The Ways God Speaks

I’ve been stressed out about the grades I made on my finals, and what I’d end up with in my classes. All week I’ve just been sitting and refreshing the grade thingy in my school’s system. All my grades were in by this morning, except for one–the one class I thought I might have possibly failed.

It’s really unsettling to feel like maybe you failed a class because of your final. I mean! I had a comfortable B rolling into that test, but when I left, I just knew I had bombed it. I’ve carried that feeling with me for over a week now. It was eating away at me.

And then today, when I was sitting in my room, reading a book and drinking coffee, God sent me a little message. There was a bird, sitting on my window. And I don’t mean a ledge outside my window. The bird was on the tiny ledge between the two panes of glass that make up a window. It was literally pressing itself into the glass to sit there. And maybe this wouldn’t be wild if that was the only place to sit, but there’s a tree right outside my window. So close it scratches the glass during storms, and if I open the window, some of the branch reaches into my room.

And for some reason, I just felt calm. Like God sent that little bird to press itself against the window to reassure me, “Hey, I know you’re really worried about this, but you don’t need to be. I’ve got this, and even if you fail, it’s not the end of the world. I still love you kid.” I just knew.

I knew this because birds are a big thing in my life. One of my best friends calls me little bird. When I moved back to Georgia, she gave me a string of lights with little wire birds on them and told me to Shine bright, little bird. Birds have become a comfort item to me. My next journal has a bird on the cover.

I love God. I do. I love Him for so many reasons, for saving me, for loving me despite the fact that I am a certified dumpster fire, for forgiving me over and over. I love Him because He pursued me even when I ran away, I love Him for showing me what He is capable of, and what I am capable of when I trust Him and let Him work through me. But mostly, I love Him because He speaks to me in a way that He knows I will understand. When I was stressed this week, He didn’t make a verse of scripture pop into my head. He didn’t send a text or a person this way that would say just the right words. He sent me my bird, pressing itself into me and into my life, to let me know that He’s here, pressing into me and pressing into my life.

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Sticky Note Gospel

Last week was rough. Actually, this entire semester has been rough. I’m in a bunch of weed-out courses. When I was scheduling last semester, my adviser wouldn’t let me take any more than my 16 hours because, as she said, “this is a bad schedule, but it’s the best you can do.”

So it’s hard. I feel like crying a lot because of stress. My grades are good considering the classes I’m in (I have all A’s and B’s), but they’re hard to maintain, and some of them still aren’t really where I want them to be to have final cushioning.

On top of all of that, I’m working 7 hours a week with one of the most inconsiderate, rudest teachers I’ve ever met. She tells kids she hates them, that she hates working at their school. She teaches me basic algebra and just points at me and then the kid I’m supposed to help. Doing that twice a week just kind of gets to you.

But, on my way to differential equations last week (definitely one of my hardest classes), while I was walking up the stairs, I saw something bright orange in the window in the stairwell. It was such a weird place for anything to be that I stopped to look at it. I honestly almost broke down in tears right there. I saw a little sticky note, with some messy scrawl on it in a verse I had never read before in Isaiah.

“When you pass through waters, I will be with you. When you walk through fire, you will not be burned, nor will the flame burn you. For I am The Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.”

Isaiah 43:2

You know those moments where you’re just so down you don’t know what to do? I had been in one of those. And an unassuming little sticky note in an odd place was the thing that pulled me back up.

This semester is like my fire. It’s one of the many things I’m gonna face on my way to being an engineer. But when I walk through this fire, I’m not alone. No, I don’t have to take on so much school and work stress on my own. God isn’t only watching me walk through, He’s walking through them with me. He’s fighting these battles for me!

And yeah, I knew all of this before I saw the sticky note. But I realized when I saw it that that wasn’t how I had been living my life. I had been trying to do it all on my own, and I’ll never be able to do that. When things get hard, I need to run to Jesus. Cling to the cross.

I don’t have all the answers to life. I also don’t know how to take the Laplace Transform of sin(wt). (Okay, maybe that one I know, because it’s in my chart.) But I don’t need answers. I just need to remember the Guy who has them has my back, if I’ll ask Him.

Talent. And Also I Can’t Feel My Knee

I have a fake yeti cup. It works just as well and it was only $10. If you’ve never seen one, they have an awesome lid with a hole just big enough for a straw.

Today I spilled roughly a fourth of my coffee (>7 ounces) on my shirt and my sleeve from that teeny tiny hole while I was just walking, not even trying to drink. Talk about some talent, y’all.

So that’s how Monday started. And now, five flights of stairs later, I can’t feel my knee. I had surgery six years ago and now, like a true teenage grandma, I have mild arthritis. Except it doesn’t hurt right now. No. I just can’t feel that part of my body.

Also I missed a week of writing.

If you’re wondering what point I could possibly be making, it’s that I’m clearly a mess. It doesn’t take a genius to figure that out. But last night at Life Group (I help lead the student ministry at church, and I lead the girl’s life group), my heart was overflowing. In prayer, the girls were thanking God for me and my co-leader being positive examples and coming in to work with them week in and week out. I cried like a baby. These girls reminded me that it doesn’t matter how messy I am. God uses us all, despite the mess. God actually uses the mess to His advantage!

I don’t know what mess you’re in. I don’t know where you are in life. But hang on, friend, because you and your mess serve a purpose. How awesome is that.

Brown Thing

This is the story of brown thing. Brown thing is my mom’s favorite blanket, a quilt made my my great-grandmother and her sisters.

My granny told us not to use brown thing, that it was for decoration only. Obviously we didn’t listen, and just like she told us it would, brown thing ripped and tore, and I’m now in the long process of patching up brown thing with old t-shirts and my poor sewing skills.

