Don’t forget to breath…

“The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life.” – Job 33:4

It’s been a while… but that’s ok. I feel like everyone goes through those highs and lows in their relationship with God. I know God hasn’t left me, He never has, nor ever will. “Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the Lord your God is the one who goes with you. He will never leave you or forsake you.” – Deuteronomy 31:6. There are times when I know I should be doing “better” in my walk with the Lord, if that makes sense. It’s funny, I always know when I am not spending enough time with Him, because He talks to me more – telling me to spend more time with Him. Those times when life gets a little out of whack and you aren’t spending enough time in prayer and aren’t submerging yourself in His Word as much as you should be? I don’t know how the Devil does it, he’s sneaky, one thing leads to another and all of a sudden I’m trying to think back to the last time I brought out my bible and just sat in the presence of Jesus. As discouraging as this can sound, I personally find it encouraging. Through it all, Jesus is always still waiting there to spend time with me; to talk to me, to read with me, to listen to me. In my imagination, I picture Jesus sitting at an outdoor cafe in Paris in the summer time. Everything is colourful and full of life, He’s drinking an espresso and has an extra chair across from Him at a bright yellow wrought iron table. He’ll make eye contact with me, take a sip from a glass espresso mug and wave me over to be with Him. Always. It doesn’t change. He is always welcoming, always loving. Why is it so easy to drift away from this???

cafeThe other day I was reading in my devotional book. It has been the first time in longer than I’d like to admit. My devotional book is written in first person, as God speaking directly to the reader, “Seek My Face [God’s] and you will find more than you ever dreamed possible. “Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life” – Philippians 4:7 MSG. Let Me displace worry at the center of your being. I am like a supersaturated cloud, showering peace into the pool of your mind. My nature is to bless, and your nature is to receive with thanksgiving. This is a true fit, designed before the foundation of the world. Glorify My be receiving My blessings gratefully! I am the goal of all your searching. When you seek Me, you find Me and are satisfied. When lesser goals capture your attention, I fade into the background of your life. I am still there, watching and waiting but you function as if you were alone. Actually, My light shines on every situation you will ever face. Live radiantly by expanding your focus to include Me in all your moments. Let nothing dampen your search for Me!”

“When You said, ‘Seek My face” my heart said to You, “Your face Lord, I will seek.” – Psalm 27:8

I continued to look at the book. I reread the words and felt so loved. This was the most gentle “I Told You So” and I realized how badly I had needed it. I closed my eyes and imagined Jesus at the bright yellow table in Paris. “I love you Payton. I will always love you, but I want you to love Me back in the same way.” He spoke softly and sipped His espresso.

“You will seek Me and you will find Me, when you seek Me with all of your heart.” – Jeremiah 29:13

The next day, God continued to show me His patience and love. My devotional said, “Come to Me with a thankful heart, so that you can enjoy My presence. This is the day that I have made. I want you to rejoice today, refusing to worry about tomorrow. Search for all that I have prepared for you, anticipating abundant blessings and accepting difficulties as they come. I can weave miracles into the most mundane day if you keep your focus on Me. Come to Me with all of your needs, knowing that My glorious riches are a more-than-adequate supply. Stay in continual communication with Me, so that you can live above your circumstances even while you are in the midst of them. Present you requests to Me with thanksgiving, and My peace, which surpasses all understanding, this will guard your heart and mind.” I felt like God was walking with me, and reached down to grab my hand as we would walk together.

“The Sovereign Lord is my strength, He makes my feet like the feet of the deer and helps me to climb the high places.” – Habakkuk 3:19

It is ultra cliche, but the importance of reading my Bible everyday has been refreshed in me. Staying in God’s Word and continually reading His love letter to us is vital to our walk with Him. I want to have feet that are able to climb the high places God may send me – but that will only happen if I spend time with God and allow Him to teach me and mould me so that when the time comes to climb high, I will be able to! If you’ve been feeling like you’re in a similar slump, I want to encourage you to grab your Bible and a coffee and go sit in a quiet room with lots of sunshine. Spend time with Jesus because He is already there waiting for you. God is patient and kind and softly nudges us to continue seeking Him. We are not perfect and the Lord knows that – so seek Him with all that your heart is able to!

 

 

 

 

-Stay Satisfied

You can only mold mud…

This past month God has been saying the same statement to me over and over. Every time I am praying – whether I’m asking for something, praying for someone or thanking Him for something else; He always says this single phrase that silences me. For example, the other day I was praying about an exam that I had that morning. It was a three hour exam that would be submitted to the NKBA design competition in October. They do it every year for students across Canada and the United States. The NKBA creates a kitchen design problem and students have three hours to come up with a design solution and draw a floor plan of their design. In their design they must include kitchen appliances made by the current sponsor of the competition. Students must fully dimension and note their floor plan and write a list of specifications that make their kitchen unique (like flooring, counter tops, style, etc.) and they have to either draw a perspective of the kitchen or draft an elevation of one of the kitchen walls. It may not sound like a lot, but it’s a lot of work to manage in three hours – they go by fast! Anyways, I was praying and asking the Lord to give me peace and calmness during the exam and that He would give me a design right away for the space. “Payton, Look how far I have brought you.” I stopped. Here I was, preparing to write a three hour exam where I would design, dimension and spec a kitchen I had never seen before. “Two years ago, it took you three hours to sketch a picture of an existing kitchen. Look how far I have brought you, where you are not only going to design a kitchen from scratch, but you are also going to draw and render that kitchen in three short hours. Do you believe that I have looked out for you all this time and will continue to look out for you now?” Yes God.

“Go back to your family, and tell them everything God has done for you.” So he went all through the town proclaiming the great things Jesus had done for him.”

– Luke 8:39

I don’t know if you’ve ever worked with clay, or if you were the world’s best mud sculptor like I was when I was four… but you can only mold mud. You can’t mold clay when it is wet and soggy and too moist; it doesn’t old it’s form. You also cannot mold clay when it is rock solid, nor can you mold dirt. You can only mold mud because it has a perfect, thick consistency; it’s soft enough to alter and hard enough to hold it’s form. I learned that lesson the hard way when I had taken a pottery class a couple years ago. I wanted to make a mug – a coffee mug, obviously. Something easy and classic. The teacher told us to always keep our clay wet so that it wouldn’t dry out early, because once clay is dry there’s no going back. So I grabbed a bowl of water and had it next to me while I formed my mug. Wetting it down like, every thirty seconds…. you can probably see where this is going. At the end of the class I wasn’t quite done, so I spritzed it – just to make absolutely sure it wouldn’t dry out, put a bag over it and left. The next class I came back and my mug had morphed into this massive bowl that was too big to use even for soup. My mug was so wet it just kept spreading outward. It was ridiculous. My teacher laughed as she picked up my creation – literally dripping clay ooze from her fingers she carried my hard work to the side and left it there. “Grab another cube girl!” So I grabbed another block of clay and vowed to myself that I wouldn’t over water it… like I do with all of my plants… anyways… do you know what happened? It dried out. I came back the next day and my half done clay creation literally had cracks the Sahara Desert would find impressive! I sucked at this pottery thing… Recently, my failure in pottery made me think about how God works in our own life. We have to be mud and mold-able. Not too wet where we think we have all the answers and can do everything for ourselves but also not to dry where we don’t want God’s help and want to run our lives our own way. We need to have a balance of wet and dry. Wet enough for God to mold and thick enough that we can hold the form that God makes us.

