Every week, I watch NBC’s The Voice. If you happen to follow me on Twitter, you’ve probably figured that out by now. And every week, I am amazed by the talent that these artists have. Last night was far more amazing than usual. Last night, two artists took me to church in my own home as I watched them perform on television. Hearing their music reminded me of how awesome our God truly is. I will come back to that in this blog post in a bit.
So. It’s been five months since my last blog. Since I started blogging, I have never gone that long without posting. So much has changed in that short amount of time, including the fact that I am now a college graduate from the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor! Go Cru! My last blog post was about being denied entrance into seminary and how God continues to radically change my plans. I’ve come to realize that He always has better plans for us than we could possibly imagine. Having said that, as God continues changing my plans into His, I have decided to go straight into teaching and mentoring young people in the public school system. More details to come in a later blog post.
When the semester started, I was getting ready to begin a career of teaching through my role as a student teacher from the same school I graduated from in 2012! Not knowing what to expect, I went to Office Max, purchased more supplies than I could count, and started lesson planning for World Geography and World History. The time finally arrived. I now had the opportunity to do what I always dreamed of doing, teaching history and mentoring young people. The kids were amazing and life was going great!
Then, in mid-January, came the word I never ever wanted to hear again. Cancer. For the third time since my sophomore year in college, Dad had cancer. By the grace of God, he beat colon cancer not once, but twice. This time, the third time, it wasn’t in his colon, but in his lungs. Thoughts raced through my mind as I tried to grasp, “Why?” It was the same question as the first two times. Why?
I remember leaving a few hours after Dad told me the news to go to UMHB for Worship in the Quad, a ministry I had been blessed to help lead for the past 4 years. Before going to the quad to set up for worship, I went to go see Shawn Shannon, the Director of the Baptist Student Ministries and the most wonderful lady on campus. That night she prayed over me as tears streamed down my face, and then she showed me funny YouTube videos. She is without a doubt one of my favorite persons in this world.
After worship was over later that night, having cried during half of the songs, I shared with four of my closest friends, Katie, Mike, Taylor, and Alexis, the news. One by one, as I struggled to not get too emotional, they laid their hands on me and prayed right there under the stars. I will never forget that moment as I realized, as I have noticed time and time again, that we never ever walk alone.
Weeks later, after a number of radiation treatments, Dad got to ring that bell once again to signify that he was done with radiation. Although he has not had recent scans, I declare in my heart and with every fiber of my being that he is cancer free, and I can’t wait to blog all about that when it happens.
As my Dad, a.k.a. Superman, battled cancer, along with so many other things going on, I noticed my faith drifting away from God somewhat. Living off-campus for the first time in my 5 years at UMHB, along with all of the other newness, I was overwhelmed with the drastic change of pace. I was not in the same environment any more. And while my family continued show their steadfast love for Christ and others, and while the many students, teachers, and college professors brightened my days, my faith was still struggling. Every time I did anything the least bit sinful, every time I fell short of God’s glory, I felt as if God was ashamed of me.
This lasted until UMHB’s Spring Revival, where for the first time, God revealed to me that He was not, has never been, and never will be ashamed of me. How dare I, even for one second, assume that what I think of me is exactly what God thinks of me!? Even though I have more shortcomings than I can count, Christ loves me, and He constantly yearns for me to turn back to Him.
I began feeling renewed. I felt His overwhelming presence sweep over me. While I still struggle with my faith from time to time, the Lord is still working in me, and no matter the sin in my life, no matter the trials my family and I face, God is still in control, and I should give Him my everything. My life should be for Him, about Him, of Him, and with Him.
When thinking about renewal, a couple of verses came to mind:
He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. – Isaiah 40:29-31 (NIV)
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. – 2 Corinthians 4:16 (NIV)
In all of life’s many circumstances, Christ renews us. He loves us. He changes us and molds us into His image. And He uses us for His glory. He uses every part of us even when we don’t realize it, which leads me back to watching NBC’s The Voice.
As the program started at 7PM Central time, I would not have imagined that I would eventually be lifting my hands high and praising God in the middle of watching a talent competition, but that’s what happened. And throughout the following day, I have been listening to those songs over and over. I’m still amazed.
At the end of last night, Aliyah Moulden performed an amazing rendition of MercyMe’s “I Can Only Imagine.” While I strive to serve King Jesus in all I do on this Earth, one thing is for certain, I cannot wait to see Him face to face. It will be so amazing and breathtaking that I truly “can only imagine what it will be like” when I see His face.
Surrounded by You glory
What will my heart feel
Will I dance for you Jesus
Or in awe of You be still
Will I stand in your presence
Or to my knees will I fall
Will I sing hallelujah
Will I be able to speak at all
I can only imagine!
What a day that will be! Aliyah certainly gave me goosebumps as she sang that song, as I was reminded of how awesome Christ is and what a wonderful day it will be when I finally get to see Him face to face. I can only imagine!
The other song that made a huge impression on me and brought me closer to Christ last night was Chris Blue singing, “Take Me to the King,” by Kirk Franklin and Tamela Mann. Earlier today as I listened to it again on the way home, I felt tears stream down my face. God was reminding me as He always does, “No matter what, I LOVE YOU!”
As I listened to the words, I realized that this song illustrates my thoughts perfectly. In the midst of the joy and pain, ups and downs, good times and bad times, my ultimate desire is to follow my Savior, my God. And so these lyrics are lyrics I cry out to God.
Take me to the king
I don’t have much to bring
My heart’s torn into pieces
It’s my offering
Lay me at the throne
Leave me there alone
To gaze upon your glory
And sing to you this song
Please take me to the king
Take me to the king
I don’t have much to bring
My heart’s torn to pieces
It’s my offering
Take me to the king!
And so with every part of me, with all I have, with these broken pieces, I give myself to God, my Lord, my Savior, my King. I want every part of me to be about my Savior, the King of Kings. I can only imagine what that day will be like when I see Jesus face to face.
Lord, until then, take me to you, lay me at your throne so I can gaze upon your glory. And use every part of me so that everyone may know that you live inside of me.
TAKE ME TO THE KING!
MercyMe. I Can Only Imagine. By Bart Millard, 1999. Google Play Lyrics. Web. 16 May 2017.
New International Version. Bible Gateway. Web. 16 May 2017.
Tamela Mann. Take Me To The King. By Kirk Franklin, 2012. Google Play Lyrics. Web. 16 May 2017.
“I Can Only Imagine” by Aliyah Moulden
“Take Me to the King” by Chris Blue