Friday, May 4, 2012

Epic Battle?? I'm in!

God is unchanging.  God is faithful.  God is not ruled by human emotions or logic.  

I needed to start with those truths.  This week has been very interesting for me.  I’ve been incredibly moody and unmotivated.  I’ve been rocked to my core by some honest evaluation.  I’ve been loved unconditionally by my Jesus.  

Some of you know that I’m a hoarder.  Well my roommate and I are having a garage sale this weekend.  I can not even explain how difficult it is to part with my stuff.  This process has brought about tears and yelling and panic attacks.  I am sure that I have been unnecessarily mean to my roommate and my brother as they try to help me achieve the goal of getting rid of at least half of my “stuff”.  I always thought that being materialistic was defined by always wanting (thinking you need) the newest “best” stuff.  I am not like that so I thought I was good.  I have learned that I am materialistic in a totally different way.  I have stuff because I feel that it adds value to my life.  I rely on the stuff in my life and I [somewhere in my brain] think if I don’t have things then I have nothing to offer and lack worth.  

As I was going through stuff I found an artistic Vision Plan given to me by the person who discipled me on Summer Project in 2007.  For those of you who are unfamiliar a Vision Plan starts with truths about you then gives you areas to work on.  Not things to stress about…but things to trust God with.  So I stopped and took some time to study this document.  Oh how could a 12x12 piece of paper make such an impact.  I noticed that the things my friend listed as areas for me to work on (or opportunities to see God work in my life) are pretty much—and by pretty much I mean EXACTLY—the things I would say are still areas of struggle in my life.  Now, I don’t know if you’re doing the math here but the summer of 2007 was almost exactly five years ago.  Five years.  How is it possible that I have not grown at all in five years?  How is it possible that I continually push these vital areas of my life with Jesus to the side?  

I considered these areas and also tried to process my issues with being a hoarder and needing stuff.  As I took some time to stop and analyze that (and chat with my mama and one awesome friend) I realized a very hard truth about my life.

I don’t trust God.  I love God.  I am sure that Jesus died for my sins and that I am forgiven and dearly loved by Him.  There is no doubt about the foundational truths in my mind.  But I don’t trust God.  That’s extremely difficult for me to say.  It hurts me to think that I could be missing such an important part of a relationship as trust.  

So this morning I flipped my radio to the Christian radio station (which I honestly don’t listen to that often but it’s on my presets) and this song came on.  I had never heard it before but will probably be listening to excessively for a week or so.  The line that caught my attention said “There was a day when your faith couldn’t be held down…” The chorus then went on to say “The same God who was with you then is with you now.  The same God who led you in will lead you out.”  Now at this point you may be thinking ‘jeez Tracy Leigh can you get to the point already this song has nothing to do with what you’re talking about’.  If that’s you stick with me…I’m about done!

That song rocked me to my core.  There was a time in my life when my faith could not be tamed.  I was not a fan of Jesus, I was fanatic!  I prayed fervently and devoured scripture as if it were my very lifeblood.  I felt like Jesus was so close that I could reach out and hold His hand!  So guess what...He’s still the SAME GOD!!  He will never leave me.  If you ask Him to walk with you He will never leave you.  You see in a world that lacks consistency, or in a life such as mine that lacks consistency, God is consistent and unchanging.  He is unfailing.  

Was this song a miracle cure?  No.  Me and Jesus [and my parents and a trusted friend and an awesome pastor] are working through this trust thing.  I don’t trust God.  But I want to.  I don’t know how I’m gonna get there from here.  I don’t know how it will go.  I know it will be a battle of my flesh every day of my life.  In that struggle it’s so comforting to me to know that Jesus chose me.  He said Tracy Leigh I love you and you’re mine. 

So it’s time to battle.  I’m ready.  I’m equipped.  I’m in. 

I am attempting to link up with Faith Filled Fridays on BeholdingGlory.  Check there for some awesome other encouragement and truth about Jesus!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Sweet Sunday

Daylight Savings Time can be quite perplexing.  On Facebook this morning several friends commented on the fact that it threw their children and/or pets off of a much needed schedule.  I don't have children (yet!) and my pet is a lazy fish.  So it didn't affect me much.  I was actually more worried about my roomate missing the time change and being late for work than I was for myself.  So I was up at my normal time of 5-ish which today turned into 6-ish.  No big deal.  I went in the kitchen and made muffins for the hospitality room at church.  This room is new to my church.  My friend Shelley (with limited assistance and much encouragement and company from me) painted an old Sunday School room.  We moved some furniture, had people sign up to bring snacks and ta-da a hospitality room was born.  It's turning into a cute cozy little place for people to gather on Sunday mornings.  I have big dreams of what it could expand in to someday...but for now it works for what we need.  So I have now been in my office here at church for a few hours.  I have gotten a lot of work done.  I have also done some daydreaming.  My brain is going crazy right now with ideas and things I want to do. 

