I just found out some great news! One of my favorite restaurants (which closed about a year ago in Buckhead) is reopening in a new location the first week of July! I am super excited about this because I have been craving their crab dip since they closed! The new location of the Steamhouse Lounge is 1051 W. Peachtree in the former location of Element. Who wants to go with me?
I had coffee with a friend last night and during our conversation we touched on our pasts a little bit and mistakes we had made. It wasn’t long and drawn out but my first thought was that hindsight is so much clearer! I know that when I think about my past, whether good or bad, I can always think of things I could have done better. It’s easy to tear myself apart on things I can’t change now, even if I wanted to.
As I was thinking about hindsight being clearer I became overwhelmingly thankful that God’s foresight is so clear that he knew us before we were born and he took care of our guilt and our shame on the cross. It’s not that he doesn’t remember our past, after all he is an all-knowing God, but it’s forgiven. While our hindsight is so much clearer, his is so much kinder. I hadn’t ever really thought about that before and last night, having coffee with a friend, it brought me so much peace.
I ended part one of these thoughts with the following quote:
“One way he works is to allow our lower dreams to shatter. He lets us hurt and doesn’t make it better. We suffer and He stands by and does nothing to help, at least nothing that we’re aware we want Him to do. In fact, what he’s doing while we suffer is leading us into the depths of our being, into the center of our soul where we feel our strongest passions. It’s there that we discover our desire for God. We begin to feel a desire to know Him that not only survives all our pain, but actually thrives in it until that desire becomes more intense than our desire for all the good things we still want. Through the pain of shattered lower dreams, we wake up to the realization that we want and encounter with God more than we want the blessings of life. And that begins a revolution in our lives.
When I read that paragraph it really resonated in my heart. After I read it I took a minute to look back on those few months of pain and I saw that it was so very true. I was really mad at God for some of that time. He took things in my life that I thought were good and either didn’t allow them to happen or let them start and then stopped them before they had a chance to flourish. I know now that He knew exactly what he was doing, and I am so thankful for that, but at the time it just felt mean.
He allowed my dreams to shatter, and then He stood by and watched. It felt like He was doing nothing about it. Once I got over my initial hurt with God I started to feel the pain of dreams deferred. And just like that book mentioned, when I was in my deepest places, all I wanted was God. I didn’t want any of life’s blessings or pleasure, all I wanted was God. I wanted Him near. I wanted to know He was there. I wanted Him to hold my broken heart and to understand me. And He did all of those things. He brought up old, unhealed wounds that I hadn’t thought about since I was a kid and he healed them. He made me look them in the face and feel their pain again, and then He held me.
I am so much better for that time in the pit. I am so much better for having an encounter with God and understanding that it is better than what I thought I wanted. Larry Crabb says, “we’re not in touch with our appetite for God.” I believe that is true. Deep in all of us, whether we claim to believe in God or not, is a desire for God, but we are not in touch with it. We know that something is missing and we try to fill it with everything that we can think of, but what we desire is God.
Those of you that walked with me through those hard times may find it strange that I am even saying this, but I am so thankful for that time. I am so glad that I was brought down low, so that God could take me to the high places.
“Shattered dreams are not accidents of fate. They are ordained opportunities for the Spirit first to awaken then to satisfy our highest dream. “
-Larry Crabb, Shattered Dreams
As I have mentioned in previous posts, 2008 started out as a pretty tough year. I wasn’t expecting it to be so. In fact, based on how 2007 ended, I was expecting it to be pretty awesome. I had really high hopes for 2008 and thought it would be a time for some great memories. It didn’t really turn out like that. It’s gotten better though. This late Spring has been refreshing and thankfully uneventful (if you count college graduation, a huge conference at work, and moving uneventful). But it was at least emotionally uneventful!
Looking back on the early part of 2008 now that I am out of the thick of all of the emotion, I am able to see things a lot clearer. I can now see some purpose to some of the pain. I still don’t understand the road that God took me down during those painful months, but I can see some of the fruit of it beginning to take shape.
