Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Faithful God

“When we look back and see trials, God sees testimony. When we look back and see suffering, He sees blessing.” -David Nasser

Faithful: loyal, constant, and steadfast

- - - - - -

When I came to visit Liberty back in January, Kari Jobe sang “Great I Am.”  For those of you that are new around here, one of my best friends, Paige, passed away in 2012 and this was her favorite worship song.  Since then it has become my anthem, one that is still emotional and heart wrenching, but so very powerful.

Back to January.  I wrote about this experience in convocation (chapel) in this post, explaining how the Lord was further convincing me that Liberty was where I needed to be.

- - - - - -

Last Wednesday night, I was sitting in campus church and they began to sing “Never Once.”

Standing on this mountaintop
Looking just how far we’ve come
Knowing that for every step
You were with us

Never once did we ever walk alone
Never once did You leave us on our own
You are faithful, God, You are faithful

Tears filled my eyes as I remembered the Sunday after Paige passed away when I sat in church sobbing while they played this song, wondering how in the world my “faithful” God let her die, how He took her from me.

Again on Sunday morning in church, they played the same song and again I pictured little 15 year old Bailey sitting in church crying, questioning God, angry at Him.

But as the tears started to fall down my cheeks, I was only able to reflect on the last three years and all that God has done to bring me where I am today.

Today I am no longer bitter or angry with God. No, I am completely the opposite. I am thankful to Him for refining me and bringing me through the fire.

Today I no longer question Him and His plan for my life because I know He has my best interest in mind, no matter how hard it may seem in the moment.

Today when a trial comes my way, I hold fast to my Jesus. I hold fast to Him and the promises He’s made to me.

When I shared my testimony with some of my friends here at school, I found myself in tears over God’s faithfulness in my life over these past three years.

This week He has constantly been saying to me, “I am faithful. I am faithful. I am faithful.”

He hasn’t put me down so far…and I know that He will forever have me in His hands. Words can’t express all of the ways He has been showing me His faithfulness…from beautiful sunsets, heartfelt conversations with friends, new friendships that are beautifully brought together by Christ…

Tonight we stood again in campus church and they began to play “Great I Am.”  Tears immediately fell down my cheeks and all I could do was worship.

Because He knows.

He knew that tonight I’d be sharing my testimony with my prayer and life group. He knew that it’s been a long week. He knew that I needed a reminder that it’s okay to miss Paige, especially in this stage of life.

He knows that I need to be constantly reminded of the fact that I desperately need Him every moment, every hour, every minute of every day.  He knows that in a world that fails me, I need someone who is faithful no matter what.  He knows just how much I need Him, His love, His peace…

He knows how much I need my Father, the Great I Am, the One who is greater than any wave of affliction that comes my way, the One who calms every storm and brings us through the fire stronger than ever.

So tonight, in the early, early hours of September 24th, 2015…another 24th is going by and I miss my Paige just as much as I did the day she died.

But it’s another 24th where I’m saying to my Father, Thank You for Your faithfulness to me. Thank You for refining me and bringing me through the fire…and being faithful in every step of this story You’re writing for me. 

Jesus, I am in love with You.

Praise God that when we see trials, He sees testimony, when we see suffering, He sees the most challenging, beautiful, redeeming, grace-filled blessing.

Praise God that He is faithful…always.

Deuteronomy 31:6, "Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you."


Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Lessons at LU


"Accept or act in accordance with"


"Expressing gratitude and relief"

How much.

"What amount or price"

Over this last month at Liberty (I need to write another post devoted to my experiences and college life) God has been teaching me.  I've been trying to stay in a stance of humility so that I'm always able to hear when He speaks to me.

Just in this last week, each time He's spoken it's only been in one or two word phrases.

Abide. Thankful. How much.

He's been teaching me how beautiful it is when I- heart and soul -abide in Him.  When, throughout the day, I stop and remember to rest in Him, to let His peace take over my heart and bring a sense of calm throughout my soul.

The definition of abide reads "Accept or act in accordance with."  But abiding in Christ is so much more than that.  When I choose to abide in Christ, I am choosing not only to accept His plan, but to embrace it, to find joy in each day He has for me.  I am choosing to act and speak with genuine joy and acceptance of His plan, no matter how difficult it may seem.

He's been teaching me that no matter how long the day is, no matter how many homework assignments I have left to do at midnight, there is always something to be thankful for. Whether it be friends who remind you of family, a team of leadership who exemplifies Christ beautifully, or worshipping in chapel earlier that day...there is beauty in every day.  If you're saying, "I'm in the valley, in darkness that seems to deep to crawl out of."  He tells us there is beauty even in the ashes.

Be thankful.

Just tonight as I walked back from the library on the brink of tears over tests and homework and assignments all due at once, I couldn't get this phrase out of my mind: I just can't believe how much I have to get done. It's too much. I don't know how I'll get it done. 

But in that moment, I had a nudging just to glance up at the sky to try to get a peak at the stars. There have only been a handful of times that the stars have outshone the street lights up here on campus. But tonight was one of those nights. I looked up and the stars shone down and God whispered,

My daughter, you have no idea how much love I have for much greater I am than anything you are much grace will be awaiting you when you awake in the many wonderful blessings I have for you in the coming minutes, hours, days, and weeks if you will abide in me and be thankful...and remember just how much love I have for you, that the stars would shine so bright on a night when your heart is so overwhelmed. 

These are lessons He is teaching me up here at Liberty University.  So tonight, as you might expect, I have quite a few things to be thankful for.  As I have been abiding in Him in these last few weeks, and hopefully in the weeks to come, I can't wait to continue to see just how much my Savior has in store for me.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-19, "Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."


P.S. If you haven't purchased With All of Your Heart yet, I would love if you read it and told your friends about it :)