Trust and patience.

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Here’s me giddy to have received my diploma (cover).

This has been such a stretching season for me. The past several months have been me preparing to transition into a new season of life. I if could sum up what I have learned through this season it would be these two words: trust and patience.

It all started four months ago when I had to make a split second decision about where to live. Did I want to move to be closer to potential jobs or stay in small town Cheney and be surrounded by friends? I choose the latter but in the coming months, God would use this decision to adjust my trust from myself and my own strength to God and His mighty power. A couple months after I made my decision to stay, put down my deposit for my new place, my roommates and I found out that we were not guaranteed an apartment until September. Unfortunately for us, we had to be out of our current place by July 1st. Cue the panicked, frustrated phone calls (and moments that weren’t my best yelling at the poor woman on the other end of the phone). I prayed for guidance but just felt like God was asking me to fall further onto His strength and trust His timing. After my first major freak out over our living situation, I never once felt anxious or afraid that we wouldn’t have a place to live in over the summer. And you know what? God did provide, more than I could even have asked for and Friday marks the day we move into our new place.

While this whole apartment fiasco was transpiring, I had also just entered into my final quarter of college, student teaching in a third grade classroom. My students were awesome and so sweet but I always came home exhausted and drained from the amount of work I was putting in. My friendships began to suffer because of it. I no longer wanted to go to Bible study or weekly meetings. It was a struggle for me to say yes to showing up and connecting with friends. I remember each Tuesday, I would drive home and convince myself that I had too much work to do and that I couldn’t go to Bible study that night. But, I would always feel God’s small voice telling me that I should go, that it would be worth it and it was. I certainly felt lonely this past quarter but I knew I wasn’t alone. I think the enemy tried to convince me that I could do life on my own when in reality, I needed people in my life to grow in community with. These past months have felt like the hardest and most rewarding. I felt alone but that caused me to lean into Jesus even more. God used my loneliness to produce patience and trust in who He is and what He was doing in my life. As I think about how all I could do was press further into Jesus for strength these past months, I’m amazed at how God really was my strength.

During this time, I also felt God calling me to step out of the community of believers that I had been in the past couple of years and into a new community. This terrified me because I am super introverted with new people. I tend to put on a front and have a hard time allowing people to step into my life. I remember one night as I was crying out to God asking Him to allow me to have favor in finding a new community, I remember hearing so clearly, “Lizzie, I will bless you with community.” With only this to hold onto, I plunged into serving at my church. It was intimidating and I dreaded going the first couple of weeks because I was new, didn’t know anyone, and felt out of place. But I kept showing up and it certainly wasn’t on my own strength that I was able to walk through those doors each Wednesday. God was so merciful in allowing me to find strength in Him. I saw that community didn’t develop overnight and that it would take time but I trusted that God would provide.

Throughout this past quarter, I also started to look for jobs. At first, I had it in my brain that I would get a full-time teaching position right away and things would be great and exciting. God had different plans. I put so much effort into filling out applications, arranging for supervisors to come in and observe me, and getting the right letters of recommendation. I’ve applied to so many jobs I’ve lost count. But week after week, I got rejection after rejection. I had an interview that left me feeling inadequate for the profession that I had chosen. Each new rejection dashed my hopes of ever becoming a full-time teacher. I felt lost and unsure. I applied to become a substitute teacher, just thinking that it would be my fall-back plan, that I would surely get a full-time job. Well, it’s almost the end of June and I’m still without one. I’ve struggled over the past couple of weeks with feelings of rejections, inadequacy, and lack of trust. Throughout this whole process, I’ve prayed that God would lead me in the direction that would put me in a position to be used for His glory. More and more, I’ve been feeling like He wants me in this substituting position. This has been a hard pill to swallow because it doesn’t match up to the expectations I had for my life. I began to pray that God would give my joyfulness in being a substitute if that was where He wanted me to be. He totally has. I’ve been humbled by the place in which God has chosen for me to work in the fall but I also never imagined that I would feel excitement and joy too. Yesterday, I went and picked up my badge and I was overwhelmed with joy that God provided a job for me, even though it wasn’t what I had expected. I’ve leaned more and more into Jesus because I didn’t know what the outcome would be. I think of the verse:

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” Matthew 7:7

This couldn’t be more true and evident in my life. I’ve asked for God to change my heart about substituting and He did. What a gracious God He is!

