Thursday, April 29, 2010

Where is Your Faith?

Faith... the dictionary defines it as "belief that is not based on proof..." or "confidence or trust in a person or thing..." and the list goes on.

...but here is what the Bible says about faith...

"Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see."
~ Hebrews 11:1

And as of this week, this is how I feel about it all... "ARGH!!"... it's scientific really, too scientific to explain beyond my pirate definition : )

In all honesty, I think what it boils down to is God just tapping me on the shoulder and asking, "Where is your faith, Cristyn?" And he's right to ask, my faith seems to have gotten lost amongst the piles of papers I have hiding in my closet (trust me on that one, something you don't actually want to see). I have a number of excuses in my back pocket... "I'm stressed out," "I'm exhausted," "I've been spending my whole life prepping for my graduate departmental exam,"... blah, blah, blah. I often wonder if we sound like the teacher from the 'Peanuts' cartoon to God when we talk. I know he hears all that we say, but when it comes to us making excuses I truly wonder what he hears. I've gotta believe that as he loves us unconditionally, he probably just shrugs his shoulders in these situations and says to himself "give 'em time, just give 'em time, they'll come around."

I don't know about anyone else, but it defeating and humiliating to admit when I'm wrong. I've only recently come to realize this through some intensive recovery time and soul searching. I passionately dislike admitting when I'm wrong and there are plenty of times when I'm wrong. And recently as it pertains to my relationship with the Lord, I've been W-R-O-N-G!! Praise God for grace, mercy, and patience. These last few days I've completely allowed myself to be distracted by the enemy. The still, small voice I've allowed into my head is not that of my Heavenly Father, but rather that of the enemy that is trying to convince me that I won't be a good counselor, my only shot at love ran the other way (screaming), the only babies I'll ever know as my own are my nieces and nephews, and someone dear to me might possibly be sick. Hence the "ARGH" response mentioned earlier. Shoot, I've had a total of 3 emotional meltdowns in 5 days... that might be some sort of record for me.

Am I stressed? Exhausted? Continuing to burn a candle at both ends that no longer has a wick on either end? Yes, but my strength does not come from me... it comes from my Father in Heaven. I've known all along this journey that this is not something I can accomplish or complete alone, so I have to know when enough is enough and surrender to the Lord. I'm finding that it usually comes days, sometimes even weeks before my breaking point. There's only so much I can do and then the rest is left to God. He only allows us to do so much and even still it's all with Him by our side. The thing of it is we have to recognize that, we have to acknowledge him and be willing to surrender and accept that He's not there to ridicule what we couldn't do, but rather to help us finish the task set before us along this path.

So, where is my faith? Just where it should be, in my Heavenly Father who has a purpose and plan in all that He does... Where is yours?

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Here With Us

"Then my soul will rejoice in the Lord and delight in his salvation"
~ Psalm 35:9

"The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take
great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will
rejoice over you with singing."
~ Zephaniah 3:17

Oh how I wish I had blogged about this the other day after it all happened. What with all I have to remember these days all my recall is reserved for my graduate studies. Hoping and believing God will meet me here and what I have to say will translate well to you dear reader.

Thursday night was a night I reserved for focusing some more on going over all the theories of counseling in order to prep for my big test. I had just finished making poster-sized "maps" explaining each theory and taping them to the walls/doors of my bedroom. After I went around the whole room taking them all in on Thursday night, I found myself collapsing on my bed wondering if I could do this... if I could master this test and in turn eventually complete my degree and step into the role of "licensed professional counselor." Such responsibility comes with three little letters... L, P, C. Before I could even get the thought or the contemplation across my mind, the Lord flooded me with songs of praise! Never in my life have I heard so clearly the Father express how proud He was of me. And the thing of it is, that's all I heard and that was more than enough for me. The floodgates opened, my soul, body, and mind was being washed clean as the tears came pouring down. My professor had warned us that we'd hit a psychological wall about this period in the studying process, but this was no longer about whether or not I know this stuff, but rather it was about this journey ending and the adventure that lays ahead because of all that I've pressed into up to this point.

Do you know how amazing it is to hear the Father say he's proud of you? I hear my parents say it often and I especially love it when it comes in the context of them introducing me to someone, but there is just something so comforting and reassuring when it comes from the Heavenly Father, the one who breathed life into me, the one who created me out of His own image. Never once on this journey have I found myself questioning what God was doing, I would question what I was thinking, but always, always, had the peace of God knowing what He was doing. My prayer in December 2007/January 2008 was consistently this:

"Father, if at any point in time this is not what you have for me. If counseling is not the calling you have on my life or the path you have set before me, I will quit wherever I'm at and be okay with that. I want to be in complete obedience of what you have for my life."

Ladies and gentlemen... our God is a great God! He never led me astray, he never sent mixed signals, and when I was weary or tired, He gave me rest, carried my burdens and got me here. In fact He continues to carry me through and I trust that He'll do the same for you in whatever you need. I've seen a promised fulfilled and maybe this is a small dose of what I needed in order to believe that He'll do the same in other areas of my life.

I don't know what is next when all this ends in November, but I trust that God's got a plan and that He won't disappoint. He loves me with a big love, He is teaching me to do the same, and in turn I hope to teach others. Who would have thought that this crazy, fun-loving, dancing, singing, daydream believing woman of God would end up here? I didn't, but I wouldn't have it any other way!

Praying and believing for your God moments as well, that more often than not you'll have time where you feel His presence, hear how proud He is of you, and hear His songs of praise over you!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


"For You and You alone,
Awake my soul, awake my soul and sing
For the world You love
Your will be done, let Your will be done in me"*

I can't believe it is only a few weeks until my big departmental exam for school, man what a journey. I won't be quite done yet, but all the reading, studying, preparing for mid-terms & finals aspect of it will be. This is a journey that has brought its fair share of blood, sweat, and more than an ocean full of tears. I've been reflecting on the process and I can still remember the day I sat on the floor of my room in a house I shared with two of my friends and filled out my application to Amberton... little did I know the door I was about to open and even still I didn't fully step into it until nearly 3 years later. I've loved every minute of it, okay so maybe not every minute, but I do know for a fact that if I had it all to do over again I would.

In the last 24 hours God has revealed big things to me that ties into this journey I've walked. I had a moment over 2 years ago where I nearly froze and gave up. But then I was gently reminded of my capabilities and dream that God laid on my heart and I pressed through. When I say that this has been more than just obtaining a masters degree, I mean that it is WAY more. I never could have imagined what it would take to get to where I am today and I'm so grateful. These last 2 years (2.5 by the time I graduate) I've learned more about patience, love, gratitude, freedom, free-will, sacrifice, and pressing through. I have a fearful joy before me. Fearful in that I know when I walk through that door after graduation life is going to change in a big way and ready or not I have no way to go but forward. Joy in that I've finally finished... I mean this is really a big deal, one that I'm not sure I'll ever find the words for, but pray so daily.

I've seen what God can do with a life, what He has done with mine. For instance, I have an interview scheduled with a mental health facility for teens and children tomorrow for my student internship. The reason this is a big deal is that the last time I stepped into a facility of this kind I was the patient, now I'll be the "counselor." It almost seems a little surreal, but I know it was all a part of God's plan for me. Most often counselors and clinicians don't know the other side of the equation... I consider myself lucky to eventually know both sides.

He's awakened my soul and I don't ever want to go back to sleep for if I do, I only want to awaken in His presence.

"Like the rising sun that shines
Awake my soul, awake my soul and sing
Only You can raise a life
Awake my soul, awake my soul and sing."*

* Awakening, Chris Tomlin