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Another day forward 

I really wish I could describe how I feel right now. I’m somewhere in between not caring and blowing everything up and caring too much and trying to fix everything. 
I feel bi-polar most days even though I’m not. It’s just that I have all these wants,plans, and prayers that haven’t come to be . Sometimes I’m disappointed, depressed, and want to give up. Other times I realize that I might still have more life to live than I have lived already.
I’ve begun to take one day at a time and seek wisdom from the word of God and the mouth of God.. I just wish I could fast forward to the part where my desires line up with his and I have joy in Him. 
I realize why I need Him and I realize that I’ll never be myself until I know who I am in Him. It’s kinda crazy how many sermons I’ve heard on identity but yet most days it still doesn’t click.

All of this is okay though. I’m human. I’m broken. I made mistakes. I’m forgiven. I’ve lived and loved and will continue to do so. 
Holy Spirit Guide me . Make your paths straight before me.

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On the way To Asheville

Part of me wants to say that God didn’t teach me anything today. The reason I say that is because I still desire to have the companionship of a woman, one woman specifically.

However, I know that first statement is false because God speaks through his creation. It just depends on whether you’re listening or not. Today, I listened because I”m not finding much hope anywhere else.

I think maybe just maybe I started to grasp what being by myself could look like. Again, I don’t like the idea but I heard whispers of ” you can do it today.” I began to listen to the whispers for a little while and began to believe I could do it.

Being by yourself doesn’t mean you always have to be alone. God has created other people and animals such as dogs that need us and can be there when you’re lonely. If I had to be by myself, I’d concentrate on things/people//maybe owning a dog.

He also has created so many places and things to see. Why not enjoy the freedom and Himself while admiring all these great things around the world? Would it be nice to have a partner who is also human to do this with? Sure, but God is certainly capable of holding up his end of showing his love and care for you and for me.

I don’t think that life is going to be easy being by myself but at least for right now, He(God) belives and I(myself) believe I can do it.

  1. My excitement was caught up in the excitement of the partners in ministry that I would have been living/communing with.  I’m not sure that I really ever had true excitement for myself.
  2. I didn’t pray enough and even though I had peace about it, I didn’t know for sure.
  3. When I did pray and found that God was telling me that if I was meant to go that things would work out and go smooth for me to do so then it would be good.  For those of you who don’t know when my house sold, it did not go smoothly and it ended up closing several weeks after the original closing date.  Also, my contracting job at the bank ended in May where initially my boss had said it would be extended to August.  She withdrew that offer.
  4. God has a plan for me being a missionary. I just wish it was right now but who knows it could be 30 years from now and I pressured myself into doing this because I wanted it to be now.

upset

I’m in a tough place in my life to where I don’t see my future as very bright.  Yes, I know the Bible says contrary to this but I have so much trouble believing it anymore.  Yes, good things in life happen. However, I feel that there are just things in life that come one after another that I have to deal with.  There is never any smooth sailing and if there is, just wait a day.

I don’t understand why God would have me deal with something and by dealing with that something not be able to get to where I feel that I should be by this age or for that matter be where he wants me.  I don’t understand why I can’t do what I want and make money doing it.  OK, if we were put on this earth for others then why do I have to work a miserable job to even think about helping someone. Spare me the comments as far as helping people if different ways than money.  Everything cost money.  Even that cup of cold water or bucket of water to wash somebody’s feet.

Yes, it was my fault when I was young to pile up the debt and spend a fortune only to find out that somebody never really loved me.  But again, I’m still paying that off miserably so that I can get an ounce of freedom to help somebody else or maybe even have a family one day. Most days I just give up thinking about having any true joy in life. Maybe just maybe I’ll be debt free one day.  Maybe I can be a missionary or have a family.  I will be thankful if I’m granted that.

I’m sorry if this seems like a downer post but I’m truly in a rough patch to where I’m not sure where to turn other than to pray.  I don’t even truly do that much because I haven’t heard much these days.

Community is precious and definitely given by God Above.  If you have it, cherish it.  If you don’t, pursue it for my sake.

Life has been lethargic for me in the past weeks and months since I “lost” my community.  By lost, I mean my young adult community disbanded and my church is a shadow of what it was.  I have been hesitant to write because I didn’t think it would help and maybe I would bring down others into my sadness.  I’m still not sure that it won’t but I’ve got to get it out.

I’ve pretty much shut down and shut out the remaining people in my life minus a few who pursue my friendship on a regular basis.  I spend my days at work and my nights searching for anyone who would care whether it be the TV or the computer, I’m staring at something.  Of course I know that no one person could bear my burdens except God Himself.  It hasn’t stopped me from ignoring that truth though and I feel like I’ve done a pretty good job at it too.  Except for the fact that I know that it’s a truth and it follows me.  Thank you to the people who have spent some time with me or tried in recent days.  I’m sorry to those that I have turned down or have been rude to just because I’d rather just go home.

