I feel compelled to write about it while Nelly Furtado plays in the background. I'll finish my homework later. I don't have to sleep I'll live on energy drinks and coffee tomorrow. I'll eat some bread.
First confession: I've stolen things in my life mostly for the rush other times when I couldn't believe that I was going to be provided for but it was when I was young and dumb. But I've taken what wasn't mine before. More recently rather than taking what isn't mine I've schemed hard to keep what I think is mine.
It took me a long time to forgive myself for all of it. To let go of the guilt and disappointment. It took what seemed like even longer to accept grace and find comfort in God's provision. If I've learned nothing else in my early 20s its that God provides but I now know that God disciplines too.
Romans 8:28-"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose"Definitely didn't expect this life lesson to come full circle so quickly.
Do you know that God gives to the faithful? Those who surrender and trust him? I didn't, well I did it's all over the WORD but I didn't really know it personally until something happened to me. I call it the last two years of my life. At the end of the Summer of 2010 I found myself driving down the mountain from the LC to no home. I can't tell you how desperately wanted nothing more than to not come back to Phoenix I felt like I couldn't make it here like there was no way for me to survive. I thought for sure I'd be sleeping in my car for a while. I came back here because I felt God was telling me to give him two years in Phoenix and let Him work. I didn't trust that God at all I just did it anyway though. I didn't think he would give me a home, a job, a decent life, I didn't think he'd clothe me or put food on the table but despite my distrust He did He did it all repeatedly. However, for a whole year I still felt lost, homeless, and poor when I always had a roof over my head, just enough food to eat so that I didn't starve, I even had a job; I still just never felt like it was enough. My "not enough I need more" mentality cost me two really good friends because I was too caught in me to see that I was hurting them. If either of you happen to see this I'm really sorry. I don't know how to apologize better than that yet but I'm hoping God will open those doors me one day and allow me to ask you face to face for your forgiveness. A word to you from me: Don't lose good friends for something stupid. It isn't worth it. Just in case I'm not being blunt enough here I'm talking about money, I don't get that stuff and up until 2010 my parents helped me with everything. I was on my own for pretend if I messed up they fixed it but in 2010 I opted to go solo, cold turkey. I just didn't know how to be wise with what I had, granted I don't have the best role models for money management but we're talking about me not my Dad and Step-mom. In 2011 for a while I had two jobs I thought it was going to help. I didn't need two I just couldn't quit the other one I felt like I need to clutch it so I could clutch the dollars it provided. All it did was make me feel crazy and raise my anxiety level through the roof I couldn't breath some days figuratively most days but every once in a while literally. I never stopped moving but I wasn't doing anything. I was sad all the time and I lost track of everything that was important to me: school, my ministry, my family, my friends and truthfully I lost sight of God. I didn't do my homework, I didn't study, I didn't take my time to take care of the things I needed to take care of I was always sad and I felt lonely. I was unsettled in church because I wanted to ask someone there for help but I didn't know who to ask. I spent a lot of time feeling sorry for myself and every night I asked God to help me but I never let him help me. (side note for you: During that time I know for a fact that God never ever left my side. Deep in my soul I know it, I've told one maybe two other people this but I'll tell you know... in my darkest time God woke me up every night for over a month and asked me to pray for this one specific person. In the time I was most lost, He called upon me to pray for someone other than myself. I'll probably never know why I was praying for him but he need prayer and God asked me so every night like clockwork I pleaded to the Lord for his protection, for strength, for guidance and whatever else I could think of for him. I know for me it was a time that God wanted me to know he was near and I think He chose to call upon me to intercede for someone else so I'd feel Him. Win-Win for everyone.) I should have asked for help but I didn't know who to ask, and in my head it was always one more day, one more week, but weeks became months and I was exhausted. In my chaos I never saw that God let me do it and when I couldn't do it anymore on December 30th, 2011(my birthday) my Father stepped in. I didn't know then but that morning God had me choose, He had me decide. Was I going to lie to myself and scheme and not trust him or was I going to give way to his will and trust that He can take care of me?
