Forever Changed

Sunday, March 24, 2013

The Internet is a funny thing. It allows us to share what we want to with the world. Screening the things that we don’t want to share. From the Internet you would see that I am a girl (obviously!), 23 going on 24 in June. I am a sister, daughter, and a wife. I run and own my hand stamped flatware business called, For Such A Time Designs and I live in Austin, TX. I have an adorable chow-lab puppy named Baya. I love to sing. I enjoy being outdoors. I adore long chats with good friends. I have a passion to serve others.  The list I am sure would go on and on from what I may choose to share on the Internet…

However, what you may not know is this.

I am full of sin.

I have a very big heart, but with that, if I am not careful, I allow my emotions to get the best of me. I get angry easily and cannot control my tongue. If I watch a movie with too many curse words, I show a lack of self-control and they come out when I am upset. I hold onto bitterness. I yell at my husband. I get very stressed out sometimes and crumble into a ball of tears on the floor (please tell me someone can relate????).  I complain, I gossip, I am jealous. I am fearful. I am fearful of many things. I struggle with a lack of self-confidence and I stare at myself in the mirror and think of all the things wrong with me. Shall I go on… or do you see my point?

Are you starting to think maybe you don’t really know me that well? Have I done a good job of sensoring you from the side of me that I wouldn’t want you to see?

You see… for the past 2 years, I have struggled to be the woman I know that God intended for me to be. I tell Him, and myself that I will change. That I want to change and then I fall back into my ugly ways of thinking “this is the way it is… I am messed up and I can not turn back, there is no HOPE for me.” But I have been wrong. I have not had full faith in God. But really, I wasn’t even ready to believe that God could change me.

Something happened a few weeks ago.  Something that fueled my desire for change and  it stuck. I cried out to God… and He met me.

March 10th, 2012

Andrew and I woke up, got ready, and headed to Church. The service was wonderful, powerful and I felt quite convicted for some change in my life. We left church and Andrew said something to me that I took the wrong way. I let myself feel my anger and didn’t stop it. The flicker turned to a flame and soon we were in an argument over nothing. We drove home and by the time we walked in the door I was so ashamed and embarrassed of my behavior that I grabbed the keys and left. I had no idea where I would go. I didn’t even say a thing to Andrew, nor did he chase me (understandingly so).

I turned the music real loud. I cried. I yelled. I cried some more.

I yelled at God asking Him why He made me this way. Why He never helped me to change. It went on like this for a while until I finally started praying instead, “ Lord, I am tired of living like this. I can’t keep treating Andrew like this. I don’t like myself and I am sure you are not looking down on my with a smile….Change me. I am serious. Change me.”

So I drove. I drove and drove and drove. I ended up in a town about an hour away from our house. The town is called Burnet. I saw an antique shop and decided I would take a look and see if I could scoop up any silverware and get my mind off of things.

I walked in. JACKPOT. There were tons. I spoke with the shop owner and we agreed on a price and I started filling a box. She asked what I did so I started talking about my business. Then from behind, I heard a woman asking for a business card. I turned around and chatted with her for a bit and then she walked out of the store. I must have been about 10 minutes more and then left that antique shop in hopes to find a few more.

As soon as I walked out the doors, that same woman who asked for my card came up to me out of nowhere. She said, “So glad to have met you. The next place you should check out is just down the street, then take a right, the man inside is really nice”. I thanked her and decided to go where she was directing me, thinking it was funny how she waited just to tell me where to go next!

I made it to the next shop and again, met another antique shop owner, who said he had tons of flatware for me, but to come back the next day. I agreed and before I left he whipped out a map! He said, “next you need to check out the new shop just across the street. But, make sure before you leave Burnet, you check out the shop called “Finds…of all kinds.” I smiled. Inside thinking…”okay God, sure seems like you are taking me on a little journey here.” I thanked him, told him I would be back tomorrow and left to go to the next shop.

Walking into the next shop, I was immediately greeted by a woman exclaiming, “oh my goodness! You are just radiant! You are so beautiful! Do you know how beautiful you are?” I stood there thinking, “Lady. No. No I am sorry you are very wrong. I am ugly. I have been crying for an hour, embarrassed because of my ugliness. My eyes are puffy, my hair is a mess from the windows being down and no… I am not.”