Buggy 1This past month has been a bit of a wake up call for me to see how much molding God has done in my life. Don’t get me wrong, I have totally been too wet and too dry at different times in my life – I won’t tell you that I’m perfect and have it all together. But when God was telling me the other day, to look and see how far He has brought me, it made me smile. Guys there is SO much in our life that goes unnoticed. All those little things the Lord lines up for us, the things He protects us from, I could go on and on – but I think it is so important to look back and be able to say, “Wow God. I used to be there.” Que Drake: Started from the bottom now we’re here… ♩ ♪ ♫  As I went into my design exam that morning; after God showing me that He has fully equipped me with the abilities to crush this exam I had so much joy and an indescribable peace. It was unreal. Recently I’ve been hooked on listening to the Inception soundtrack song: Time. It’s beautiful and there’s a ten hour loop of the song on YouTube – I won’t tell you how many times I’ve listened to the full ten hour loop, because it’s a little embarrassing. Anyways – I listened to this fabulous ten hour loop for my entire exam and it was so cool to listen how God used it. When the song is quiet and it’s mainly the strings playing or very soft piano God spoke to me and gave me inspiration. When the piano kicks up and the horns are in the background God steadied my hand and gave me speed to draft, draw and dimension. It was crazy. If you’ve ever seen the movie, I felt like Cobb at the end when they are getting off the plane and he’s looking around and everyone feels so boss and awesome. Throughout the exam God seemed to work with the music and motivated me. But the entire time I was working I can honestly tell you that I was not nervous. I was not stressed. In the moments where I was drawing blank, I shot up a quick prayer asking the Lord to guide me and then the music kicked up and He guided me. I’m actually listening to the loop right now and it’s incredible. Gah. All in all, the three hours ended and I can honestly tell you that I don’t know how I finished as much as I did, to the detail I did, in that time. When I would practice I always ran out of time, forgot simple things or wasn’t completely satisfied with my work when the timer went off. This one time – when it actually mattered; I finished, I was confident in my work and I was satisfied knowing that I did not complete that task on my own.

Buggy 2Guys, I don’t know what you’re going through right now. Maybe you are struggling to finish school. Look how far God has brought you. You are on the home stretch with finals! Go hard. Trust Him and finish strong! Maybe you are struggling at a job wondering if you’re in the right career? Look how far God has brought you. You are being challenged with something that a lot of other people right now WISHED they could be challenged with. Trust Him and power through! Maybe you are struggling in a relationship. Look how far God has brought you. There are so many things you can learn in a relationship with another person, but know that challenges in a relationship are not always a bad thing – sure they are not easy in the moment but they cause you and the person you’re with to come together and work it out and in doing so you become closer and stronger than you were before! Don’t back away from something difficult – because something great is on the other side. Maybe you are struggling because you are not in a relationship and wanting to be. Look haw far God has brought you. Just like there are many things you learn in a relationship, there are just as many – if not more things that a person learns by being single. Hold out for something great and believe that the Lord has someone in store for you! And while you are waiting, focus on being the person you are trying to find and develop yourself in areas you need to be strengthened. Maybe you are in pain physically. I don’t know what kind of pain you could be facing right now and I won’t tell you to suck it up but I will tell you that you are a Child of our God and He does not like to see you in pain either. Maybe the pain is from an accident where you could have died, or it could be the result of someone else – sometimes, looking back at how far God has brought us already can courage us to look forward and realize how much further our Father wants to bring us. Power on. Because He is most definitely with each and everyone of us.

 

 

 

– Stay Satisfied

 

I don’t know if it’s right – but it doesn’t feel wrong…

VW Bus BackSitting alone with God is such a wonderful thing. Actually taking those cliche moments to listen to the winds blowing through trees, to watch the colours in the sky change as the sun set or like last night; I was about to crash and noticed a bright green flicker from my bedroom window. I love the northern lights. It was actually on my bucket list to see them at one point. I may live in a classic, cute little down – but the view or the northern lights makes it unreal. I remember the most extraordinary time I saw the northern lights here; it was almost exactly a year ago – my friend and I decided we’d drive out of town into a random farmers field and sit in her car drinking coffee and watch this fantastic natural light show. It was one of the most surreal moments I’ve ever had in my life. Breathtaking. They were so bright; literally casting shadows beneath us when we stood outside the car. Everywhere we looked was glowing green. The lights were directly above us in that field – I could see the beams overhead; shooting straight up and I could see each time they flickered and moved. They were so close I felt as if they were swirling around us at one point. I just remember not having words to say; pure amazement. I don’t know if it’s wrong to think this, but in those moments I believe God is displaying His beauty and creativity for me alone. I believe that while I was watching the northern lights from my window last night – God telling me that He loves me. He took the moment I couldn’t sleep to show me His simple greatness and beauty. I like those small gestures like a written note or a thinking of you text, or whatever – those little things that say hey “I enjoy you”. When I’m driving and God gives me a crazy awesome pink sunset, I like to think He made it specially for me. When I’m anxious and He lights up the sky with phenomenal moving lights, I like to think He’s giving me a moment to refocus on Him instead of what’s stressing me out. I hope you have moments like that too.

VW Bus SideIt’s so encouraging when you realize that God’s you Father and He wants to brighten your day simply because He can! My Dad has always done those little things to show our family he loves us whether it’s washing my car or watching cartoons with us, buying cellphone car gadgets and extra chargers cause he knows we lose them and break them. The next time you see something and it makes you look twice,  stop and enjoy it and believe that God did that specifically for you and you alone to enjoy in that moment. Maybe listening to birds sing together on a walk or that short cool breeze at the end of your run or that cloud to block the sun while you drive with the sunroof open. He cares about you because you are His and He wants to show you through the little things that He cares for you – not always just the big things that we continually pray for. I’ve been thinking a lot about graduating school and moving back to Saskatchewan; not gunna lie it’s a huge bitter sweet deal. There are several things that I am excited about and equally as many things that I am dreading. However, moments where God gives me peace in the simple things; I know that I purely need to trust in Him and know that if He cares enough about me to give me a sunset or northern lights; He most definitely cares even more about the bigger things going on. Whatever you’ve got on your mind right now, know that it’s ok to relax and allow your Father to take care of it. Rest in Him and take it one step at a time taking joy in the little things that He sends your way.

 

 

– Stay Satisfied

Jumping into darkness…

Red Rock StandI have no idea where I will be in my life in six months. I can’t decide whether or not I should love this feeling or dread it. I am a person that has always had a rough idea; a plan A and a backup plan B. For years I have always had a hunch on what I wanted to do, where I wanted to go and how I wanted to go about doing something. I knew that when I finished high school I would go to Bible school on an island in BC. I knew that when I finished Bible school, my boss had a job for me to jump back into and I would work for a year. I knew after my gap year I would move away and go to school where I would study Interior Design. I know that when I finish school I am to go on a missions trip with my church to Brazil that God told me I would go on four years ago. As of now, I have less than two months left of school and there are 152 days until I fly to Brazil to share the gospel with the people there. So in roughly 175 days I’m clueless. Mmmmk I know I’m being dramatic about this – but still. After a student graduates, they are supposed to be grown up and ready to join the rest of the world and be responsible. That scares me.

I know I’m not the only one that feels this way in life. I know there are millions of people that have been in this situation too at some point in their life. Actually, at church the other day a friend of mine was speaking. She was a full time missionary to Africa; after living there for 39 years, the Lord called her to retire because He has new work for her here in Canada. Anyways, she was sharing about her experience in Africa and leaving for good, “You know those trapeze people in a circus? They are super high up on a small platform, they jump out into the darkness where they know a bar will swing just in time for them to grab onto and take them to the next platform. I feel like one of those people right now.  I feel like I have just jumped off my platform where I knew it was safe and what I was doing. Now I am flying in midair hoping for that bar to come my way. I have no idea what the bar looks like and I have no idea where it will take me. But I know it’s coming – and like the trapeze artist; I have to be ready and watching for it.” She took the words and feeling out of my body – that’s exactly how I feel right now. I feel like I’m bracing myself to jump into the darkness.

Red RockI’ve obviously been thinking about this for a little while now. I know this because God gave me a “Stop panicking letter” Seriously. He did. It was in my mailbox at church. A small note that read, “Psalm 32:8, ‘I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.'” Two minutes before I read His note, I was literally venting to a friend at church about my “problem”. I also had to laugh because I felt this note was God’s way of telling me to shut up. My devotional book the other day said something similar, “KEEP YOUR EYES ON ME! As your circumstances consume more and more of your attention, you are losing sight of Me. Yet I am with you always, holding you by your right hand. I am fully aware of your situation. Your gravest danger is worrying about tomorrow. If you try to carry tomorrow’s burdens today, you will stagger under the load and eventually fall flat! You must discipline yourself to live within the boundaries of today. It is in the present moment that I walk close to you; helping you carry your burdens.Keep your focus on My Presence in the present. Let the future unfold and worry about itself.”

“Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand.”    – Psalm 73:23

Guys, I have not figured out what will happen in a couple months… but I’m getting the feeling that God is wanting me to simply lean back and ride the river. I want to encourage you to do the same. School is coming to an end and maybe you’re in the same place as I am. Or things at work could be completely changing, or maybe you have to move and you have no idea who you will even be able to call “friends”. God says that He knows each and every one of our situations and He cares. He knows how they will pan out. Don’t stress. I’m going to try my best to let go and see what happens. Quite often, God has something much better planned than anything we could work up.

Red Rock Edge

 

– Stay Satisfied

Nothin to do but wait…

Silence is such a good thing – it allows you to filter out the voices and sounds that aren’t important. Do you ever do that? Go away where it’s quiet and simply enjoy the stillness? It’s been a little over two months since I last posted {sorry} but the stillness has been good for me. It allowed me to sit back and think about what is relevant in my life and what is not. It’s something that I like to do when everyone is stressing out about their New Year’s Eve plans. I guess there are just so many things that I put so much time, effort, worry and energy into that was never really worth it. Or things that I should have focused more on but missed the boat, you know? I am now in my last semester of Interior Design. I have come so far and I started to wonder what I was going to do next? I can’t believe I’ve made it this far! It’s so exciting and incredible to think how fast two years can go by!

Do you ever look back at your year and think about all the things that happened that you planned vs. the things that happened that you didn’t know would happen? It’s really cool when you do! If you were to flip back on your facebook timeline or through your old Instagram posts, you’ll remember several things that happened last year. Maybe it was a spontaneous road trip, or a random party you went to. It could be starting school or a new job, meeting new friends or moving to new places. I’m sure you’re getting the idea. When I look back at my year I’m reminded of both fun memories and sad memories – none of which I’d change. But looking at them, and seeing how God connected one event to the other and had life continue on to the next, I realized that God’s plan is so wonderfully random. That sounds cliche, but you can’t avoid the obvious truth. Right now, the knowledge that God is quietly laying the next plank in the bridge ahead of me is incredibly calming. Today I was forced to remember that my plans and my timing are not the best. It felt like a gut punch.

IMG_5563In my course I have two years of studies and then a two month practicum. The studies are all at my school in Alberta but the practicum is completely up to us students and where we would potentially like to work as designers. I have had one place in mind ever since November. I wasn’t looking for it; it was as if God had plopped it on my lap and said “Go for it”. As I learned more about the business and research their company and what they do I was blown away by all of the connections there were. My dream in interior design would be to help families design and build their dream home that functions perfectly for them. I would love to build sustainable homes that will be a long lasting investment for each client. In the end the house would reflect their personality beautifully and that it would become a showstopper in their neighborhood – something that they could and would be proud of! I tried contacting this company recently and was having bad luck with trying to get a hold of the owner. A week later I tried calling again, and I was shut down. I was shocked. “God, I thought you were opening this door for me… what just happened?” He was silent.

“She will have no fear of bad news; her heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord.” – Psalm 112:7

The week before, I had been talking to a friend about this dream job and how I was excited about this placement for my practicum even though I hadn’t actually scored the position yet. “So, why have you been putting off calling them if you’re so excited?” he asked me. “Because I’m scared.” I was scared about the possibility of being rejected. Ironically enough. It was sounding like such a wonderful place to work I was afraid of the thought that they might not accept me. After talking about it he finally said to me, “You need to stop being afraid and wanting full control of the situation. Go out on a limb! Listen, I have three questions for you: one, do you believe that God loves you? Do you believe that He has His best intentions for you? And do you think, that somehow, just maybe, God knows more than you do? If you said yes to all three of those, then you need to trust that God is gunna go ahead of you and work things out. You might get the job-  awesome. But you might not get the job. What then? You continue to trust Him. So tomorrow, you call them fully trusting that God is in complete control and be open to the chance that there might be a placement better for you than what you’ve found for yourself.” Boom. He knife of truthed me. So what did I do the next day? I shot a quick prayer to God asking that He would be in control of the situation. I called. Got rejected. Hung up. Dang it.

