Happy Sunday, friends! Sundays are my absolute favorite days because I get to love on the world’s cutest two-year-olds and hear another amazing message at my church that reminds me of the depths of my Father’s love for me. So yeah, Sundays kind of rock.
After church today, I came to my favorite coffee shop in Stillwater – Aspen Coffee. I love coming here because the baristas are so friendly, the playlist is second to none and the atmosphere (do I sound hipster yet??) is on point.
As I sit here in one of my favorite places, I can’t help but be so immensely thankful for everything God has done in my life. You know, too often, I don’t take time to simply be grateful. And I should.
As I was reading through my prayer journal (I get too easily distracted to pray in my head, so I like to journal my prayers), I noticed how much of it was me asking God for things. And although I always need to ask God for things, I also need to be thankful for everything He has already given me.
Looking back, I realize just how many signs of His affection I ignore because of my sinful, human heart. Too often, when I pray, I feel like God isn’t listening or present, when I’m the one who’s running away. I get so impatient in the waiting, and I insult God with my lack of faith.
Like my mom told me once, we want God to shout, but He speaks in whispers. For me, I always imagined this big, audible voice that would be like “ALLI. DO THIS.” But God doesn’t really work like that. (Which would probably be a little creepy anyway if you think about it.)
So I’ve never heard God directly speak to me before. But I have seen Him at work in me and in my life; it just takes time to realize it.
When I was thinking about college, I kept praying for God to show me where I needed to go. I never thought I was brave enough to go away to college because I’m incredibly shy. (Fun fact – When I was in middle school, my doctors actually asked my parents if I had problems because I was too scared to talk to them. I don’t blame them though…I’d get so nervous I couldn’t remember my name!)
But when I toured Oklahoma State, I met a professor named Dr. Spurrier. Dr. Spurrier was a special kind of person, one with kind eyes and a presence that made you feel like he’d known you your whole life. It was his encouragement that assured me OSU was the right choice.
I didn’t realize it at the time, but Dr. Spurrier was God’s way of answering my prayer. I think God likes to surprise us like that. He uses ordinary, flawed people like ourselves to create a beautiful story. And like any great story, there’s a lot of conflict. There’s a lot of struggles. And there’s a lot of wrong turns. But in the end, it’s a story overflowing with grace, and it’s a story ending in triumph.
As I came to OSU, I was still nervous about being so introverted. (I am a proud INFJ personality type) But God came through again by surrounding me with a community of people through a student organization called FRC. Then, through FRC, I met my best friend, Ciera, who led me to Life Church, where I have met the most genuine, kind people and found my worth and identity in Jesus.
Now, I have the awesome opportunity to intern with Life Church this summer not because I’m good but because God is good. And without Him, I could do nothing. God doesn’t need me at all. But God wants me. And he designed me for some purpose that I’m still figuring out, and I think that’s beautiful.
I used to beg God for answers. I don’t like the whole concept of not being control because I’m one of the biggest control freaks you’ll ever meet. But now, I’m pretty thankful God surprises me. I’m thankful I don’t know all the answers because I get the opportunity to follow Him in places I never dreamed.
You know, I think God likes to take us to the end of our comfort zone and give us a choice whether to stay there or follow Him further. And I want to keep following.
As I reflect on a few of the many blessings God has given me, I am overwhelmed by his unwavering love, forgiveness and grace through it all.
No matter what your story is, we have so much to be thankful for, friends. I have a roof over my head, love overflowing in my heart, and the freedom to worship my God without fear of persecution.
God is so present and interwoven in our lives, and I hope I stop to be still and praise Him for it.
He’s there in the people I meet; He’s there in the sunshine on a warm summer day; He’s there in the car when I commute to Edmond (and if you all know how I drive… you’d be thankful for that too!!)
Sending you so much love from this beautiful place I call my home in Stillwater, Oklahoma.
PS: Sorry it’s been five billion years since I’ve written. Also, to be completely honest, I wrote this weeks ago but I get really nervous about posting so, ya know.