The Fall

I bought my first house last May. I prayed intensely hard for my house every day for almost a year. Every moment my future abode came across my mind, I made a mental note of things to update Papa on. My requests extended past the personal into the impossible. I was specific in tree type, layout, color. Everything. Give or take a year, and God gave me more than my prayers demanded. He blessed me not with the pool I jokingly wanted, but the dragonfly wind chime, the Camellia japonica trees, the basketball hoop. He gave me the ability to run through all the rooms on the first floor without ever going back into the same room, the windows… I could go on for days. He heard every prayer. He had me wait, and then there was my house. I knew it was mine the moment I drove up the driveway.

I always knew my house wasn’t going to make me happy. It was never supposed to because that wasn’t its intended use. I moved in and still had the same issues I had at my apartment, but I stopped talking to God about them. I spoke with Papa only about surface things. It was as if He moved Heaven and earth to give me more than I could’ve ever asked for, so I couldn’t bring myself to lament to my Lord who blessed me something so big. You know what I did instead? I went out and tried to satisfy my loneliness, my depression, my dissatisfaction with work with worldly things. These things would eventually cause me to compromise my integrity over and over again.

I read a book by Lysa TerKeurst called Uninvited. It’s about rejection. Man oh man. This woman, God bless her. She is radiantly transparent, which makes almost every situation she mentions in her book relatable. At one point she writes about these tiny compromises she started making with her then boyfriend. She writes about how what started as her boyfriend sleeping over on the couch, turned into her justifying her desires, until it snowballed into something larger than she expected: an abortion. Her tiny compromises rolled into a giant.

My giant wasn’t an abortion. It was quitting. Don’t like them? Drop them. Don’t like working there? Quit. That man is unreliable? Leave him. Do what makes you happy. Never once did I stop to A) inquire of the Lord and B) fight—push past the negative. Not once did I think, “This rough patch is where I am supposed to be. Maybe me being uncomfortable is what grows me.” Instead, I manipulated everything in my power to create a pretty picture for myself. Truthfully, all I did was make myself more lonely and depressed and broke.

I Kings 19:4 says, “‘I have had enough, LORD,’ he said. ‘Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.’” That’s exactly how I was feeling. I was ready for the rapture. Beam me up, Scottie! However, a few weeks ago, I heard that same question that God asked Elijah, “What are you doing here?” Honestly, I couldn’t answer until last week. I must go back the way I came. I have to walk through every last thing I attempted to run away from, and that truth stings.

I thought who and where I am now would eventually circle back to pre-fall. I did. I’m just not where I expected. Who I was pre-fall was someone who was steadfast for God, but she didn’t want to bother her Father. The woman before the fall was someone who tried to people please God. I won’t be there again because I fell. I hurt myself on the way down, but I’m wiser for it. I’m going to push a little bit harder now because I know my footing is supposed to be in Christ, and if He’s willed it, then so it will be.

I’ve been watching Sing a lot lately, and one of my favorite lines is, “Do you know the beauty about hitting rock bottom, Eddie? The only way to go is up!” That’s so true. I might fall again. Actually, I will most likely fall again, but not in the same way and not with the same force and not as far down. Even now, there is great beauty in this breakdown.

During this almost year detour I learned I will never be satisfied until I live on God’s terms. That means loving God with all my heart and all my might, and everything else will flow from the relationship I have with Him. He has a plan to prosper me and not harm me. So, my goal in life should be to run towards Him and not away from Him. I could let my inadequacies build up against me, but I shouldn’t. Where I fall short is where God picks up. That truth alone makes the journey of life worth it.

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February Fruits

Enjoy!

1. You’re already okay. An okay, put together you exists right now if you believe it and claim it for yourself.

2. When you realign with God, you receive a confirmation of your placement.

3. Humor children. Answer their questions. Don’t think they can’t handle the truth.

4. Always check your heart.

5. Always pray for your students.

6. Don’t be afraid to step into what you’ve been called to do. Welcome the new opportunities.

7. Just because you don’t see what someone else sees in you doesn’t mean you won’t ever see it. It means you’re not ready for it yet.

8. Continue to compliment Papa on His Creation.

9. Wait on The Lord.

10. When you stop reading The Word, sin becomes easier to justify.

11. It’s so difficult to hear, but even in the terrible, life-altering, traumatic experiences, God was still there.

12. People come to you saying different things like “this might seem selfish…” or “this might be rude…” or “this might be mean/racist/etc.” reply with, “If you don’t want to be selfish/rude/mean/etc. then don’t be.” It really is that simple.

13. You can’t just say you need help. You have to be willing to receive it.

14. Not judging is one thing. Not compromising your beliefs is another. Know the difference.

15. You are a sweet, gentle spirit.

16. Move past theory into practice.

17. Impacting 1 child out of 30 is and will always be a victory.

18. When you wanna quit someone because you don’t understand them, don’t. Move towards them. Watch how your perspective shifts.

