Friday, July 28, 2017

Praise the Lord

Praise the Lord oh my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name. Psalm 103:1

When I stop to really think about where I am at in life, I am humbled and yet broken. Inside me, my fire rages on to explore and seek life. The outlying factors of the world around me consume and rob joy AT TIMES., but only AT TIMES. I get caught up and worrisome, filled with fear and anger. I develop a rough exterior that keeps people at a distance. Yet, when I am forced to face the reality of life and grief, it brings me to my knees, it knocks the wind out of me, makes my stomach tie itself in knots, and sometimes hinders me from being fully honest with myself. When I allow the tears to roll and my heart to be moved by stories of the Lord's goodness in my life, this is when the Lord can truly work in and through me.

These moments of complete and utter vulnerability and honesty is where I find rest and healing. The moments when I talk about Kyle and our relationship to those who have never heard it before, sparks a light in my eye of the love we shared. I get giddy, happy, and love remembering the good times Kyle and I had together. I am reminded of how the Lord has protected me in my life over and over again. I see his provision and opportunity for me to walk in a life that is filled with awe and wonder. I see what it looks like to walk in grace and truth with others but more importantly to learn how to have grace upon myself on a daily basis. I am learning how to continually speak truth over my mind and body as I heal mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. God is at work no matter where I am, whether half way around the world or not.

Most of you know I am in Malaysia. This trip is truly a gift from the Lord because I have been thinking about coming here for a couple years now and it finally happened. I mentioned to Kyle last year that I wanted to go and how him and I could potentially go visit my family together. He was all excited to travel with me and explore more of the world around us. Even though we will never travel together again, I know that without a doubt, he is proud of me for always stepping up and moving forward. As Brittany and I traveled here, I was overwhelmed with emotions. I have bawled countless times in the past several days, could be part jet lag and exhaustion but I say it is me letting my guard down a bit. I am thankful for having such a loving family in my life who enters into such emotional times and encourages me by speaking truth to me.

My family has been here in Malaysia for many years now and I am thankful to have had family around the world where I am welcomed anytime. Nicky and Barb have opened their home to me where I feel at home. I was welcomed with open and loving arms. They desire to get to know me, listen to the story I have to share, pray over me and my loved ones, and share truth with me as I walk through this journey of healing. Each one of them have an amazing testimony of the Lord's constant hand in their lives. I am encouraged by their love for the Lord and walking in faith on a daily basis. Their stories not only are encouraging to me, but they also challenge me to have bigger faith and live more boldly than I do now. By coming here, I thought I might be running away but that has not been the case so far. Rather I feel as though I am running towards healing. I feel as if this place is a calm and inviting place for me to heal and grow in the Lord. I am surrounded by those who love me and love God even more.

I say praise the Lord not only for being here in Malaysia and being able to travel, but I say it because I have completed another semester of masters classes. I only have one semester left and I am beyond excited to graduate in December. Through this season of schooling, I have struggled to maintain my focus and drive. I have always wanted to be the best and do my best in everything I attempt. I am realizing more and more that being the best is different than doing my best. These past 2 semesters have been exhausting and challenging on so many levels. I have had friends and family encourage me along the way to finish strong. Praise the Lord for the ability to think and process more and more each day. It has been a real struggle and I am thankful it is getting better.

I say praise the Lord for new life. Kyle's sister, my sister now, just had her first baby girl, Piper Kyle. Piper is absolutely beautiful and precious. Piper was born at 2:22pm on 7/27/17. I was moved to tears when Carla (Kyle's mom) text me and said that she can't wait for Piper to meet her Aunt Abbey. Praise the Lord for such love and connection. I am thankful for being able to be her Aunt Abbey. She is truly a gift from the Lord. I am extremely excited to hold her come August when I get to see everyone in Iowa! I am thankful for my new family for opening their home, wanting to spend time with me, and show me Kyle's stomping grounds. They are truly a blessing to have in my life!

I say praise the Lord for friendships new and old ones. For learning how to walk in truth and honesty with one another. The Lord has brought restoration and healing in incredible ways with friends of mine that I never thought would happen. I am learning how to die to self in the way of learning how to love others the way Christ would want me to love them. It is challenging to step outside myself, lay down my wants and needs for the betterment of another. It is amazing how the Lord has used friends to walk beside me in this journey that I thought never thought would be there for me again. Friends who want to enter in the real pain and grief that I face every day. Thank you to those friends for stepping up and being there, your words, love, kindness, and truth hold a lot of meaning in my life right now.

Praise the Lord for beautiful scenery and animals. The house I am staying in has 2 balconies with one facing the ocean and the other facing the jungle. It is truly a gift to see another part of the world. We are staying on a island. It as we begin to embark on our adventures, we have no sense of urgency or need to go at any pace. This type of life is relaxing and stress free. I am awake while everyone back home is asleep and vise versa. It is pleasant to not be attached to my phone as I do not have service and everyone is sleeping. I keep thinking of how it is the little things in life that seem to bring the most joy. The first day I was here, we have about 20 monkeys hanging around the car. My family said that they have never seen such a siting since they have been here. I smile and laugh that I was welcomed by monkeys.

Today, I am filled with thankfulness. Tomorrow may not be the same feelings. Tomorrow may be a time of complete sadness, but each day is new. I do know though that no matter the mindset or feelings I have, the Lord is always with me watching over me. I know that I am healing on all levels. I know that the Lord is faithful and good to me. I know that no matter where I am, I am always loved by Kyle and more importantly I am always loved by my Heavenly Father. So, Praise the Lord today.

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