I may have mentioned this before, but I have this thing where often I don't see what is I see what could be.  When speaking of this to friends I usually just refer to it now as "my disease".  :)  So sitting here in my office I look around and all of a sudden see what I want this church to be.  I see very functional and practical ways that it could be organized and given a new face if only time, money, motivation and opposition were not factors.  I look out the window and see the empty lot across the street and can see all my wishes of a community garden staring back at me.  How cool would that be if my church bought that land and planted a community garden in the summer and had classes to teach children about growing food and how eating from a garden can be beneficial financially as well as to your health.  I flip through some pictures a friend posted on Facebook this morning and can all of a sudden see this great idea I have coming into being.  It's great and inspiring and motivating and EXHAUSTING!  I will work on my motivation.  I will work on picking through my "dreams and visions" and trying to focus on a few at a time.  My Pastor told me once "do for one what you would like to do for many".  He was talking about people but I think it's true for ideas.  I can either do a bunch of things half way or I can focus on a just few things.  I can start giving them a lot of effort and time and see them come into fruition.  Then I can move on to the next few big ideas. 

These are just some things rolling around in my head this morning.  For now I will go sit in the hospitality room with my sweet mama.  Drink coffee and eat muffins.  Wait for it to be time to go upstairs and hear about this beautiful Journey to Hope we are on during the season of Lent.  I will just enjoy the fact that the sun is shining, my heart is full and it is a sweet Sunday.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Just so you know...

Just so you know... (a collection of random thoughts for this moment in time)

*It is an absolutely beautiful day.  I had girls night last night with a few of my favorite people.  Went to bed happy.  Woke up happy.  Listened to some great music by my friend Derek to start off my day.  The weahter, the mood, everything just seems right for this small moment in time.

*I hung out with a {quite sassy} four year old all weekend.  Though it provided some challenges it also made my heart ache for the time when I will get to be a mommy.

*I got my nails done last night {what can I say I am weak against peer pressure and it was a girls night thing}.  While I love that they are sparkly I think they are a little too long.  I do wish I could grow my own strong healthy nails.  *Oh and on a side note when I have acrylic nails I tap them together all the time and I am absolutely assured that it drives people crazy...but I just can't help it!*

*I am looking forward to next week a ton because I will get to see my friend!  Yay!

*I really REALLY want hot chocolate.

*No one showed up for Sunday School today and I'm sad because I really wanted to do the activity I planned...but now I have to wait until next week. 

*I have this friend who I haven't talked to in a really long time and all week I have thought about this person.  Missing people can be such a horrible feeling.  I don't know how to convince my heart to let go and move forward.

*I spend so much time drawing plans and "shopping" for my dream house and my dream church and my dream classroom that I think I should have been an architect or a designer. 

Have a great Sunday!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

What I'm Reading Lately

I love reading.  There is a book I read to my students where the kid spends the night in the library and he says "Surrounded by books I feel happy and rich."  I get that.  I love being able to escape into a book.  To find a world other than mine.  It inspires me to think, create and write.  It makes me feel relieved to be able to get lost in a book.  One of my goals on my list for 2012 is to read 50 books.  I originally was going to start with my standby old favorite To Kill a Mockingbird.  However it seems to have been misplaced since the move.  I had to revise the plan.  Here are my thoughts on the first three books I have read this year. 

 Image from Google
Book One:: The Christian Atheist by Craig Groeschel
Most of the books I read are fiction and in no way change or shape my thinking.  They are merely an escape or something to exercise my mind.  This one however is different.  This book was suggested to me by my pastor friend.  He could not have been more right when he said he thought I would find it helpful.  This books puts a lot of things into words that I think a lot of people already feel anyways.  A lot of the questions that he poses affect most of the people I know.  There was a chapter about when you believe in God, but don't believe that you can change or that God can help you change.  This chapter was intense for me.  I find myself falling into that pattern of thinking so much.  Saying well this is just the way I am.  It was challenging and made me think.  I am going to be processing this for a long time.

