Sunday, September 21, 2014

my pile of "I DON'T KNOW"s

How do I begin a blog post about my life after so many days full of change since my last one? I don't know where to start to catch you all up. It's been almost a month since I last posted and God has done so very much in that short time span.

Having my heart stolen by 154 6th through 8th graders was not something I would have predicted.
Having my heart broken by a man full of good intentions and operating on God's whispers was not what I thought was coming.
Having my heart stretched to its limits by a God who somehow thinks this is the best time for me to grow exponentially was really not on my radar.
Having my faith muscle over-exercised every day to the point that it is now simply a wobbly, sore mass of Something Bigger Than Me wasn't something I would have signed up for.
Having all my seemingly perfect little plans evaporate into thin air was something I thought would never happen.

I thought my plans were His plans that I had warmly accepted. I thought my faith muscle was strong enough already and suitable for where I am in life and where I'm headed. I thought my heart had been stretched too much over the past four years and that this was finally the time that it got to adjust to its current large stretchiness. I thought being heart-broken over a boy was something I'd never experience. I thought that that multitude of stinky, snarky adolescents would never come to be a group of people I truly cared about, that they would only ever be Those Kids I Teach.

And hey, look at that. All my thoughts were wrong.
At my school, we do this thing every morning called WAR Time-- it stands for We're All Reading-- where everyone sits in silence and reads a book for 10 minutes. It's the most glorious, refreshing invention ever and I hope the rest of the world soon adopts it. Well during WARTime this week, I read a booklet called Be a Circle Maker by Mark Batterson. In it, he talks about Isaiah 55:8-9 and the fact that God's ways and thoughts are not only different from and higher than ours, they are UNFATHOMABLY different from and higher than ours. He brings up the concept of a lightyear and that it itself is pretty hard to grasp, let alone the concept of 15 BILLION lightyears-- then he goes on to say that that's how different God's ways are from ours. They are 15 billion lightyears higher and better than any human plans we could make for ourselves. And while that's a terrifying thing to think about, it's also comforting. The God who invented lightyears and keeps the universe in order thinks about me, cares about me, and listens to my prayers. He orders my steps in His Word and in His way because HE KNOWS they're that much better and He loves His children too much to let us live without them.

So while it's disconcerting and uncomfortable for me to suddenly realize that all my thoughts and plans and hopes are all being remodeled right now, it's comforting to know they will eventually resemble and reflect Him in a much better way than they ever would have if He had let me continue with my own plans.

In addition to that, I've been kinda freaking out over it lately. Crazy, right? ME, freak out? I never would. (smirk) I keep having this realization that I DON'T KNOW.
I don't know what I'm doing or where I'm going when I graduate.
I don't know if I'm ever going back to London.
I don't know what or where I want to teach.
I don't know what the rest of my semester will look like.
I don't know if I will continue loving teaching and will actually want to teach once I graduate.
I don't know what God has in store for me and Casey.
I don't know if I'm able to be friends with him and bury all my emotions about him.
I don't know if once I bury those emotions they will eventually be resurrected or they're just lay there, dead.
I don't know if I should move on from him or not.
I don't how to love my friends at MC when I never see them and feel so disconnected from their lives.
I don't know how to talk to people about hard things that may ruin friendships.
I don't know how to live at peace with literally EVERYONE.
I don't know how to live with constant peace in my soul.
I don't know what it really means to "set an example for the believers" in those 5 ways that 1 Tim. 4:12 lists (though that is my God-given discipline area for the remainder of the year).
I don't know if I should pretend I'm ok all the time or be openly broken.
I don't know how to pretend to be a young professional when I still like to wear bows in my hair and watch Sofia the First.
I don't know where the line is between pleasing my professors/higher-ups and being falsely happy/respectful/agreeable.
I don't know how to be loving towards my friends who are living in sin, while not supporting their sinful lifestyles, but also not being judgmental or holier-than-thou.
I don't know what I should know.

and a lot more.
as I've said, I'm just a big pile of "I don't know" lately.

HOWEVER.
I keep hearing God remind me that He DOES know.
A friend recently send me an excerpt from a devotional she was reading. It said:
in the middle of reading this, I burst into tears. There I was, sitting on my bedroom floor having just applied mascara for the day. And there it went, streaming down my cheeks. "I KNOW", he said. He just kept repeating it and singing it over me. 
In the midst of my many "I don't know"s, He is THE "I KNOW". 

