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January 2020

0 In Hawaii/ Uncategorized

Lucky Pennies

There are these little rituals- like making a wish at 11:11 or blowing out candles- that I know do not equate with the stars aligning or the miraculous work of God, but rather, little fun ways of seeing light in the darkness. They’re not the end all be all of what I put my hope into, but they do pose as little reminders to keep hope going bit by bit.

In the midst of my 21 day fast, that’s what lucky pennies have been for me. They’ve been symbolic of luck and blessing and fortune, and they’ve been tiny keepsakes of the hope that is to come. So, every time I see a penny with Abraham Lincoln facing the sky, I pick it up, hold it tight, and remind myself that God is going to do something good. Because over the course of this 21 day fast I’m removing things in my life and filling that space with God. I’m praying, believing that God is going to enter into that space and transform my life. More than just a luck of a penny, I’m praying for the goodness and blessing of God.

And so far, God has not let me down.

  1. (January 09) I take full and complete responsibility for the hole I’ve dug myself into. I don’t deny that I live a life I can’t afford. But instead of God kicking me to the curb and saying “figure it out” He gave me a second chance. He picked me up and said, “Here, try again.” And so instead of paying off a credit card bill, I’m paying off a personal loan with significantly less interest.
  2. (January 12) Every dollar has value, and in this season of learning to be more financially responsible I’ve held every dollar with clenched fists. To the point that even paying for a church event put my stomach in knots. But even then, God shows up when you think that a problem might be too small for Him to worry about. Girls night at church paid for through a sponsorship.
  3. (January 13) Spending money on eating out is what I grew up with. It’s as familiar to my lifestyle as brushing my teeth before bed. But it’s not necessary, and it’s not what I should be doing when I’m trying to save money. So, when a friend asked what groceries I need and volunteered to pay for them, I didn’t take it lightly. God puts people in your life to support the plans He’s trying to fulfill through you.
  4. (January 17) One dollar raise (per paycheck not per hour). It’s a measly amount in the greater scheme of things and it won’t make much of a difference in my day to day life, but it was an unexpected gift. Something I didn’t know was possible. Something I couldn’t have foreseen. Something I didn’t even ask for yet received anyways. God didn’t make me a millionaire, but He reminded me that He is still blessing me. In the smallest but mightiest way, He did immeasurably more than what I did not ask for nor imagined.
  5. (January 17) There’s a bank account I had completely forgotten about. A bank account that had money deposited in it but has never been touched. Enough money to give me peace of mind and not stress out about paying off four months of student loan payments. God is always looking out for us even when we don’t realize it.
  6. (January 20) Speaking of student loans… There are eight loan accounts that I’ll officially have to start making minimum payments for in February. I did the math- or at least I thought I did- and each minimum payment added together totaled to quite a lump sum of money. So, I planned and I prepared for the toll it would take on my bank account, but when time came to make my first payment, the total was half what I had expected it to be. Make plans all you want, but God really knows what is going to happen. And it’s better than what we could have planned for ourselves.
  7. (January 24) A big reason behind why and how I dug myself into the hole that I’m currently in is because I have a problem with shopping. So, it should come to no surprise that one night I found myself perusing the online options for Madewell. What was surprising, though, was that they were opening up a new store on Oahu. Before I could bring myself back down from my excitement, my job application was completed. One week later I was called in for an interview, and two weeks after submitting my application I was hired as a sales associate. I landed a job at the store I spend all my money at. Sometimes God aligns paths that you didn’t even know were capable of coming together. Now I’ll be making extra money on the side, and saving money on clothes I would have bought anyways with my employee discount.
  8. (January 25) My uncle and auntie came from Texas to visit. They had every intention to eat their way through Oahu, but little did they realize I would be doing no eating until after 6 PM. At lunch they were amazed at my restraint and how I could sit there and watch them eat while sipping on my beet juice. What they didn’t know- and what I couldn’t explain to them- was that my fast wasn’t merely a diet or a form of torture in obedience to Christ… It was a way of giving up something and trusting that God would do something in return. Later that night my uncle and auntie gave me a late Christmas gift, and the money they gave me made me realize that momentary satisfaction will never be more valuable than the promise that God is trying to pour out over us. They ate every one of my favorite meals without me, and I could have caved in. But at the end of the day, they blessed me in a way that brought so much more peace and provision than a plate of garlic shrimp.

Then it got to a point where I didn’t need God to do anything else. Now don’t get me wrong- I will receive blessing upon blessing, but God had shown up so evidently in my life that I couldn’t deny He was doing something wonderful for and through me. In ways that I didn’t even think were possible, He showed up. I gave Him a piece of my life, and He gave me countless miracles in return.

