An Embrace Of The Almighty Pt. 2

I shared my story a few days ago. A story about some of the recent struggles I've experienced with my faith, and of God's superiority to my troubles. If you haven't yet read my previous post, you can check it out here. Tonight, I want to share with you some of what that experience meant to me, and just exactly how it touched my heart and sent peace to my very core.
I've never encountered God so vividly in my life. I have had moments where I felt like God was tugging my heart in a certain direction, but I have never had God straight-out respond to a request of mine with the exact words I asked Him to speak to me. God is really good at surprises. Many times He will respond to us when we feel as though we are totally alone. He gives us those little moments that are just enough to supply us with the faith and strength to carry on and that remind us that He is there.
Here's some of what I learned through my "God experience."
God uses the broken. I can honestly say that you don't experience God this intimately until you have been through trouble and witnessed Him pull it all back together. When you have endured such a brokenness in your life, it's then that you have something real to rejoice about when God picks up the pieces and rearranges them into a carefully crafted masterpiece. It gives your life purpose. It sure gave purpose to mine. After my God encounter, I am bound and determined to help guide others to have the same experience. I can't imagine keeping this to myself. My heart bursts at the seams with joy when I think about the love He has for me. I am so incredibly thankful for all of my struggles in life. That's right, I said it. I'm glad. I would still be roaming around, blind to the true joy of Christ were it not for the troubles I've faced.
Even though God has so clearly revealed Himself to me, life still isn't rainbows and daisies. I still have days that are much harder than others. However, I think it's time that we stop pursuing God in search of perfection, but rather pursue Him in search of purpose. Our lives will never be perfect, but like speaker Louie Giglio said in a sermon I recently saw, "Trouble comes, stuff happens, life hurts, but Jesus is bigger than it all." That is so powerful. Isn't it all about God? Isn't He the one that shelters us from the much worse things that would be sure to haunt our lives were He not around?
I think we forget sometimes, at least I do, that God didn't have to save us. He chose to because of the love He has for us all. I've been listening to the song "You're Here" by Francesca Battistelli on repeat this past week. There is a line in that song that resonates so deeply within me. The line says "You could have left us on our own, but you're here." How incredible is that? God could have just left us to deal with the consequences that we deserve for our wicked actions, but He loved us so much that He sent a savior to guide us home. John 3:16
He gave us hope. Without that, what would we be? I would be a shaken mess. My heart would never find rest, and my life would never find purpose. But God changed all of that. He gave my soul peace, and He placed unconquerable love in this fragile clay heart.

