Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Small Blessings equal Big Impacts

My friend April and I spent the 4th of July weekend in one of my favorite places in the world...Wilmington, NC. Some people are mountain people, some people are beach people, and some people couldn't care less. I am a beach person. I like hiking in the mountains as much as the next person, but if I'm really run down and stressed out, I crave the beach like nobody's business. I get teased...a lot...about my trips to the beach but I don't really care. You see, if I never went to the beach, those people that tease would probably not want to be around me! It calms me, it refreshes me, it's where I feel closest to God.

God showed himself in so many little unique ways on our trip that we decided to make a list. It is such a feeling of joy to recognize that God does little things just so that we can know his presence and his care for us. We also realized that it's easy to see God's little blessings when you are patient enough to wait for them. The list of blessings is a small example that represents the big things of life as well...and I believe patience applies to those too.

1) We literally got one of the last hotel rooms in town. (the 4th is very popular in Wilmington)
2) As we left town, April got a phone call for a job interview. (and when we got back to town, she got the job!)
3) A hurricane was supposed to come to town and it passed by with just a little rain on the first night and the rest of the weekend was beautiful.
4) Kara's co-worker offered to take over weekend duty for checking email so that she could enjoy the weekend without worrying about work. (offered without being asked)
5) The hotel lobby had toothpaste to purchase which was helpful since we didn't want to go back out in the rain and April could brush her teeth in the morning.
6) Parking favor-while it took us an hour to find a parking spot at the beach, we finally found one on the street and the lady leaving the spot gave us the rest of her parking pass so that we would have to pay the full amount.
7) Since both April and I are very fair skinned, we were delighted to find a spot on the beach under the pier so that we weren't in direct sunlight. (FYI-if this happens to you, please still use sunblock. I don't know how, but the sun still finds you.)
8) After we left the beach we headed downtown to watch the fireworks. Most of the roads were blocked off, but we were able to find a great parking spot on the street without having to pay for parking and made it way easier to get out afterwards than it would have been if we parked where I was planning to park.
9) Got a fantastic spot for watching the fireworks in the front row without even trying to do so. The spot was next the the Army band who was playing great music.
10) Awesome food at The Reel Cafe- fantastic crab dip!!
11) Awesome breakfast at the hotel (which we actually woke up for).
12) The hotel lobby has Aloe Vera to purchase for Kara who desperately needed it for her back. (Read note about sunblock above)
13) NAP!
14) Parking favor at the beach...again! And someone gave us their day pass as they were leaving so we didn't have to pay for parking at all!!
15) Table on the pier for dinner.
16) Cute, polite, gentleman of a waiter at dinner. (it's nice that some of those exist these days)
17) Peaceful time at Airlie Gardens.
18) Found a bench to sit on down at the beach, live band started playing.
19) A great time and fellowship between friends.
20) Uplifting and Encouraging weekend.

As you can see, most of these are small, but to us they were big blessings that showed us God's favor and love for us. We returned rested, refreshed, and ready to take on the week before us.

I encourage you to take time to notice the small blessings in your life.

-The Real Me

Questions from God- do you love me?

***So I wrote this blog weeks ago but didn't post it at the time because it didn't feel finished. I just re-read it and I've decided to post it without finishing it. Maybe it's better that way...because I'm a work in progress and my journey isn't finished yet either.***

Do you love me enough to give me your dream? Are you willing to surrender your life for me? Am I worthy of your devotion?

Being able to answer this question doesn't mean God is going to make you give up your dreams...but if He did, would you still love Him. Is Jesus enough for you. Is he enough for me?

I have this dream. It consumes my thoughts sometimes. It's not a unique dream, many other people have the same dream. But what if I never get it. Will it cause me to be angry with God? Will it make me question his love for me?

If I'm being honest, which is supposed to be the purpose of this blog, right now I cannot say 100% that I am willing to surrender it. I wish I could say that, I know I'm supposed to say that...but I'm not there yet. And I hate it. I hate that ugly part of me deep inside that is selfish. I've actually said to myself and to God in recent weeks "How good of a person do I have to be, how good of a Christian, when can you stop stretching me. Other people get to have this dream, why can't I?" Yuck, right? I know God can handle it. He's not surprised by our thoughts. But I don't want to be that person...and He knows that too. He loves me to much to keep me in that place of distrust and pride. Because it's not about how good a person I am or even how good a Christian I am.

Please hear me, I do not believe that if I surrender my dream that it will give God permission to take my dream away. I don't have that kind of power. God knows my future; he knows the plans he has for me; he know what the fulfillment of my dream looks like. That is not the point.

The point is that God wants all of me. He wants me to go deeper with him so that he can give me more joy that I can currently imagine. He wants that for me, but it's not really about me. It's about him. Jesus died for me. How often do I stop and really think about that. He died, He was murdered, He suffered pain and agony, for me. So that I could love him and he could love me. What does that mean to me? What does that mean to you? Because he did the same for you.

-The Real Me