Uncomfortable Sweet Change//Maggie

Change: “the act or instance of making or becoming different.” It is a concept that I don’t embrace very often, and sometimes (even though I know I can’t control it, I try to avoid change).Why does change make me uncomfortable? I think it’s because there isn’t a set pattern, I can’t control the change or keep it from coming, and I don’t like having unknowns. I am a J on the Myers Briggs after all. I like everything to be planned out, to have its place, and for things to happen on my timeline. These past several months have been the definition of change. I moved out of my house in Newport News, said goodbye to a lot of friends. I spent six weeks in Colorado for Cru staff training only to come back and continue traveling every weekend for a month for weddings. Then I lived at home up until 3 weeks ago to support raise (and God provided 100% in 100 days woop woop!) and now I live in an apartment in Newport News with a brand new dog…that’s a ton of change. I think I handled it well, but I also think I avoided handling it at all and I just moved on without processing all the differences in my life.

 The Lord has been slowly showing me how my life is different as single 24 year old Cru staff member and dog owner. He’s reminding me that change is good. He doesn’t say it’s not painful. But he does say it’s healthy. In John 15:1-3, the analogy of the vine and branches is used. It says “…and every branch that bears fruit, he prunes it so that it will bear more fruit”. God has shown me this in my friendships and community. I went from having a bunch of friends at CNU, to CO where I had to make new friends and then leave them, to head home where there were no friends and return to campus this week where there are a ton of people. I needed to have this season of being alone at home because God showed me how I, yet again, was depending too much on others for fulfillment. Community is so wonderful, and a huge blessing from the Lord, but it so easily became an idol for me that I needed a heart check, for that community to be removed for a short while to realize that. I love that we have four seasons (sometimes just in one week). It reminds me that change is a good healthy thing, and through that changing of seasons, we grow. If it always looked the same every day, there wouldn’t be much room for growth and movement. This process of pruning might seem unfair at first, but looking back it’s easier to grasp the reasons for it. The wonderful thing is that in all of this changing of seasons and chaos, the one constant we have in this life is Jesus.“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). Through this season of change in my life, Jesus dying for my sins is still true, Jesus loving me fully and completely is still true, my identity is still a daughter of the most high King, and through all the chaos I still live to glorify Him. None of that has changed. In seasons of change, I will cling to the one constant I have, Jesus Christ. 

A Summer Story//Colorado//Maggie

My face was glued to the window as the shuttle took me from the Denver airport to where I’d be living for the summer, Fort Collins, Colorado. A storm was brewing overhead, but there was sunshine streaming down over the Rockies out in the distance; I was in awe at the limitlessness and beauty of mountains of CO, drinking in every moment of the 90min drive to Colorado State University. I didn’t really have any idea of what to expect for the summer. I was nervous, but excited about the next 6 weeks to come. My flight was delayed so I had just enough time to drag my 60lb suitcase up into my room and jump in a random car to head to our first meeting.  That room we met in would soon be one that I spent more time in than my own bed. So many hours were spent sitting in that auditorium, learning more about God and who He is, the mission of Cru, and sometimes desperately trying not to fall asleep during class (whoops).

            Our first two weeks or so we spent taking two grad level seminary classes, diving into scripture and learning how to grow in our relationship with the Lord, and how to help others do so as well. I did enjoy taking classes, I felt like I was in college again, living in a dorm, making new friends, and having a meal plan where I could eat dessert whenever I wanted. The next three weeks we focused on support raising training. It was a good refresher to be reminded that God provides and has called us here for this purpose of ministry.  Our last 10 days were our bi-annual National Staff conference. 5,000 people showed up on CSU’s campus and we as new staff, were surrounded by people that God had called to this ministry years back and had provided for. It was sweet to be a part of that and see the bigger picture.

            This was a difficult summer, but it was also wonderful. It was a surprisingly drier summer spiritually than I thought, but the times that I had with the Lord in worship and in His word were sweet and I clung to those when I was exhausted, alone, and wanting to give up and throw in the towel. 