Book Two:: The Hunger Games and Book Three:: Catching Fire
I loved both of these books and highly recommend them.  I can't wait to read the third and last book.  They also made me think but in a totally different not life altering way.  :)  I find that almost everything can come down to the basic battle between good and evil.  These books (in case you haven't heard) are set in a futuristic society where life is controlled by The Capitol.  It is pretty much totally unfathomable to me to think that our world could ever be like that.  Both of these books are packed with action and unexpected things.  They leave you needing to read the next chapter and then when the book is over they leave you needing to read the next book.  As soon as my roomate gets done with Mocking Jay I will be reading it and adding it to my list. 

So, three books down.  47 more to go.  I will keep you updated and informed as I go.  Hope you can read some of these books too and then I will have someone to talk to about them!

Monday, January 2, 2012

To Begin Again

Clearly I'm not so great at this blogging thing.  I think of tons of things to write about but then I find reasons not to do it.  I guess one could say it's good because I'm keeping busy.  But it's a new year.  I have new goals.  I have several friends who think there is nothing special about the new year.  They see no reason to mark it as an occasion and find the celebrations simply ridiculous.  To some it is merely a passage of time.  I, however, find it important to mark that passage of time.  I like to remember where I have been and where I am headed.  I am thankful for the things I have learned and I anticipate the future.  Reflections come easy at this time of year.

I do much better with goals than with resolutions.  And they are not even huge goals.  It is actually just a list of things I want to accomplish or do in 2012.  Right now there are 8 things on my list...which is totally attainable.  I figure it's a good place to start.  Basically my list is about finding simplicity.  Continuing to extinguish my hoarder tendencies and squelch the desire to be lazy and complacent.  I have mentioned before that I want to learn to do things.  My mother sometimes says I was born in the wrong era because I want to bake bread and cook with cast iron and be "OLD FASHIONED".  Really I just want to have the knowledge and skill that will allow me to build the kind of life I want to have.  A life I can be happy in and can be proud of.  So here is my list...

1. Fit into my favorite jeans.  They are currently exactly two sizes too small.  It is a small goal compared to some health goals I have heard the past few days...but it is one that I am confident will be a great starting point.

2. Complete a Pinterest project.  I have pinned so many things and thought of so many ideas...but I have not done any of them.  So lame.  So on my list is to complete a project from Pinterest.  After completing one maybe I will be motivated to do more!!

3. Memorize 24 scriptures.  That equals an average of 2 a month.  I tried to do this once before and became too absorbed in the required time frame of it to allow myself freedom and flexibility.  So I am trying again.  And I already picked out my first scripture.  It's actually the one I taught in Sunday School yesterday...2 Corinthians 5:17.

4. Finish a 5k.  Walking it is my goal for now.  Who knows...maybe someday I will run part of it.  I mean, I have been training for this since it's only right it should be on my list.  It may take me hours to complete but I will finish!!

5. Make a t-shirt quilt.  This goes along with learning skills...I don't know how to use a sewing machine.  My Junior High and High School Home Economics teachers would be so disappointed to see that.  I just never really put forth the effort to learn that skill in a way that I would remember it and be good at it.  So I have watched one tutorial already and have found some more.  And Lord knows I have enough t-shirt to make a couple quilts!!

6. Bake bread.  From scratch.  Enough said.

7. Plant a garden.  If my landlord agrees I will do this in the yard of the new house I moved into a month or so ago.  (By the way for those who didn't know I moved!)  If not I will plant a garden at my parents' farm and just drive there to check on it every day!

8. Read 50 books.  That seems like a lot.  This is the goal I am not quite so sure about.  I think I can do it since I read a lot, but I have never stopped to think about how many books I have read in a year.  I am starting with a book I have read before which may be kind of cheating...but the other 49 will be new to me books.  On my list are the books of The Hunger Games series, The City of Embers series and Soul Cravings.  Maybe my friend Kate can teach me how to put a tracker thing on here so I can keep track with you the number of books I've read!  :)

So that's it.  My list so far.  I am sure I will add more things as I go.  But they will be carefully thought out things.  Things that didn't make "the list" but that I am also hoping for are blogging more, sending more mail to people "just because", cleaning out my storage building, having a garage sale, organizing my pictures and starting a scrapbook, doing something great for my parents' 40th anniversary, leading a Bible study, going back to Joplin and visiting more state capitals.

Today I will enjoy my last day of vacation.  My awesome parents are coming over for lunch.  I am reading.  I am watching a movie.  Tonight I will hang out with my great roomate.  And tomorrow I will go back to work keeping my goals in mind.  I will keep moving forward because going back is not an option.