Beyond Bliss

Do you know that feeling of life being so busy and so crazy that you just get lost in all of the moments and it feels like a blur and kind of like you’re drowning?

Yeah. That’s been me for a while now. 

But you see, I’ve started to realize that joy and bliss are things that can be so easily covered up but not so easily lost, so as I told people of my struggle- the struggle of losing my joy, I began to realize I hadn’t actually lost it, I just wasn’t focusing on it anymore.

Because life gives me a lot of things to focus on and take up my entire life…like school.

& I get lost in those things-
In holding myself to standards of perfection 
I can't even begin to reach.

But life is starting to look a lot more like it used to, now.

It’s looking a lot more bright & a lot more sunny.

Now, I’m not saying my life was bad before- don’t misunderstand me here-

It’s been PERFECT.

Life has been nothing short of beautiful.

I’ve learned a lot about loving deeply, having patience, working hard, challenging myself, diving deeper into my faith, loving God and glorifying Him with all I do. See, life honestly doesn’t seem like it could be better. 

Life has just been in a different season. I get way less time with Jesse than I used to and physical touch and quality time are definitely my love languages, so I’ve had to learn to transform my life a little bit and be content with that. School has been draining- I’m in class all of the time. I mean, most of my classes are awesome and I’m learning a lot, but it’s still hours of sitting in a room learning things when I am so determined to be in the real world putting into action the things I have learned and continue to learn. My faith has matured so it feels a little bit different than it used to, but a good different, but it’s still a change and I have to transform my entire body and soul into understanding the change and understanding how I work. Tests are hard for me, so I have to put a lot of work into school, so you see, I’ve just had a lot going on.

 A lot to focus on that has distracted me from seeking 
joy and seeking bliss.

But I’ve been praying lately. Praying a whole lot about my joy. Someone gave me a book called “The Happiness Project” and I write down one single sentence every day about what made me happy. And suddenly,

I’m seeing it again- the light on my face.

I’m feeling it again- that joy in my heart.

And truly, I tell you,

I have been re-awakened to the importance of focusing 
my attention on the good and perfect things 
that come my way on a daily basis rather than 
the things that drain me.
Life looks a lot more blissful when you see the beautiful things, you know?

God is a good, good God, and all of the glory goes to Him.

“It’s your breath in our lungs”

Here is the play by play of the occurrences of the past hour:

Be cautious, this is raw and this is real.

“You give life, You are love, You bring light to the darkness. You give hope, You restore every heart that is broken. Great are You Lord.”

Filled with the words I write and the lyrics I hear as I breathe from writing.

“Well you’ve come to bring peace, to be love, to be nearer to us. Well you’ve come to bring life, to be light, to shine brighter in us.”

Tonight I sat down to read the Bible- to rest in His word- when suddenly this unexplainable feeling came over me.

This feeling so dark that a panic attack set in.

Looking at me from the outside no one would have even known.

They wouldn’t have seen the fear that I was feeling.

It was like this attack. 

This attack at my soul.

Something telling me not to believe. Not to love abundantly.

But rest assured,

nothing will keep me from believing. Nothing will stop me from loving abundantly.

That’s iridescent bliss.

Not the awful feeling that washed over me,

but the grace that pours over me. 

Seven minutes.

Seven minutes I spent in prayer. 

"God give me peace. I do not know what is happening. God take this battle and fight it. 
Deliver me, oh Lord, from whatever is going on. 
Please, Jesus, I need you. I NEED YOU."

Seven minutes.

“Our deliverer, You are Savior, in Your presence we find our strength.” 
and then two conversations. 

Both conversations led me to proclaiming the goodness of God.

“So we shout for joy to the Lord. All the Earth will adore….Now we lift up our praise, God whose marvelous name is high above it all. Victory is Yours oh Lord.”

He uses things like this, you know?

To grow us. To mature our relationships with Him.

I asked Him to take me deeper. I asked Him to bring me closer.

I’ve asked Him to send me out.

Maybe this is just the start. The start of something big. Something big to bring Him the glory.

“I bring my every need, confessing everything, Lord I’m desperate for your healing. I’m broken, every part. My unbelieving heart. I need the faith to even ask you….recklessly I run, I run to You. So whether suffering or free from laboring it’s for Your glory and for my good. “
Because how am I supposed to be a strong servant if I don’t know how to fight the hardest battle there is?

The fight against myself?

The fight against flesh.

So here is me physically letting go of all control. 

Here I am saying Jesus, take me.

Take all of me.

Every ounce. 

“You restore my soul, I’m Yours, Oh Lord, Oh King of Glory.”

timeless bliss


pallet1

Well here I am.
It's been quite a while.
But for the first day in the long while, I found a few moments to spare; to write.

I’ve been gone for quite some time, but the bliss in my life hasn’t been.
Things haven’t necessarily been the easiest- school has been pretty tough and I was sick for some time.

