He’s hard at work on my heart…

God is really working hard on me this week…

To start things off, my mom was told that she has cancer. That made me think of everyone I know who’s had cancer, and of course, my mind initially went towards the worst of things that could happen, so needless to say, I was a complete disaster. I told one of my best friends about it over the phone.. bawling and rambling one night on our back porch, basically hiding my reactions from my family for the meantime.

See, I know that God has it, and that He is working through this problem, as well as other medical issues because there is something else, something better to come of it in the end. But the thing is, the day you find something like that out, is a very hard day to get through without freaking out to some degree. So there I was, blubbering on the back porch on my phone, and my friend was extremely supportive and encouraging. She told me, because she is becoming a nurse, facts about this type of cancer, which were very enlightening and actually lifted a terrible fear off my mind. She also told me that she sees that my mom is strong and a fighter, and she thinks she’ll get through it just fine.

Later that night, I talked to another of my best friends, from college. I told him I was terrified of what could happen. He was extremely supportive as well and was advising me to listen to a relevant song, pray, read a passage in the bible, and rest. So when I did those things, a huge burden was lifted, and I felt much more free and I knew that God is in control. I had always known that He is, but in times like that, I tend to lose focus and see only the situation for a few minutes.. those few minutes are enough to cause uncertainty. I knew, that if I took it all by faith, everything would turn out okay, and I would feel more stable with God, instead of my fears.

When I was talking to him, though, a devotional had popped up from a ministry’s facebook page that I liked. (Proverbs 31 ministry) This post was entitled “From Panic to Peace.” The main emphasis is on worry vs peace in God. My friend had mentioned that the worry isn’t from God, and that I didn’t have to be terrified and frantic, because that’s not how God intends it to be for His children.

So now, a few days later, I found yet another devotional from this page… And this lady was writing about her battle with cancer. She talked about how she couldn’t see the good in it, or any degree of fairness. She knew, by her beliefs, that God was in control, but it was a very hard process for her to go through. Her testimony about trusting God with this situation was inspiring to me.. especially because of what happened in my heart and mind a few days prior to finding this.

Last week, I was saying things like “God’s got this..”, “Trust Him with it. He wants the best for this..”, and even “It’s hard now, but there will be good that comes from it, because God is working in this.” However, Was I actually believing all of that wholeheartedly? Unfortunately, I think I was primarily saying it to try to encourage people and “look on the bright side.” I mean, yes, I believed it, but how much was I actually taking by faith in Him? Not all that much. I was doubting a lot, but I would never let on to that, no… I wanted to be this strong believer in the face of trials and life or death situations, but I think I need a lot more faith than that to be successful in that in my own heart, especially. I have been struggling a lot with trusting God completely, with everything in my life. And this happens.

It seems silly, but by my human nature, of course I want control. I want to feel like I can be independent and powerful. However, I’m not supposed to. I need to trust God with EVERYTHING. Yes, it’s hard, but it’s necessary. I know this.. I do. But it’s incredibly hard to accomplish. Heck, I don’t know if anyone truly has accomplished this in everything in their life. It’s that much of a process.

However…. that’s not even half of what God’s been busy with..

The next day was better. I was happier, still thinking, still concerned, but not as frantic or terrified. I was easing into things, and God was helping me relax and trust Him with the situation. So that was getting better. I’ve been encouraging my family, asking for prayer from friends and family, etc, and it seems to be less of a panicked area of our lives at the moment. Thankfully I had a few friends I could go to, and not cause a huge blowout in my family, because we were all a big tight bundle of nerves over all of it. We’ve barely begun this thing, though, but I’m hoping that God is going to bring us into it all with our hope placed in Him and His love.

The next couple days, though, were slowly building to something, which is what I’ve been handling yesterday and today. the first couple days were pretty smooth and we were busy and I was talking to some friends on the phone, catching up with some people, and enjoying most of my time. Then.. last night happened.

To give you a little background…

First off, you should know, I have done my schooling mostly online or through homeschooling, until college. 1st grade was an online curriculum, 2nd, I was home-schooled by my parents, then 3rd-12th, I was cyber-schooled again. So I’ve had my fair share of the online worlds of communication and friendships…It can be a wonderful place, if you find the right places and people.

I had a conversation with a friend at college early in the semester… bad cyber communication experiences came up, which reminded me of something I had experienced back in middle school, which I will explain shortly. So I didn’t say much about it, but it came to mind and I was able to empathize with my friend’s situation pretty well, so I encouraged her and told her I understood all too well. Then, a couple months later (a few weeks ago), I had a heart-to-heart with her and another friend. This other friend told us her story, about things she had been thinking about in recent months, all in reference to bullying. I’m sure you can guess where this is going by now.

