Get ready for real
Welcome to "God sends me hearts!" The purpose of this blog is meant to inspire readers to feel the love of God in their own way, and a platform form me to be real with my life, trials and victories, as well as share something special between God and myself. Watch out for gut-wrenching honesty as well as God's work in my life and the lives of those I write about in this blog. I believe honesty is the best policy. :)
Over the past couple of years I have found hearts in random places. Finding these hearts is a game I play with God and a way He shows me He loves me. Some hearts are small, some big and some quite miraculous. These are reminders from God that He is with me. Each heart I see, whether in food, nature, a photo, or even a heart-shaped swirl on a brownie in the Starbucks bakery case each mean something very different and special. It is God's way of saying, I love you. You are mine.
I don't know about you, but I need constant validation. There is always the temptation to seek it from people, instead of seeking security in God. But, seeking validation from people is like standing on a frozen lake and wondering if it will hold this time. t's not stable and it's not supposed to be. Playing hearts with God not only encourages my heart greatly, but also shows me where my real security lies.
One year, boyfriend-less and needing some chivalry in my life, I asked God to romance me. I swear I did not open a door for myself for a week. Someone always opened it for me. I also specifically remember going for a drink of water on my college campus that same week and the fountain was already running. What an answer to prayer.
When I made that request, I wasn't sure how God would answer it, but He completely blew me away. His response gave me hope, security and filled my heart with peace.
God showed me the He makes himself readily available and desires to be a safe place.
Deuteronomy 33:26-28 says, “There is no one like the God of Jeshurun, who rides across the heavens to help you and on the clouds in his majesty. The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms. He will drive out your enemies before you, saying, ‘Destroy them!’ So Israel will live in safety; Jacob will dwell secure in a land of grain and new wine, where the heavens drop dew."
God wants to romance the hearts of his children and he will go to great lengths to do this. After all, he is the lover of our souls.
Jeremiah 31:3: "The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness."
Psalm 17:8: "Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings."
My very first heart
I will never forget the day I saw my first heart. I had just moved to Milwaukee in October of 2009-my first time living out of state. It was a huge move after a very difficult summer, probably the worst in my memory. My boyfriend-who I was hoping to marry-and I had broken up three short months prior to my move, yet served side-by-side as interns for the campus ministry at church for the entire summer. It was so hard for me to reconcile the pain from that break-up, yet serve alongside him and be a friend. Talk about surrender!
Simultaneously, the day my boyfriend and I broke up, I went to visit my father in the hospital shortly after he underwent septuple bypass surgery. He was kept for many nights after the surgery, about three weeks, due to complications. That night, after meeting with several personal training clients in their homes and then sitting in on a Bible study in the northern suburbs-on the other side of town- I went to see my dad. I arrived after hours, so I snuck in through the Emergency Room entrance. I walked into his room and remember seeing him weeping. Up until this point of my life, I had only ever seen my dad cry once. The doctors had warned the family that due to the nature of such an intrusive surgery, it was not uncommon for patients to feel depressed, yet I was not prepared for what was to come. Dopamine would naturally be released as a pain reliever, but that left less than normal amounts in the brain after surgery, lasting a few days.
The moment I walked into the room, my dad looked at me with mere disappointment written all over his face. Not sure how to express his hurt, he reacted in anger and told me I was "stupid," but not in such nice of terms. Instead, he swore at me.
Not sure what to do, I shockingly paused and apologized. I began to explain, but all my dad heard were excuses. At that moment the nurse came in to tell us visiting hours were over. My dad begged for 15 more minutes, to which the nurse agreed.
"You're so stupid," he continued. "You always say five minutes, but it's never five minutes."
My dad was right. I am notorious for overloading my plate and then struggling because I take on too much. That day was no exception, though I had told him I would show up later than what he thought he heard. I knew he was hurt because he had made it clear that he really wanted me there, but wasn't able to express what he was really feeling.
Not able to take the verbal abuse, I told my dad I had to leave. I didn't want to burst into tears in front of him, so I held back, hugged him and walked out. I will never forget the tears that burst forth in those moments afterwards. I walked into the elevator and was balling like a baby. Yet, I was not alone. I had two witnesses.
I was crying really for two reasons. One, because my dad's words had cut so deep and I was sorely disappointed in myself for not having it together. But the majority of my tears came because it broke my heart to set up that boundary with him and not even make it to five of the 15 minutes my dad had requested. How could I be so cold and just walk away? But at that moment, I needed my dad to see that speaking to me in that manner would not be tolerated.
That summer I remember serving people in the ministry most of the day in downtown Chicago with home personal training appointments intermixed, then I'd make the long drive home to the suburbs and just cry because I felt so ignorant to how to process all that was going on. My mother was present and emotionally available, for the first time in years. But the experience of watching my mother come out of what felt like a deep sleep was another story in and of itself due to depression she had battled for years, which I will explain in further detail in a later entry.
Those months I remember crying to God and asking him to rescue me. I very much felt as if I was traveling in the desert like the Israelites and waiting for the promised land. The answer came. A good friend of mine, and minister, in Milwaukee told me I needed to go where I would be the most healthy spiritually and emotionally. Within two weeks of that conversation, and with high hopes of the possibility of interning with the ministry there, I packed my bags and moved to Milwaukee.
One night I was in my room and scraped my middle toe pretty badly. It started to bleed so I did what any normal person would do--I wrapped it in tissue. A couple minutes later and after much hobbling, I looked down and saw a perfect heart. It was then that I knew that God was with me. The blood represented something extremely symbolic for me. Not only had Jesus bled for me so that one day I would have the opportunity to receive eternal life, but I felt as if he was reminding me that he always brings good out of the bad.
For His glory
I know that God always uses trials for his glory and our good, (James 1:2-4) but in moments of pain and struggle, it is hard to always understand what God is doing. After all, His "ways are not our ways." (Isaiah 55:8-9)
But He does say in Romans 8:28, "that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
It is so great to know that I can trust my God, even when I can't understand. It is then that God says to ask for wisdom. "If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you." (James 1:5-7)
I hope you feel inspired by my game with God and how He continues to make himself know to me. Do you have a game with God? I'd love to hear your stories. :)