IMG_5752Sometimes what we plan for ourselves, is not awesome. We may think it’s awesome – but it’s actually not. At this point, I literally have no idea where I will go to complete my practicum. I’ve got nothing. You may not know what you’re doing either. It’s ok. I’m in the same boat. Maybe your situation is bigger than mine. You just got dumped by your girlfriend or boyfriend and you thought for sure you were going to get married. Your job just cut you loose due to the crashing economy. Maybe your situation is smaller than mine. You were hoping to buy this new guitar and found out they just sold the last one. I don’t know, maybe you wanted ice cream at McDonald’s and when you went to go get some, their ice cream machine was broken. Jokes on you for that one, cause it’s always broken. Anyways, what I’m trying to say, is that we all have let downs. That’s how life goes. I saw a quote the other day that said, “At 23: JK Rowling was broke, Tine Fey was working at the YMCA, Oprah had just been fired as a TV reporter, and Walt Disney had declared bankruptcy. It’s going to be ok.” All those hot shots were ordinary, infamous people too and they pulled through.

I want to encourage you to keep moving forward. I didn’t fail at this attempt for a practicum; I simply found one place that I won’t work. When I was shut down, I was upset. I was discouraged wondering what I would do next. I still don’t know what to do next but I do know that God must have somewhere in store for me that is going to be incredible and more awesome than I thought it would be. My friend text me that same day saying, “Hey Payton! I was reading, and Nehemiah 8:10 just made me think of you. You can see that the joy of the Lord is your strength – that is an awesome gift to have…” Once again, I sat there shocked. God spoke through my friend at the perfect time to encourage me. “Payton, you need to continue trusting me and relying on my strength. You will have joy when you let go of the things you are continually trying to do for yourself. It’s ok to walk through life without knowing your every move. Keep going.” So I want to pass it on to you. Right now, think about that thing in the back of your mind that you are trying to hold on to and control. Breath in and think about it. Do you know what? Let it go and allow God to take control of it. Breath out. Keep going. Keep breathing. He’s got this.

 

 

 

 

– Stay Satisfied

 

Go Ahead, Laugh!

LatteI was reminded of two very important things this week on living a happy life. I’m not kidding – this isn’t some garbage on breathing in and out and releasing “positive vibes”or whatever. God legitimately reminded me that laughter is one key to happiness in our short life but so is a consistent communication with Him. I mean, those two things aside from coffee. Coffee comes first. Obviously. *Wink* Speaking of, my coffee pot just beeped at me. Meaning it’s done brewing. Meaning go grab coffee and then continue reading cause I swear everything is better with coffee.

The only way to true happiness is to have a real and raw, genuine relationship with Jesus Christ. Something amazing happens when we put all of our cares in His hands. Don’t picture it as a parent demanding the magnifying glass because you’ve been burning too many bugs and leaves. God is not this invisible person that wants to take away the things you enjoy. I heard a story once that put into perspective the way God wants to improve our lives – but only if we let Him. There was a little girl who had received a bracelet of pretty plastic pearls. To her, those artificial pearls were the real deal and more beautiful than anything she had ever seen. She wore them with every outfit, was diligent not to take them in the bathtub so they wouldn’t get wrecked; she even slept with them every night. Those beads never left her sight. Her Dad saw how much she adored those pearls and he decided that he would buy her a new bracelet made with real pearls. “I’m going to give these to her, but only when she is willing to give up the ones she has now” he told himself. He went out and bought the most beautiful pearls he could find. That night he asked his daughter, “Honey, can I have your pearls?” “Oh no Daddy, you can look at them but I must hold them.” So he looked, tucked her into bed and kissed her goodnight. For weeks he asked her every night before tucking her in, if he could have her pearls. Every night she responded the same way. Until one night she finally let her Daddy take her pearls, “Daddy, you always ask for my pearls. You must love them more than I do. So here, you can wear them.” He smiled and took her bracelet, got up and left the room. He returned with the real pearl bracelet he bought and watched her eyes light up. I see God the same way, He has something so much better to give us if we are willing to let go of the thing that we are so dearly holding onto. We need to be holding onto the Lord and only the Lord in order to have a happy life because when we are solely focused on living our life for God; everything else fades to the back.

I was talking with a couple friends the other day – I don’t know how we got on the topic but at one point in the conversation we were talking about keeping our eyes focused on Christ no matter what goes on in our lives. Whether it’s something as small and dumb as red cups or as horrifying as terrorist bombings; we need to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus. “People keep focusing on the wrong things!” My friend started, “we keep looking at other people and what’s wrong with that person’s life. We get all caught up on the gong show going on in the rest of the world and we don’t realize that we are slowly becoming part of the gong show ourselves. It’s like, ok, think of a new driver. They are driving on the highway in the winter for the first time and everyone is telling them not to hit the ditch. The new driver is so focused on not hitting the ditch, that they’re going to hit the ditch because that is the thing they are constantly thinking about and looking over at.” I just sat there, kind of shocked at the simplicity of his metaphor that TOTALLY nailed the idea of keeping our eyes on Jesus. Think about Peter. Why did Peter sink?

“Jesus said, “Come!” and Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and went toward Jesus. But seeing the wind, he became frightened and began to sink.” – Matthew 14: 29 & 30

Peter sank when he focused on the wind and waves. A driver will hit the ditch when they take their eyes off the road. We will sin and live a dull life for Christ when we take our eyes off Jesus. It’s as simple as that. The only way to keep our eyes focused on Christ in every situation is to be in continual communication with the Lord. I’m not kidding. When we are putting Jesus at the front of our mind I guarantee you will notice things in your day that you didn’t notice before. God looks after you. He does it in the smallest ways that you would normally brush over. I want to challenge you to start shooting small prayers to God. For one day thank Him for all the little positive things. Did you wake up feeling rested? “Thank you Jesus for a restful night and allowing me to feel refreshed this morning. Please help me today to be a light for you.” Did you get to work or school safe? “Thank you Jesus for protecting me when I go throughout my day; it is something that I take for granted. Please open my eyes to see the little things today.” Shoot God those small prayers all continually as you go throughout your day. You would send a quick text to your friend if you saw something that reminded you of them, so why not send God a quick message too? Even when difficult and frustrating things happen. Talk to God. For example, the other day a dude cut me off while I was driving. I was ticked and decided to tail gate him. As I rode his bumper I prayed, “Thank you Jesus for protecting me from an accident; that guy could’ve actually hit me instead of merely cutting me off.” (Ps, the irony is SO strong in this story because I’m dumb) Then God immediately told me to top tail gating him. I was slightly irritated. Ok God, I thanked you for allowing the truck to  cut me off in stead of hitting me, that doesn’t mean I’m going to be nice in return. “Fall back now.” God said again. So I did and as I fell back the truck slammed on his brakes for a pedestrian walking across the street. I would’ve slid into his bumper if I had not listened to God.

