Monday, August 6, 2012

Forgive and Don't Forget

I used to cringe when I'd hear the word Forgiveness. It used to seem so impossible. So many times I'd think once you forgive those who've wronged you, the war is over and nothing else would ever go wrong much less you'd be wronged again. The first seventeen years of my life were truly a living Hell. A life of constant doubt, fear, physical pain, emotional pain, and depression. All due to people who have let me down over and over and over and over about some anger issues, oh boy did I have some. That's when I began playing drums. What better way to get out frustration than to hit stuff all the time and make music in the midst of it all? Needless to say music has always been how I can cope with the chaos and confusion in my life. God Delivered me from much hopelessness, heartache, anger, sadness, hurting, and the list could seriously go on for days and days. Never pray "God may Your will be done, whatever the cost." if you don't truly mean it with EVERYTHING that you are. It wasn't until I gave God my Everything that He became my Everything. My God answers prayers. He has called me to do some of the craziest things imagined and continues. I was called to forgive those who've wronged me. Not just those who've wronged me, but those who wished I were dead and spit in my face. As crazy and ridiculous as this thought process was to me in the beginning....I came across many verses that assured me I was not alone. Never have been and Never will be. Above all Jesus knows exactly how I feel. He not only has seen the hurt I've experienced in my life, but He has walked through it and endured far worse than I could ever fathom. If that were'nt crazy enough, He FORGAVE Everyone who denied,abused,disowned,misused, mocked,accused, and hurt Him. WOW. Talk about something to humble you when you think your situation is the worst ever. Not to belittle what I've grown up in, believe freakin sucked, but when compared to what God promises to do with a life of pain...this trial is to be faced with joy. That doesn't mean I always have a smile on my face 24/7 or never shed a tear late in the means that above all God is Always a God of Provision and Protection. The least I could do is forgive others as He has forgiven me.

I've found that forgiveness is just the first step of the healing process. I first had to truly forgive people who've hurt me four years ago. Just that moment within itself is something I'll never forget. From then on God has healed my heart tremendously and has called me to serve in ministry as well. Oh the things He will do with a fully surrendered heart/life. I've been to other parts of the world and now addicted to serving Him anywhere and everywhere. I've been blessed to lead multiple disciple now weekends, lead worship in many different bands and churches, lead family groups at Cross Camp, and the list goes on. He has called me to Love. I never thought four years ago that He'd call me not just to love...but to "Love until it hurts,then Love More." This used to always keep me up at night thinking and telling God how I felt. "Love more? But wait I did my part....I loved by forgiving. That was a huge deal and took everything within me to do...I don't understand. What more could I possibly do?" The people I wanted nothing to do with anymore, the ones whom I wanted to move as far away from as possible, and those who've caused so many tears and stress....God has called me to continue to minister to them. I'm learning more and more how it's a daily process and something I can never do on my own. Only God in and through me can help me do what used to seem impossible.
I would love to say that when you forgive someone that everything will immediately be sunshine a roses...but at least for me, not so much. There will however be some clouds removed and more beams of light shining through the darkness. The roses will begin to bud and show their potential. In order for those buds to grow, they need rain to water them. I personally hate rain. I'm short and have naturally curly hair, therefore rain and I have never been bff's. As much as I strongly dislike the rain, I know it's needed for my growth. My life has been flooded by rain but because of it God has molded me into something that can be used by Him in some crazy ways. I've come a Long....way these past four years, but there are still some scars being healed and wounds being sewn up. I still have to forgive. Bitterness is always a temptation. Trust issues want to get the best of me. God is Bigger than All of that and more. So as I continue to Love until it hurts, then Love More...there's a supernatural type of peace and comfort from God. He's there by my side when I'm up till 2am burdened and praying for those I've forgiven and that they will hopefully one day know Christ. He wipes away my tears. He gives me the strength to face all of my fears. He continues to bless me with such Godly friends, mother figures, and an amazing boyfriend. He Loves me and knows what's best for me. Though I don't fully understand why, He stills chooses to use me here and now in a very rough and tough situation. It's hard, but not impossible. He brings Beauty from Pain. So let it all out. Let Go. Give it to Him. Let Him carry that burden. Continue to allow Him to break your heart for what breaks His. 

As crazy as my life seems at times...I wouldn't have it any other way. I must forgive and NEVER forget what God has done, is doing, and will do.


