The Lord is My Shepherd

1:24:00 AM

well. God answers prayer. And I really love that about Him, you know, but then I think I might really have to start thinking about what I pray before I pray it, right?
Like, I say these prayers that I think are nice and simple- like, "make me completely dependent on you, Lord" and sometimes I go a little more radical "Lord, shake the things that need to be shaken in my life, that I would only have my foundation in you"...and then, go figure, He goes and does it?

So it's been the craziest couple weeks in my life thus far. And this is coming from a girl whose been to Africa, went to Bible college in England, and did a summer in Europe.

I didn't realize quitting sr high would open up such a crazy can of worms that is the insanity that is my mind and heart. But its been worth it all.

You see, I quit sr high last Saturday/Sunday, went to prayer Sunday night where the Lord truly ministered to my heart and confirmed I was in His will, went to College and Career Monday and really felt such confirmation that yes- I am supposed to be there.  Tuesday night Girl's study confirms it more. And Wednesday night (my first night of no sr high so I went into the sanctuary) confirmed it even more as Pastor Joe taught on David's heart to build the temple and how it wasn't for him to do. Thursday night I met and prayed with my friend Carli who is going through a similar situation and we were able to encourage each other...the weekend is kind of a blur of socialization and good convos, but the warfare for me went into high gear on Sunday night...

I went to Sunday night prayer and was truly blessed but I just started feeling the doubt and fear creeping in about everything. Like, could I really do this? Did I really want to do this? I've been taking care of someone from my church's mom three nights a week this summer overnight and when I went Sunday night I just had overwhelming anxiety about everything. I literally just had to put on the helmet of salvation and the breastplate of righteousness- drew my sword of the Spirit and threw out some verses- and went to bed.

Monday and Tuesday just continued in the discouragement. Whereas last Monday and Tuesday I saw so much fruit in my College and Career ministry, now I just felt dead there. What was going on??? Wasn't this where God wanted me???

 It was like I'd stepped out of the boat looking at Jesus originally and was doing great- and next thing you know I noticed the waves crashing around me. The verses I read were Psalm 77 

Your way was through the sea,
your path through the great waters;
yet your footprints were unseen. 
2 You led your people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron. (19-20)
looking at the rest of Psalm 77 and realizing it I read that Tuesday morning is blowing my mind! Its all so perfect for that I wish I would have recalled it to my mind...)

You see, the Lord's been giving me this theme just constantly that He is my Good Shepherd. And this verse was just perfect for what I was going through- I was like, why in the world would the Lord lead me this turbulent way? But I'm safe- I just need my eyes set on my Jesus and not on what seems like the impossible walls of water surrounding me.

At this point I should mention this really isn't all about Sr High. It's what Sr High represents in my life. Everything constant. Everything I thought was stable. Everything I thought I had some right to- that it belonged to me. Everything I depended on... Everything I found sustenance in. 
Was I willing for it, and everything like it, to really come crashing down?
And to really just have the Lord?
And this is when it really gets to the heart of it all.
I don't trust God. I don't really trust His love for me. I'm not willing to really let Him love me, to really let my relationship with Him sustain me. I'm not really willing to be vulnerable.

One of my wonderful godly mentors of life helped me realize these things. God is intimate. (sound familiar???- yeah, about a year ago- exact quote.)
And he gave me the same verse he gave me last year... Psalm 37:4 "Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart."
But here's the funny thing, at Coatesville the Lord gave me that verse too, when one of the sr highers was sharing from that chapter, that verse and the surrounding ones stuck out to me:

" Trust in the LORD, and do good;
dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness. 
 Delight yourself in the LORD,

and he will give you the desires of your heart.
 Commit your way to the LORD

trust in him, and he will act.
 He will bring forth your righteousness as the light,

and your justice as the noonday.
 Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him" (3-7)

And that really comes down to what the Lord was calling me to do. He wasn't saying, "replace sr high with college and career and keep being so busy and not spending time at my feet." He wanted me to be still. To draw near to Him.
And I'm going to be honest.
That freaks me out.
Being busy is easy for me. It's safe. It's how I thought you showed people you loved you got people to love you- you serve, right? And it's easier to serve than to sit and open up your heart to someone to let them in...cause what if they let you down? what if they hurt you?
And I know that I'm talking about God here. I know that He doesn't leave or forsake me. That He's perfect. That His love is perfect.
There's a lot of stuff I know.
There's a lot of stuff I tell other people.
But when it comes down to really risking my heart- my feelings- I'm scared.