Pumpkin 1The other day I was reading in my devotional book, Jesus Calling by Sarah Young, “You can live as close to Me as you chose. I set up no barriers between us; neither do I tear down any barriers that you put up. Seek to please Me above ll else As you journey through your day, there will be many choice points along your way. Most of the day’s decisions will be small ones you have to make quickly. You need some rule of thumb to help you make good choices. Many people’s decisions are a combination of their habitual responses and their desire to please themselves or others. This is not MY way for you. Strive to please Me in everything, not just in major decisions. This is possible only to the extent when you are living in close communication with Me. When My presence is your deepest delight, you know almost instinctively  what will please Me. Keeping your focus on Me is all you need to make the right choice.” I’ve also come to realize that when your focus is truly on the Lord and you want to live life for Him and with Him, you will find joy in all of the little things. I think that when we are trying to walk with God we will see the beauty in this world and appreciate the small things God has done – I also think we will be able to have true joy and laugh. Laugh at yourself. When that truck abruptly stopped and I stopped behind him; I laughed. I laughed at my own stupidity thinking that tail gating was a great idea to get back at the guy. People get so wound up and focused about “being taken seriously” that is sucks the fun out of life. That would be the second challenge to you; laugh more. Stop being so defensive. You’re quirky. They’re quirky. We’re all quirky and we are all going to laugh at and with other people for multiple reasons. So relax. The world is not going to end because you thought there was another stair and someone saw you take a ridiculously large step for nothing. Calm down. You’re life is not going to fall apart because someone caught you making a inexplicably stupid face for a snapchat. Laugh at yourself because you know full well that you’d be laughing at someone if the situation was reversed. Actually, super funny story, for Halloween a friend and I were carving pumpkins. I saw this super cute idea off pinterest. It was a pumpkin carved into a carousel. I thought to myself, “That is such a cute idea – I’m going to try it.” We started carving our pumpkins. His pumpkin was the fabulous classic face and mine was…. starting to lean. As he finished up his pumpkin I continued to hack mine. I told myself that it had to get worse before it got better; like cleaning a closet! He finished his pumpkin and it was so awesome! By this point my pumpkin was full of BBQ skewers to keep it from completely falling apart. “Payton, your pumpkin looks like a pintrosity…” I sat back, looked at the original photo I was trying to recreate and then at my…. mess. He began to laugh and then my other friends came to see what he was killing himself laughing at. They too began to laugh. My pumpkin was now leaning hard left and has serious issues. In that moment I could have gone into a sulk and refused to laugh at my failure or, to join in and laugh at myself. As I continued to stare at the poor, obliterated pumpkin I realized… it was too funny not to laugh at, and I would be laughing it were anyone else.

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I’m excited for all that God will do and open your eyes to when you chose to put Him first and continue choosing him and when we all learn to chill out and laugh. When we are with God through out our day in prayer and when we let those crazy sounds come out when we are laughing hard; I believe those two things…. a great coffee… those three things bring true happiness. Nuff said.

 

 

 

– Stay Satisfied

Girl in a World…

Building 1I love hearing about other peoples lives. However, I almost never share my life story. I started thinking about this more the other day, after I had been talking with a friend about it. Her son is at bible school in Australia and right now the students are focusing on living out their faith instead of simply talking about it. Anyone can talk but not every one can do what they talk about. “It’s so cool, the other day they were spending time on the beach with surfers and they were told to say to the stranger, “I’ll give you a dollar if you tell me your life story.” So they would talk and listen to this random person’s life and afterwards, they wouldn’t even want the dollar. “Nah man, I’m happy that you listened to my story and cared to ask…” Apparently, most people were taken back at first, but were excited to share their story to a complete stranger. It got me thinking about the last time I told someone my story. Three years ago. Three years ago was the last time I legitimately told MY story. My story about who I was, who I am and who I want to be and all that God’s done to bring me to where I am now. So I decided that I’m going to share my story with you. And, I’ll give you a dollar if you tell me your story *wink* When ever I think about all that God has done in my life I am reminded about how far God has  brought me and how far I still have to go. As I mark days off the calendar I forget the little things He’s done for me. Three years ago, I was terrified and totally turned off by the mere thought of sharing my story. I felt that my story wasn’t interesting, so why would I share it? There’s enough boring blog posts on the internet. However, God is helping me to grasp the fact that if something is important to me, and if there is something that defines who I am, reminds me of who I was and gives me a glimpse of who I want to be; then it’s worth giving Him glory and it’s worth being vulnerable.

 

I am 21. I was born on July 1st, 1994. My home is in the beautiful prairies of Saskatchewan. I grew up with my Mom, Dad, two younger brothers and a sister. My family are all Born-Again Christians; we love each other deeply and love The Lord deeper. I asked Jesus Christ to come into my life and forgive me of my sins when I was four years old. If I’m honest, I don’t remember the day I made this choice but I do remember the still evening and the dark sky, the big black chair my Mom and I sat in and the smile on her face after I had made the decision to give my life to God. 11 years later I chose to be baptized. Growing up, I went to a Christian elementary school until I pulled out and did the rest of my schooling at home through correspondence. School was never easy for me. I was bullied a lot in elementary school – hence pulling out and I was not the most academic student on the face of the earth. I was not one of those lucky kids that “just did good on everything without trying“. School was better for me at home where I could spend more time on assignments when I needed to, in order to get the grades I wanted. I’ll fully admit to being a nerd; I worked hard to earn my diploma with high honors. Looking at my life, I’ve never been in a place of rock bottom, or no hope. People always talk about “a breaking moment” in their life. That point in their life when they decided to turn things around. I haven’t that. However, I am a person that struggles a lot with fear. Fear is something that has always managed to hold on to me. Whether its grip was with two hands or two fingers; I’ve never been able to shake it. Allowing my mind to wander is a constant problem that I have and I can’t overcome it. I think myself into holes that are too deep and I create issues that were never there or situations that won’t happen. Since acknowledging this about myself God has taken my hand and walked me through my fears, he’s teaching me that I need to turn to him when they creep up. I’m always afraid of something new but I also know that God is always there.

