I’ve had a lot of thoughts lately and I haven’t shared in a while. Theres some good stuff in this head for once, so I thought I’d get it down and share it with you all. :]
I’ve started reading I Kissed Dating Goodbye again, and this time my goal is to finish it. I’ve realized that one of the relationships I’ve been holding onto was heading in the wrong direction, and it was not glorifying God. I told him my thoughts and like a good friend, he’s been understanding, and I think things are going to work out for us to have a strong, pure friendship again.
In my reading last night Joshua Harris shared a dream of his, and it really touched my heart so I wanted to share it with you, and then share my thoughts.
In that place between wakefulness and dreams, I found myself in the room. There were no distinguishing features save for the one wall covered with small index-card files.
They were like the ones in libraries that list titles by author or subject in alphabetical order. But these files, which stretched from floor to ceiling and seemingly endlessly in either direction, had very different headings. As I drew near the wall of files, the first to catch my attention was one that read “Girls I Have Liked.” I opened it and began flipping through the cards. I quickly shut it, shocked to realize that I recognized the names written on each one.
And then without being told, I knew exactly where I was. This lifeless room with its small files was a crude catalog system for my life. Here were written the actions of my every moment, big and small, in a detail my memory couldn’t match.
A sense of wonder and curiosity, coupled with horror, stirred within me as I began randomly opening files and exploring their contents. Some brought joy and sweet memories; others a sense of shame and regret so intense that I would look over my shoulder to see if anyone was watching. A file named “Friends” was next to one marked “Friends I Have Betrayed.”
The titles ranged from the mundane to the outright weird: “Books I Have Read,” “Lies I have Told,” “Comfort I Have Given,” “Jokes I Have Laughed At.” Some were almost hilarious in their exactness: “Things I Have Yelled At My Brothers.” hers I couldn’t laugh at: “Things I Have Done in Anger,” “Things I Have Muttered under My Breath at My Parents.” I never ceased to be surprise by the contents. Often there were many more cards than I expected. Sometimes there were fewer than I hoped.
I was overwhelmed by the sheer volume of the life I had lived. Could it be possible that I had the time in my twenty years to write each of these thousands, possibly millions, of cards? But each card confirmed this truth. Each was written in my own handwriting. Each signed with my signature.
When I pulled out the file marked “Songs I Have Listened To,” I realized the files grew to contain their contents. The cards were packed tightly, and yet after two or three yards, I hadn’t found the end of the file. I shut it, shamed, not so much by the quality of music, but more by the vast amount of time I knew that file represented.
When I cam to a file marked “Lustful Thoughts,” I felt a chill run through my body. I pulled the file out only an inch, not willing to test its size, and drew out a card. I shuddered at its detailed contents. I felt sick to think that such a moment had been recorded.
Suddenly I felt an almost animal rage. One thought dominated my mind: “No one must ever see these cards! No one must ever see this room! I have to destroy them!” In an insane frenzy I yanked the file out. Its size didn’t matter now. I had to empty it and burn the cards. But as I took the file at one end and began pounding it on the floor, I could not dislodge a single card. I became desperate and pulled out a card, only to find it as strong as steel when I tried to tear it.
Defeated and utterly helpless, I returned the file to its slot. Leaning my head against the wall, I let out a long, self-pitying sigh. And then I saw it. The title bore “People I Have Shared the Gospel With.” The handle was brighter than those around it, newer, almost unused. I pulled on its handle and a small box not more than three inches long fell into my hands. I could count the cards it contained on one hand.
And then the tears came. I began to weep. Sobs so deep that the hurt started in my stomach and shook through me. I fell on my knees and cried. I cried out of shame, from the overwhelming shame of it all. The rows of file shelves swirled in my tear-filled eyes. No one must ever, ever know of this room. I must lock it up and hide the key.
But then as I pushed away the tears, I saw Him. No, please, not Him. Not here. Oh, anyone but Jesus.
I watched helplessly as He began to open the files and read the cards. I couldn’t bear to watch His response. And in the moments I could bring myself to look at His face, I saw a sorrow deeper than my own He seemed to intuitively go to the worst boxes. Why did He have to read every one?