But still, life has been iridescently blissful.

I wish I could tell you everything that has been blissful since the last post I wrote- approximately forever ago. But that could take a while.

So let me tell you, within this break of posting I have learned one thing.
One thing that is so so simple yet so deep.

Bliss is timeless.
It does not disappear.
It is constantly there.
Even when you don’t write on it or distinctly search for it, it’s there.

How beautiful it is to know that something 
like iridescent bliss (shining joy)
doesn't go away.

We may believe it goes away sometimes.

I’ll be honest, during this break from blogging I haven’t seen bliss as much.

But that was not because bliss is a conditional thing.

It’s because I stopped trying to see it.

It was there but I wasn’t spending time looking at it, appreciating it.

I took all I have been blessed with for granted at points 
& THAT- 
That's what makes it seem to be distant.

But here I am, writing again.
This makes my soul happy.

Because now I remember why I wrote in the first place.

Bliss is timeless.

“I once was blind, but now I see.” 

For the Box

 thebox.jpg
There is this place that I have called a home.
This place is called O’Henry’s, and it is a coffee shop in dear old Homewood.
It became a home in many different ways.
It first began in high school. When AP Bio took over my life. It became my late night home- a place to study with friends (even though we knew we would still fail the test)
Then it became a place to enjoy each other’s company. A place to chat.
Then it became a home to drink coffee on cold days- or maybe even in the heat of the summer.
and then I went off to college and this place became a brand new home.
A place to come home to, a home away from my real home and my college home.
It began to be a home where I realized all of my dreams.
Where I decided I should have a coffee shop one day. One just like this home. 
and then it became a home where a guy from my childhood days would buy me coffee. 
But that didn’t work out.
I wasn’t bitter though, I still had my home to go to with good coffee and time with Jesus.
It then became my social media home. I felt like I worked  there I posted about it so much.
It became my home and my motto: “all I need is a little bit of coffee and a whole lot of Jesus.”
It became the place where I could hear Jesus while sipping on a turtle deluxe.
and then I met Jesse.
and O'Henry's became a new kind of home.
I wouldn’t stop talking about it to this guy. This guy who was actually interested in the things I had to say, you know?
So on January 7, 2014 this guy that I had a giant crush on picked me up (I still had my boot at this point and one crutch) and he drove me to O’Henry’s. Because he decided that what I think is good and important is good and important to him. 
There we sat. There we drank. There we talked about ourselves and Breaking Bad and everything in between. There the owners and their children (who are actually two of my dear friends) walked in and talked to us. It was our first date, and now it is our place. 
It became my home in the newest of ways. It was the place where 
God blessed me greatly. Where it all really started. 
Now it’s my favorite place. 
and in my favorite place, I wonder what adventures will come next. How it will constantly transform and what homes it will become in each day, stage, and season of my life. I wonder what home it is to those who sit for hours, or those who pop in and out.
In this place there is a box. It is a box of writings. Anyone can put things in there. They write their deepest secrets, they write their stories, they write about Jesus. Today, I wrote on a napkin, and on that napkin I wrote to come to this blog and read this post. Because if I wrote for the box this is what I would write. But I also needed to blog, so why not open up the world’s eyes to not only the beauty of this box but the beauty of this place. 
The beauty of one of the places I call home.
If you ever have the chance, please make a trip to this quaint coffee shop. Any of the three that exist. 
Below is a collage of the box, my yummy drink I got, and a few of the things I found in the box that touched my heart.
 
ohenrys.jpg.jpg
 
 

The front row

There is this place where I find a bliss that feels as if I am surrounded by an ocean of grace. But I’m not drowning, because drowning means you can’t breathe. This feeling is of a bliss that fills up my lungs. One that makes me feel new again in each moment..in each verse, in each strum.

I call this place the front row.

“Lord I come, I confess. Bowing here, I find my rest.”

It’s where I can do my deepest thinking, my hardest praying, my most unconditional loving.

It’s where I can look up and see them playing and look down and hear them singing.

“Lord I need you, oh I need you- every hour I need you.”

It’s where I can close my eyes and sing along or stand staring straight ahead- always with a smile on my face- and listen in simple quietness as I feel the spirit move-because it moves.

Oh, how it moves.

The front row.

It’s where I can make eye contact off a quick glance or share a smile that could never seem to fade with the guy who is such a perfect constant blessing in my life.

The front row.

“Oh Christ, the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand ”

It’s where I can go into this state where I forget other people are around. I just sink into the presence of The Lord.

One that pulls me out into the deeper waters.

The front row.

“By your grace you are making us faithful….as we worship you, our worship leads us to communion. We respond to Your invitation.”

But they’re there. On that stage, and I watch them be vessels. Without them even taking pride in it. It could be a Sunday morning in the service, or it could be a Wednesday night at practice and I’m still drawn to go.

