Sunday, July 19, 2015

My Dad Bought Me These Shoes

In my recent adventures in Europe (which feels like a distant memory or dream already) God revealed two major life lessons to me.

1. God is always with me
Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” - Deuteronomy 31:6

2. You have not because you ask not.
Yet you don't have what you want because you don't ask God for it. - James 4:2

I was in Paris and had been walking for over two hours with no corner store in sight. So I thought that since I was completely relying on Christ to be my guide this trip, I asked Him for some water. I look up and there is a man selling bottles of water out of a bucket for 1 euro.

It was the biggest travel day I had all trip. I asked God for favour on the flight that I would have no screaming babies around me and that it would be a relaxing trip. When the announcement came on that said "We are a full flight today" I looked beside me to realize the seat next to me was staying empty despite the announcement.

 "If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!" - Matthew 7:11

My Flamingo Shoes

Yesterday, I was at the mall looking for a new pair of shoes because mine are falling apart. Shoe shopping is always a nightmare for me. It's painful when you have to break them in, and it's rare to find a nice shoe in my size that's comfortable. I walked into winners and as I was walking down the shoe aisle, I asked God to have the perfect pair of shoes for me. I looked up and saw flamingo shoes... in my size... just sitting there. I tried them on and they fit perfectly.
I have a personal connection with Flamingos. I am obsessed with the colour pink for one, and two they are tall with long legs like me. I think God was thinking of people like me when He made flamingos. Anyway, I saw the price and they were around 25 dollars. I thought that was a lot so I walked away.
I walked away from something that I KNEW God had blessed me with because I THOUGHT they came with a price I wasn't willing to pay.
I spoke with my twin (BFF) on the phone and she told me that she noticed the shoes were Steve Madden which means they are good quality and $25 was actually cheap for that brand! I said "Okay, then it's worth it. If they are there after church tomorrow, I'll take it as a sign and get them"
I went back in today, sure enough they were there. I decided to asked God to please reduce the price a little bit (I was thinking more $13?). I got to the checkout counter and they came up as the price listed. 
oh well.
The woman asked me if i had a points card so I checked my wallet assuming little success because I had recently switched wallets and have most my cards at home. But I saw "nners" sticking out the side on one card... I gave it to the girl assuming that was the points card but she couldn't scan it.
"Oh this is a gift card" she said.
What? I didn't know I had a winners gift card!
My Godmother had given me a gift card to Homesense (same company) and the winners logo just happened to be on the side that was sticking out of my wallet. 
When she scanned the card to pay for the shoes, she handed it back to me and said "Your remaining balance is $28.50". Not only did God provide the perfect shoes, but He worked it out so I wouldn't have to pay a dime all along.

This makes me wonder how many times I've had a blessing staring me right in the face, but I turn away from it because I felt the "price I would have to pay" would not be worth it.

I turned down the blessing, but when I changed my mind to go back and receive it, God still had it waiting there for me. Isn't that just the true nature of God? We can turn him down so many times, but the moment we change our hearts and turn back to Him, He is right there. Waiting to take us in. Waiting to bless us. Waiting to show us more of His love.

The true reason I went back, and changed how I felt about the price of the shoes was because my friend reminded me of it's quality of the shoe.
A blessing from God is of the highest quality and therefore the price we may have to pay is ALWAYS worth what he is calling us to. Because in the end, the price we think we are paying, the "sacrifice" we may need to make, was actually already paid for. By Him. On the cross.

xox sc

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Just One Prayer

I have had major milestones, circumstances, valleys and mountains happen to me that resulted out of extremely honest prayers.

These prayers were ones that reached up to God, desiring his will over mine, giving him complete control over my life. But what resulted wasn't what I expected nor thought.

An important question to ask yourself before you pray a big prayer like these is "what condition is my heart in?". If you are asking God for something, for your own benefit, then you may not be in the right place.

Three things come to mind:
1. Do you trust Him?
2. Are you willing?
3. Will you sacrifice?

I have had to sacrifice many things with no promise of something better right away. But in the long run, looking back, I can see God's hand in all of it. I trusted him with my life, and it hurt alot, but because I was willing to go through it all with Him by my side... I have come out a better person because of it.

Honest Prayers:

1. God, do you exist?
I prayed that MANY times and got no answer. In fact, it seemed even more silent around me than usual. I was so concentrated on hearing his vocal voice tell me "I AM REAL NOW BELIEVE" but it didn't work that way for me. I got to the point where I finally prayed an honest prayer from my heart, no longer testing God but rather reaching to him with my entire heart

"God, if there is something that is keeping me from knowing you, show me what that is. Please. I want to know you and feel you and hear you, but I just don't. Show me what I have to change to have this relationship with You"

It was through what resulted next that gave me clarity. I was listening to the Pastor preach and it became evident God was telling me that my relationship with my boyfriend was standing in the way of my relationship with Him. How could I possibly find my true identity in Christ if I was relying in my boyfriend for my identity? I laughed and said to Him "I understand, but you are going to have to take him out of my life yourself because I'm not strong enough to do that".

Within the hour... the HOUR... we were broken up. I had called him later that evening and by the end of the conversation he had broken up with me. God could have appeared to me in a vision, or audibly said "I exist" but instead he worked in the way He does best... through the heart. I had to get to a position of surrender before He could do anything. But once I did, I was able to enter into a relationship with Christ that FULLY depended on Him.

2. God, if this is not pleasing to you, put a brick wall in front of me.

I was in a Christian relationship that I felt God provided as a result of probably annoying prayers. I had been praying for a good man that loved God and asked that I meet him within the week. I met someone, we started dating right away and it was great. But then it started to not feel right, and my friends were telling me to be careful. I started feeling lack of peace and my relationship with Christ was suffering. I remember exactly where i was in my car when I was bending God's ear towards me. I asked him "If this is not pleasing to you, just put a brick wall in front of me so I know". The next day (or it could have been the same day!) I met with a friend who told me our mutual friend saw his profile on an online dating website. Now THAT was a brick wall - and i had a choice. I confronted him about it, and he denied it, but believing him or not believing him was NOT the point. I quickly forgave and decided ending the relationship was the best decision. We ended on good terms and to this day I thank God for responding to my prayer. I have grown so much as an individual since that day. Now, it's important to say that I believe if I had decided to stay with that guy, I believe God would have been able to work through our relationship and I could have led a fulfilling life. BUT. I also know that surrendering to God's way is far better than Him blessing my way.

(You can read my reflections on this prayer in my blog "Pursue Christ, Don't Chase After Boys")

3. God, please provide _____ for me.

I have been in a lot of situations where I had to completely rely on God to work in order to move forward. I really wanted to go on vacation, to lay on a beach and relax, but I didn't want to go alone. In the midst of complaining about my unfortunate situation to a co-worker/mentor, they in turn challenged me to ask God for someone to go on vacation with. Why didn't I think of that? I asked and guess what? The next bible study I attended a girl in the group was saying how she wants to go on vacation but had no one to go with... um yea... we ended up booking a vacation within the next couple of weeks and we are now best friends. In fact, we call one another "Twin" because we understand one another in a way that no new friends should. We are convinced we have been cut from the same mould and that potentially, Jesus, God and the Holy Spirit high fived when we met. Yea. That is the power of prayer.

Our prayers have power. They can tear down a mountain that is in front of us, or they can build a city. I have experienced the weight of my prayers (both good and painful - please refer to "Be Careful What You Pray For" blog) but in the end, I know that there is extreme importance on examining one's heart behind the prayer.