19. There is beauty in growth.

20. You remember The Wiz? “Home is not just a place you eat or sleep. Home is knowing. Knowing your mind. Knowing your heart. Knowing your courage. And when we know ourselves, we’re home anywhere.” Know, without doubt, exactly who you are. You are God’s special possession before you are anything else.

21. Ask others about their dreams. Listen. Match their excitement. This is something precious to them.

22. There are no bad students. There’s bad behavior.

23. When God rains, He pours.

24. Self-care ain’t all bubble baths and Netflix. Sometimes it’s paying your mortgage before your car note.

25. “Be a thermostat, not a temperature.”

26. Listen. You don’t have tinted windows. People see you dancing. So, if you can dance in your car, then you can dance at church. There’s only a mental block because you put it there.

27. Shyness sometimes comes from never wanting to be embarrassed, which is a manifestation of pride. Cut that out.

28. Hebrews 11:1, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” God’s gonna do what He says He’s gonna do because He said He was gonna do it. That’s just who He is, so don’t you worry ’bout a thing. God’s got it.

Take time to be a kid.

Go swing. Don’t wait until the kids leave the park. They won’t. Once you get to the swings and sit down, ignore the sounds. Ignore the looks.

Sit and pump. Ignore the weirdness in your arms and forget that your butt is hanging off the swing. Pump harder.

Look out over a hill because there’s almost always a hill by swings. Notice yourself rising because of your efforts. Get a new perspective, a higher one. Know that a little bit now gets you higher later.

However, don’t jump from your first time back swinging. Your ankles can’t handle that type of impact yet. Continue to go back to swing often. Eventually, you’ll jump, and it won’t be because you have something to prove or because you want to impress someone. It’ll be because you were ready.

Kind Reminders from July

1. Life is not tit for tat. (1 Peter 3:9) 

2. Your Jesus music ain’t all that loud when you can only hear outta one ear. Turn it up. Sing louder. You are praising your God. (1 Samuel 6:14-15 / Psalm 135:1-3)

3. Anything done out of hurt feelings will be instantly regretted. Forgive others, and forgive yourself. (Matthew 6:14 / Colossians 3:13)

4. Let. The. Cars. Over. Always. (Matthew 7:12)

5. A split mind is a divided mind. (2 Corinthians 10:5 / 2 Corinthians 13:11)

6. You don’t have writer’s block. You just didn’t pick up a pen. (Philippians 3:13-14)

7. If you ask for a month where your attitude is adjusted, you better be prepared for it. (Psalm 51: 10-12) 

8. You must yield to authority in every circumstance. (1 Peter 2:13-15)

9. Don’t be afraid to cry in church. We’re all going through sanctification. (Proverbs 28:13 / Lamentations 3:40) 

10. If you never seek, you will never find. As Cassey said, “How can the job call you if you didn’t even apply?” (John 16:23-24)

11. Trust God because of who He is, not what He’s done. (John 14:1)

12. Any gift from Him is a good gift. Do not doubt it. (1 Corinthians 12:4) 

13. The further you get from Christ, the more you miss the gate that protected you. (Deuteronomy 28:6 / John 10:9-10)

14. Do not be quick to cut corners just because no one sees. That two second stop at the stop sign will not kill you. (Proverbs 17:20)

15. Do not choose your way when wisdom is readily available. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

16. People mistake your serious statements for silly ones. For example, “They should empty the mall and build a Jurassic Park.” *begins singing theme song* Let them believe you were joking. (Proverbs 17:22)

17. You love to plan. You love to do lists. You love scheduling, but don’t be such a stick in the mud that you can’t roll with the punches. (Proverbs 16:9)

18. Everyone always looks a little mean or sad until you smile at them. (Proverbs 15:30) 

19. Eventually you must pay what you owe. (Matthew 22:20-21) 

20. Quit keeping track of the past. Let go of the wrongdoings. (1 Corinthians 13:4-7)

21. “I love you, and there’s nothing you can do about it.” (John 14:34)

22. Give thanks always. Things are never as bad as they seem. (Philippians 4:4-9)

23. At some point you will have to go back the way you came. (1 Kings 19:9-11) 

24. It’s very easy to speculate what you would’ve done if you were someone in a given situation. Don’t. You have no idea of the circumstances that person is in, and most likely, you will need that person’s assistance when you’re in that situation. (Matthew 7:2)

25. If it is meant for you, it will not pass you. (Romans 8:28-30) 

26. All laments (Psalm 22) end in praise (Psalm 23). 

27. His love sometimes means discipline. (Hebrews 12:4-8)

28. Try and try and try and try some more. (Jeremiah 8:4 / 1 John 5:4-5)

29. You can do it on your own, but you don’t have to. (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12)

30. Be truly excited for someone else’s accomplishment. (Acts 11:15-18 / Romans 12:15)

31. “He who the Son sets free is free indeed.” (Galatians 5:1)