Sometimes it can be hard to give up control or comfort for the unknown and vastly unbelievable will of God. For me it’s always been hard to say, “Here God take this part of my life that I have meticulously calculated down to the tee” and it’s typically with a tight jaw and feet firmly planted that I finally let go. But when I do, God doesn’t disappoint. He goes above and beyond, and reaches farther and wider, and does everything I never thought possible. When I let go and let God, I’m not betting on a 50/50 win or lose; I’m putting my hope into even better and even greater and even luckier.

1 In Daily Life/ Hawaii/ Uncategorized

Brave

I’m not sure where to start, because there’s no good place to start. 2019 was a journey of ups and downs and deeply painful challenges for me. Still, 2019 made me brave.

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When I was a kid, apparently, I’d put my hair up in four ponytails- one at the top of my head, one sticking out of the left side of my head, one in the back, and one to the right side of my head. I’d walk around the house with my four ponytails strutting my stuff like I was the queen of the world. I can imagine that I had some bright pink shirt on or a wild pair of pants. (I really had no concept of matching or minimalism at the time.) These are the details my cousins would use to describe the unashamedly, brave, young Meg.

I wish I could say that I stayed that way… That as I got older I continued to be true to myself and flaunt my stuff like no one else in the room mattered. But the reality is I became more and more shy. I was timid, I took a long time to warm up to new ideas, and I preferred the quiet of my own corner. There were instances- and with certain people- where I would be loud and proud, but when I look back I don’t know if there were any times in my life where I was as brave as four ponytailed Meg.

Until 2019 came around and God whispered the word brave into my ear. I thought this meant I would finally muster up the courage to climb the side of rock walls or maybe get over my fear of heights. I thought brave looked like jumping out of a plane without peeing my pants. At the least, I thought brave would mean going ice skating without holding on to the railing the whole time. But it didn’t. And sure enough when I went ice skating with my cousins last week I held onto the ice rink rail for the entire hour we were skating. (They were skating… I was inching myself along.)

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Brave wasn’t how God wanted me to act, it was how he wanted me to feel.

Because towards the end of 2019 when it felt like a world of pressure had been growing on my shoulders, God didn’t tell me to be brave enough to climb a mountain. Instead, He told me to be brave enough to express how I feel. He was preparing me to have courage to express my deepest, most intimate thoughts- to put them out in the open where I couldn’t keep them a secret anymore. He was making me brave. Not on my own will and surely not by my own doing, but because I knew deep in my heart that He would be with me every step along the way so then I could be brave.

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But don’t give me credit just yet, because it didn’t start out like that. I didn’t trust God like that. I didn’t believe Him like that. Because before I could be brave enough to know that God was with me, I was stupid enough to believe that I could be brave without Him.

The first brave step I took in 2019 was admitting to myself that I had stumbled. This in turn led to me crying out to God and asking Him to guide me once again. Because when things didn’t look how I had expected or hoped them to, instead of taking brave steps with God I took stupid steps on my own. I kept walking farther and farther away from God- growing in anger and resentment as time passed. I began to doubt that He cared. I started to let myself believe that God wasn’t working, so in retaliation I was done waiting. I was done praying. I was done worshipping. I was done believing in someone who wasn’t showing up for me anymore.

And as a result of trying to do life on my own, nothing came crumbling down, nothing shattered to pieces, nothing slipped out of my grip. Life was seemingly ok, and I was seemingly ok with doing life without God. So, I continued to walk farther and farther away from where I was supposed to be. But the war that raged inside of me couldn’t be masked no matter how many times I tried to cover it up.

For most of my life my head and my heart have been at odds. I’m a logical girl who likes reasoning and explanation, but I act based off of how I feel and sometimes I can’t control that. So, as I tried to turn my back on God, the battle between my head and my heart intensified. My head kept telling me that I was making a mistake, and my heart kept reminding me of the hurt I felt when I thought God was absent from my life. How could I possibly reconcile what makes sense versus what hurts most…

Then I remembered that God wanted me to feel brave, and in order to truly know what brave felt like I needed to know what terrified was. Because terrified was what I had been walking around with. The feeling of hurt that nearly convinced me God wasn’t around. The feeling of disappointment when nothing seemed to go the way I had thought they were supposed to go. Terrified was a life without God.

Once I opened my eyes, once I fell to my knees, once I admitted defeat, then I could believe wholeheartedly that God makes me brave. Brave enough to trust in Him throughout the unknown. Brave enough to relinquish my hopes and desires to His plans.  Brave enough to feel- and know without a shadow of a doubt- that I am not in this alone.