What I’m Loving {4}

Hey friends, Happy Friday!!!

Hope y’all have had a good week! I for one am glad the weekend is upon us. We are traveling to the great state of Oklahoma this weekend to visit the best school in all the land – Oklahoma State University, naturally.  We haven’t been in almost THREE years, which is insane, so we’re taking the boys to show them what it’s all about – and since it’s a game day we know it’ll be a blast.

Here’s a little bit of what I’m loving lately:

What I'm Loving {4} | Haven Gray {the blog}

Athleta Capri Pants

I am a pretty frugal girl when it comes to clothing usually, but Arsen got me started on these and now I can’t stop! They are SO comfy and crazy flattering, and they’re also made out of super durable, nice quality fabric. I’ve got several pairs of the Chaturanga ™ Capris and I’ve been wearing these babies nonstop, even though it’s a million degrees outside. When the weather finally cools down in Texas I’m pretty sure I won’t take them off.

Bible Study

A few weeks ago I started leading a table at the Women’s Bible Study at my church, and I am LOVING it! I was a little (a lot) hesitant at first, because this is so far from something I ever thought I would be doing, but after a lot (a lot) of prayer, I knew it was the right step. And man, God has used it to bless me big time, because the girls at my table – pretty much none of us knew each other beforehand! –  feel like they were hand picked especially to be in this group together. I just love when he coordinates my life in such a fun, unexpected way!

My Little Family

I always love my boys (all three of ’em), but lately I have been pretty much obsessed with how great they all are. I feel like we’re in a bit of sweet spot right now, and we’re having a lot of really good family time. I mean, don’t get me wrong, the kids drive us absolutely bonkers a large portion of the time – especially the tiny one, he is CRAZY – but their relationship is becoming cuter, they’re easier to communicate with, and the husband and I seem to have found a good balance with this parenting thing. Kind of madly in love with the family we’ve created right now.

“Fall”

Or more accurately, the idea of fall. Texas usually barely gets a fall, and this year is proving to be totally predictable. It was at least 95 degrees outside today, which is horrendous when all you see everywhere are pumpkins and halloween decor and boots and sweaters. I swear I’m meant to live somewhere that gets a true four seasons – but no, somehow I’m in the hottest state on the planet. Nonetheless, I’m loving the fact that our version of fall is just around the corner, which means the holidays will be close behind. The next few months are my FAVORITE time of the year!

Alright friend of mine, tell me – what are you loving??

 

Oh, How He Loves Us

Ezekiel36:26This whole journey to a real relationship with God that I have found myself on recently started with a random trip to the Hope Spoken conference early last year. My experience there is what changed everything for me. I saw a different side of what Christianity could be, how supportive Christian women could be, and the atmosphere was just amazing. I mean, it was beautiful outwardly, but the feeling throughout the entire conference was just so pure and comforting and welcoming, so many things that at that point I certainly did not relate with Christianity or God.

But even as amazing as it was, I still didn’t feel it deep down in my soul the way I knew I could. Or should. I loved it so much, but I wasn’t feeling that deep God connection that I had felt years and years ago when I was in that place, and on the last morning I was feeling a little let down at that. I thought, maybe it’s just been so long that I can’t get there? Maybe it’s just not for me anymore? Maybe it was never even real?

There was a time of praise and worship that last morning before the conference ended, and I was sitting at a table by myself, listening to all of these worship songs that I had never heard obviously, because I hadn’t listened to Christian music for more than a decade. Some of them I really liked, and I would make note in my phone to download them. But none of them were touching me deeply. I remember feeling like I was just an observer to this beautiful experience that all these other women seemed to be having.

But then finally, very close to the end of the morning, it happened.

And I broke. And I cried. And cried. And all I could think was, God, I am so sorry. I am so incredibly sorry. Because the song that finally touched me and let me get to that place was the song Oh How He Loves Us. And until that moment, I don’t think I had ever truly thought about the fact that God actually loved me. And the fact that I had completely turned away from him for over a decade – how hurtful that must have been.

Obviously as a mama, I thought about how I would feel if my boys walked away from me, wouldn’t speak to me, said they didn’t need me, didn’t want me, didn’t miss me – for 12 or 13 years. It broke my heart, just the thought. And I did that, I did that to God. Who loves me more than I can even imagine loving anyone or anything.

It blows my mind. All of it. I’m a super logical person who needs to understand things to believe them, I’m a researcher, I like to know the details about things. So it’s been easy for me to just not totally believe for all these years. My thing was always, well, IF there’s a God….because who can really truly prove to me that there is?

But then, you feel it. For me, it’s hard. It’s super hard for me to feel that love, and I’m not sure why. But now that I’m a mama, I can understand it. I can feel it in that way, as a mother loves her child, God loves me. Really? Yes. Really.

Once you’ve felt it, I think you always have a longing for it. Once you’ve felt the true love of God, there’s always a yearning to get back to that place, to experience it again. And it’s hard. I’m hoping that’s something that will change as I continue down this path, that I don’t have to try so hard, to seek so hard, before feeling it deep within. Because I know it’s there, surrounding me all the time. It’s something in me that’s blocking it. And I’m working on identifying that and breaking that down.

Still, the times when I start to feel that familiar feeling – which if you’ve experienced it you know exactly what I’m talking about – seem to always be when I’m listening to music that is focused on God’s love for us. For me. Another song that seems to move me every time is Broken Vessels. I keep saying I feel blocked in some ways when it comes to going deeper in my relationship with God, and I think it’s because I’m not totally able to accept and feel that love for some reason. So that’s where my focus is. And what’s working for me is finding some quiet time (which is so hard to come by in this season of my life) and listening to the songs that sing of God’s love.

If you’re a believer, is feeling love from God a struggle for you? Or does it seem to just happen organically? If it is a struggle, how have you worked through it? I would love to hear about other people’s experiences if you’re willing to share!