Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Memories, Good and Bad.

I've decided I'm going to write more, if my schedule allows. I feel like I have so much inside of me that needs to be typed on sometimes. I might as well use my blog to do it. Maybe someone else can benefit from my ponderings other than myself.
As I've been home I've come to love it here once again. The atmosphere is so different than at Elim. It's not as sheltered or as safe, however it's the real world. I've been doing a lot of thinking. I'm by myself a lot and my mind gets wandering sometimes. I love my home, and I'm grateful for the beautiful countryside I live in. Before last February I was unable to really appreciate it here. Going home flooded me with memories I would have rather forgotten. It reminds me of my high school years. My high school years were very different, although not that long ago. It's only been a little over a year. Whenever I think back to high school, it makes me sad. The majority of what I can see is broken relationships, broken friendships, and broken hearts. Now don't get me wrong, compared to most people, I had it made. I have just lost many of my friends I thought I would always have. I suppose it hurts to know that they are moving on, experiencing a new life, and have forgotten about me. I'm not saying this for some sort of pity party. I find it interesting. Even though I've experienced much hurt the past few years, I can look back and see God's hand in it. I do not have an answer to every trial or every broken heart I've had myself or have caused, but I know that God taught me things. He matured me. He has shown me that people let you down, and we let people down, yet He is always there and will never leave. He's not about to give up on us or walk away from us because we've hurt Him. He's faithful to us. He never takes the side of the accuser, He always takes our side. I think before I went to Elim I did not realize how much I've learned the past few years through hard times. Some of my friends would experience hard things and I suddenly knew exactly what to say. I found myself thinking, "Wow, God! I didn't know that wisdom was in there!" If you stay close to God, it's when you are kicked around, hurt, rejected, confused and lonely when you grow and learn the most! It's NOT all for nothing. That has been a lie I've believed. I was convinced my high school years were a waste. "I could have gotten my GED and left high school early," I thought. But no, it was not God's plan. He knew I would be leaving prematurely. There were still lessons to be learned. If I was never hurt, I would have never learned how to let Him heal me. More importantly, if I was never hurt, I never would be able to understand the hurts of others. I truly believe God is training to me to minister to broken hearts. I know others have experienced worse than I, much worse. I still know what a broken heart is, even if not to its greatest extent. I've learned to think that if what I've been through hurt that bad, how much worse does it feel for someone who has been through worse? My heart breaks for those who hurt. I wish I could help the mom sobbing wishing her baby to come home knowing he never will, or the wife who realizes her husband will never return from war. I know I can't, but my God can. He was there for me in smaller hurts than this, He will be faithful to be there for those suffering intense pain.
So when you are feeling like your sufferings and hurts have no purpose, please just remember that God will work it out for good if you let Him. You can fight Him, but He wants to give you a good life. He wants to use you. Don't even feel like what you're going through is for nothing. It may seem pointless, but with God, there is always a point to everything. Let Him lead you.
This post seems rather chaotic and random, but I hope someone receives from this. Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Crippling Fear

My first year of college is finished! It's crazy how time flies, but at the same time it feels like this past year has been five years because of all that I learned and how much I've grown. It was hard to leave Elim. Even though it is just for the summer, it's hard to leave such a strong healthy community like that. You quickly become so entwined with one another's lives. It's also such a protected environment spiritually and emotionally. It's easy to live for God there. It's easy to feel safe and accepted more than any other place I've been. I don't think I realized just how different Elim was from home until I got home.
