…You’ll notice if you open your eyes
Lord Jesus, this is my prayer for you:
Two months ago she hadn’t slept a whole night through for two months straight. Some nights, it was because her child woke several times at night, other nights it was all about nightmares. Note: it was not her kid having nightmares, nope, it’s her own nightmares. She felt really silly about it, but Ava Sophie seriously woke up at night, feeling all alone, scared to fall asleep again, but too exhausted to stay awake. When she finally fell asleep it was on with another nightmare. When the morning came she was grateful that there was light outside, no more nightmare time, yet it was unbearable to think about the whole day she was supposed to go through without any sleep. To think about functioning normally in her everyday tasks, being a mama, being a loving, caring and respectful fiancee´, being a loving and encouraging daughter, to be a sister to be counted on for her siblings. Nope. Ava Sophie totally fell short on all of what’s mentioned above. Thinking about this in the hectic morning she felt discouraged because she knew she couldn’t possibly fulfill all of these roles when she’s had little, to no sleep.
Ava Sophie tried to cope with everything in her own limited power, yet without realizing how limited it is. It resulted in disappointment every time. She’s the one she was disappointed with. She kept disappointing herself, and it was REALLY tiring. What’s even worse, she felt she kept disappointing people around her, and the absolute worst part of all is that Ava Sophie felt she kept disappointing God. Which is kind of ridiculous. It’s silly, really. Despite that, to her it was deadly serious.
A few months ago, she finally decided to order some books from Holley Gerth. I’ve followed her blog since January and not once has she written a post where I have not been encouraged and feeling more lighthearted. She has written several books, but Ava Sophie ordered ‘You’re made for a God sized dream‘, and ‘You’re Already Amazing‘. She figured she needed both, and was looking forward to reading both, but then realized she was immediately in need of figuring out that she is already amazing. Just reading the title bring tears to her eyes. Simply because she don’t believe in it herself. Ava Sophie just can’t believe that she is amazing, and when she reads those words, it actually hurts because she’s thinking: ‘No, I’m sorry, you’ve got it wrong. You must have mistaken me for someone else. I wish you were right, but I am afraid it’s not me you’re talking about.’
This is a girl who doesn’t have much time in her everyday life to read, but that might have been the best after all. She started to prioritize reading from the book in the fifteen minutes it would take for the bus to get her to where she was supposed to go every morning. The fifteen minutes each morning was enough, because half of that time, she would be sitting silently crying on the bus, having hard time continuing reading the words Holley wrote to her. The words God used Holley to tell her. The words He has tried to tell Ava Sophie for a long time, through close friends, boyfriend, mother, spiritual mentor, well, let’s just say he has used many people to try to make her believe in it. The thing is that Ava Sophie can easily believe that God loves the people she knows. She can also believe that God loves the people she doesn’t know. She can even understand that God loves the people she really doesn’t like, because she’s been given the gift(though it sometimes doesn’t feel that way) to see the good in people. If she can see something good in them, she knows that God sees so much more!
Somehow she just can’t see why God loves her. She can’t even explain it, really, because she knows there is some good in herself, and knows that when she sees it, God sees so much more. This girl just doesn’t see how He can love her. And for her to read that she is truly amazing, that is even more difficult to believe than that God loves her.
Holley Gerth writes:
‘I clear my throat, lean back, look you in the eyes and say: “It’s time you knew you’re amazing.”
You smile, laugh awkwardly, glance at the ceiling. “I know, I know,” you reply. “So kind of you to say.” I respond, looking at you more intently. ” I mean it’s time you really knew. An there’s more:
- You’re not only amazing.
- You’re enough
- You’re beautiful
- You’re wanted
- You’re chosen
- You’re called
- You’ve got what it takes…not just to survive, but to change the world.”
By this time, your fingers are wrapped around your cup. You stare down at the bottom of it, focused at the emptiness, wondering why these words are so hard to hear.
Finally you ask, “Who told you that?”
And I respond, “The only One who really knows–Someone who loves you.“‘
These simple sentences made tears flow down the cheeks of a sore young woman. It was so hurtful to hear, because all her life she’s heard opposite statements about herself, and believed them. She’s been so convinced that she could not be a good(or good enough) person, that when Ava Sophie read these words, it was all she’s ever longed for. But it wasn’t enough just to hear it from loved ones. As a visual person with a better understanding of the written word than the oral language, she needed to see it black on white. And when she did, it spoke directly to her heart. Ava Sophie accepted the words. She still need to be reminded of it, though -preferably all the time.
This quote is from one of the first pages of the book, ‘You’re Already Amazing’, and she’s now read 1/4 of the book. Ava Sophie recommended this book from the bottom of her heart. She’s made some changes to her everyday life now(not without “fallback”), starting the day with a prayer, amongst other things. She’s even praying more during the day. Before this, when she got reminded of something to pray about, she used to think, “I have to remember to pray for this later”, and used to forget about it. The idea behind was that she didn’t always have time for a long prayer when she was reminded of a prayer-subject. Again, it’s about not being good enough. Now this young woman knows(at least most days) that she is good enough, and a little prayer when she gets reminded to pray is good enough. Ava Sophie now understands that God doesn’t set rules for people like: “I only answer those who pray at least half an hour for every subject”.
She also started caring for herself physically, by eating healthier, more often, you know the deal, exercising. Sometimes she goes to a gym, other times she settles for a short walk or a few minutes dancing “with” herself on the living room floor. She’s learned relaxation methods, and often combines them with a prayer. Something that really makes her cheeks glow and her shoulders relax is singing, surprisingly enough. She knew she liked the singing part, but it’s not until now she noticed the effect it has on her. What really gives her energy and peace is to spend time with people in the congregation, read inspiring Christian blogs, and just lately she’s learned to answer the negative thoughts with God’s word instead of discussing with those thoughts. If Ava Sophie is struggling to accept love, or to feel good about herself, she talks and listens to those around her who have close relationship with God, ask them to describe her as a person, and be honest about what she feels. That way she finds out that she’s not alone feeling that way, meanwhile it encourages others to speak their mind as well. That group is really great at encouraging each others and the way Ava Sophie see it, every one of them leaves the group feeling more blessed at the end of the day.
One of the chapters in “You’re Already Amazing” describes the difference between “strengths” and “skills”…Strengths are a part of our personality, a part of us. They are something that we are, that there are different ways to express. Strengths are what God gave you when you were “wonderfully and fearfully made”(Psalms 139:14). When you express a strength, you express it with a “skill”. A skill is something that on some level is easy for you to do, something you are good at, a talent maybe, but in general something you can learn. Let’s use Ava Sophie as an example: one of her strengths is encouraging. She can express encouragingly, she can create something encouraging, she can write something encouraging, she can support encouragingly. Her main skill is writing. Thing is, if I something happened to her, that make her unable to write, God would strengthen one of her other skills to perform her strength of encouraging. This way she can’t be stopped from performing her strength, even though she’s unable to use a skill. Still, strengths can go both ways, used wrongly. Encouragingly can become discouraging performed wrongly. If we are really tired a day, and not observant, we may be discouraging others instead of encouraging them. To Ava Sophie it was revolutionary to learn the difference between skills and strengths, because she realized it is not the way she does things that describe her as a person, it is her strengths, her personality, and what she does, that describe her personality. She realized that it is not necessarily by writing she can do God’s work, but by using her strengths, in this case encourage, she does God’s work. She can give her strengths to God, so He can use her strengths to do His work, the way He intended when He gave her the strengths in the first place…This song describes her feelings and new perspective after this realization…
Ava Sophie opened her eyes, and saw some things God has been trying to show her:
“…I thought of how our hearts are much like those maples. There’s so much to offer inside. And yet we become impatient. We tell ourselves that we should be able to produce something extraordinary instantly. But that’s not how it works. Instead we have to see the potential, go through the process, be patient with what God wants to bring to the world through us.
(…)There’s no such thing as an ordinary heart.“
On her blog post ‘Comparisons will kick you in the teeth and hijack your dreams every time‘, Lisa-Jo Baker writes:
“Comparison drives up to take that dream we love, that calling we’re following, that friendship we cherish and wrench it away from us and grind it up into so much dirt and speckled gravel under irreverent tires.
(…) But if we were to look down, look away from what we wish we had. If we would glance back at where we are, we might see in order to have rubbernecked so hard and so far we’ve been standing with high heels ground down on top of the hand painted, one-of-a-kind life art crafted for us.”
“I pray for time to devote to reading your Word daily, to meditate on it and to memorize it. I desire to seek after you Lord, that you would fill me with your peace and strength. I know I need to lean on you more. Help me! Help me to trust in you.”
Ava Sophie’s prayer for the rest of her life with the Lord:
“Yes, Lord, You do raise me up. Whenever I am down, you raise me up. You raise me up, you open my eyes, you show me your thoughts, wishes, and plans for me, and that all of the above is ‘to give me a hope and a future'(Jeremiah 29:). You raise my view so I can see what you have laid down in me, what I am made of and what you have made in me. I give myself to you, Lord, knowing that only I do so, I can find myself. Because only when I give myself to you, I can embrace my identity. Because my true Identity is in you, and that is the only place I can truly find myself. Oh, Lord Jesus. You are so wonderful, and I am so thankful that you never give me up, despite that I often have to learn the same things over and over again! You never give me up, because you know me, and you have faith in me. Of all the people that could have faith in me, You are the one believing in me. GOD is believing in me. Jesus is my cheerleader! I thank you for taking a share in my life, and for giving me the opportunity to share my life with you. I’m so thankful that you gave me a choice, the choice, to not only have you in my life, but giving me the life, and that I could give my life to you. Thank you for giving me faith that in you I’m not only enough, that I’m unique and already amazing. Our God is an awesome God!”