         Over this past month God has been rocking my face off. Conviction has taken place in areas of my life  where I never thought much was wrong. Not only has conviction taken over, but also much movement. I always say that I can't sit still in a worship service, and that is 100% True. Anyone who knows me well enough can't deny the fact that God has done such a huge work in my life to which I can't help but dance,sing,smile,laugh, and praise Him for all that He has done,is doing, and will do in my life! I will admit though, a lot of times I'm more expressive and out there in worship depending on my surroundings. Who I'm worshiping next to, what songs we are singing, who's leading worship, and so on. God has really placed on my heart this past week to worship Him for Who He is. I'm realizing more and more how God calls me to worship Him anywhere and everywhere, anytime and all the time. No matter if it's in a traditional church setting, in my car driving, playing drums and practicing as a percussion major, being a leader at an event, teaching kids music, performing in front of a large crowd, speaking about what He has done in my life, or in a church with no roof in the middle of worship should never be contained and held back.

         As I was growing up in my youth group a good friend of mine always talked of her "secret place." A sweet escape where you can go to while worshiping Jesus. A place where you can be fully focused on Him in all His wonder and majesty. A place full of beauty and an intimate time with God. A place of no distractions. When I  thought of what that would be like for me, these images popped up in my mind instantly

Being barefoot on Lake Malawi in Africa watching the sun rise early in the morning...

             having the crystal clear water wash my feet clean while being on the other side of the world
Looking at Huge Buddhist temples and being discouraged while looking to my left and seeing God's creations in all it's Beauty

My view while on the tip top of a mountain in SouthEast Asia
Is it just me, or does that frozen water look like a tree? This is what I saw from the plane on the way to Asia. Breathtaking is an understatement.

one of the greatest times of worship I've ever experienced with God. My iPod, some David Crowder, my little pink highlighted bible, and His creation made known to me. Best Father daughter date EVER!

             At least for me, when I look through these pictures and remember such amazing times of my life...I think to myself  "How could I not worship God with Everything that I am!?" But I honestly can't tell you how many times my heart wants to grow apathetic and forget just how Great and Amazing my God truly is.......also the gazillion times I forget that worship is a daily thing. It's not just when you're standing in the church pews or attending an event where there is music played, it's also through your every day actions which are a reflection of your heart.

I'm so thankful for these breath taking experiences in my life. When I'm in a service where the music isn't what you'd typically see on my iPhone or the style is not my favorite, I have to stop, close my eyes, and allow myself to go to a place where it's just me and God. Where He comforts me and shows me His love for me.  Where I can express how I feel towards my Savior, Provider, Protector, Healer, Redeemer, Friend, and  the best Dad I could ever ask for. Oh my....How He sure does Love me unconditionally and selflessly! A lot of times I have different images in my head while closing my eyes to worship. Sometimes I see flashbacks of some major struggles in my life. I vividly see the scene played out where I'd be outside in the late hours of the night crying out and pleading to be rescued. Along with that I typically see several verses written throughout the book of Psalms which were highlighted during those times in the desert. Other times I'll picture one of the images I just shared. I remember it as if it were just yesterday and can feel God's embrace and become extremely humbled by His Sovereignty. Many times I go sit on the dock of the bayou on my college's campus, read my bible, listen to music, and talk with Jesus. This has always been a beautiful view and something you never get out of your head. Then there is one of my all time favorite places. When I can't be there physically to worship God, I can always use my photographic memory to feel as if I'm there. I see an empty stage,practice room, or even band room. These places have always been a safe Haven for me. A place where I feel invisible and confident as if nothing bad could ever harm me. I feel such a freedom and energy. These are the places where many dreams have been formed and continue to build up. These are these places I have already seen many dreams and goals come true. There's something about an empty stage that has always intrigued me. In the stillness and quiet, God's ways are made known to me and I hear Him speak through the silence. It's hard to even describe how awesome this feeling is that I get but needless to say it is one of the things that make me zealous for the things of the Lord! I love to spend time with Him in these places even if it's when I'm practicing or playing music simply for the joy it brings me.

  I'm writing all of this to say that certain songs will get you more pumped up than others. Certain styles and genres may intrigue your ears more than most. Regardless of how you feel you can worship Him, don't hold back. Find a secret place. Run to Him and allow Him to hold you with a sweet embrace. Let Him wash your feet and cleanse you.  Have Him wrap you in His Arms and not let go. Let Him consume you from the inside out. Cry out to Him and ask for a pure heart daily. He's waiting for you to draw near to Him, 
He will draw near to you.

There is a God who loves me
Who wraps me in His arms
And that is the place where I'm changed
And that's where I belong

Take me to that place, Lord
To that secret place where
I can be with You
You can make me like You
Wrap me in Your arms