The Right Heart

 

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The greatest adventure we ever go on is the one we never planned.  Most often the road we don’t want to travel on is exactly the road we’re led down. We have wants, needs, and desires but how can they stand up to the power of our Almighty God, the Alpha and Omega? The reality of life going the way we planned is slim and I can tell you the plans we make are vastly inferior to the path God prepared for us. This truth is evident in so many lives. The road I walk is characterized and guided by one important truth, Jesus. Nothing more, nothing less.

The journey to this current place has been marked by sacrifice, uncertainty, joy, pain, frustration, faith, discernment, and most of all patience.

Patience, something I am learning in a new and fresh way, a lifestyle and not just an ability.

Patience is more than the capacity to accept or tolerate trouble/suffering without getting upset. Patience is the pursuit of experiencing peace without having clarity.


 

I wrote the above months ago and left it. Knowing there were words to finish but not fully understanding what they were. As I sit here though, I realize i’ve taken in one of the greatest lessons any of us can learn. God willing, I have learned enough that next time will not be as painful.

Life is always shifting, forever changing, and if we let it, it can be the greatest ride of all time.  All we have to do, is be willing to pay the price of admission. Most of us have felt those pre-ride jitters. Those moments before the ride begins where we immediately think, “Oh no. I’ve made a horrible decision and the only logical response is I have to get off. Right now.” Yet, we stay on, the intensity grows, the sweat continues to pour (if you’re anything like me) and then just like that, we’re flying through unimaginable loops, swirling to and fro, dropping from irresponsible heights. Not knowing if we should open our eyes or close them. Never knowing what part of the ride comes next, only that we understand it’s not over yet. Then, after a thrill, several loops, and a minute and a half, the ride is over.

This is life.

If i’ve learned anything about it, it’s that I never know what to expect. Sometimes I can’t open my eyes for fear of what I’ll see. Sometimes I throw my hands up with jubilance at the joy of flying through whatever it is that’s coming up, because like I just said, I don’t actually ever know what’s happening. If i’m being honest though, I think a bit of that is healthy, understanding that we can’t take life too seriously and we definitely can’t control 100% of it.

There are seasons of obedience, perseverance, planning, organizing, and so much more. There are things we can do to achieve the goals we long to accomplish, and by no means am I insinuating that we should just float through life without care or direction. I only mean, we have to be willing to see the joy through the disappointment. To allow ourselves to experience pain but continue to be a student through it.

That’s why I wrote the section above. I thought I had arrived to a dream come true. The accumulation of hard work and studying was all gathered in one place, in one title, in one community. I have learned how beautifully wrong I was. That’s why I write about having, “The Right Heart”.  We have to be willing to accept the reality of life, good or bad, with a humble heart and teachable spirit. What once may have been, may not be, but that does not define us, it directs us.

I’ve been so encouraged through the hardships, through the failures, through the ever changing dreams God places on my heart because at the end of the day, I realize it’s not about me. It never has been. It never will be. It’s about others. Walking with them through life, encouraging them, challenging them to be all they can be, always.

Let us never lose sight of that. Ever.

Fasten your seatbelt, calm your nerves, close your eyes if you have to, but get on the ride. It’s what you were made for. I believe in you and I believe you’re on the greatest ride.

All my love, always

Maria

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Never give up.

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Three words, never give up.

For several weeks I found myself praying the same prayer, “God, how do I love people like you do?” Last week I received my answer.

During worship I was thankful for so many things but one stood out so strongly.  I was so grateful that despite everything i’ve done, not done, said, not said, God never gave up on me.  Seriously, if you stop to think about everything you’ve been through and said, I hope you are able to see the same faithfulness in your life.  If you’re not able to see it yet, you will.

It was in that moment of complete awe that I realized, that is how I am to love others.

At times, it can seem as if I give up on people. By nature I am an all in, all out person. Black and white, all the way. I think I get it from my dad. Sometimes that is a good thing and sometimes it isn’t.  Either way, what i’m learning is, being out doesn’t mean giving up. You can have healthy distance, healthy boundaries and still not give up on people.

After all Romans 2:4 says it is God’s kindness that leads us to repentance. I pray to live with that type of kindness. Not so that people can repent to me, but so people live right with their Father.  

I never want my actions to become a stumbling block for others.

The solution i’m working through with this answer right now is prayer. What a strong, first defense to have.  Prayer changes everything.  If I am able to submit others before the Lord, then surely I will never give up on them, because he never gives up on us.

My current food for thought this week. Enjoy.

-MH

Ad Maiora – to greater things

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The title says it all. We are in a constant state of growing and heading to greater things. That is the season I find myself in lately and probably, my next tattoo.

In the about section I wrote that I had just graduated from attaining my second Bachelor’s and received a certificate in ministry. Such a great accomplishment, but at times the hardest.

Ministry school is not for the weak in heart or spirit.  They always told us, “If there is something else you can/want to do with your life, do that.”  If you’re not completely dedicated to life in ministry, there will come a time the devil will talk you out of it. I encountered that conversation in my head halfway through my time in school. There was a moment I wasn’t sold into all of it and I almost sold out.

Instead though, I chose to dig deeper and found the world around me changed. It was a blessing in disguise of a little pain and hurt. Yet, I wouldn’t take any of it back. Not a moment.

Back to the theme of all of this, to greater things.

One of my closest friends left today to follow God’s call on his life. He is an inspiration when it comes to living a life headed to greater things. He came to a crossroads in life, as many of us do, and I am proud to say he chose the path less traveled.  The road that took him from boy to man. The road that was painful but brought him closer to the Lord. The Bible says it this way:

Matthew 7:13-14, “You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The road that leads to destruction is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way. But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it.”

So, if you find yourself going down a road that seems too good to be true, it may be. Are there a lot of people doing what you do? Or, are you making decisions few make, not for your benefit, but for the benefit of people you haven’t met yet? That second road is probably the one you need to take. I say need because you won’t always want to make that decision. Trust me, I know.

I say all of this because this is the theme I want to write on. I want to write about our journey to greater things. I never want to focus on what holds us back, but the things that propel us forward. There are lots of moments where we can choose to stay or grow. I choose to grow.

It is funny because my friend wrote me a letter before he left. He closed it with, “Go change the world like you changed me.” Change. That is what it is all about.  We hope that by our changes, our choices, we will inspire others to do the same.  We are constantly changing/growing to look more like something.  What do you want to look more like? What do your actions say you want to look like? Sometimes what we think and what we portray are different, and we don’t even realize it. I hope to look more like Jesus every day. He is all I need, all I want, forever.

I leave you with this on the first post, are you headed to greater things?

If not, make the choice to change. Change your surroundings. Head to greater and not just good.

If you are headed to greater things, keep going! Fight the good fight! Live in a way that inspires others to choose the path less traveled. You will be blessed because of it.

All my love,

Maria