Kayking 3At one point in my life, I had the biggest fear of being left behind. I had been learning about the rapture in the book of Revelation in the bible, which is when Jesus returns to earth for all the people that have chosen to follow Him. The Christians are taken to Heaven while the people who rejected Christ are left behind on the earth to endure judgement. I remember having a dream that the rapture happened and I couldn’t find my family anywhere. As I walked through my neighborhood it was absolutely deserted. I woke up feeling scared and as much as I tried to ignore it, I couldn’t shake that fear of loneliness. One way that I often try to overcome my fears is by facing them. I will deliberately put myself in a situation where I will be forced to face my fear in hopes of getting over it. Usually, this doesn’t work – I simply get better at hiding my fear and making my reaction smaller yet inside, I’m still terrified. So, to keep step with my bad habits, a few days after my first rapture dream, I decided to watch the movie, “Left Behind”. Great idea; I know. The movie was literally a reality of my dream. Jesus came back and the main character is forced to live life not knowing where all the people diapered to and is now forced to deal with the Anti-Christ. After watching that movie, it became very real to me that the Anti-Christ is powerful and he was going to be ruling the earth after the rapture happened. It scared me even more because I immediately thought back to my dream. In my mind, I was going to be left behind, therefore I would be under his rule. A few nights later, I had another nightmare but this time the rapture had already happened. I was still left behind but now the Anti-Christ knew about me and was hunting me down trying to kill me. My original fear of loneliness had now morphed into a fear of death. After my second dream I couldn’t take being alone. I always had to be with someone or at least have someone within eye sight. If I was watching a movie; I was with a friend or a family member. If I was working on homework; I was in the kitchen where the rest of the family was. If I was out for a walk; I called someone. Looking back I don’t know why I wanted someone in eyesight. I think it was so that I’d know when the rapture happened; I’d be able to see my Mom in the kitchen and then all of a sudden, not. I wouldn’t have to go looking for the people I loved; I’d just know they were gone. Life carried on like that for what felt like centuries. I eventually thought I overcame the fear myself by trying not to think about it and by focusing on other things. A year or so went by and I decided to try and face my fear on my own again and read a book called “23 Minutes in Hell.” That was the wrong thing to do. I got through maybe three chapters until I couldn’t touch the book. My fear had been rekindled and I was angry at myself for allowing it to come back. once again, I couldn’t take being by myself. It wasn’t until one night when my parents announced they were going out and I’d be the only one at home that I lost it.

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I remember telling my Mom about my huge phobia; about being alone and being left behind in the rapture. I was petrified. Mom listened and then said to me, “Payton, go read your Bible. We’ll be back in a few hours” and they left. I was alone. And I was just like… I just… what?!?! I white girled… I couldn’t even… “Go read your bible” REALLY!?!? Now, I understand that this may make my Mom sound really harsh, but trust me, she isn’t. She’s wonderful. Anyways, I didn’t have any other options, so I pulled myself together went and read my bible. I decided to also ready my devotional book and that date was all about Jesus’ second coming. My mind was blown. I could only stare at the pages in shock. I had never had a “God thing” like that happen before. I remember looking at the page in disbelief; a good disbelief. The devotional talked about how, as a Christian, I was saved and that my name was written in God’s Book of Life and that it would never be blotted out. When I asked him to come into my heart; I was putting my life in his hands and he was going to hold on until I was with him in Heaven. I sat there in silence and it was also the first time I ever heard God speak to me. “Payton, you shouldn’t be afraid of when I come again. This will be a time of great rejoicing for you and other Christians! Be excited for Me to return because you won’t be on earth when judgment happens!” Hearing the Lord speak to me and reading exactly what I needed to read brought an indescribable wave of peace over me. The fear of being alone and death melted. Fearless.

“And there is no one who can deliver you out of my hand.” – Isaiah 43:13

I no longer had to fear the fact of being left behind; I was excited to know in my heart; confirmed by the Lord, that I am going to heaven. I didn’t fear loneliness or death. However, it didn’t take long for the devil to discourage me in another area of my life. I began to dwell on my past sins. I couldn’t let go of the things that I had done despite the fact that I had asked for forgiveness from The Lord and those I had wronged. It was this idea of forgiving myself that I just couldn’t wrap my mind around. I was afraid of not being good enough to enter Heaven when I did die. In my mind I thought if I forgave myself, I no longer cared about what I did. But I did care about what I did, so therefore I couldn’t forgive myself. I tried every angle; I tried making up for the problem and apologizing profusely, I tried guilt tripping and punishing myself. I tried not caring and completely ignored the issue. But I could not get rid of the sick, guilty feeling eating at me from the inside no matter how hard I tried. It wasn’t until I was reading through the book of Isaiah and came across verse after verse about God wiping away our sins. Isaiah 43:1, “I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are mine!” 43:25, “I, even I, am the one who wipes out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins.” 44:22, “I have wiped out your transgressions like a thick cloud and your sins like a heavy mist. Return to me, for I have redeemed you.” And 45:2, “I will go before you and make the rough places smooth.” I went over these verses several times and God helped me understand that he doesn’t dwell on the things I’ve done wrong after I ask for forgiveness. God ditches the memory and moves on. He throws them as far as the east is from the west. When I am able to forgive myself and move on I am able to continue my walk with God; growing with him. He showed me that the devil doesn’t want me to continue crossing bridges with him, so the devil was going to hit me with the frying pan of guilt as often as he could to make me fall. “Payton, don’t you see that I forgive you? So what does it matter if other people don’t forgive you or if you don’t forgive yourself I am enough – so let me be enough.” The fear of not being good enough was replaced with the reality of God’s grace. Fearless.

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My life continued on and the fears diminished. I knew that I was a child of God’s and my relationship with him would always continue. When I stumbled God caught me and taught me, but I slowly built this idea that I couldn’t look weak. I didn’t want to depend on anyone else, or anything. At first it started with the little things like not wanting help; I had to do it myself. I always wanted to do the best work whether it was in my school, sports, at my job or whatever. I wanted to be physically strong enough to accomplish jobs on my own. I wanted to be mentally strong enough to solve problems myself and I wanted to be able to fly solo and live an awesome life full of adventure and new experiences! I became so wrapped up in this idea that most women were weak and always needed a mans help so I did everything I could to keep up with the guys. I looked at my relationship with God as 80% my hard work getting me through everything and the other 20% as God really just being there watching the whole thing and lining everything up to match my imagined future. I had become known as a hardworking, dependable person that you could count on to be successful. People depended on me and people needed my help; and that made me feel on top of the world. It wasn’t long before I was put in charge of my coworkers and handled closing duties at my job dealing with customers, cash and problems. I always wanted to fix the issue but of coarse I couldn’t fix everything and it was bound to punch me in the face one day. That day came pretty fast; one evening I was closing the store and God showed me that I could not keep walking this independent life. Everything went wrong that night. I was trying to close the store but 4 out of 7 tills kept crashing and completely shutting down. It was a gong show trying to fix the tills and juggle customers while trying to appear under control. As my shift continued, the problems accumulated and I got so angry because I wasn’t able to fix the problems. I tried every trick I knew and nothing worked. So I was forced to call tech support and he figured out that the problem was my employee numbers that I key in to work on each till. I got even more frustrated. Here was something that I could not control or solve on my own and worst of all, I was the problem. I decided that I would deal with it once the store was closed. For now, I’d manage people on the remaining operating tills and hope it didn’t get crazy. After the doors were locked, I called tech support again to go into the system and fix the computer problems so that I could properly close the store. I was so bitter asking someone else to fix my problem. While I was on hold for what seemed like hours, in the silence, God showed me that I was not living my life the way I should be. He showed me that I cannot fix everything, nor was I ever meant to! It was a large pill to swallow. God told me that I didn’t have strength – I had stubbornness. I didn’t have a leadership mentality – I had an independent mindset. I didn’t have a healthy relationship with God – I had high expectations of him. Tech support fixed the problem, the store was closed and I solemnly went home. “I can’t keep living this way.” I remember telling myself while I was driving, “I don’t even feel good. I don’t stay happy and I don’t have continual joy. Why?” God gave me three words. Dependence. Humility. Submission. Those three things have definitely been long lessons to learn, but the more time I spend with God, the more He has shown me about myself and the things that I need to let go and change. Admitting that I can’t do something tastes like vinegar and the thought that I can’t do everything feels like a migraine. But I need to completely depend on him and swallow the pride. It’s not about physical strength, a sharp mind or how capable you are on your own; it’s about what The Lord can do through you and gaining glory for the One that matters.