Finally He turned and looked at me from across the room. He looked at me with pity in His eyes. But this was a pity that didn’t anger me. I dropped my head, covered my face with my hands, and began to cry again. He walked over and put His arm around me. He could have said so many things. But He didn’t say a word. He just cried with me.
Then He got up and walked back to the wall of files. Starting at one end of the room, He took out a file and, one by one, began to sign His name over mine on each card.
“No!” I shouted, rushing to Him. All I could find to say was “No, no,” as I pulled the card from Him. His name shouldn’t be on these cards. But there it was, written in red so rich, so dark, so alive. The name of Jesus covered mine. It was written with His blood.
He gently took the card back. He smiled a sad smile and continued to sign the cards. I don’t think I’ll ever understand how He did it so quickly, but the next instant it seemed I heard Him close the last file and walk back to my side. He placed His hand on my shoulder and said, “It is finished.”
I stood up, and He led me out of the room. There was no lock on its door. There were still cards to be written.
How amazing is that? Jesus Christ has done exactly that for each one of us, and so many people take His love for granted. I don’t know what else there is to say. Jesus Christ died for you. He took all your sins with Him on the cross. So it’s time for you to take up your cross and follow Him. All you have to do is seek Him with your whole heart.
If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. Jeremiah 29:13
I haven’t been seeking with my whole heart lately. I’m not gonna lie, I haven’t really been seeking much at all. I was taking small steps away from God that I rationalized. But rationalizing doesn’t bring me closer to God. Small steps in the wrong direction will still take me to the wrong place.
If I want to live my life for God and be the hands of Jesus everywhere I go, I need to start right here, right now, even if I’m not where I want to be.
You see this has been my biggest struggle. My heart is in another place. I don’t want to be in high school anymore. I don’t want to be in Levittown living with my family. I want to be at Ohio Valley University. I want to be surrounded by a community of like-minded, spiritual people. But guess what! There is a time for everything!
Last summer I wanted to go on a mission trip to Haiti, but I wasn’t allowed. I read Ecclesiastes 3 and said ok God, There’s a time for Maria to go to Haiti, and there is a time for her to stay here. Well I was talking to Sam about all of this tonight and I told myself how is this any different from right now? I didn’t go to Haiti last summer because God had different things on my schedule for that summer. I spent some precious time with my beloved sister Holly! I never would have experienced those things or grown close to her if I had gone to Haiti. So if He had other things in mind for me then, He has a plan now too!
There is a time for Maria to go to OVU and there is time for her to stay here.
I know that God has a plan for me, but I wasn’t seeking out His plan for me in the here and now, I was looking forward to the plans He has in my future, and neglecting the opportunities I have right in front have me. I want to change that right now. I want to try and seek out His will. I know there is a reason I’m here and I want to do it!
Another thought I came across this morning started in bible class. We read in Matthew 9 when the Pharisees asked why Jesus was eating with the tax collectors and sinners.
When Jesus heard this, he said, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do.” Then he added, “Now go and learn the meaning of this Scripture: ‘I want you to show mercy, not offer sacrifices.’ For I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.”
– Matthew 12-13
Like I did with the story of the rich young ruler, I just took this for what it said, and never really thought about it further. Well this morning, Jon explained to us that he thought there was a little more to it. He said that the Pharisees thought they had it all in the bag. They thought they were good to go and fine with God. While the sinners and tax collectors were seeking Jesus out. That’s why He said “I have come to call out not those who THINK they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.”
I couldn’t help but compare this to the world today. It’s not exactly the same but I think it’s pretty close. People in America think they have things all figured out. They have the best job, the hottest wife, the nicest car. Who needs God when you have all that right?
Well the people in Africa, Haiti, Honduras, third world countries all over are dying to know Jesus Christ. They are seeking Him with everything they have, not just their whole hearts.
I know that everyone deserves to know the Gospel. God wants a personal relationship with each person on this earth. But I can’t help but wonder which of these two groups of people Jesus would be ministering to.
Just a thought.
I’m sorry that I write so much. It’s just so easy to do. I hope you enjoy my thoughts, and if you’d like to share yours with me, I’d love to hear them :]
Hope everyone had a Merry Christmas if I didn’t talk to you already. Thanks guys!
look back for a yearly recap :]