Pinterest A Grateful Life Lived: Speeding Up: What I've Been Up to Lately

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Speeding Up: What I've Been Up to Lately

     With school and life being so busy lately, I have all but neglected to post normal updates and be a "good blogger."  I just published a post on how God has been working in my life this past week, so check out A Presence Filled 2014: February 8.  But here's the thing:  That is only the tip of the iceberg.  As life has sped up, the amount of blessings has only magnified!  Finally, I'm taking the time to sit down and share them with you (and myself!):

1. So....Am I running?!
     Yes, I've failed at giving the scoop on where I'm at with running, but I'm happy to report: God has healed and is restoring.  Interested?!  Please read about what God's been doing in my running HERE.
Here's a super-blurry picture of me wearing
my flats for 1st time since the second day of xc practice!

2. My Birthday!
     In all honesty, I was kind of dreading my birthday a few weeks ago (Jan. 29).  I had never had that sensation before, but I was worried that it would be extremely hard and lonely since it was my first birthday away from home.  These worries were only compounded when my older brother's birthday (five days before mine) came and I found myself crying because I couldn't be there like I have always been.
     I secretly prayed to God that He would cause someone at school to remember, but also that I would rest my value and my joy in Him.  After all, I always say that birthdays are a time to celebrate all God has done in someone's life.  I didn't need people celebrating me to do that.
     Yet, I was amazed at God's grace.  Not only did a lot of my friends remember, but my family lavished me with love.  Each and every one of the many packages I received over the course of three days was so perfect for me.  My grandma bought me a devotional of Hebrews that I told her I wanted....last summer! (I didn't even remember voicing how much I wanted it!!!)  Each gift was truly from the heart and that was what made it so special.  I knew that my family had not just gone out and grabbed something typical that I would enjoy.  There was so much love in it that I was overwhelmed.  For the first time in my life, I didn't know how to respond.

{I couldn't repay my family for the gifts they had given, 
and yet: I still had those gifts.  In the same way, I can 
never ever pay for God's grace and forgiveness.  
And yet: He still freely gives.}

What girl doesn't love birthday flowers :)
     I am so used to spilling over with "Thank You's" and lots of excited emotion, but I knew: it wasn't enough.  It served as a glaring example of God's love.  In a tangible way, I could see there was no way I could ever say thank you enough.  I couldn't repay my family for the gifts they had given, and yet: I still had those gifts.  In the same way, I can never ever pay for God's grace and forgiveness.  And yet: He still freely gives.  He even knows that there is nothing He will get in return!  That, friends, just BLEW MY MIND.
     In the end, I did miss giving my mom a hug and seeing the joy in my daddy's eyes when I received the gifts, but I am amazed at God's goodness.  This was one of the most special and unique birthdays I have ever had.  And I have never, ever felt so incredibly loved!

3. Volunteering
     In the midst of all this craziness, I also felt God tugging on my heart to reach out more.  Since serving Thanksgiving dinner at a homeless shelter in November, I have been desiring to be more of a blessing to others and give back more.  I began to practice an "outward focus--" let me tell you: It will be a lifetime of practice-- and simply help my friends and those I didn't know.
     This was when God showed me the reality of His agape love.  See, I wasn't too happy when people didn't say thank you after I went out of my way for them.  I was downright upset when they ignored my kind gestures or cards.  God set me straight though.  He reminded me that there are hundreds of times every single day that I choose to ignore His gift of being nailed-- bloody and naked-- onto a cross for me.  I quickly realized that true love doesn't require a response.  It isn't given in order to receive a specific reaction.  That isn't the love He has for me, and that's not the love I wanted to have for others.  FYI-- it's still a work in progress!
     After this was in my brain, I miraculously received an email about a group on campus looking for members to volunteer at a school for the blind and visually impaired once a week.  "Yes!  God, this is what I've been praying for," I whispered as I clicked "REPLY."  I'm sure He was chuckling: "Uh...ya.  I know, I kind of did it this way on purpose!"
     Anyway, I started that this past week and cannot wait to go back!  It blessed me so much to see the simple joy on these kids faces.  They have been through a lot-- many even live at the school-- and yet, they were so full of hope.  I absolutely adored getting to know them and looking for ways to assist them, rather than focusing on myself.  God is so good!


     I think that is about it for now, but now that I've dug through the "archives" of the past month, I will make sure to do more regular updates.  I pray that this blesses you.  I love keeping friends and family updated, and it is a great tool for me to go back and see how God has worked in my life and what I've been up to.  If you want to read more, click over to my main page HERE or check out my "A-Z About Me" blog series by clicking HERE!

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