I looked her in the eyes and said…”thank you. But, I sure don’t feel it today.” She smiled, laughed and said, “Well believe it. You are.” We continued to talk and I stayed for about 20 minutes. She continued showering me with kind words the entire time I was in there. I felt as if God was speaking through her reminding me of His love for me, even though I often fail.

She gave me a big Texas hug before I left and I was onto my last stop, “Finds…of all kinds!”

Feeling a bit lighter. I walked into the shop with a smile and was greeted by Cheryie. I felt right at home in her shop. It was perfect. The vintage, antique, southern feel was all around me. And she… she is just the nicest, most friendly, and genuine person you will ever meet. Much happened during the hour and a half I was there! I met some amazing town folk. Sat up front with Cheryie as she shared a drink and pizza with me. Her shop was suppose to close at 6pm and she stayed longer with the doors wide open until 7pm when I ended up leaving.

For a while it was just Cheryie and I in the shop. I don’t even know how we got on the topic. But she got me talking. I shared with her why I had gone on a drive and how Andrew and I had gotten into an argument. I talked about my struggles. My fear. My Anger. My emotions. My turmoil with myself.

And then she said something. Something that I will never forget.

“Aly. You have two choices in life. When something happens to you, you can judge it or you can forgive and let it go. If you judge it, you are letting your emotions in, thinking on it, thinking on how it hurts you, angers you and then in turn, you will fall into sin. Or girl, you can forgive it. Forgive that it happened, because the world is full of disappointments and hurt, and you can rise above it ...and let it go.”

Everything I needed to hear was in those two choices. And for all this time… I have been judging. Judging why these things were happening. Judging everything that Andrew says to me. Judging what has happened in my past. And with that…holding onto hurt, bitterness, rage, anger and disappointments.

I cried.

We sat and talked for a while more and then I said it was time for me to head back home to tell my husband of the journey that God had taken me on and of course, to ask for his forgiveness.

She gave me a big hug before I left and said, “Now remember those two choices Aly. And don’t forget them.” I promised I wouldn’t.

The car ride home…was magic. I felt new. Renewed. Changed.

The windows were down, the music was loud, and I was singing in praise to the One who can change and heal. I had to stop on the highway, as police were guiding cows across the road. The sunset… oh the Texas sunsets. It was daylights savings time that day, so the sun was just setting and it was so much different than it had been all the times before. The light and the glow from the setting sun wrapped around the sky from every direction. Beautiful.

It was this day… Exactly 5 months from the day we moved to Texas that I fell in love. I fell in love with Texas and the journey that God was taking me on. 

I made it home and Andrew and I sat and talked. He said he wanted to be different too. We entered into forgiveness. I promised him that I was committed to change this time. That it wasn’t like all the other times I had said I was fed up. That this time… was different.

Andrew went away this weekend to celebrate, with some of our friends, the engagement of Andrews best friend, Josh and his new fiancé.

Today I was reflecting on how different I feel. Several months ago, I would have been too fearful of Andrew leaving me. Jealous that he was having fun and I was stuck at home.

But I am not. I am content. I am happy. I am in love with my husband and excited for the time he is having! Him and our friends went to a pizza place we had gone to on our honeymoon and my heart skipped a beat that he would be able to taste the goodness again…even though I wasn’t there.

I am changing. God is changing my heart. He is making me new.

I sent my mother a text today saying, “ You know what is an amazing feeling?” Of course she responded with, “What?” I then wrote,

“When you come to that place where you tell God that your fed up living in the flesh…that you want to leave your sin behind for good…that you want him to change you and that you are serious about it this time and there is no looking back… and he meets you there. He meets you and He shows you He is changing you in a real, vivid, and detailed way.  You can feel it in the deepest part of your heart. I have been longing and trying for change for 2 years now and by no means have I arrived…But HE IS FAITHFUL and He is changing me. And I love it.”

She then sent me this picture...

She said that RIGHT BEFORE I sent the text she had opened up one of my Bibles from childhood and saw this handwritten letter to God. So funny how 15 years ago… little 9 year old Aly on March 5th, 1998…asked God to change her. And in March of 2013, 23 year old, Aly, is doing the same. I am sure He was just as faithful then as He is now.

Today, as I sit here getting a Pedicure…YES!! A PEDICURE!! I am amazed at how detailed my God is. How I love when He takes me on a journey and how He stepped in and used strangers to direct me to something that would forever change my way of thinking for the better.

- Aly

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