I’ve also felt the weight of broken relationships be lifted from me. A year ago, my family went through a major upheaval. I didn’t know how to respond. In the months that followed, I wept and cried out to God to fix what was broken. I felt anger and resentment. This went on for months. I pushed my emotions down, removed myself from that life, and plunged deeper into the life that I was living in the present. But every time I entered into this relationship, I felt anger and resentment. I felt like I had lost one of the most important relationships in my life. Then one day, I got tired of feeling this way. I was done and I didn’t want to feel anger. So I asked God to take away those feelings. I didn’t happen right away like I had thought but I kept praying, kept leaning on God’s strength rather than my own. Then one day, I felt God prompting me to extend forgiveness and so I did. Something changed. Each new day after that, I asked God to allow me to live in light of that forgiveness. My heart changed. This relationship that had caused so much pain was finally starting to feel right again and I no longer felt pain and anger towards this person. I’ve found more healing in the power of forgiveness than I have before. What a sweet Father I get to serve that would take away my pain and die for me so that He could carry the weight of my brokenness.

The final thing that has allowed me to press further into trust and patience in Christ is singleness (you’re probably rolling your eyes but yes I’m going to talk about this again). My prayer over the last few months had been for God to provide in this area, whether it be through a man that I could enter into relationship with or through finding complete joy, happiness, and contentedness through Him. Each day it feels like I would pray this prayer and not feel a difference in the way I felt. I still so desire to get married and have a family; that has not gone away nor have I felt like it has diminished. This was hard for me because I’ve seen how prayer for God to change my heart has come to fruition, as mentioned above but I still felt the same day after day. In all honesty, I don’t think the desire to be out of this season of singleness has diminished but what has changed is my trust and patience. Because I feel helpless, I have given up control in this area. I cannot on my own strength have enough patience and trust that God will provide but God in His power does. The other day, when I once again prayed that God would be enough, I felt Him saying, “Lizzie, do you trust me? Be patient.” Oh friends, what a sweet thing it is to feel completely powerless but to find strength in Jesus. He is enough and has proven that to me over and over again not only throughout these past months but through my entire life.

Yes this season of transition has been hard and yes I’m still in the midst of it but God has shown me that He is greater. He wanted to teach me to rely on His strength rather than my own. I think back to several months ago when I prayed a dangerous prayer. I asked God to be my everything and I put my yes on the table, meaning that I would do whatever He asked of me, wherever He called me. What followed was this crazy hard quarter. He has taught me that I can trust Him and that He will provide what I need and that’s where the patience comes in. Things don’t always happen when we want them to but Jesus loves me so much that He would not leave me half-way finished. He will carry out all that He has begun in me.

Sweet Father, thank you for your grace, kindness, and love. Thank you for your strength and that as I lean into you, you will provide and you will walk with me through every hill and valley.

Friends, I love sharing my heart with you! Any connections, comments, or wisdom you have is appreciated. Thanks for being willing to read this blog written by someone who’s still a work in progress.

Lizzie

Memories.

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Memories are a funny thing. Some memories bring back that sweet, warm your heart feeling, while others make you want to crawl in a corner. And then there’s some memories that can make you feel both happy and sad at the same time. Over the past couple of days, I’ve been experiencing the latter. It has suddenly hit me hard that I will be graduating from college and starting real life. I’ll be leaving behind sweet memories and it’s both exciting and sad. I think I’ve been pushing aside all of these sad, mushy feelings because I’ve convinced myself that things will not be that different next year because I’m staying in the same place and my environment will look very similar to what it is now. But next year will be different. I’ll actually be a teacher instead of learning how to be one. I won’t be in the college environment, which has been such a blessing these past couple of years. In light of all these feelings coming to light, here are some things that I will miss about college.

I will miss walking through campus. I was driving by campus the other day and suddenly had the urge to walk around it. It’s so beautiful this time of year with all the flowers and trees in bloom and I will miss walking through it on my way to class, and literally stopping to smell the roses along the way.

I will miss walking from the dorms to eat terrible campus food and seeing so many different friends, stopping to talk and ask how they are. I will miss the quick trips late at night to the market to pick up junk food so that we could have a movie marathon.

I will miss living in a dorm because it meant that I was never sitting alone on a Friday night because I could open my door, and hear music and voices drifting from my next door neighbors.

I will miss going to class (yes really!) and being challenged to think deeper. I will miss those strange gaps I had during the day that allowed for conversations with friends in the student union building. I will miss getting to meet so many people each year as new freshman rolled in.

I will miss those way too hot days in September and May where the only place to cool off from the air condition-less dorms was outside. I will miss seeing the people who shaped me throughout college. I will miss laying on my dorm room floor, talking until late about God with different people I had met. I will miss being able to get up, roll out of bed, and be where I needed to be in 15 min.

There are so many more things that I will miss about college but there are also many things that I am thankful for.

I am thankful that I figured out how to be independent. My first semester away at school, I was so homesick. Somehow, I figured it out and ended up moving 5 hours away to finish up my degree. I learned how to make friends and do life on my own.

I’m thankful that I began my Gilmore Girls and Parenthood obsessions and spent time with friends while doing so.

