Thursday, March 24, 2016

Holy Wedding Day

About a year ago, I wrote this reflection following receiving Jesus in the Eucharist about some God-inspired imaginings. I think that it's totally appropriate for these next couple of days:

I was still in darkness, but longing for light.

Exhausted, I took a step forward, towards a doorway. The invisible hand of darkness pushed me forward, whispering for me to go. I obeyed.

Suddenly, I was standing in the light.

About one hundred feet away stood a man, standing before an enormous gate. I caught a glimpse of Him before He saw me. He was pacing, wringing his hands. As though He was waiting.

“You see me.”

And then, His eyes met mine. Even though he was a distance away, I could feel the radiant glow of His face. I felt a burst of love like nothing I had ever felt in my life, and it consumed all of me. In that moment, I knew that that was for what I was made.

“You know me.”

He started running. And tears of joy started streaming down my face...He’s running. To me.

I started to run but then I looked down and realized I was wearing a magnificent, full skirted wedding dress, complete with high heels that didn’t exactly support the idea of running.

But I didn’t want to wait. I wanted to meet Him. So I kicked them off, hiked up the dress, and ran to Him.

As we drew closer, I saw bursts of memories from my life, both happy and sad. I looked into His eyes and knew that He was seeing them too.

“You love me through and through.”

I stopped a foot away from Him, but He didn’t stop. His face...the most beautiful face I’ve ever seen, words can’t describe it.

In one swift motion, he picked me up and cradled me in His arms.

He saw my sin, all the times I had messed up. But in His arms, it was gone.

He whispered, “I love you.”

And slowly, he walked back towards the gate, the biggest smile on His face. I felt peace. I was able to love with every single part of me. And I knew that this was why I was made.

He walked through the gate and it closed behind us. I knew that it would never be opening for me again, but I did not feel trapped. This was where I was meant to be.

This was where He wanted me to be.

THIS is Jesus. Jesus is not the guy pointing fingers, screaming at us. He is the one who loves us UNCONDITIONALLY. He sees past every single hurt and RUNS to us.

Maybe His sacrifice makes you feel guilty. Maybe you don’t like the fact that you need to be saved, that someone sees you and loves you anyway. Maybe you think that His love isn’t for you, that you don’t deserve it. Maybe you think that you can’t surrender or you’ve tried and failed.

The reality is, how we feel about Jesus’s love has nothing to do with the truth of it. Regardless of if we “wanted” Him to or not, Jesus died for us. And He loves us so much that He will let us choose to whether or not to accept His love.

We have to be open to receiving this love, to letting it influence our lives. I know that it’s hard. Surrendering to Jesus is a lifelong process. Everyone fails, but we don't have to give up. His grace is sufficient.

Once we make it through that doorway and surrender, He’ll start running towards us and nothing can stop Him.

He wants you. That’s what matters. Not that you feel like you don’t deserve it. His sacrifice makes you worthy. This is our ultimate purpose, to love Him.

I think I what I was seeing was a picture me entering Heaven. But the image is still relevant on earth. We’re called to step out of sin here and now, and into the arms of Jesus.

Have you ever felt like nobody sees you, that you’re alone? He sees you. Not only that, He knows you. He’s not a distant God, but a God who is always with you. He’s cried with you, laughed with you. And He loves you. Every single part of you. He loves you enough to die, and rise again.

What is going to be your response to this radical love? Let’s pray to humble ourselves to accept this love and surrender. Ask for the grace to love him deeper. Ask without doubt, but with faith that Jesus will always come through.

THIS is what these days of Holy Week are about. Christ running to us. Jesus dying so that we might now that we might come to Him. 

He's coming to you, friend. He's with you. Surrender.

Praying for you.

(Take a listen to this song...very fitting with the theme of this post and this week:)

Monday, March 21, 2016

Liebster Award + A to Z Theme Reveal

Happy Monday, friends! I hope the start to your spring is much more relaxing than mine. Senior year, college stuff, and work are far scarier and more demanding than the monsters that lived in my closet in days of yore. Prayers for energy and focus and peace would be much appreciated.