Last week alone, there were two more instances where friends who had no idea about my heart's whispers lately, who were oblivious to my "I DON'T KNOW", simply said to me, "HE KNOWS."
It made me cry and laugh. Here I am freaking out over these things that really are tiny in the light of Eternity, but He cares enough to look into my "brimming ache", and sing over me the "I know" that is absent from my life right now. 

Then, this morning at church, the biggest "I know" was spoken. The message was on 1 Samuel 16:7- that ever-famous passage about not looking at the outward appearance because God looks at the heart. In high school you hear it billions of times related to popularity and not judging weird kids just because they look different from you. I have heard so many shallow messages on this passage that I gagged a little when I saw that it was our main scripture focus today. 
THEN.
God did his funny God-things and blew my mind and giggled a little with me when it was all over.
Bro. David started the sermon by teaching us about the original wording used in this passage. Where it says, "Man looks ON the outward appearance, but God looks ON the heart," the ON actually has three translations that each tell us something different about seeing with spiritual vision, as God does.
It can mean WITH or ACCORDING TO, it can mean REGARDING, or it can mean INTO.
So here were his three conclusions:
1. The Lord sees WITH His heart || PURPOSING
He is not bound by time or really anything that humans are bound by, so God is able to KNOW everything. Just as we KNOW what happened yesterday because we have past knowledge, God KNOWS what happens tomorrow because he has eternal knowledge. He is unbound by time and tense. It is in that sense that He PURPOSES for us to hope in His power and "glorious inheritance" (Eph. 1:17-19). He also literally laughs at our stupid human efforts to be smarter or more powerful than Him (Psalm 2:1-6). HA. Thanks for realizing how stupid we can be, God.
2. The Lord sees REGARDING our heart || PURSUING
Just as He KNOWS the past, present, and future, He KNOWS our hearts. He searches them and tries them and replaces them when the need arises. He is slow to anger, abounding in love, always merciful and gracious-- the perfect combination of attributes for One who pursues His Beloved. He gives out hearts of flesh when He sees that our hearts have become stony (Ez. 36:26). And when our seasons of disciplining are toughest, He is still in control, still fully knowing what His plans for us are-- that they are good, hopeful, and offer us a prosperous future {by His definition. not ours.}, especially when we are seeking Him (Jeremiah 29:11-13). HIS PLANS ARE TO GIVE US HOPE FOR OUR HEARTS, because He knows we can't run to Him in our natural, wicked, human heart-condition unless He pursues us first.
3. The Lord sees INTO our heart || PEERING
He uses His Word (Hebrews 4:12) and our words (Matthew 15:10-11, 19-20) to see into our hearts, to examine them, and find the places that don't yet look like Him. He knows our hearts are desperately wicked, and like Jeremiah asked: Who can know it? (Jeremiah 17:9)... well, He can. He knows they ARE desperately wicked, and He knows the desperate wickedness inside. 

As I have been doing, we humans like to make our own plans and justify our ways-- they seem good enough for us!-- and just go along with it until something stops us. And that's not how God functions. He calls us to COMMIT our ways to Him, to give them over fully and obediently, immediately and with a cheerful heart. Proverbs 16 is killer convicting. We can plan our lives, but THE LORD ESTABLISHES OUR STEPS. He grounds us and holds onto us when we don't even know we need to be held onto.

The passage in Malachi 3 regarding tithes keeps coming to my mind. I've realized that maybe this loss of my own plans is a sort of tithe. "Tithe" doesn't just mean giving God a check, it actually refers to the process of God TESTING His children by asking them to GIVE. So here I am, being tested and having given up a lot of my own plans and 'knowing'... sounds a lot like a tithe to me. 
And do you know what God's opinion on tithing is?
"Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, see if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need."
He can, will, and DOES bless His children when we obey Him.
So as I walk around feeling like I pile of "I don't know"s, I'm clinging to His promise that HE KNOWS and that when I bring in my small tithe, my widow's mite, all the little things I have to bring that are nowhere near enough for Him, THEN He will pour down on me until there is no more need. I don't know what the "blessing" is there, but honestly I hope it's just Him. Because though knowledge and money and happy little things would surely feel good, what my heart yearns for is to be filled to overflowing with Him, until I need no more and lack no part of His heart. 

welcome to midnight.

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