Kayking 1

You would think that I learned those lessons and continued learning and growing closer to the Lord after that night at work. Nope. The summer came and went and I moved to British Columbia for bible school on Thetis Island the following fall. I was still the fat headed person that I was and pushed any memory of failure from my mind. I had a clean slate with no failures and I wanted to keep it that way. During the first few weeks of bible school, they do a lot of group activities so that everyone can get to know each other on  better, faster and deeper level instead of having an awkward month of “Hey, um, what’s your name again?” Every weekend there was a venture for groups to go on. You could go sailing, bungee jumping, cave diving; I decided to go kayaking. Why? Because I was told it was the most difficult venture to go on. Obviously. I wanted a bigger head. My venture weekend finally came and we were given the low down. “You will have two main partners during our trip; one kayak partner and one tent partner.” At this point the people in the group hardly knew each other but we immediately began sizing each other up as to who we wanted to be our partners. My tent partner was with a girl who seemed pretty sweet and my kayaking partner was with a guy who, let’s just say wasn’t my first pick. As our instructor was explaining the tandem kayaks I mentally decided that I wanted to be the anchor in the back of the boat. I wanted to set the pace, I wanted to steer, I wanted to be in control. As our instructor gave people their positions I noticed that he was putting all the men in the back. I got tense. I would not be under my kayaking partner. He got to my partner and I, “Mmmm Payton, how about you take the back.” I wouldn’t have it any other way, I thought. We spent the day learning our equipment, and practicing flipping the kayaks and getting back in with our partner. I had never been in a kayak before so not only was I trying to soak up every bit of information as I could but I was also trying to hide my inexperience from the people around me. We all got in our boats and one by one each team flipped their kayak and got back in. It was our turn and my heart was racing. Can I convince them? My partner and I paddled out and I talked him through it because he had never kayaked before either. “We’re gunna flip left on three… two… one…” and we rolled. I was underwater. I couldn’t get out of the boat. I started to panic. “You need to feel for the pull tab on your wet skirt” I remember my instructor saying. I quick grabbed the kayak and began feeling around for the tab. The moment it touched my fingers I yanked and I erupted from the boat and to the surface. I felt like I was underwater for 15 minutes but my partner came up the same time I did. Thank goodness. I got my composure as I held the upside down kayak and reached for my paddle, I watched my partner cling to the kayak and look around for his paddle. It had drifted a couple feet away, just out of reach. He looked at me. I looked at him. “You’ve gotta be kidding me…” I thought. I let go of the boat swam out and grabbed his paddle and brought it back to him. “Oh, uh, yeah thanks, I didn’t wanna let go of the boat and uh…” he trailed. This was not going to be my weekend. I was not going to be babysitting this kid.

 

Early the next morning we met at the docks to pack our tents, bags and gear. Shortly after, we were off; the ocean was like glass. There were no waves, no wind and I could see our shadow on the ocean floor as the island got smaller behind us. I was in the back of the kayak setting the pace, steering and in charge. “Guys, I don’t want anyone to say anything for the first hour of our trip. I want you to pray for this weekend and whatever God has in store.” That first hour was magical. The sun rose on the water line, seals swam beside us and I was mesmerized by the orange and purple starfish everywhere. I was going to love this weekend. Aside from being slightly annoyed with my kayaking buddy, our group was wonderful. Everyone added a different dynamic to the group – there were hicks, jocks, nerds, comedians and hippies and we all blended together. That evening we pulled up to a random island, anchored our kayaks and set up tent. We explored the island, made a fire and talked late into the night. My tent buddy was awesome, she was straight forward and to the point and hilarious in her own unique way. All five tents that night fell asleep to the sound of waves on the shore 20 feet away from us. If I had a “Top 10 Moments in My Life” list, that moment would be on it. The next morning we made breakfast over the fire, packed up and were back on the water. I was loving life. We all talked as we paddled; flipped each others rudders up and stuck starfish to our boats. As we made our way through the gulf islands one girl and I saw a narrow channel to paddle through. We both looked at each other with huge grins on our faces: challenge accepted. My partner began expressing how he did not think this was the best idea but, I was setting the pace, I was steering and I was the one in control. As our two boats got to the channel, we realized not only was it wider than we thought, but it was also more shallow. That didn’t stop either of us; we paddled on. Sure enough the farther we went into the channel the sand got higher and we beached ourselves. But the area we were in was so beautiful; it didn’t matter. As her and I laughed our partners expressed their annoyance. “Well, someone is gunna have to get outta the boat for us to get unstuck..” I suggested. Deep down I was hoping my partner would be a man and hop out but as I thought about it for a moment, he wouldn’t let go of the boat to grab his own paddle. There is no way he’s gunna get out. I waited a moment just to see what my partner would do. Nope. Nothin. “Whatever” I thought, “this isn’t a big deal.” So the other girl and I hopped out of our boats and began towing our partner and 200 pound beached kayaks toward deeper water. “Oh, uh, yeah thanks, I was wondering how we were going to get unstuck and uh…” he trailed. I couldn’t look at him. The weekend continued that way. Glorious moments of nature sprinkled with… “partner moments”. Our group came to the next island later in the afternoon and one by one pulled our boats on the shore. When it was our turn  I realized that someone had to get out of the boat to pull it higher onto the shore. I waited a moment. Nope. Nothin. I jumped out of the kayak once again and pulled him and the gear in. Once he was on dry land he walked up to the potential camp site and I was left to unpack the gear and haul it up to the site.  Thoroughly annoyed at this point I told myself, “I can do this. I don’t need a man to help.” As I made trips up the hill to the site with gear and back down to the shore for more gear he was no where to be seen. On my final run up the hill with his sleeping bag he came to help. “Oh, uh, yeah thanks, I was going to help with that and uh…” he trailed as he reached for his bag. That evening my wrists were throbbing and I had no idea why. I had never experienced this pain before. It was an aching pain when I moved my fingers or made a fist. I pushed it off. The last day of our trip I could see that my wrists were swollen. “It’s not that bad, you can push through this” I told myself. As I set the pace in the kayak my hands and wrists got tired and sore. “I am not sinking to his level” I thought. The day went on and I tried to ignore the throbbing pain. We got back to the school’s island, unpacked and washed up. At this point my wrists were so sore and I could see the parts in my arm that had swollen. My forearm was lumpy. I went to my friend and asked her. “Let me feel them” as she tightly grabbed my wrist, “move your fingers” I began pulling each finger into a fist as her eyes got wide. “Oh my goodness! I can feel all of your tendons moving under your skin and she released my arm. I did not want to go to the school nurse so I convinced myself that the swelling would eventually go down and the pain would go away. It was swollen simply because I was pushing myself too much while kayaking. Weeks went by and my wrists got worse. It got to the point where I couldn’t twist the lid off my toothpaste, I couldn’t stir the cream into my coffee or do up the zipper on my jeans. A month later I finally went to the nurse just to see what it was. The thing that bothered me the most was that I didn’t know what was causing my wrists to swell but I was too prideful to admit there was something legitimately wrong. “Payton, how long have you had this?” the nursed asked, “you have a very serious case of tendonitis in both of your wrists.” I mentioned kayaking was when I first noticed the situation and she told me that the only way to cure tendonitis was to let the area rest. “You can’t do anything with your wrists if you want it to get better. Anything from typing to lifting weights is causing your tendons to rub together. Right now your tendons are swollen which is causing friction under the skin – hence the pain. You need the swelling to go down so that they stop rubbing against each other which means not using them. “So I can’t do anything to speed it up?” “Nope. Nothing.” she answered.

