I think a second book might be in the works. Not that pen has hit the paper yet, but the concept is developing in my heart. I think it’s happening, friends.
God is so good. I walked around campus the other night with my headphones blaring “How He Loves” and just sank deep into God’s grace. There was something in my heart that made me want to climb to the rooftops and let everyone know how in love I am with God & how He feels the exact same way, more so even, about me. How great is it to know you’re desired? I think that’s something every girl wants to hear. And that’s exactly what God says. That longing in our hearts to be desired should not be fulfilled by earthly accomplishments or grades or guys. It’s a longing for the God of the universe. I have a heart for my Maker. The Artist. The great I Am. God says, “I want you. Please let me into your heart. I want you. I choose you. I love you.”
Do you need more than that?
There will be a thirst this world cannot quench. There will be a hunger it cannot satisfy. There will be a longing that will never be fulfilled. That’s because our hearts were designed to be fulfilled only by Jesus & not settle for earthly things. Our hearts were not made to be here. Our hearts were made to meet our Maker. Our hearts were designed to long for our Creator.
Definitely not a mountaintop moment: saying goodbye to my very best friend. I’ve come to the conclusion that goodbyes probably won’t get any easier. They still aren’t my thing & I’m not sure they ever will be. I just stood at the door and cried & it was possibly the longest goodbye hug I’ve ever had. It reminded me of one of those rainy scenes in a cheesy, 90’s love movie. Think One Fine Day with Michelle Pfeiffer and George Clooney. Basically all 108 minutes of the movie take place in a rainy New York City, which makes it that much better. Now, replace the single-parent couple with two ordinary 18-year-olds hoping for the world, in a friendship, which was fortunate enough to make it out of high school in one piece. This movie and this rain makes me dreary, in the best way possible though. Rain is for goodbyes.
Before midnight, we had all gathered in the basement, a group of old friends, and just laughed with each other while The Voice played in the background. I sure forgot how weird we got around each other (and I’m perfectly fine with admitting it was perfect). We cuddled with kitties and strummed guitars and contemplated jumping in the pool with all of our clothes on, just like old times. I missed this. I missed the understanding of inside jokes and people from high school we all knew and grew up with. I missed feeling totally and completely known by a group of people. We spent the night (until 2 o’clock this morning), sitting on her bed with a Pitbull and Weimaraner wedged between us after the rest of our friends had gone home. It was just like old times, and we both talked about how we felt like time had kind of turned back to high school. It didn’t feel like I’d be going back to Berry today and she’d be taking her flight to Texas. She serenaded me with a new One Direction song (“Steal My Girl,” in case you needed background music for reading this post) while we sifted through her clothes and chose what she would take with her. I sipped hot tea and cuddled with her hundred pound furry friend and tried on her headbands. We laid and laughed and just took in those early morning moments. How crazy blessed I am to have a best friend who I can just pick up with right where we left off.
After waking up from a few hours of sleep, we sat in a tea shop on a rainy Tuesday and talked about how quickly our lives were moving. We talked about guys and awkward encounters and how weird a concept death is and Jesus and strawberry tea and her love of sugar cubes, among other things. It was really a dignified, grown-up conversation, if you ask me. I embrace these moments with her because they’re becoming fewer and further in between. So many moments this weekend, I just heard God say to me, “Be still, Jenna. Remember this moment. Remember how you feel right now.” And so I did. So many moments with family and old friends. It’s crazy to see my baby brother crawling around the house or my beautiful friend on homecoming court and the beautiful young lady she’s becoming. Just last year we were sitting in a yearbook classroom meeting for the first time on a Wednesday afternoon. And now I’ve watched her grow into the leader of that very same Bible study. From Bible studies to her baptism to her stunning self on homecoming court, I just realized how quickly time is moving, but I wonder if people look at me and think the same thing.
My supervisor made me nervous when I was getting ready to come home on Friday afternoon. At first, all I felt was excitement, and then she made a comment about how I’d go home and realize how much I’ve changed, how much everyone else has changed, or how much people have stayed the same, which makes your changing even weirder. Boy, was she was right. I don’t necessarily see a difference in myself, but then again, I’m with myself every second of every day. I can notice little things (very, very good things), but nothing drastic. However, I just notice how different everything else with. Sitting in that tea shop. Sitting in a Chipotle across the table from an old friend with whom I share some crazy history. Sitting on the couch with my mom and watching chick flicks. Being at my high school football stadium was probably the weirdest one of all, but it was also nice because I didn’t feel like I still belonged there. Something inside of me was just uncomfortable and unsettled in all of these places, like God was stirring up something inside of me. Don’t get too comfortable because you don’t belong here anymore. This is not where comfort lies. This is not home anymore. These feelings and places, they are not home anymore. I am home. I have been and will always be home. God definitely likes reminding me that He has me where He wants me. I know Berry is where I’m supposed to be, for sure. And I already knew this since last September, but I think this weekend really reinforced that. I know I’m where I’m supposed to be. There is no question in my mind about that. This is what God wants for me, and it is such a great feeling to know that my desires align with His desires for me. He’s changing my heart, and it’s so cool to realize it and be present with this change.
Tea time with M.
New hipster shirt, on point.
Heck yeah, it is. Thanks for this, Target.
He’s learning the joys of coffee early.
It’s so cool when we remember that we’re in the presence of God every second of every day, every second of our lives. Every single second. Like, the second you realized the path your life was on wasn’t the path for you anymore. Or when that cute guy asked you out for coffee and the butterflies were uncontrollable. Or the time you spent the night with that guy and realized it wasn’t the best idea in world. Or the time you decided not to write that paper. Or the time you looked in the mirror and actually liked what you saw. Or the time you finally toughened up and quit the job that made you miserable. Or when you finally stood up to someone who walked all over you like a doormat. You, darling, are not doormat. You are a child of God who is worthy of love and care and compassion. You deserve the best. You deserve to be loved in all the right ways. It’s so cool when you think about how He isn’t just there on the mountaintops, the highest of highs, the butterflies in your stomach moments, but that He has remained with you even in the valleys. You may only feel His presence on the mountaintops, but He is with you just as much as you walk through the valley of the shadow of death.
“Holy Spirit, You are welcome here. Come flood this place & fill the atmosphere. Your glory God is what our hearts long for, to be overcome by Your presence, Lord.”
It’s okay to mess up. Usually we hear things like, “Don’t choke,” or, “You only get one shot at this thing called life, so don’t go and mess it all up.” Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. You do only get one shot at life, and if you do it right, it’s a crazy beautiful mess of grace. New mercies in the morning. Dancing with regret, but living in redemption. Flirting with shame, but filled to the brim with God’s love, overflowing on the good days. Getting sucked into guilt and fear and anxiety, but emerging in a butterfly-like sort of way in restoration. Our God is a God of healing. Such a marvelous mystery. When you’re unsure, just rest in that. Not knowing what will happen next is all part of His beautifully mysterious love story. He has invited you to be a part of the greatest love story ever written.