Hello, September // gathering hope

Monday, September 7, 2015

I know this post is late. Sorry about that; I've been crazy busy.

It's finally here. The last two weeks of August decided to approach too quickly and trudge by at an annoyingly slow pace. But, September is finally here, and do you know what that means for my  southern family? FOOTBALL. (1-2-3-4-1-2-3-4-C-L-E-M-S-O-N) Okay, sorry about that. I'm done. 

September always reminds me of new beginnings -- new school years, new friends, a new football season, and always a new me. Not one September passes where I don't learn at least one more thing about myself. It seems that the beginning of September is the last passing possibility of Summer. When the leaves change, so does everything  and everyone else. A new vibe fills the air, a hopeful one, like everyone is silently hoping for yet another victorious year. In September, everyone fills up on hope so they'll have enough until June.
September can be a truly hectic mess, but in a way, it has been a blessing for me. I've learned quite a few things this past August that I hope to carry with me through September:

Where sin runs deep, God's grace abound all the more.

I've struggled with sin a lot this past month. (Surprise there, right?) But something said in history class gave me a beautiful new appreciation for God's grace. We were talking about the history of the Hebrews, and when my teacher got the the part where Israel split, he said something about Judah. They could have gotten completely absorbed into the Chaldean culture like Israel got absorbed into Assyrian culture, he said, but they didn't. Keep in mind, I go to a public school, and my history teacher doesn't believe in God, so for him to say this surprised me. He went on to talk about the secret meetings that happened on the Sabbath, and how the Jews kept worshiping God (some of them, anyway). Eventually, in 538 BC, after the Chaldeans were conquered by the Persians, the Hebrews got to go home. Now, they still were ruled over by other peoples after that, but my point is this: God had every right to leave the Jews after all the times they had rejected Him. He could have let them disappear off the face of the earth and become nonexistent altogether, but He didn't. Because God promised them that a Savior would be born out of the tribe of Judah, He preserved the Israelites and His word to them. 

This seems so relevant in my life as I'm struggling with sin. I fail God so much and fall into temptation constantly, but He is always there and He will never break His promise to me. He will carry me through this life and show me my purpose, and in the uncertain times I have to trust Him. There will be fiery furnaces and lions' dens, but there is no place to sinful or too far away that God isn't there with me.

Putting your hope in worldly things will not satisfy.

Maybe it's my personality or maybe it's just who I am, but I am  terrible, and I really mean terrible, at putting people before God in my life. I'll yearn for someone to like me or to spend more time with me or to get more texts from someone instead of yearning for God and His word. Each time, I fall flat on my face into the pit of helplessness, and when I call upon the name of the Lord, He answers, and, oh, how sweet the sound is.

No matter how many times God answers my prayers, though, I always fall back into sin again. I'm beginning to realize how much of a constant struggle sin is, and the thought makes God's grace seem all the more great. Yet again I've realized my need for that daily grace. Yes, worldly pleasure don't and never will satisfy, but God's grace will always cover my sin, and that is the most beautiful thought.

Stressing only makes things worse; trust God's plan.

A widely hated synonym for school is stress. We all know what it feels like, and we all hate it. It's only three weeks into school for me, and I'm already up to my neck in stress. I'm going to keep this section short, because, honestly, who needs another back to school post? My advice to you all is this: do your homework, try your best, study for you tests, but do not stress. (That kind of rhymes. You're welcome. I've just given you a new rhyme to get you through the school year.) Stressing makes everyone and everything miserable. Enjoy those lunchtime conversations. Spend time with your friends. Eat that ice cream. Do you school work and study hard, but don't stress.

You can't live on a feeling.

Feelings are what most people base their lives on. They feel like they should be able to love the same sex, so they do. They feel like they should get to sleep a later, so they do. They don't feel like doing their homework, so they don't. Living this way is not only selfish, but frustrating. When you live on your feelings, you have a bad day because you didn't finish your coffee or a good day because your crush texted you. You'll have a bad day because you have too much homework or a good day because it's game day. Jesus calls us to put others before ourselves, so the next time your best friend is having a party but you don't feel quite up to it, maybe think of how much they would like it if you did come Next time you feel like looking up your homework on google, think about how upset your teacher would be. Next time you feel like cutting corners or slacking off, think of what Jesus would want you to do. And keep in mind, others might not always like when we live the way Jesus wants. In fact, most people won't like it at all, but we must be reminded that what Jesus says goes because He is One with the Father, and God's word is law.

Enjoy your September, readers. For those of you who are just starting school, good luck. For those of you who have been in school, keep at it. All of you, be diligent and hardworking and trust God always.

The last thing I'll end with is is playlist of songs I've been loving lately:

+ Dream Girl - Hunter Hayes
+ Everything Has Changed - Taylor Swift
+ Oceans (Where Feet May Fail) - Hillsong
+ Boldly I Approach - Rend Collective 
+ Cry With You - Hunter Hayes
+ Come As You Are- Crowder

God bless,
Mary Shelley

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