Attacks, Battles, Faith, and Trust

I just got back from Poland a couple of weeks ago, so forgive my lack of posts. I’ve been trying to get my thoughts in order.

This mission trip to Poland was my first time going somewhere without my parents – well, first time going somewhere besides the grocery store. Frankly, I was just excited. It wasn’t until the night before I left that I realized what I was really doing. I was about to fly halfway across the world with twenty other people who aren’t related to me. I was going to go to a completely foreign place (in the most literal sense of the word) without anyone or anything familiar to ease the shock. Still, even through that realization, yes, I wanted to cry, but my excitement never faded. I was exhilarated. So we left. All twenty of us, on a little plane out of a nearby city.

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For months leading up to the trip, I had felt “under attack.” This is christianese for Satan was trying to keep me from going on this trip. I felt anxiety, fear, doubts, but through the attacks, God would always give me little words of encouragement. They would be short, they would be simple, but oh they were true, and they were exactly what I needed to do battle. The attacks continued throughout the trip, and the primary doubt that took root in me was the fear that God wouldn’t do anything in me or through me. I had been so excited to go to Poland because I felt so strongly that there was a reason I was going, but I still had this lingering fear that I wouldn’t feel a change. Finally, one day, this fear and others bubbled over to the surface, and, well, I spent a lot of time crying that day.

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The next morning, I was reassured once again that there was a reason I was in Poland. God challenged me to stretch my faith in Him. Plus, that was a word He had given me time and time again leading up to the trip: “FAITH” and “TRUST.” So I trusted. From that moment on, I had a renewed trust in my Father. I was able to trust that I was there for a reason. I was able to trust that I was making a difference, even if I couldn’t see it. I was able to have faith that God was making changes in me and through me. AND HE DID. Even if that is the only change He made, He did renew my faith and trust in Him. Now that I am home again, I want nothing more than to go back. Back to that place of isolation with God. Still, I know that this is where He wants me right now… and I am able to trust Him in that.

After Poland, I do feel changed. I have a new fellowship with God like I’ve never had before. I have a new trust and a new faith and for that, I am so thankful.

I am thankful to be home safe, but I can’t wait for my next adventure.

When Love Came Down at Christmastime

Every Christmas, we talk about when Jesus came. Christians embrace it, atheists avoid it, most people know it… but whatever you believe, and whatever you do about it, the thought of Jesus usually crosses your mind at some point in the Christmas season.
Then, there’s always that one person… that one blog post… that one church service that tells you to look deeper into it, and really think about why Jesus came down to save us. I’m not going to do that today.

Today, I’m going to state the simple truth. The simple truth is this: Jesus came down to save us. Now, when most people hear this, they hear “Jesus came to save the world,” but He didn’t. God didn’t send His only son to save everyone collectively. He sent His only son to everyone individually. One day, God came to Jesus and said, “Son… this might seem hard, but I have a favor to ask. Our people… they’re… misbehaving. We both know they’re all imperfect, but I don’t want all of them to die. Still, we can’t just let their sins go without a second thought… so I’m going to need you to leave our perfect home and go down there.”  “Sure, Dad, of course I will.”  “Wait… I’m not done. I’m going to need you to go down as a baby, and live a normal, middle-class life for about 3 decades. And… son, in order to save them, you’re going to be persecuted and beaten and whipped and… crucified. Only then can they live with us in paradise.”  “Okay.”  “Okay?”  “Yeah. I mean, I love them more than anything. Why wouldn’t I want to save them?”

He knows us. He saves us. He wants us to live with Him in paradise. He thought of you and He thought of me personally when His father sent Him down. Then He gave us perfect forgiveness.

That is Christmas. That is why we celebrate.

The Prodigal Son-Revisited

INSPIRATIONAL STORY TIME!!!

I’ve grown up in the Christian community and, therefore, have heard the story of the prodigal son about umpteen times. For those of you who don’t know this story, it’s a story that Jesus told about some kid who asked for his inheritance before his father died, then blew it all on parties and prostitutes. When he had fallen so low that he felt he could even stoop to eat pig slop, he finally decided to go home and ask his dad if he could live in his house as a servant. As he walked home, his father not only accepted him back, but ran to meet him halfway down the driveway (if they had driveways in the Bible), hugged him and kissed him, and threw a party for him.

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And. That’s. What. God. Does. For. US. Yeah, I know right, BIG YAWN, eh? Just most powerful person in the universe accepts you ALWAYS. Pssshhhh no big deal. And you don’t have to do anything to deserve it. NOTHING. He accepts you, burdens and all, and runs to you so that you can’t even think about changing your mind. And not only that, but he also fights all your battles for you, so you don’t even have to fight once we accept His acceptance, you just have to run to him.

I don’t know about you, but I am imperfect. Even so, I am still accepted.

Like I said, I’ve been told this pretty much my whole life, but it wasn’t until the other day that it really became real to me. Because I turned my back on God. I spent my inheritance on things that were only for me… I didn’t listen to a word He said. And yet, He told me over and over and over and over and over again that I didn’t need to be enough for Him. That he was waiting for me to run into His arms. I didn’t listen at first… I thought I had to prove myself to Him… I thought I wasn’t good enough. But I didn’t have to be “good enough.” I can never be “good enough.” God accepts me just as I am.

I think that’s pretty dope.

–Gracie