Kayking 5Would it surprise you if I said that I didn’t listen? Not doing anything would mean needing other people to do things for me, and that just wasn’t going to happen. I am not asking my roommate to push toothpaste on my brush or do up my jeans. I am not asking someone at the table to scoop me food or stir the cream in my coffee. As logic would have it, my tendonitis got worse. Ignoring them didn’t work so I tried praying, I tried fasting, I tried pain killers; nothing worked. Two months later I was fed up and done. “God, I hate this. I’m sick of this pain and this limitation. Give me an answer.” I flipped open to a random page in the bible. I don’t know what I was hoping for, maybe an abra-cadabra verse that would magically heal my wrists. 2 Kings chapter 5 is what I opened to. God is amazing. No there was no abra-cadabra verse but there was the story of Naaman and his healing of leprosy. Naaman was the general of an army, he was a valiant fighter but had been afflicted with leprosy. In those days leprosy was known to be the ‘incurable disease’. However, Naaman had been told of the prophet Elisha that could heal him of his disease. So he went on his way to seek healing from Elisha. “Elisha sent out a servant to meet him with this message: “Go to the River Jordan and immerse yourself seven times. Your skin will be healed and you’ll be as good as new.” Naaman lost his temper. He turned on his heel saying, “I thought he’d personally come out and meet me, call on the name of God, wave his hand over the diseased spot, and get rid of the disease. The Damascus rivers, Abana and Pharpar, are cleaner by far than any of the rivers in Israel. Why not bathe in them? I’d at least get clean.” He stomped off furious. But his servants caught up with him and said, “Master, if the prophet had asked you to do something hard and heroic, wouldn’t you have done it? So why not this simple ‘wash and be clean’?” So he did it. He went down and immersed himself in the Jordan seven times, following the orders of the Holy Man. His skin was healed; it was like the skin of a little baby. He was as good as new.” (verse 10-14) “Payton, there is nothing you can do to heal this. I have given this to you because you would not listen to me. This while time you have been living your life thinking you do 80% of the work. Well, you don’t. This tendonitis will not heal until you soften your heart to me and allow me to lead you through life. You are being just like Naaman, you want to do something to heal the tendonitis so that you can get credit. Instead, you are going to have to submit to me for complete healing” I sat there, on my bed with my bible in my lap. Wow. In that moment God had truly gotten a hold my heart and forced me to look in a mirror. I had an ugly monster of independence and self growing inside of me. “God, I didn’t know I had become this. I am hard, I kept trying to prove myself better than my partner during kayaking and my pride has gotten me no where. I am scared of a life where I am not in control but I also know that a life without you would be much scarier. Please take hold of my life again and soften my heart. I do not want to be a hard person. I do not want to be living that way if I am supposed to be an example of you. Please forgive me. Please mold me into the woman you need me to be and work in my life to want what you want.” For the first time in a very long time, I cried. God did heal my wrists and He did heal my heart. 8 months later at the end of the bible school year, God had completely changed who I was. I know that God’ plan for my life is much better than anything I could ever come up with. Fearless.

“He must become greater; I must become less.” – John 3:30

Guys, I’ll confess that this has been one of the longest learning curves of my life because there are many times when I flip back to wanting to set the pace, steer and be in control. That is not how Christ wants us to live our lives. He wants to set the pace. God wants to steer and He wants to be in control. A few Bible verses that have helped me over and over are Isaiah 41:10 which says, “Do not fear for I am with you, do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and I will help you. I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Knowing that God is always with me and always there to help me when fear stands in front of me is a relief and a breath of fresh air. No matter how big the fear is, I know how much bigger my God is. Sometimes my fears of loneliness, death, failure and lack of control come back, but I have to continually submit them to the Lord and allow Him to deal wit them instead of focusing on them myself. Specifically, when I was out on the island at Bible school, God made Nehemiah 8:10 a reality in my life when I was struggling with tendonitis. It says, “The joy of The Lord is my strength.” And in John 16:22 we’re told, “…no one will take your joy away from you.” God is teaching me how to depend on him and how to trust him and how to be content in walking by his side. I don’t know what you are afraid of right now but I can guarantee you that Jesus knows how to eliminate that fear and He will meet you where you are at. Talk to God and tell him about your fears. Tell him about your hopes and goals. He will help you. “Your ears will hear a word behind you, “This is the way, walk in it,” whenever you turn to the right or to the left.” – Isaiah 30:21. Thanks for reading my story. It actually means a lot that you read it. I wasn’t kidding when I said that I’d like to know your story!

 

 

 

 

– Stay Satisfied