I can be darkly prideful. Too proud to fall and too weak to know I've already fallen. When God asked me to chose, He showed me a lot. See He'd been providing for me even when I hadn't trusted him to provide for me. In the past 5 years I've never ever been homeless when I easily could have been. I've barely made rent often but never have I been in the streets. In 2010 I was jobless for 6 months, not consecutively, but none the less that's half the year. I could have been on the streets with nothing but a backpack but God provided for me a place to go every night that was safe even if it was just a couch I was safe. In 2011 I had two jobs but I still always had nothing because I wasn't faithful to the Lord. I didn't go to school because I was sad. In that time all I wanted was someone to walk with, someone to point me back to Jesus so I could see, because my vision was so blurred. I kept asking but the more I asked the less I felt cared about and the more I shut down until I stopped asking. I was mad about all the wrong things. They were my scapegoat. What I really wanted was for someone, anyone to do was ask me directly to my face "Christina do you trust God?" and when I said, "yes" I wanted them to say "Christina do you really trust God?" to which I'd have again said "Yes." So they'd ask me one last time, "Do you really truthfully trust God?" and then I've have responded, "No," and break into tears. Through my tears I'd have said "I've lied, schemed, taken what wasn't mine, and even worse withheld what was God's all in the name of "providing" for myself, I've hurt others and robbed them in many ways but the biggest way being that I didn't trust those around me who love me to be a part of my life to let them in and ask them to help me. I was too prideful to ask for help so instead I sinned against them."
I never stopped seeking the Lord during this time it was just never clear to me where He was. I was reading scripture and praying and listening to sermons on podcast, I was even going to church I was just unsettled because I couldn't see. I couldn't see what I know now. I was in his hands always. He was always beside me. I needed to trust that He'd provide for me. That God is Jehovah Jireh, his name means PROVIDER and that all over scripture He gave to his people and provided for them and his people took so He gave some more but they turned away, they sought other Gods, each other and even money. Yet God still gave:
John 3:16- "He gave his one begotten Son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life."Eternal Life is here and now it starts right now. There is no need to put hope in some far off life. Live like Eternity is now and we are with God now and turn from fallacies things that can't last to the Father. Recently the Lord has blessed me greatly but only because I have given up my self created chaos and let my Father guide me. The moment I gave up on feeling hopeless and put my hope in the Lord. My vision cleared and God cleared way for me. Things that only the Lord could have done and motivation that only he could have given me. God made way for me to get cleared to sign up for classes, he gave me every single clearance I need, he knocked down every barrier. I go to ASU and so to 7000 other people and in my 5 years I've never seen one seat open on the Monday after classes start in all six classes I needed to be in. I've never seen exceptions made as fast as they were and I've never felt as much GRACE at that university than that which I felt from the people who help me that week they didn't even know me, they just heard me out and helped me. God did that and I'm confident that he did that because I asked and then I trusted Him. That one tangible thing is enough for me. I'm not worried about provision anymore. I was provided for when I couldn't see and I'll be provided for now and in the future too.
Because Jesus died for SIN. You are already forgiven for your sins past, present, and future. No need to crucify yourself for them now, but repent of them and ask forgiveness from the Father, from yourself and those you've sinned against but most importantly accept the GRACE that you are freely given.
One last note on that which breaks my heart. I have OCD (among my plethora of disorders) I'm habitual in my organization of my things they all go in a specific place they have a home so I know what happened, not because I was on alert though I was told, I just didn't want to believe. I know because I would have never left my things the way I found them and because I had literally just touched them right before. I'm not mad upset or angry. I'm sad and disappointed. Know I've already forgiven you. Don't feel guilty or ashamed, I didn't need it, it was gift from someone to me, so think of it as a gift from me to you. I'm just begging you to heed my warning now before its too late.
I hope my story doesn't fall on deaf ears or eyes rather but if it does at least I know I told it because He asked me to.