An Embrace Of The Almighty Pt.1

I sat down at my computer last night with every intention of writing another blog post, but I just couldn't seem to find the right words. After trying for what seemed like forever, I finally decided it was time to close the laptop and get some rest. I'll admit, I felt somewhat defeated. I just really felt like the topic I had chosen to write about was the one God had decided on for me. I simply couldn't understand why He would give me the idea, but not the words to execute it. I didn't understand, that is, until tonight.
I'll give you a little bit of background information before I tell you about my incredible evening.
These past few months, I have suffered through an absolutely exhausting spiritual struggle. I don't like to admit it out loud, but I have been at points so low that I questioned the very existence of the God that has held my life together from the beginning. I have been encouraged by some amazing people who assured me that God always has a plan. And that no matter how off track things seem to be going, everything is always going according to that plan. I've experienced things that should have taken every ounce of doubt and worry away. But that's what I do. I'm a worrier. That's my weak point, and I let the devil learn how to play on that.
 I want you all to understand the severity of this problem so that you can understand the immensity of tonight's blessing. This spiritual struggle has caused me to lose numerous nights worth of sleep, cry countless tears, and has even caused panic attacks so severe that I couldn't even sit through a church service without feeling like the world was closing in around me. I did, however, finally manage to get the panic attacks under control, and I've been doing pretty well for the past little while.
Tonight, however, as I was getting ready to go to a small group that my roommate and I used to regularly attend, I couldn't handle ignoring it any longer. I fell to my knees in the living room and, with tears in my eyes, I prayed. I told God that I just couldn't handle living life like this anymore. I told Him how overwhelmed I've been and how I couldn't take anymore of the constant struggle. I told Him how exhausted I had become. And finally, with a tired spirit and a tired heart, I asked God to "just hold me." I repeated those words over and over waiting for a feeling of peace, but it didn't come. So I returned to my feet, feeling defeated, gathered my things, and walked out the door.
Now comes the really amazing part...
When I walked into my small group tonight, we began with prayer requests. The group leader asked if anyone had any requests and, of course, there were many. I kept quiet, though, because I didn't know how to express mine without feeling ashamed. After almost everyone else had given their requests, the group leader, J.R, asked again if anyone else had anything they would like to be prayed for. I again, kept silent....Until he mentioned that he just really felt like there was someone in the group who had something weighing heavily on their heart. I finally spoke up and mentioned that I had a personal request that was causing my life to feel like a giant hurricane. He quietly smiled and suggested that they all gather around me to pray. This was wonderful enough for me, but the truly incredible part came when J.R began praying. He said, "God, I just keep hearing the word 'embrace' over and over..." Truth be told, that was about all I heard of his prayer. But that was all that I really needed to hear.
God heard me tonight. He heard me asking to be held, to be embraced, and that is exactly what He gave me. He gave me an embrace so warm and so loving that it brought tears to my eyes that I couldn't contain. Though this story may seem like something you might hear on a regular basis from Christians, it is unlike anything I have ever experienced. It's also something that you cannot truly understand until you have experienced it yourself. Tonight was my proof that God is with me, and that He actually hears the prayers that I sometimes feel are just bouncing right off the ceiling. It's so hard to contain my joy, because God wiped away months of anxiety with a single word. Embrace.

Introduction and Thoughts On Being A Hypocritical Christian

I've been putting this off for quite a while. Mostly because I never could gather enough cohesive thoughts to put something together that I thought would be captivating enough to grab the interest of readers. But then I thought about how silly that is. I created my blog to talk about my personal experience with God on a daily basis, so how could I not have a thousand things to write about?! This first post will be an introduction to my blog; a post to share with you what I want this experience to be all about.
First and foremost, I think it is important that you all know that I am a follower of Christ. Even more importantly, you should know that I am completely imperfect. There are days that I feel like I'm doing everything wrong. Like I'm setting a terrible example for Christians and setting myself up to be labeled a hypocrite. But love has saved me from all of that. Not that my salvation is an excuse to mess up as much as I please, or that I shouldn't be concerned with the example I'm setting for other Christians. But love, real [unconquerable] love, has set me free from the heavy chains of guilt. If that isn't something to give praise for, then I don't know what is!
So what does it mean to be a follower of the Savior of the world?
Here's what I think:
I think that it means that we are the salt and the light of the world. But what the heck does that mean? A quick glance at Matthew 5:13-16 should clear that up.
I think that it means that we are to love fiercely and unconditionally. I say this because our good works bless others, but what good are they if we are selfishly motivated? How would someone feel if they found out that the "good works" you did for them weren't really for them at all, but just to show off so that you would receive praise? Love is the greatest commandment. The Bible tells us that our works are nothing without love. 1 Corinthians 13
I think that it means that we are supposed to live fearlessly. What good is it to the world if we cower in a corner, unwilling to share the great gift we have received because we are afraid of being judged or ridiculed? GOD is on our side. So why in the world should we ever be afraid? Mark 16:15 Psalm 27:1
And finally, I think that being a Christian means that we are to pursue God in everything that we do. After all, He created us. Wouldn't He know what is best for us if we just ask Him? God is love, God is perfect, and God is forgiving. And I believe, above all, that He is truth. God's gonna take care of us. We just have to ask for His direction, and pursue the desires of His heart, and He'll take care of the rest. Matthew 6:26
I wonder if you're noticing a pattern here? I believe in LOVE. Real love. Funnily enough, that's one of my biggest struggles. I struggle to really love the hypocrites and the mean-hearted. But doesn't that make me a hypocrite? Yup.
My name is Mallory, and I'm a [forgiven] hypocrite.

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