I had a panic attack Tuesday night. I was at the old woman's house taking care of her and I lost it. I knew all the verses to go to. I knew all the right thoughts to think. I literally had Rob Paoletti preaching Psalm 23 on my ipod in my ear. My friend texted me the perfect passages of scripture. It was all exactly everything I needed to hear. But...the connection from my head to my heart had short-circuited. And I lost it. 
I did fall asleep. But I was more confused than ever. I'm supposed to be staking everything in a God who let me just lie there and have a panic attack now? I'm letting go of every other foundation and now I feel like I'm on the shakiest ground there is? I stepped out of the boat and now I'm going to drown?
But here's the deal- "“Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life," (John 6:68)
As traumatic as it was, in the light of day, I know that the Lord is my Good Shepherd. And even thought His footprints are unseen sometimes- I've seen them before. And He let everything rock in my life Tuesday night so that the other morning I could sit and really seek Him. 
And I did. Because I really really needed Him.
  And I realized I translated the way I am with people onto God. 

When I was younger, I was definitely not cool (yes, less cool than I am even now). In like 3rd grade, I had a really good friend, who actually was cool, who left me for the "cool group." I tried to follow her, until her friends asked me to stop following her around because I was annoying.
This may sound super stupid and petty, but honestly, this was a defining moment in my life.
I don't think I really ever trusted that people wanted me around again.
Like, I hope that people want to be with me, but so that I don't lose face or get hurt, I always have a back up joke or a back up excuse as to why it really doesn't mean anything to me if they don't want to be.
I pretend to draw near confidently to people, but always with a certain hesitation, just in case...just in case I actually annoy them or they don't want me to be around.
I won't truly depend on other people. I  don't trust that they'll pull through. Stupid things- like I would always have back up food or drink if other people offer to bring them, because I don't trust them.
So I really don't like to ask for help. Or expect people to supply my needs.
And if you just have low expectations for people than of course they will never let you down.
Don't even get me started on relationships...I won't even go there. I'm so freaked out at the idea of ever being that close to anyone.

And I translated that whole heap- all the walls and barriers and mistrust- all my back up plans to God. 
Because, even thought I know God loves me...there's that "what if?" So I've had my "back up plan" of my filthy rags to fall back on. My servings. My being good. My self righteousness. I know I'm saved by His grace and because of His love for me...but when it comes down to putting my money where my mouth is: I don't really trust Him.

And so I went back and read the verses I gave to other girls. To girls that I stayed up till 2 am sharing how much God loves them. How He wants to be their Husband. To lavish His love on them. How they can draw near to His throne confidently.
And I read them for myself.
Because: God loves me.
God loves me.
Amazing Love- how can it be, that You my King would die for Tiffany?
Amazing Love, I know its true...
and its my joy to honor You.

And I'm still growing in this. I'm learning to Be still. And I'm still somewhat freaked out. But I'm learning its true- "perfect love casts out all fear." He's giving me strength to "know the height and depth and breadth" of His great love for me. 
There's never going to stop being more to know of His love. His thoughts toward me. His desire for me. The way He sees me. 

One year ago He answered this promise to me. But He revealed these verses to me in such a new way this morning. 

Fear not, for you will not be ashamed;
be not confounded, for you will not be disgraced;
for you will forget the shame of your youth,
and the reproach of your widowhood you will remember no more.
 For your Maker is your husband,
the LORD of hosts is his name;
and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer,
the God of the whole earth he is called.
 For the LORD has called you
like a wife deserted and grieved in spirit,
like a wife of youth when she is cast off,
says your God.
 For a brief moment I deserted you,
but with great compassion I will gather you.
 In overflowing anger for a moment
I hid my face from you,
but with everlasting love I will have compassion on you,”
says the LORD, your Redeemer.
 “This is like the days of Noah to me:
as I swore that the waters of Noah
should no more go over the earth,
so I have sworn that I will not be angry with you,
and will not rebuke you.
 For the mountains may depart
and the hills be removed,
but my steadfast love shall not depart from you,
and my covenant of peace shall not be removed,”
says the LORD, who has compassion on you.
Isaiah 54

I love Him. Because He first loved me. I'm so thankful. 

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