Not many people know this about me, but I was cyber bullied when I was younger. Middle school was an awful time in everyone’s lives.

My first encounter with bullying, was likely the worst I have ever come across. It was awful. I was threatened. I know it was an idle threat, because the idiot was across the country, but it terrified the innocent little middle school girl on the other side of the internet. I was literally scared for my life because of this guy. I was so terrified that I never talked about it until this week, actually. The only time I tried to after it happened, I was so terrified and hurt that I couldn’t verbalize it and just cried to my sister, who tried to perk me up and distract me, which I am still grateful for to this day.

So a few years later, I was “picked on” by some other guys. One was a jerk, the other was stupid and stuck up. The second was more annoying than anything else. The first one was hurtful. Which was his intention. By this time, I was better equipped to stand up for myself and tell him to shut up, which I did on several occasions. I also had a few close friends by then who were backing me up, thankfully.

At this point, I must have been in like 7th-8th grade, possibly even a little went on in 9th grade. Eventually it just stopped. I toughened up, told people off, ignored people, they got tired of it or changed, and it kind of fizzled out. I hadn’t thought much about my bullying experiences until recently, though.

So I was thinking about them yesterday, sparked by my two friends from college talking about some of their experiences. I realized that I still have so much to work on in my heart. I talked to a friend last night about all of it.. He was the first that I had told about it, and it was such a relief to tell someone.

I have struggled with my self-esteem for most of my life because of many factors and experiences. I won’t go into all of them here, but let’s just say I’ve dealt with a lot of things from the people in my life. And, as you might infer, I have some pretty serious trust issues because of things that I’ve had to deal with all of my life. Whether it’s betrayals, lies, sin, or even backhanded comments that were poorly placed or worded, but never accounted for. They ALL contributed to me destroying my self-esteem. Yes, I’ve changed a lot in the last year because I went to college, and it was all for the better, but I still have things to work through in that area, and definitely in trusting. Every broken heart, hurt feeling, insult, or doubtful thought that I’ve had has influenced me over time. Last year, I didn’t think much of myself at all. This year, I think a lot more positively of myself, but I know I still have trust issues because of things that have been said or done to me. I’m not holding anything against the people, but I’m simply saying that things were done to me that I unfortunately let destroy me over time, because I didn’t think to do anything differently. I let these insecurities change me and hurt me more and more.

Back to my day yesterday…

Earlier in the day, I had read Hebrews 11. Very good passage about faith. I recommend reading up on it if you haven’t, or need a refresher.

Then, talking to my friend, I told him about reading that, and he suggested reading Romans 8. About faith AND trusting God because He loves us. Also a very good passage. He also mentioned a couple songs about God’s love and faith. Let me tell you, way before this point, I knew that God wanted me to see something about faith that day… it had been showing up a few times in the days before this, as well. So I was expecting something to click at some point.

Unfortunately, what does click is basically a glimpse of the truth, and I don’t know that I’ll ever get the full picture of any of the truths that God wants me to know about. But, with all of these partials, it’s more than likely that God is fitting me into something bigger.

So I knew I needed to pick something up about my faith. And then I realized that I had serious trust issues, especially with guys. I’m usually very skeptical of them and their intentions for caring about me.. basically in any relationship, whether it’s friendships, romantic, or even family sometimes. I don’t like this skepticism. I would rather trust with a balance of CAUTION. Not flat-out fear of being hurt. I hate being in this place and not openly trusting and loving someone because I’m afraid I’ll be hurt yet again. I want it to go away, but I know I can’t just wish it away and be fine. I have to struggle through this with God guiding me. I know He has me. I know it’s not His intention for me to be living like that, so I know He wants it to change for me as well.

Then, today, I came across another devotional on Proverbs 31 ministry’s page. This one was entitled “Jumping out of airplanes.” It actually brought tears to my eyes because of this:

“Have the words of others or your past put limitations on you?

Have they caused you to fear, or to think that Jesus can’t use you because of your story?

Does it seem too hard, or too big?

“You do it.”

That’s Jesus, putting His vote of confidence in you, knowing He can supply all your needs.”

I then looked around for some other blogs from musicians and I found one from the wives of the men in Tenth Avenue North. Reading through a few of their blogs brought tears to my eyes as well because of the truths contained in them. (A Girl Like Me| Grace for The Everyday Girl)

Through all of this, God has been teaching me about Trust, Love, and Faith. In those, He has also recently taught me about forgiveness and boundaries in relationships with people. This week, I think He wants me to be focused on letting Him have control, knowing that He will get me where he wants me to be, and where I need to be in life. It’s a hard process. Some of the hardest things I’ve ever had to face, I have to face now, but I know that God is working through this for something so much better in my life.

Don’t lose hope. I know it’s easy to, and sometimes very tempting, but God has you. He really does.

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