Thursday, March 4, 2010

It's Not All For Nothing: Living a Life of Sacrifice

Alright friends, if you've been keeping track with me, I'm 61 days away from my BIG departmental exam for graduate school and just over 8 months away from graduation. In fine paranoid fashion I deleted my "days until" countdown for graduation on the off chance I have to push it back... talk about positive thinking! ; P Okay, so I poke a little fun at myself, but I think I'm entitled seeing as humor is one of the characteristics getting me through my final anxious driven days of grad school. But that's not why I'm writing, I'm actually feeling extremely positive and particularly inspirational tonight. I've decided to somehow intertwine three of the songs that have been playing repeatedly on my iTunes (and in my car) lately into this blog in hopes that it will convey what God has been up to through my graduate school studies and recovery journey.

"This is not how it should be, this is not how it could be, but this is how it is, and our God is in control. This is not where we planned to be, when we started this journey, but this is where we are, and our God is in control..."

Yes graduate school is where I intended to be right now, but the path it has taken, the journey I've traveled the last two years is not at all how I thought it would be or had even planned for that matter. I was not expecting to walk this journey alone. And before I start getting comments or emails about how God never leaves us and is always with us... I know that, that's not what (or rather whom) I'm talking about. When I started this journey I thought I had a partner, or at least I thought I would somewhere along the way. Someone that would keep spurring me on and I would be able to talk to and vent or cry with when my grades came in because it proved again and again that I could manage it all. Someone to challenge me, to hold me accountable to studying, and someone who despite how much time I was spending with my head in the books would be patient and still love me at the end of the day. God has shown me differently and through the process I've come to appreciate it so much more. I've come to see my own discipline and drive for a dream that has been on my heart for a long time. Don't get me wrong, I've had the spurts of encouragement from friends along the way, but the one constant along this journey has always been God reaffirming that I am indeed on the right path. I so appreciate Him for that and adore the story that has unfolded despite the unexpectancies of it all. I can't wait to share the testimony of it all, and I especially can't wait to see how it plays out in the future.

"This is not how it will be, when we finally will see, we'll see with our own eyes, He was always in control." ~ Steven Curtis Chapman, Our God is in Control, 2009

"Yeah I'm ready to feel now, no longer am I 'fraid of the fall down. It must be time to move on now, without the fear of how it might end." ~ Lady Antebellum, Ready to Love Again, 2009

This one has been a bit harder concept to grasp. It's all true, but I left out the last line of being ready to love again. I'm not saying I'm not ready, but I think what I am saying is that I've learned that love is very different than what I thought two years ago. God has taught me so much through life, death, grief, and forgiveness about what love truly means. So much so that I don't even think I can find words to convey it to another. I truly believe it's all a journey we must travel on our own and in our own time. I'm not saying my perspective is right or wrong, but I do know that it's not what I thought it was and I firmly believe that is from the Lord. I thought I was a very loving, compassionate, and understanding person before and the person I see now, the person I am now is light years ahead of the girl who thought she knew it all. The girl I am now knows nothing other than God loves me, He's created a purpose for my life and until that purpose is fulfilled I'm here on earth to love others as He loves me. It's rather a hard concept to grasp, but I love learning it... I guess you could say I love learning to love. I look forward to the day I can take what I've learned and put it into practice and continue to grow with another.

"Hello world, all the empty disappears, I remember why I'm here. Just surrender and believe, I fall down on my knees, So hello world, hello world, hello world." ~ Lady Antebellum, Hello World, 2009

This song is what brings all of this together. All that I've learned in the last two years since my nephew died and in the last year since I've began recovery from some life long addictions has opened my eyes to life, love, and happiness.
Almost as if I've awakened to life, to the world, again. Might it be just a momentary high? Well, yes, it might be that I've found myself atop a mountain only to find myself in a valley a week or so from now. But I've come to accept that about life. Life is peaks and valleys and all the things we learn in between. I've done hard in life, a number of times, and I get it now... it's all about letting go, about giving the control to God... where it belongs and how it should be. This doesn't mean I'm gonna walk it all out perfectly and always smile. I'm not, if I did I wouldn't be human. Life is also about feeling, walking out emotions. I foresee being angry with God again, but I also have learned to walk it out, to talk it out and not to stay stuck in that feeling. I'll feel it for as long as it takes to get through it, but I've learned enough to know that staying stuck isn't going to make it better.

I don't know what the future holds, but I sure am glad I've faced my past and am learning from it. I have some high aspirations in life, but I know they can change at the drop of a hat and learning to be open to that is probably one of the greatest concepts I've ever come to terms with. I'm praying for you friends, praying that you will learn to embrace the unexpected and have hope that even in your darkest days or in the moments where you are particuarly confused you'll trust that God has a purpose and a plan in it all. What He's doing in you and through you is not all for nothing.

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