I’ve longed to take a vacation from it all.  However, I can’t really since I do not get paid for hours I do not work.  I also don’t think it would be good for me anyway since I feel alone in all of this anyway and why would I go be alone somewhere else.  Yes, I know the Lord would meet me there and he’s ready for me to be in the wilderness with Him again where he just wraps me in His freaking arms.  It’s kind of funny since I was here thinking the same thing a year or two ago.  I didn’t want to go to the wilderness then but I knew it was probably the best thing for me to do.  I know it is the best thing for me again but I’m still not ready.  Maybe soon?  I want to go willingly, I do.  No more kicking and screaming.  No more how long will it take? But right now, I have excuses and they are legit.  I really don’t have any extra money now with only one roommate and I really don’t have a car that would make it past an hour of driving. Ugh I hate that I have excuses.

Why is it that life always has tension?  Why is it that you can’t grow while being comfortable?  Why is it that I bleive in such crazy love regardless of what I have done or haven’t done in the last few months?  Why can’t I just be happy again?  Where is the joy that passes all understanding?  Why did this happen to my church, my community, my pastors, and my friends?  I long for resurrection but here I am still mourning the past.  Why can’t I just fully anticipate what is to come and be happy that I’m one of the most blessed individuals on this Planet?  I have sooooooo much. Too much.

I think I feel the Lord leading me to California.  But do I?  There is so much doubt and unbelief right now.  I don’t want to go to just start over and run away from everything.  I want to go to really unlock what God wants to unlock in my life.  I really am excited about the opportunity. I just don’t show excitement well. I’m hungry and thirsty for more of Jesus.  I need the Bread of life.  I need Him. I need you.  I need prayer.

not sure

As I begin to write, I’m not sure how long this will be and I’m not exactly sure what will come out because there is just way too much on my mind.  As many of you know, there is a lot of uncertainty in my life and it’s not easiest season to be in.  However, the strange thing is I feel like I’m right where I need to be.  I’m uncomfortable, vulnerable, and emotional when it comes to these things.  I also feel peace most of the time but I’m sure that has a lot to do with many of your prayers for me.

I ask that you continue to lift me because I feel like any time I might be going in the right direction, a door shuts and I get frustrated or I begin to panic and have anxiety.  Don’t get me wrong though because I definitely know that the Lord is working and that it’s in a way that I cannot see.  I mean that is how you grow faith.  There is no faith in knowing what is going to happen exactly.  I have begun to wonder what allowed Jesus(even though he was the son of God) trust God that the only way to save his people was for him to die.  I mean that is some crazy stuff.  It doesn’t matter what kind of faith you have, when God asks you to give up your life it is going to be mind blowing.  But that is exactly what he is doing.  He asks you and I to give up our life on a daily basis.  Pastor Jonathan Martin said yesterday, “Every death that we die is always a step toward resurrection.”  

Oh how I long to be resurrected in every area of my life and how I long for others to be resurrected too. Giving up yourself to die so that God can bring the power of resurrection life is the best thing that somebody could ever do.  I want to give up my life.  I want nothing but Christ alone.  He is worth it all.

It is all yours Lord.  I give everything I have to you. Use me as you please.  Show me your ways. Show me your heart. Guide me Holy Spirit.  Amen.

I believe that your dreams can be good and God inspired and that he uses them for things.  However, if you rely on them too much then it’s not going to do you any good.  For example, in my last blog I mentioned that I wanted to go to Peru and do all this stuff and bring a team down there eventually.  I still believe that these are dreams and desires he has given me but I also think I was trusting in them too much and not trusting him to mold and shape these dreams.

God’s plans for your life are so much bigger than you can imagine or think and when you concentrate on one or two dreams he has given you then you end up missing something. Before I went to Peru, I thought the Lord was saying, give your dreams and desires that I have given you because I’m going to do something so much better if you just trust me and the plans I have for you.  I wasn’t completely comfortable in giving them up right away but ultimately decided that he knows best and most likely he’s going to use my obedience.

The second thing I felt like I was being told was be faithful in the small things and you will be rewarded with much.  Don’t wait and do something that you feel like God called you to do but do what is in front of you first.  If you are obedient in serving and doing the little things, he will be able to trust you with the bigger things.  It seems like a simple biblical concept but I think that its truly a great thing to put into practice.

Look, I know that God has a humongous plan for my life and he may or may not include the dreams and desires that I’ve had so far.  However, I also know that if I trust in him, he’s going to end up blessing me and trusting me with much and it will always blow my mind that he loves me and wants to include me in his work.  I want to be that guy!  I want to be like Jesus.  I want to be the guy that goes when somebody needs to be sent but I also want to be that guy that stays and cleans the toilet if that’s what needs to be done.

My idea wasn’t to come to Peru by myself to hangout with friends and relax.  My plan included bringing a team of people and reaching out to the poor areas of town and possibly even the jungle.  I wanted to do so much in the short two weeks that I was saving my time for.  As God often does, he changed my plans.

