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Follower of Jesus Christ. Lover of people. Lover of animals. High Point University graduate. Appalachian State graduate. High school English teacher. AXΩ.

This Gave Me Chills.

Oh my gosh, Facebook's "On This Day" has been so good for me lately...  Today I saw a post I created in 2009 that utterly shocked me. I was embarrassed that I ever posted it (this is why I said looking back on these is painful sometimes lol). It was an incredibly sad, almost faithless post. Brooke, one of my best friends commented on it and told me that one day I would look back on it and know everything was worth it. Today, seven years later, I got goosebumps reading her comment. I was, in fact, looking back, and although wincing at the post, smiling because I'm so grateful to be out of that.
I immediately sent the post in a message to Brooke and we talked about how good God is. She reminded me that I was upset at the time about not transferring to Appalachian from HPU (among other things), and how it had all eventually worked out perfectly...

I scrolled back up through "On This Day" and realized I had written a post four years later - in 2013 - after a Wednesday night church service in Boone, when I was finally at Appalachian, but for graduate school.

This post was almost an ANSWER to the one from 2009, without me even realizing it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I got goosebumps again, for this post was from another very trying time. My uncle had been diagnosed with cancer and wasn't doing well, I was going through confusion and heartbreak again... But this time my attitude was so different. The contrasts between the to posts are crazy. I just wanted to cry and thank God, right here at work for what He did in my life in those four years and now the three years since. Life isn't perfect by any means. I still struggle, but the closer I've become to the Lord, the lighter the load is. Jesus said, "Come to me, all who are weary, for my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

It's so interesting to me to see the irony (I'm teaching irony right now in my English classes) that these two posts were on the same day, years apart, and how the Lord had blessed me with the desires of my heart (living in Boone), and how I still had problems, but the difference was, my heart had changed. That reminds me of the quote, "If God doesn't change your situation, maybe He's trying to change your heart." He didn't change my situation right away. I stayed at HPU, served God where I was, trusted that He had me there for a reason, saw how it all worked out for the best, and my heart changed. Then I was ready for Boone, and He knew I would need that change of heart for the things I would deal with during my time in Boone.

Thank you, Jesus, that all things work together for my good.

Thank you, Lord, that You constantly remind me of how much I've grown.

Thank you, Lord, that  You are still working in me and nowhere near finished with me yet.

Now, the posts - you don't have to read them all the way through to see the differences. Just skim over them and you can see how my heart had changed from the first to the next.

Beth Burroughs
October 3, 2009 at 7:15pm

Nothing's fun anymore.

I miss middle school and getting excited about the little things. Especially now, cause it's officially my favorite time of year. But I can't enjoy it because:
a) I'm in college and I have to work extra hard to bring up the GPA that I didn't care about for two years.
b) When I actually have a chance to do fun things, I'm too tired from work and school, so I just end up laying down and falling asleep.

Then I start to think about what's wrong with my life and wonder why I can't have what everyone else has... 

...and why I put so much into someone who cares one day and doesn't care the next.

And then I get mad that I spend too much time thinking and not enough time "doing."

I've been bitter about being "stuck" in High Point, but I never stopped to think, "Hey, I've tried to leave this place, but something is keeping me here. Maybe God is trying to tell me something."

I look at my sister and miss being so young and naive and not having a care in the world. But then my heart aches for her and I hope she never has to go through the heartache that I'm experiencing right now. It's not fair, but it's happening for a reason, and I'm getting stronger because of it.

I've been blessed with so much, and I thank God daily. Why can't I get past this? I understand trials and how I'm facing challenges because of my faith. But every now and then, it would be nice to get a break from the trials. It would be nice for someone to accept me the way I am. 

So instead of all the fun things I had planned for today, I'm sitting here on facebook, feeling sorry for myself. I shouldn't always write depressing notes. I should write notes on good days, when I'm happy. Why don't I?

Brooke Culbertson One day you will be looking back at all this and everything you have gone through will be worth what you have right at that moment..I just know it!

You feel like a candle in a hurricane

Just like a picture with a broken frame
Alone and helpless
Like you've lost your fight
But you'll be alright, you'll be alright

Thursday, October 3, 2013

All This Time I Was Finding Myself, and I Didn't Know I Was Lost.