The front row.

It’s not just about supporting Jesse. It’s way more than that.

“Great is thy faithfulness.”

How beautifully blissful is it that I can support the guy who continuously changes my life while also being poured into by the worship he is letting flow out.

The front row.

“Oh how could it be that my God would welcome me into this mystery?”

It’s my place.
It’s my bliss.
It found my heart.

“Now the simple made divine for any to receive”

Freedom bliss

Freedom.

I need to confess to something.

Lately I have been holding bitterness in my heart and I have been unforgiving.

This is not how my heart loves and this is not how I typically live.

But there was this situation that had my heart full of all of the wrong feelings.

The other day I found freedom from that bitterness and I found true forgiveness in my heart.

It’s not even that I did anything wrong to cause the situation or in the situation, but I have to take the blame of the actions of my heart. Because those were wrong. The ones that were bitter to any hope of revival and the ones that were unforgiving.

But today I felt it even more. I don’t know what it is about sitting in the front listening and singing along to Jesse leading worship, but oh how the spirit moves.

But the spirit moving to ultimate freedom is iridescent and it is blissful.

I know it’s been a while and a lot has been going on lately. A whole lot of good, but also a whole lot of busyness. But that must scream louder than any blog posts that my life has ultimately been blissful.

It’s summer now so I know the blogs will easily be more constant. I just have to make sure my heart is prepared before I pour out. I have to make sure it is spirit lead and not based off of selfishness.

This blog is not for views and it is not for followers.

I’m not saying I’m not excited to see that people enjoy what I have to say or that I’m not thrilled that people follow my posts.

What I’m saying is simply this: the words I write are for an outlet. It’s like a journal. But it’s one that others can see. Because if no one knows my journey, how is anyone really going to know me?

To you who read my words and love my thoughts, I pray that you understand your importance. You all know me. You might even know me a little better than I know myself, even if we have never even physically met. Even if we have met.

Freedom.

That’s what I have found.

This blog is freedom in itself.

And freedom is bliss.

“Your love is like radiant diamonds”

The semester is wrapping up, day by day getting a little closer to the exam that ends my sophomore year.

Currently I am sitting in the library, waiting for the next run of severe weather to head our way, completely brain dead from the loads of studying I just did.

Yet still I can find bliss.

I can find bliss in being next to one of the most important people in my life: knowing he is there to hold me when I’m afraid, keeping me calm in the storm (literally), and providing me with sweet words and coffee. He seems to really get it, you know?

The way to my heart.

I feel like I could write about him for days, going on and on about how much he means to me. How he is the bliss in my life.

I could talk about the countless things he does to spoil me, to express his love for me, and to hold me accountable.

That last one gets me, though.

Never in my life have I had a relationship so centered around the Lord that they would hold me strictly accountable to the things I ask. That’s how it should be, though.

So I pretend to get mad at him, I pout and I bring out my puppy dog eyes, just attempting to win.

But I never do, and I never will.

Because he knows to hold me accountable is what’s right and true.

So Jesse, since I know you need to hear it,

THANK YOU for holding me accountable. THANK YOU for not letting me win.

It shows your heart for me.

I hope you see my heart for you.

This blog has really become my heart. You who read it know that. You pretty much all know my life.

Well, I guess I have been away for quite some time, now. But that’s only because I have had so much school to focus on.

But now you can hear my heart again, and let me tell you, nothing but good has come to my heart.

That overflow I’ve had? It’s grown.

That joy? It’s radiating.

The love? It’s pouring out.

The confrontation and conflict I faced? It lead me to a place where I have grown and abided in the Lord.

The fear of not knowing where to go next? I found where to pour out, and found patience in doing so.

Standing firm? I’ve learned the importance of holding my ground in my faith.

The redemption? I have found its true meaning- its root.

The grace? It’s like an ocean. I’m caught in its rhythms.

Those hopes for the future? My career is already beginning.

My identity? I know who I am and I let it show.

My heart for those with low self worth? I have learned the gift of affirmation. I give it.

Freedom? For it is in Christ that I am free, always. Freely give, but also freely receive.

My art? I realized that I have a gift, so I strive to use it for others and to glorify God.

My music? My heart and passion for worship have been like a re-kindled flame in my life.

My family? I love them more than words. They are my building blocks.

My relationship? It is absolutely the best thing that could ever happen to my life, others even say. Never have I found so much inspiration, motivation, and light in a relationship. People say they’ve never seen me be so much of myself as they do now in this relationship. They say they see growth in the Lord and complete joy.

Bliss- I am freely receiving it, and here I lay down my heart, freely giving it.

My relationship with God? It grows every day. How I love Him, so.

“Your love is like radiant diamonds. Bursting inside us, we cannot contain. Your love will surely come find us, like blazing wild fires, singing your name.”