Mercy like the sun.

Thank you, Lord, for moments in the morning with nothing but silence and stillness. 

“Constant One, endless is Your love. Like a river can’t be stopped, You’re faithful. Constant One, who is like You, God? Your mercy’s like the sun, always rising over us.”

I think this fall weather has me thinking in whimsical thoughts & endless (but not stressful) to-do lists & cutesy, romantic, fall things. Coffee dates over fall drinks (Nutella lattes are actually a thing, in case you were wondering). Flannels on chilly nights. Rocking chairs at the front of the student center. 24-hour prayer vigils in a log-cabinesque chapel. Big, comfy sweaters. The beach. Oh, the beach at Thanksgiving is such a beautiful thing. It’s really hard for me to put into words how much I love this weather. It’s the kind of weather that makes me want Mat Kearney & Ben Rector to compose the soundtrack to my life. It makes me about as happy as new pens & clean notebook paper do. Or fresh coffee in ceramic mugs. Or s’mores. Or bonfires. Or fresh flowers in mason jars…so very happy. So much joy.

I’m in a season of life where I’m learning to live with all of these new people & this new campus & I’m also learning how to live with myself. I feel like so so much has changed, and it’s changing so fast that if I don’t stop to look around every once in a while, I could miss something (thank you, Ferris Bueller, for that one). I’m in the constant cycle of learning new things about myself. Once I learn something new and finally get used to that part of me, something else comes along and blows my mind. It’s kind of hard to explain, but pretty awesome at the exact same time.

  1. The most important thing I’ve learned about myself & people in general: You will not always be able to please every person & it’s time to learn how to be okay with that. I hate this one right now, but I know that it is so incredibly true to the one hundredth degree. I think I’ve had to take myself out of so many situations lately and really ask myself if it holds importance. Will this affect the next four years of my life? Can I go on with my life without this person’s approval or respect? Yes? Alright, then let’s keep moving. I often have to remind myself why I’m here. I get so caught up in the mundane, everyday tasks and the stressful events and I forget to step back and realize why I have come this far. I want more for myself. I’m at Berry because I sought out opportunity & it answered. I want to push myself & go further than I have ever gone before, and that is exactly what I’m doing. I cannot be submissive to every person I meet, because of their feelings or what they want out of me. I can only control my actions & reactions, so that’s what’s important right now: learning how to dance through difficult situations and rest in the grace & stillness that follows.
  2. To go along with the whole “people-pleasing” aspect of my personality: my worth & identity lie in my Heavenly Father, not in earthly things. Preach preach preach. I think we all need to hear this on a daily basis (sometimes a few times a day). Why do you seek the approval of others when you already have the approval of something so much greater? God constantly reminds us that He is a hiding place, a place to seek refuge. We belong with Him, and that is why there is always a longing in our hearts for something greater.
  3. The Lord always provides. I mean, do you understand how much joy He has already presented to you? Are you willing to recognize that joy? Are you willing to let that joy permeate the hardest parts of your heart & really seep into every pore of your being? Your life will radically change when you have that encounter with the Holy Spirit. “I’ve tasted & seen of the sweetest of loves, where my heart becomes free & my shame is undone. It’s Your presence, Lord.” His presence is what our hearts long for, and when we pour into that & really seek out to understand that longing, that’s where the joy will be.
  4. Community. Community. Community. When you have people that fill you up & understand that joy & that relationship, you will rest a little easier. These people are what make life worth living. I know that many times recently, the Lord has kind of stopped me in my tracks & just made me think about where He has me & who He has placed around me. He knew about all of these special people who would help me on this crazy journey & new season. I have learned something from every relationship I have formed here at Berry, good or bad. I have met some of the most loving, God-fearing, carefree women than I ever thought possible. Jesus has really overwhelmed me with His ability to provide. Leaving Stonecreek & leaving home, I thought, “There’s no way it gets better than this,” and God seemed to laugh. And He has proven me so wrong. I’ve learned that my life isn’t formed by the image I present to people, but it’s more about my relationship with the Lord. Life isn’t about people-pleasing. Life is a culmination of love stories & adventures & terrifying decisions where you jump anyways, despite the consequences. Life is about dreaming & caring for others & holding on for dear life. Life is about unspeakable joy & Kairos moments & a grateful heart. Life is about loving others, and I thank God every single day for revealing that one thing to me through so many different people. As long as I am loving people & loving God, everything else will surely fall into place.

Now, it is very easy for me to reflect & write all of these things when I’m sitting all peacefully in a rocking chair with the fall breeze around me and a two-hour break in my day, but sometimes things go a little crazy. Like 2 AM study sessions for Spanish &  when all else fails, saying a prayer & going to bed because sleep is much more precious than irregular Spanish verbs. It’s okay though, because I love this. I love love love life right now.

Oh! And I’ve had Romans 8 stuck in my head for a couple weeks now, so do yourself a favor & let this rock your pretty fall day.

31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? 33 Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written,

“For your sake we are being killed all the day long;
    we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”

37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Have a good one, friends.

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