I’ve had such a strong desire to return to Peru since my February 2012 trip along with my friend and roommate Paulo.  I wanted to go do something for God and for the people of Peru.  I was going to be the leader of a missions trip that was going to be different.  It was going to be one of those short term trips that actually does good for the local community.  When I began to see that things weren’t going to work out after trying to plan and meet with people, I began to become very frustrated.  I was upset with myself, other people, and even God for not allowing me to do work for him.  I then began to go with him to the wilderness and found out that he wanted me to himself and that he had so many plans and gifts for me.  He wanted me to be ready for things ahead and not to be frustrated by my lack of works.

After that, I felt a little better but then got the idea to take the trip by myself anyway because I had been saving up the vacation time for a trip this year anyway.  I finally worked it out with my missionary friends and looked forward to going and helping them out.  Again, I had a plan to teach in the ministry school, minister in shanty town, pray for the college, etc…

Then September and October came along which included allergic reactions, bed bugs, broken doors, broken water heater, cleaning my entire home, throwing away many things, and drying every piece of cloth in my entire home.  As you can imagine, this was extremely stressful and overwhelming(not to mention my finances taking a huge hit).  By the time everything was taken care of with the bugs and fixing the other stuff it was a few weeks before I was to leave and I was still worried, stressed, and breaking out in hives.  I was determined to still go and give it my best shot.  I sent a message to my missionary friend Shaun and told him that I had a rough couple weeks and he responded with him saying they would pray.

Fast Forward to my arrival and one of the first things Shaun says to me on the ride back to the house is based on what you told me , we have decided that you are going to be treated as a family guest meaning I could participate in things or not.  He recommended that I just rest and then see how I felt.  I wasn’t sure how to take it but knew that it was the right thing to do.

I began to rest the next couple days with every intention of getting up to go to the school and prayer one of the days but I never made it.  I slept the best I have ever slept in my entire life.  Approximately 10 hours every night.  It was insane!  I ended up going to church and praying a few times for people, going to children’s church once, and taking a prayer walk and that was pretty much the extent of my “service” while I was there. 

My Father (God) always has the best plans for me even when I think my plans are to honor him and are the best for me.  He thought it was a better idea for me to rest, have fun, and spend time in his presence for a restful two weeks.  He was right and I’m better for it. What’s new?  haha.

Peru Arrival

I arrived here in Peru after a long 17 hours of planes, layovers, and bad airplane food.  With about 3 hours to go, I broke my headphones and man did I hit a wall after that.  I even ended up reading 2 People magazines that my plane seat neighbor offered.  She was a sweet lady. I feel bad because the actual headphone piece was stuck in the jack without a way to get it out.

All in all, I arrived in one piece and got through immigration and customs pretty quickly.  Shaun was there to greet me and it was so good to see him.  It’s not fun to fly by yourself for more than a couple hours and I was glad I had somebody to talk to on the way back to his house.

He explained to me that based on what I had told him that I would be treated as a family guest and that I could do and not do what I want when it comes to ministry stuff.  I told some of you and had a post on Facebook saying that this would be a more restful trip because it’s been a hard couple months.  I was grateful to hear that there was no pressure for me to perform or participate in anything. I feel like I’ll take this first week and really pray and spend time with God to see what he’s saying and why he has me here.  There is this deep need for solitude right now and I have the perfect room in their house to do it.

Please pray that I hear what the Lord says and that I trust that he will speak and come through for me.

I feel like I write about the same things all the time.  I don’t know if it is because I always fail at these things or my progress is just too small for me to see.  I feel more lonely and broken than I ever have but this time I know that it’s okay to be this way.  I know I need Jesus more than I ever had in this time.  Even as I type this, I’m listening to Jonathan David Helser sing about how he is closer than my own skin. Man, why can’t I just realize this and give in to his overwhelming comfort and peace?  I even seek for love and peace in the right place most of the time but to be with a community(body) and to actually be with that community consciously is so different.

I know that isolating myself is not the right thing to do and I don’t but it almost seems like I’m isolating myself within a community and that can only be my fault, I think.  It’s probably because I don’t really initiate and communicate things to people very well.  I’m still learning a lot in that department these days.  I desperately wish to have a best friend that I can tell everything to.  I have a couple people I can do this with but sometimes it seems like they are all busy with their own lives.  When these times come and I feel like nobody wants to spend time with me and I sit here for hours on the stupid alternative universe that is Facebook, I wonder what am I actually doing with this life.

Please pray for motivation for me.  I know that God isn’t going to make me pick up a bible or go serve or anything but I seriously lack motivation to do anything when it comes to spending time with him within the last few months.  I have started listening to worship music more often and I believe that is a start but I really need to know his presence.  His presence is where everything is that I need.  Pray it is with me when I wake up and when I lay down.

Also, I know God has big plans for me and my service for him but it seems so far off and I can’t seem to gain any traction in doing anything for him in spreading the Good News!  I desperately want people to come to him on the account of them seeing him in me but I don’t think that happens very often.  I want to be able to communicate better and to love better and just abide.  I strive too much.

Thanks for listening even though there isn’t any stories or more detailed thoughts.  Hopefully, some others feel some of these things sometimes too and it helps you know that your not alone.

Love, Justin