I’m thankful for the group of wonderful women who decided enter into friendship with me. Also thankful that they liked watching The Bachelor as much as I did.

I’m thankful that God brought me to the shores of Lake Tahoe last summer, when He knew that I needed community and banished every fear and doubt I ever had about going. I’m thankful that I said yes to allowing God to use my life for His purpose.

I’m thankful that I learned Jesus is everything. No matter what. Even when you’re panicking about your major. Even when you feel like you have no friends. Even when life feels hard and hurts, Jesus heals.

I’m thankful that I did not settle for less than God’s best even when temptation seemed unbearable. I’m thankful for the people who poured into me and pointed me back to Jesus when I strayed. I’m thankful that I learned how to love myself, flaws and all.

Mostly, I’m thankful that my college years set a trajectory for my life that has made me come alive and feel freedom and wholeness. I feel more in love with Jesus than I ever have before and it’s because of all the things that I listed above.

As I move out of this season, I’m trusting that God will provide in so many different ways. A job, community, and friends. He has always provided in the past and will continue to provide for the future. Only through transitioning out of one season to the next have I been able to completely trust that God will provide for me because my own human strength has not been enough. You guys, I’ve literally felt no stress this quarter even though I have so many different things that should cause me stress. It’s because Jesus is bigger and those stressors seem so small in compared to God’s greatness. I’m so thankful that I can trust God’s promises because He who began a good work in me will indeed cary it on to completion.

ONE MORE WEEK LEFT.

Lizzie

Trusting in God’s timing.

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~Photo taken by my incredibly talented friend, Emily~

Life has been a bit overwhelming lately. I have found myself feeling more and more overwhelmed by lies that the enemy is feeding me.

I’m not good enough.

I’m not confident enough.

I don’t have enough skill.

I’m not ready.

I graduate from college in three months. It feels like I have three months to figure out the direction of my life. Three months to get a stable job to support myself. Three months to finish this little thing called college I started four years ago, as a bright-eyed, bushy-tailed freshman.

My, how times have changed.

I wish I could go back and tell that young, bright girl to enjoy the moment, to not be so afraid of what others think of you. Be confident in your heavenly Father and who He created you to be. My time in college would have been so different if I hadn’t been consumed by trying to gain the approval of my peers and focus on pursuing the plan I had for my life. But I’m also thankful for the growth that has come from these insecurities. I’m grateful that God allowed me to experience these trials and that He was always walking through each new growing experience with me. There have been times when I’ve felt distant and far from God, but I’ve never felt abandoned, I’ve never felt alone.

I also wish I could tell that young girl not to get caught in her owns plans but to live expectant of what God could do. I remember many nights where I would sit on my dorm room floor and cry because life wasn’t going the way had planned it. I would yell and scream at God for allowing things to be the way they were. I felt overwhelmed by the things that I didn’t yet have but my heart wanted so badly.

How do you reconcile the loss of your plans with the plan that God has for you?

This is the question I’ve asked myself over and over as I saw my plans become obsolete and God’s plans become greater. I saw what God had planned was so much greater than I could ever imagine, even if it meant giving up some of the ideas for my life that I held onto so tightly.

This is something I still struggle with. There are parts of my life plan that I so dearly want and have yet to see come to fruition. Many days, I feel sad and disappointed. I question God and His great plan but then I hear Him whisper,

“Lizzie, trust me. Just trust me.”

I hear those words and my hearts becomes stilled.

I stop and think, am I really trusting God? How can I trust Him more? For the most part, my heart desire has transformed from what I want in life, my plans, my hopes and dreams into a desire to serve the Lord and chase after Him.

Everyday is a new chance to trust. I’m still processing through what this looks like in my life today, with graduation just a few months away. I am far from perfect at trusting and serving with a grateful heart. I still feel overwhelmed by where the next part of my journey will take me.

I don’t feel like I’m skilled enough, good enough, or brave enough. But God sees me differently. Throughout the Bible, God uses the least likely people to be ambassadors. Moses, Zacchaeus, Rehab, the list goes on. He uses the weak to bring the Gospel to the ends of the earth so that we may not boast in ourselves, but in Christ.  In 2 Corinthians 3:4-5 it says:

4 Such confidence we have through Christ before God. 5 Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but out competence comes from God.

This is the hope that I cling to. Even when I don’t feel like I am good enough, God asks me to be willing, not perfect. So when I start to feel overwhelmed by the lies that I revert back to and believe, I remember that the God of the universe is there, and He knows what He’s doing.

Where does your confidence lie? Is it in your ability and your plan? Or is your confidence rooted in Christ and dependent on what He can do through you?

Lord, show me how I can do this in my life today, not when I’m graduated or when I have a stable job or when I’m married. Show me how I can serve and trust with all that I am today instead of waiting for tomorrow.

I hope you feel encouraged today!

Lizzie