Jesus & joy coexist.

Mornings are my favorite time of day. It’s when I think of light & coffee & new mercies. The idea of a sun rising is comforting to me. The way my bed feels underneath me makes me feel safe. The smell of brewing coffee is probably one of my favorite smells in the world. When I wake up early & it isn’t my alarm clock that wakes me up, I am satisfied. I know those days are the most productive. I love having my clothes picked out & my coffee preset & my planner all laid out. These things help me feel a little more put together when life is just complete & utter chaos (but hey, when is it not?). And in the mornings, I find myself with that “you’re exactly where you’re supposed to be feeling,” and that is my favorite. In the chaos and the rest and the now, He is CONSTANT. Mornings remind me of this. I get these feelings in the chaos. Jesus is constant in the chaos. And that knowledge brings me rest.

“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” 

// Lamentations 3:22-23 ESV

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Being home is weird. I’ll be the first one to admit that. It is straight up weird. I think the closest thing I can compare it to is that life here is like a big puzzle, and I am a piece that just doesn’t fit here anymore. In a good way. It’s like God saying, “No, you’re in Rome now. That’s your puzzle. Your puzzle is Berry and community and friends and Swift and all of the good stuff of college.” And He is so right.

I don’t fit in my high school bedroom anymore. I think that’s the weirdest part. I have memories in this room that just make me uncomfortable, like my skin is a super tight turtleneck that I shouldn’t wear anymore (high school bedroom = skintight turtleneck). There are yearbooks and little notes and a high school diploma and clothes from high school and letters from high school and a Letterman from high school. And I don’t like it. It’s like the scene in Alice in Wonderland where she starts to grow super fast into that room until her arms are out the windows and her legs are out the door. That’s what I feel like.

I didn’t think that being in this environment could change the way I act that much because of how much I’ve changed in these first few months of college, but it really does. It could be that I haven’t had to argue or fight with anyone in over 4 months or it could be that people at school don’t know the things about me that people at home know. I can slowly feel myself slinking back into the old high school skin & I have prayed every single day that that won’t happen. I have grown more patient (even if just a little bit) at school, and I can feel myself jumping back into impatience, so I have prayed for patience.

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There’s been a lot of writing happening at home. Lots of little notes in my phone and the margins of my journal and pages and pages of truth. I have found that sometimes I enjoy writing the “fluff,” the writing that is light and airy and makes you feel happy. But there is a difference between truth and fluff. Sometimes, I forget to write truths and that’s when I start living in this delusional state where everything should be “fluffy” and it’s not and I get really irritated with myself. That is when it slams me like a ton of bricks: WRITE SOME TRUTH, J. Write what hurts. Write memories. Write secrets. Write dark thoughts. Shed light on dark thoughts. Write. Write. Write. And eventually, it all spills out until there is nothing left. All of the secrets I’ve piled up for months just pour onto paper & these are the most beautiful pieces of writing I have ever created. It’s magic. And those words, that TRUTH, that’s where I find Jesus.

I have prayed:

Jesus, strip it all away.

Because the more I search, the more I realize that under all of the crap, I am the same person in both places. Underneath all of the “Pinterest-perfect” family nights and home church worship and country music and sweet tea from home or the Swift cups of coffee and an incredible job and the love of a Berry community, I am still the same Jesus-seeking girl. Put me in either place, and I will still search for the one whom my heart longs for.

And I think the devil uses these bad memories or being uncomfortable in your own skin at home to really knock you down. He tries to say, “No no, you can’t find Jesus here, only there.” He says, “Do you remember that vulnerable high school girl? You’re still her.” And that’s not true. It’s not true that you don’t have a choice to succumb to these thoughts of unworthiness or to praise God for giving you the capability of overcoming them with truth and light.

Jesus is here, always. He is in the tears and the car rides and the memories and the Christmas lights and the old high school bedroom. In His presence, there is fullness of joy, which means joy is always an option. Jesus & joy coexist.  And there is strength & grace & mercy & beauty & mystery in that.

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P.S. I need your help, to anyone reading this. I want to hear your 2014 victories & your triumphs & your magic moments & your God-orchestrated stories. I want to celebrate with you & praise God with you (and anonymously use them for an incredible blog idea). Help me make some magic, friends. Email me at jennabjohnson14@gmail.com or text it to me or write it to me. That would be wonderful.

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