In one of my low moments I got to have lunch with my friend, Jeanne. She is really great at asking questions that make you dig down deep and figure things out. She did that for me that day. I am now able to see that God took a specific circumstance and used it to flesh out some hindrances in my relationship with him. It was so painful but I am so thankful for it! I honestly feel like a new person as I enter into the second half of 2008.
During my conversation with Jeanne that day she recommended a book called Shattered Dreams by Larry Crabb. I bought the book that day, thirsty for anything that I thought would bring me some relief, but with my school schedule and work schedule around that time, I didn’t actually pick it up to read until today. I just finished the introduction and I already know that this book is going to be a great journey.
He starts out by talking about how God wants to bless us and that the greatest blessing is an encounter with Him. Unfortunately, as humans we have a hard time accepting it as truth. We want to believe it, but things in this world and in this life are more immediate and from a distance seem like they will be so much more fulfilling. Crabb says that because we don’t always see eye to eye with God on that, he helps us out a little. He says it best, so I will just quote him!
“One way he works is to allow our lower dreams to shatter. He lets us hurt and doesn’t make it better. We suffer and He stands by and does nothing to help, at least nothing that we’re aware we want Him to do. In fact, what he’s doing while we suffer is leading us into the depths of our being, into the center of our soul where we feel our strongest passions. It’s there that we discover our desire for God. We begin to feel a desire to know Him that not only survives all our pain, but actually thrives in it until that desire becomes more intense than our desire for all the good things we still want. Through the pain of shattered lower dreams, we wake up to the realization that we want and encounter with God more than we want the blessings of life. And that begins a revolution in our lives.”
I was talking to a friend the other day and realized that I use John Mayer song lyrics a lot when I talk! Actually sometimes the advice that I give myself come from his song lyrics. I might not always agree with everything that he has to say, but it’s impossible to deny that he is a wordsmith. So here are some of the things that I have learned from John Mayer, some deeper than others!
“It’s better to say to much then never to say what you need to say.”
“Did you expect to kiss me one time while looking at me with the same eyes ever again?”
“And I’ve done all I can to stand on her steps with my heart in my hands. Now I’m starting to see maybe it’s got nothing to do with me.”
“Why’s it my fault? Maybe I try to hard. But it’s all because of this desire. I just wanna be liked, I just wanna be funny. Looks like joke’s on me. So call me Captain Backfire.”
“They love to tell you stay inside the lines, but something’s better on the other side.”
“I loved you, gray sweatpants, no makeup, just perfect.”
“You should have seen that sunrise with your own eyes. It brought me back to life.”
“By the time I recognize this moment, this moment will be gone.”
On June 29 our pastor, Andy, is starting a new series called “Letters to the Next President.” If you get a chance, please go write your own letter to the next president! We don’t know who that will be at this point, so you are writing it that way. Check out what others have written too!
My friend Sarah was due on June 15 with her first baby. My other friend Angela was due on June 17 with her second baby but was scheduled to be induced on June 9. The great thing is that Sarah also went into labor and gave birth on the 9th! It was a fun afternoon at the hospital going back and forth between the two delivery rooms. They even had the same doctor!
Mandee and I in the waiting room
Check out all of those macs! The North Point staff never stops working!
Introducing Silas Briggs Nowery! He was born at 3:31 PM and weighed in at 7 pounds, 8 ounces and 20 inches long!
Glow Worm Silas!
Introducing Rowan Elizabeth Carroll! She was born at 4:41 PM and weighed in at 7 pounds 5 ounces and 20.75 inches long!
Last week I went with my mom, my older sister, Jen, and my niece and nephew to Cincinnati to visit some family. We had a great time hanging out with cousins, playing at the pool, going to the butterfly garden and zoo, and eating some great food! Here are some of the highlights: