it so deeply. We are designed to love in a way that most of us aren’t even close to knowing. Beyond that though, there is unconditional love that comes from our creator. We tend to do all of these religious things to make Him love us, we’re so used to conditional love. We think that someone will leave us if we don’t do something for them, and so we treat our creator that way as well.  Think about it, people pray five times a day facing the east, or pray the rosary, or make sure they have all of the Worship lyrics memorized… Whoops! Did I just say that? We get to the point that something is such an act to show Him why he should love us. “God, I pray everyday, read my Bible, and go to youth group each week, is that enough?” That’s what goes through so many people’s minds, isn’t it? We feel like we have to earn it, just like everything else. What if we actually realized that it is two-sided love, that He is passionately pursuing us? What would happen if people found out that this love was free? Nope, you don’t have to go church, it’s free. No, you don’t have to earn back some trust with him because you messed up once, it’s free. What would happen to this world if people found out that the one thing that they are searching so desperately for was FREE! Our culture likes that word, especially if there isn’t any fine print, nothing that puts conditions on it, no dates to cash it in, no certain amount of time to have it for free and then you have to pay double. None of that. How would they respond then? So, what’s the issue? Here’s my opinion, those of us that call ourselves believers aren’t convinced of it either, so how could the unbeliever know.

I don’t have all the answers to these questions, but I do know that my creator loves me unconditionally. He knows me better than anyone else, yet he still loves me without condition. I better realize this and stop beating myself up for mistakes, and stop letting other people beat me up for my mistakes. I’m forgiven, he still loves me and I’m moving on. I’m sorry if you’re still stuck at the starting gate, but I’m going to finish this race.