            I think the theme of what I learned is how God’s timing is p e r f e c t. I met a wonderful group of friends almost halfway through my time there, and at first wondered why I hadn’t met them on the first day… but God gently showed me that I wouldn’t have been in a great place for that. He needed me to be where I was in the first few weeks, depending more on Him than I would have if I had that immediate community I wanted. There were a couple times where I just sat on the floor of my room and cried to the Lord, just asking Him for community to come into my life while at CSU, and he provided some of the best people to show up shortly after one of those nights. His timing was so gracious and thoughtful. I loved getting to know people from all over, and getting to worship the Lord with them.  God is so unique and beautiful in the ways he created our stories to all weave together as the body of Christ. I still am in awe of just how the timing of everything was so intricately orchestrated by Him.

             I was not looking forward to coming back because that would mean I would be alone again, raising support, and I was terrified, it literally would bring me to tears in my last remaining days in CO because I was afraid of what was to come. But thankfully I’m not alone. He keeps showing me in little ways that He is here with me, and reminding me that just because my community is not close to me in proximity, we still can encourage and love one another during this season of raising support.  It’s still been hard being home, but the Lord has blessed me with my loving family, and friends all over the US now to encourage and grow with. He wants me to let go and trust Him with my future, and with the timing He has for the next several months. He knows what’s best. He has provided finances, community, truth, and love in His timing before and it’s been so so good. He is to be glorified in all things. One thing that I daily have to give to the Lord is control of my life. It’s a way He can show me how I can trust Him with the big things, and the little things. Every morning I get up and I have to give my day to the Lord, and a few hours later I have to do it again. It’s so easy to start listening to the lies from the enemy, but we have to keep running back to Jesus, to the Truth. He is our stronghold. He is holding us in his arms. He is in control.

            God’s timing is p e r f e c t. This next season, no matter what it is for you, is an adventure that we get to go on with Him. Rejoice in that truth. Rest in that truth. Soak in it. Praise the Lord.

“But those who wait on the Lord
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint.”
Isaiah 40:31

Capture your thoughts//Maggie

 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:5
            Something that I struggle with is focusing on one thing. My mind is going a million miles a minute and somehow everything while all jumbled up in my head, comes out making sense. The problem is, amidst the jumbled thoughts, lies sneak in and start sounding like truth. In the past several months I’ve felt overwhelmed, stressed out, and sad that I was missing community and my brother. I decided that it would be a good idea to see a counselor. For the longest time I didn’t want to go because I saw counseling as something for people who were dealing with severe depression or something along those lines. I believed I didn’t need help because I was comparing myself to others around me. In talking to some friends, I realized that most people would benefit from having someone whose job is to help you figure out how you deal with things and why you think certain things. The point of me telling you all of that is:

            1. To be vulnerable and try to change the stereotype that going to                                counseling is a negative thing,
             2. Today in the session we talked about taking thoughts captive.
           
            My counselor had me do this exercise where I gave her a thought, based on a belief I’d had, and talked about how it made me feel, what I did with those feelings, and what happened as a result. The idea was to grab the negative thought before you get to the second phase of feeling it. Being in the Word, and knowing Truth is so helpful for combating the lies that Satan has for us. He is cunning and deceitful and knows how to hurt our hearts. We have to be prepared and aware of our false thoughts so that we can catch them and throw them out. She asked me where I thought I should be in life right now and I was like…well obviously here because that’s where God has me. But thinking back to when I was in high school, I thought I’d be married or close to it by age 24, and I’m not, so I believed I’d failed, or was behind. LIES. Why did I have that belief? Was it from the Lord? No. So I looked back and realized that it wasn’t actually valid and was able to take a different perspective on it. Writing it out, it sounds kind of silly and simple. But knowing myself, it was so easy to believe those lies, and this was helpful. Maybe it’ll be helpful for you as well! We have to go back to the Truth every time friends. God created us in his image. He knows what’s best for us. There are seasons in our life that will change. Change is good because it produces growth. Jesus LOVES us so so much. Capture those thoughts in your heart today friends.

“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
 your works are wonderful,
 I know that full well.” Ps. 139:14

P.S. if anyone wants to talk about going to counseling, feel free to come talk to me about it whenever! Much love.