I was recently nominated for the Liebster Award by Abi from over at The Left-Handed Typist. Abi is incredibly sweet, funny, and left handed. Also, she has a very sincere, fresh writing style, so definitely check out her blog. Despite my admiration for the amazing Abi, I have to break the rules a bit by not actually nominating anyone. However, I did come up with questions, so if you want to answer in the comments or on your blog, that would be sweet!

1. What's the story behind your blog's name?
I started AM Station the summer before my freshman year of high school (coming up on four years!). I don't really remember how the name came into play...I remember sitting on my bedroom floor in PA, figuring out the formatting with my (very obliging) cousin. I feel like my dad suggested a name that lead to "AM Station"...or maybe he just flat out suggested it...either way, I guess he gets some credit. Obviously, it's a play off of FM or AM radio, and since my name is Anne works.

2. What is your favorite stage of writing?
Ah, such a great (and hard) question! I love all the stages for different reasons. I'll go with first draft. I love planning and plotting and then finally being able to let the characters and story just come to life.

3. Where/in what conditions do you write the best?
No one can be around. I don't work well when there are people around me because I feel like someone is always staring at me. Doesn't matter if it's in my living room or in a coffee shop, I'm just too distracted. Besides that, there really isn't any other criteria. I usually write in my bedroom, which is bright yellow, at my purple desk right at my window, which overlooks a pretty decent size woods. 

4. What is a country you would like to visit?
England. I love English culture and accents and a decent percent of my blood is English.

5. What is your favorite historical period?
I like too many! I really like the 20s, 40s, and 50s.

6. What is your favorite dessert?
I'm actually somewhat picky about desserts. If I'm going to consume the calories, it's got to be worth it. Dry donuts and cakey brownies are the worst. Also I can't stand overly sugary frosting and cake that isn't moist. Not the biggest crunchy cookie fan either. And don't even get me started on pies...I cannot do pie crust. Apple, fruit, whatever. Blueberry is kind of okay. I would have to say ice-cream is one place where I am rarely disappointed. Except this past summer, my dad kept getting all of this ice-cream from a local ice-cream place that was in their mess-up freezer...kind of tasted like creamy cardboard plastic.

7. What's the furthest you've ever been from home?
Destin, Florida, which is fourteen hours away. We went on vacation there this past November and it was incredible.

8. What is your earliest memory?
Hmm...earliest. I'm just going to tweak it to "early". My first bed was a king size (since then, I downgraded to a double, then a twin, and now I'm back up to a queen) that literally took up the majority of my bedroom. Anyway. I remember very vividly lining up my multitudes of stuffed animals and dolls and telling them stories. Also, the staircase to the attic/playroom was in my bedroom, and I was convinced that Michael Alvin (a bad guy of my imagination) lived up there. As long as I was under my covers with my buddies, though, I was safe.

9. What is your happy place?
My happy place is anywhere in prayer. If I can be in the presence of Jesus...what more could I ask for?

10. If you could pick one author/screenwriter to meet, who would it be?

Jane Austen.

11. What is your favorite book adapted movie/show?
Pride and Prejudice. The BBC version.

Now, for my questions:
1. Favorite ice-cream flavor?
2. Awkward/embarrassing childhood hobby?
3. Crazy dream job (un-writing related)?
4. Fine point or ultra fine point sharpie?
5. Current favorite song?
6. Captain America or Iron Man?
7. Favorite scene in current WIP?
8. Who is Jesus Christ to you?
9. Flip-flops or sneakers in the summer?
10. Write me a poem.
11. Post a picture of a hair cut that you want but would be too scared to ever get.

There you have it!

WAIT! Don't leave yet, there's more!

For the second year in a row, I'm doing the A TO Z CHALLENGE! Which is quite possibly the stupidest thing I've ever done, since I'm already drowning in all sorts of deadlines that have serious implications for my future. Plus I had a great theme idea and I've prayed a lot about it so I am going to do my best to get it done!

(For those unaware, the A to Z is a challenge where bloggers attempted to blog thematically from the letter "a" to "z" every day in April, save Sundays.)

So....theme music. For my theme reveal. The reveal of my theme. My theme's reveal. The reveal which corresponds to my theme.



Well, maybe not everything I've learned...but the biggies. Senior year has brought out so much reflectiveness (not a word, whatever, I didn't learn to spell in high school obviously) in my self, which is saying a lot, because I'm a pretty reflective person. Anyway, I have had a very unique (or at least, I like to think so) high school experience and have been looking for an opportunity to dive into my story.

What will you see if you chose to stick around during April? You'll see the grace of God at work, and all of the tears, heartbreak, laughter, and joy that it brings.

Like I wrote in my last post, we have to tell our stories. We simply have to. God gave them to use for a reason, a long with words and fingers to write. So, dear friends, I hope you'll read my stories...they are my gift to you.

Have a blessed Holy Week.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

The Power of Your Story

I love to share things that have happened to me. A crazy amount of ridiculous things have taken place in my life, and I enjoy sharing the hilarity of awkward situations I've been forced into.

But beyond the silliness...are we sharing our stories?

Our stories about when we didn't think we were going to make it. About when we almost ended it all. About when we didn't think God would come through. About when we were broken in so many pieces, we were certain that we would never be healed. About the immense pain caused by a family member or friend.

And how about the stories of incredible joy and goodness? When we did pull through? When God showed up? When we saw a purpose in the pain? When the unthinkable happened? When we fell into the arms of Jesus...when we realized the power He has in our lives?

These are the stories that make us who we are. Our generation has so many platforms for communication, with technology and social media. We have the potential to reach more people than was ever before possible.

Sometimes, I wonder if God lets us go through certain things because He wants us to be a comfort to people who will go through the same. I wonder if He allows us certain hurts because it will bring us closer as a truly be one body.

Our stories need to be shared. And not flippantly, as though they don't matter, as though they are powerless...but proclaimed as they are. Without trying to downplay the pain. Without trying to downplay the goodness.

"They conquered him by the blood of the lamb and the word of their testimony." -Revelation 12:11

Revelation 12:10 accuses Satan of being the "accuser". At least in my life, that is his most accurate title. He accuses me of not being good enough, of not being important enough. He tells me that God can't use my life, God can't use my stories...that I'm too little and insignificant. He points his finger at me and says what I'm going through is too big for me, it's too big for God, and pain only leads to more pain.

Well duh. Satan isn't stupid.

The great accuser is CONQUERED by BLOOD OF THE LAMB. That is the Blood of Christ Jesus, spilled out for us on the literally covers us and conquers Satan.

I think it is so cool that NOT ONLY is Satan conquered by Jesus's Blood, but also by our testimony. God uses our stories-- the good and the seemingly bad-- to DEFEAT SATAN. God uses you to defeat evil.

So of course, Satan is going to downplay the importance of your story. He is going to tell you that it's not as exciting as everyone else's story, that it's not going to have an impact on anyone. He's going to tell you that God can't use your story...but that's exactly what God wants to do.

For me, telling my stories has been so healing for me. Being able to proclaim God's workings in my life is such a blessing. But it's more than just me...time after time, Jesus has used my story to bring healing to another person's life, which is the most humbling thing ever. Being used to glorify God and advance His It's amazing.

Friends, He desires to use you, too, in so many amazing ways! Never once doubt that He is not using you and that He will not use you. Together, let's pray to surrender more deeply to being used by Him.

God is continually working in all of our lives. We are living our testimonies out...our stories are not over. But God sees everything, beginning, end, and middle, and He pours out His love and His goodness upon us every minute of every day. Let's glorify His name and proclaim our testimony, to set prisoners free and kick Satan's butt.

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If you're doing this whole Lent thing, here's my challenge for you: share your story. How has God worked in your life? Where has His goodness manifested itself? Share it in the comments and then pray for opportunities to share it with those in your life!