"All that is gold does not glitter, not all those who wander are lost; the old that is strong does not wither, deep roots are not reached by the frost. From the ashes a fire shall be woken, a light from the shadows shall spring; renewed shall be the blade that was broken, the crownless again shall be king. "

- J.R.R. Tolkien
"Every good thing comes from above..."

I have a fear that I will not be good enough for the things God has given me. Getting vulnerable right off the bat. But, that is a fear I have lived with my whole life. A fear that drives my motives, that consumes my thoughts, and keeps me from joy.

Also, before we go on. Just so people don't think I'm teaching false theology. I realize we are not good enough for anything. We're not "good". So, true. I am not good enough for anything God gives me. But, that don't matter cause Jesus died for my sins. So whether I am good enough is beyond the point. It's all about Jesus. K.

Growing up I feared I wasn't good enough for my family. I fear I'm not good enough to be a theatre major. I fear I won't be good enough to get married. I am constantly wondering: Am I good enough? How can I be good enough? How can I be what people want? What do I need to do?

Because of this fear I hold really tightly to the things God gives me. I'll give you an example. When I became a lifegroup leader, almost exactly at the same time one of the leaders in my section was asked to step down from leadership because of some issues he was having and things that had happened. I was new to leading and all the sudden I was thrown into this hard situation. I don't know if that was a cause, but most of the year I felt like at any minute I could also be asked to step down. Which, that's always a possibility. But, it was like literally a huge fear of mine. I gripped really tightly to my role as a leader. I didn't want to see it go. I was convinced that my co leaders believed they made a mistake in raising me up. I had all these insecurities and fears rise up. And I constantly was checking myself making sure I was doing everything that needed to be done. Not out of a sense of obedience, but more to be in control of my "safety." And you know what? I believe I missed out on a lot of things God was doing in our lifegroup and in my community in general. I didn't get the full joy from walking with people and most of my year in that regards kinda fell short of what most people experienced.

That is just one example of almost every area of my life. I realized I think majorly this year that I have this fear or problem or whatever it is. That my joy was stolen from everything I did and everyone I knew because in the back of my mind I was so scared of it being gone. So I did everything in my strength to keep my fingers pried to whatever it was I wanted to keep. My roommates, my major, leading, etc.

And then, just like every revelation I get, God simply spoke to me in a soft voice. I wasn't on the floor crying and so overwhelmed by his presence. I was in a room with many people talking about something completely different. But, my insecurities were brought up in my mind. And God reminded me and showed me that he gives me good gifts. And that's what they are. They are gifts. I did nothing to deserve them and really can't do much to deserve to keep them. But, God gave them to me. Because he loves me and he is a good father. And because he has a plan. So I am free to let go of them. I am free to not hold on tightly. And when I let go I am filled with joy because I know it's not mine to keep so I simply just enjoy his gifts. I enjoy jobs, positions I've been given, and the people in my life. There are things that God will choose to take from me. But, when I remember and reflect on his goodness, I know that he will always be just that to me- good. So, even if tomorrow I am no longer a lifegroup leader. That's okay. God is good. He has a plan. If something happened where I lost my family or my dear friends (not necessarily they die... but that could be it too)... that's okay. God is good. And I am thankful. Remaining thankful is so powerful. It's simple but really powerful. Because nothing is mine. So I thank God that I had this day. Thank you for all the cherries you give me on top of my already delicious icecream. But, again, I don't have to worry or fear or even necessarily expect these things to be taken from me. Because God gave them to me. God gave me an absolute amazing, wonderful, beautiful family. I am SO beyond blessed and consider myself lucky to be in the family I am in. I didn't deserve this family or earn it. God gave them to me. And he's not gonna just take it away if I mess up. So I am free to live life open-handed and with joy. When I am not so concerned with holding on to everything I want, but stay thankful for the gifts I have: I am joyful. I enjoy life more. I have better memories and more fun experiences. When I am stingy and fearful and control my life: I am not joyful. And life gets a little rougher.

God has been good to me in leaps and bounds. Because he can. Because he loves me. He gives me things and says they are mine. And because of that I am free to live under the grace of God and I am able to have a more complete joy and peace from the Lord.

The Way, The Truth and the Life.

It's the end of the (school) year and with the end of the year comes reflection on the past 9 months or whatever it is and what I've learned and what I've gone through. I honestly don't really know what I've learned. I don't really know "what I've gone through." It was a good year. It was a challenging year. It was not fun at times. It was super fun at other times. I made so many new friends. I lost touch with others. I had crazy late night adventures, I explored the city of Waco more, I took fun classes, I became an aunt. So many exciting things this year. At this point, that's as insightful as I am into this year. I'm still a mess I feel at most times. But, God has been faithful. God has been good. He's seen me through a lot of things. Thank you God for sticking with me through all the stupid things I do. Thank you for sticking with me when I just want to wallow in self-pity. Thank you for sticking with me when I don't want to let go of so many things. You're a good God.

The point of this blog though is to talk about some little insight I will try to have for you. Something I've discovered even more deeply this year is that everyone is on a journey. Everyone is a human being created by God unique and specific. Everyone is trying to discern, discover, and figure who God really is and who we are. (Well, Christians at least). We're gonna get things wrong. We're gonna get things right. Like, most people have the "do not murder" thing down. They see that as wrong. They stray from doing it. Good job. But, there are some things that are harder to understand. For instance: God does not give much insight to how we should live in a democratic society. He doesn't mention in the Bible about electoral college and candidates and platforms. So, sometimes that's a tricky thing to decipher. And I have learned that... people are gonna think different things. We're all probably gonna be wrong in some way. But, I want to be someone that is okay with being wrong. I want to be someone who is always learning. I want to be able to let go of some idea I feel is truth and go deeper into the heart of God for people and for this world. The way I do christianity is not the end all, be all. Before I go on, there is a wrong way. God has boundary lines and he has a narrow road. We have to follow Jesus to get to God. So I'm not saying do what you want, believe what you want. I'm just saying for the grey areas, the hard areas, the areas that affect so many people... I want to be sensitive, I want to love and I want to hear from them. But, also. I want to be apart of the conversation. I don't want to just sit back and accept what everyone says as truth. I want to seek truth for myself and share what I find. I want to learn from discussions. From conversations where we come to truth in some way. And I want to have peace about what I believe God has called me to.

Above all, I want to always go back to the Bible. I never want to question it or claim it doesn't have the value in my life that it does. I want to always give it the authority it deserves. I want to process all my thoughts about life with God and filter them through the Bible. I want to learn from Jesus and not just people. People will be wrong sometimes. I will be wrong a lot of the times. Jesus will never be wrong. I want people to see me as someone who is trying to understand how to follow Jesus more and more and so even if I do things that they don't necessarily do or don't do things they do, they know that I respect them. I love them. And that they respect and love me too. I want them to see me as someone willing to listen to them. Willing to understand where they come from. And not just saying my views at them. But, talking with them. Walking with them.

I want to keep things simple. Love God with all my heart and soul and mind. Love my neighbor as myself. And love those who don't know Jesus by showing them Jesus' love.

Also, I am so excited for this summer. And Happy Mother's Day.