I was expecting to be spiritually attacked when I got home, because it normally happens. I wasn't expecting it to come in the way it did though. Usually I get hit with depression and gloom. I was determined not to let that happen again. I prayed often God would give me strength in that area. My attack didn't come is this way. It came in the area of fear...crippling fear. My first night home from Elim I began to feel very ill. I felt like the room was spinning, I became really hot and my heart started to pound. "Perhaps I didn't have enough protein," I thought to myself. So I began to eat nuts, but the feeling became worse and worse. "Am I having a heart attack," I thought. Surely I am to young for that. But as I thought about it I became fearful. I was afraid I needed to go to the hospital. I started to tremble all over. I must have scared my poor mother half to death! I asked her to pray with me. I couldn't seem to think straight. Everything was a blur and nothing made sense. I was trying to figure out if I needed to go to the hospital or if this was a spiritual attack. I asked God with the little strength I had to utter words. I began to realize it was a spiritual attack because every time my mom would touch my arm or say Jesus I started to shake more violently. I had no strength to do anything. I would try to worship or try to pray and shakes would overtake my body even more. "Oh God," I whispered, "I have no strength. Please help me. I can't do anything. Please help me." Whenever I would think it was starting to subside, it came back full force again. I listened for God's voice and heard, "Kelsey, you are fine. Nothing is wrong with you. You're going to be fine. Satan wants you dead." I told my mom what I heard and we starting saying it out loud. Slowly, the shaking starting to stop. As truth was spoken, the lie began to die. The lie that I was going to die or that something was seriously wrong with me. I started to sing Jesus over and over. Then I started to sing "There is Power in the Name if Jesus." The shakes subsided completely. My mom and I breathed a sigh of relief. This may sound crazy, or impossible, or psychotic, but I've never had anything happen like this to me. Since then I've had about 3 incidents like this but much milder. It happened once in church while I was on worship team. I didn't shake but I had major anxiety. Same thing happened on the way to the doctors last week, and the last thing I wanted to share was what happened last night. Before I went to bed I was worshiping and spending time with God. I went to bed feeling so full of peace. I was asleep for about an hour and I woke up with thoughts like, "What if God isn't really real? Maybe this is all in my head. What if I died tonight? What would happen?" I was overwhelmed with fear. I cried out to God, "Show me you're here God. Show me it's not in my head." I'd try to relax but I couldn't. I once again listened for God's voice and I heard Him again. "You're safe, you're loved, you're accepted.You're safe, you're loved, you're accepted," I heard Him say over and over and over again. I slowly relaxed and fell asleep.
You may think I'm a mental case now, and that's okay. I shared this that you might know how to battle with fear and doubt. I know God must be having me go through all this for some reason, and I'm sure He doesn't mind me sharing with you what I've learned from it all. When you are attacked, listen for the voice of peace. God is there speaking to you. Find His voice in your situation. Listen to what He says and declare it out loud. That's God speaking truth into your situation. He's there with you even when you feel overwhelmed and confused. He's there to be the voice of truth. Don't listen to the lies of the enemy. I'm certainly no expert, but I'm learning and so far this is the only thing that's been working. Maybe you aren't sure of God's voice. Maybe you doubt that you can hear Him. If you've accepted Christ, you can hear Him. It takes practice to recognize His voice. Start by reading your Bible. Read Jesus' words a lot. You can learn to recognize His voice by really getting His Word inside you. Read and meditate and memorize! Yes...memorize. That's one I have to work on. Also, journal. Write down what you think God is saying to you, even if you're not sure if it's Him. Practice makes perfect. God will show you if you're wrong. Obviously if it doesn't line up with Scripture it's not accurate. That's why learning the Word is important. But don't be so afraid to hear God wrong. You can't learn anything unless you're willing to make a mistake now and then. God's grace covers you. The truth is, you will hear wrong sometimes, but don't let that stop you from listening and stepping out on what He says. You'll learn quickly His voice. I'm simply sharing my heart and what God has taught me recently and within the past five years or so. He wants to speak to us and He is. Are you listening? He has so much to teach us! And we can only fight against the attacks of the enemy if we know His Word and know His voice. Knowing the Word without knowing His voice is not enough. You need to know His voice in order that He can speak into your specific situation. Knowing His voice without the Word is not enough. You are bound to get wrong ideas and not hear His voice accurately without the Word to guide you. I hope this is helpful to someone. God is the conqueror. In Him is victory. So don't fear if you feel like you're being kicked around by the enemy. So am I. And I can tell you God has something to impart to you and something to teach you in all of this.