And isn’t that kind of how our relationship with God works? We take His sweet grace and we rip it, and ourselves, to shreds. We have holes so big they could be jumped through, because we fall into sin’s trap. We think our grace is too speckled to possibly cover us, that there’s no way God could love, let alone save, us now. We’ve certainly just messed up all of our chances.

Praise the Lord that He doesn’t think the same way our broken little minds do.

God takes us, full of holes, ripped into pieces with all the stuffing falling out, and He so lovingly and gloriously stitches us back up to be as good as new, all because of the sweet grace Jesus provided on the cross. There’s no mismatched fabric or uneven stitching when He’s through with us. We will never run through His grace because He is always so patiently waiting to fix it.

He’s patiently waiting to fix us.

All we have to do is ask. And that’s the best news of all. When we’ve stretched ourselves too thin, when we’re at the end of ourselves, God is calling to us to just let Him fix us.

So, friend, will you?

God Is My Only Football

Now that I’ve got your attention.

Today I was reading through my Bible, looking at notes trying to find a verse that a book I was reading had called to mind. Skimming through my notes, I found one tucked away, written just as pristine as all the others.

“God is my only football.”

The verse I had been noting was talking about a lack of footholds, and I was trying to express that God is the only steady foothold. Somewhere between my head and my pen, my intentions had gotten a little messed up and I wrote down football instead. And I got to thinking, how often does that happen? How often do I start off with good intentions, but I mess up and make a mistake? How often do I start off with bad or mediocre intentions, starting off with a mistake?

The answer is a lot. My little heart is a mess, and my English skills aren’t much better when I’m speaking. It’s all too easy for me to trip myself up. But God, He still uses my mess for His glory. It doesn’t matter how I mess up or what I mess up, He’s gonna bless it and He’s gonna use it for His plan. I might get embarrassed, I might slow down the process, but He’s gonna make it all okay in the end, loving me all the while.

And how awesome is that? God uses me, and you, inherently human, for His divine plan. He knows we’re going to mess up, but He still uses us. Our God is perfect but requires no perfection from us. So how about it? Are you gonna let God be your only football too?

Life Dump | Feeling Unworthy

Today I feel sad. I feel sad because my best friend from high school dropped me out of her life like I was nothing over a disagreement.

Today I feel hurt. Other friends of mine from high school would appear to not be talking to me. (Admittedly, this is just my perspective, and admittedly, I didn’t expect to be welcomed back in the same way, but did a quick hi ever hurt anyone?).

Today I feel lonely. I have lunch plans with my mom. This will be the first time I’ve eaten lunch with someone since school started, and I love my mother, but doesn’t it just kind of stink when she’s the only person willing to make plans with you?

Today I feel longing. I want to be back in Louisiana. I crave it. I want to be with my friends, my adopted family. Here is good, but it will never be there.

Today I feel like crying. I didn’t get the job I needed to pay for my gas and textbooks.

Today I feel appreciated. My little sister got me Waffle House as a thank you for taking her to school and getting her breakfast in the mornings.

Today the bad outweighs the good. And I can’t help but wonder. Is all of this happening to me because of who I am? Did my friends leave me, did I have to move back, did I not get the job just because I am me and I will never be good enough? My sister thanked me, but taking her to school is something I enjoy doing, certainly not a chore.

And perhaps today my biggest struggle is fighting off those very feelings of unworthiness. My identity is not in me, but in Christ. Those feelings of just not being good enough, not being worthy, those aren’t me. Christ cleaned me up, made me good enough, made me worthy, when His blood washed over me. Not because of anything I will ever be able to do, or say. But because I accepted Him. And in His eyes, the only eyes that matter, I am loved. I am accepted. I always have open arms to run to when I need a hug. I have reassurance that His plan is better even if I’m in a rough patch at the moment. I am always appreciated.

Today I feel a lot of swirling emotions. But every day I am God’s child, and every day I never have to worry about who I am or my worth. In God’s eyes, I’m worth gold.

“I Could See You…”

This week I stopped by the church office to talk to my pastor. I’ve been a member of the church for about two weeks now, I’m still getting used to being at home, and I had a question for him.

“Can I start a college life group or a college ministry?”

This is not something many nineteen year olds would ask, I was told. Also this isn’t something you really ask after two weeks of membership.

But my pastor, he got excited!

“I can tell you’ll do great because you’re so excited about it. Normally we have to beg people.”

We continued talking for about half an hour and were on a different subject than my original question, though, when he paused.

“Do you like kids? I could see you loving on and working with a group of middle school girls.”

I felt like Beyoncé, just like hold up. What. This isn’t what we were talking about, and the thought had never, not once, entered my mind.

But let me tell you, I’ve spent the week praying about it and just asking God “Is this really your plan? For me to actually be in charge of middle schoolers? Emotionally I’m still a middle schooler myself I can’t do that.” And you wanna know what God said?

“Cameron, you could do that.”

My friends, my family, everyone is saying “You could do that.”

Now, this is exactly how God works and what He does. I’ve spoken to Pastor Craig for about an hour total in my life. He doesn’t know much about me. But he said “I could see you doing that” after just half an hour. He showed me exactly what God has probably been trying to show me all along in a surprising way. Those few little words have ignited something in my heart, have made me passionate about helping out some middle schoolers. I love kids! Why didn’t I think about this before?

Now friends, I don’t know where you are in life. I don’t know what you’re struggling with, or maybe if you’re fighting God because you just think what He’s saying is so crazy. But I do know, if He wants you to do it, you can do it. Just ask anyone around you and they’ll probably say “I could see you doing that.”