"Feeling my way through the darkness,
Guided by a beating heart
I can't tell where the journey will end, but I know where to start...
Life will pass me by if I don't open up my eyes."
I honestly meant to go to bed early.
But I'm not tired and I thought about this song and I'm in a writing mood, and I've been meaning to write this post.
If I've learned one thing, it's that you should NEVER go to bed when you're in a writing mood.
So here it is.
I started going to a group on campus called "New Life."
It's a fellowship group.
Last Wednesday at New Life, I heard one of the best messages I've ever heard.
I sat and listened, feverishly taking notes on my phone, my fingers flying over the screen as fast as they could.
The speaker asked this question:
"Why am I in the wilderness one day and the mountaintop another day?"

Well, because in the wilderness, God can work in us.
Sometimes we need to be in the wilderness for God to do His work.
In life, things may seem out of order to us. I constantly find myself saying, "This is a fiasco" or "This is a cluster."
But really, people, if it's a mess, it's a beautiful mess, and whether we want to believe it or not,
things are just the way they are supposed to be.
"God is a God of order"
is what the speaker kept saying.
(God knows what He's doing, people!!!)
He also talked about how our world has taught us to expect instant gratification, and to want to do things on our own time (usually instantly).
But think about this:
The children of Israel wandered through the wilderness for FORTY YEARS.
Forty years. For forty years they were promised something that they had to be patient for and live by faith in the fact that it would happen.
God had his own timing, and it was His perfect timing.
Y'all. When he started talking about God bringing the Israelites out of Egypt, I got so excited.
((That is one of my very favorite parts of the Bible, and I'm still not done with my "Exodus, Part 2" blog, but it's coming!))
Can you imagine waiting for something for forty years? We can't seem to wait for something for forty minutes without complaining anymore.
There are things in my life that I've prayed about for two or three years and gotten so frustrated I wanted to just give up.
But we can't.
Another profound statement that the speaker made:
"We as Christians worry a lot about the destination and don't think about the winding roads and valleys we have to go through to get there."
So to spin off of that, here's what I think:
We have in mind what we want.
We pray about it.
We expect to get it.
But what we sometimes don't stop to think about is the fact that it might not come as easily as we'd like. In fact, we might have to go through a WHOLE lot before we are blessed by the outcome.
Just as diamonds are made wonderful by high pressure and temperatures, so are we. 
We all go through some really rough stuff at points in our lives. I know I sure have. But I always remember that quote (from somewhere) - "There's beauty in the breakdown."
When we are vulnerable,
when we are down to nothing,
when we are in the wilderness,
when we are broken,
That is when God is molding us, shaping us, making us into what He wants us to be.
Putting us where HE wants us.
The valleys can be so beautiful. The wilderness is sometimes where we need to be to GROW!!!
The speaker said,
"The journey is only revealed in retrospect.  Only then can you know why you went through what you did and honestly thank God."
After he said that, I thought back to some of the lowest points in my life.
Sure, they were terrible at the time, but looking back, they seem so sweet and so beautiful because I know that God used those times to make me into what I am now.
And He's not done by any means.
I love growing, learning, and gaining wisdom and strength.
I love being able to thank God for the hard times.
"God can take every mistake we make and use it as part of our journey/testimony."
He talked about Ephesians 2:10.
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
His workmanship.
We don't have to worry about tomorrow.
"God has orchestrated our journey and EXPECTS us to focus on the NOW."
He said, "In this world you will have trouble.  But fear not, for I have overcome the world."
(John 16:33)
Matthew 11:28-30:
Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
The guy said it's important to understand that "light" doesn't mean easy; it means that there is someone much bigger than you carrying the bulk of your load.
God told Abraham his descendants would outnumber the stars.  He planted that seed.
It took Abraham years and years to get to that point, but with each step his faith developed.
"Don't despise the process. GOD IS DOING SOMETHING.
God is testing your heart. Through the process your heart is purified."
The process of life may seem difficult, but don't hate the difficult times. 
When we are in the valleys, God is working.
You may thing you are as low as you can go; find peace and joy in that.
In fact, be excited about it.
It probably means that God is working in you in such a mighty way that you might be astounded at what comes next.
Whatever situation you're in, honor God with it.
PRAY about it.
The world teaches us to be self-serving and impatient, but I promise that if you trust God and remain patient in prayer, you will be blessed beyond measure.
And look back one day and be able to smile at the struggles.
He didn't promise that it would be easy.
He promised it would be worth it.


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