Hold my hand on my down days.

“Would You come & tear down the boxes that I have tried to put You in? Let love come, teach me who You are again.”

I can honestly say that God hit me with His best shot…but not at all how I thought He would. I thought He would do it in late nights with friends & random times when Swift coffee would be the cherry on top of a perfect day & late afternoon runs in the sunset. But that’s not what happened. He hit me, hard, with tears. It all came rushing out. All unleashed by one, “How was your day?” And then it all just came out. And Katie just held me & let me cry & played Steffany Gretzinger. And I don’t think I’ve cried for that long in so long. And she made coffee. And we just talked & she had quotes…oh my goodness, this girl has quotes & advice for every situation. I cried & she read:

“Come to me, all you who are weary & burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you & learn from me, for I am gentle & humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy & my burden is light.” // Matthew 11:28-30

&

“Just so we’re all clear, it’s okay to miss people you no longer want in your life.”

Needless to say, it was a rough start to a second semester, but not in a bad way & this is hard to explain. I guess you could call this week a roller coaster. Up & down & up & down & up & down. It was crazy & emotional & crazy emotional. And I am okay with that because I have these people who uplift me. Who celebrate with me in my triumphs & hold my hand on my down days. And I have a God who holds me & celebrates with me & has already won for me so I don’t have to carry around chains & shame & guilt any longer. I wish I could put into words how crazy blessed I am for where God has picked me up and placed me. He is too good. I just think about these people & places & moments & I am at a complete loss for words. Goodness. That is what He is.

I think this is what joy feels like. Joy is fullness & wholeness. I am whole when I am here. These people, this place. Oh my gosh, it makes me fall more in love with God every moment. And I realized this on the way home from Chattanooga the other night: I know it’s good when I find myself silently thanking God for how He worked in & through me that day. And He did it. And I know I should feel that every single day, but admittedly, I don’t. But that day, that day I did. And I think those moments have got to count for something, like little stepping stones, closer to making His Kingdom come here on earth.

Forgiveness & I have a love hate relationship. On one hand, I love it & it’s so beautiful because it’s basically the foundation of a relationship with Jesus. If He hadn’t forgiven us for our trespasses & being disgusting in sin, then we wouldn’t know the beauty of grace & an intimate relationship with our Heavenly Father. On the other hand, I hate it because the earthly forgiveness is hard & over this past week, I’ve realized that I’ve never really had to forgive someone for something really difficult. Like, there have been some arguments with friends or my parents, but never having to forgive someone because what happened was going to change the rest of my life or how I would navigate future relationships. But sure enough, I think this is what it feels like to finally confront things. I never knew I needed to until things got even harder much later on in the game, but this one was a game changer. Forgiveness is hard. And it hurts. A lot. And it never occurred to me, until this week when a friend brought it to my attention, but maybe I need to forgive myself first & that’s the speed bump. Like, I cannot forgive another person until I get past myself first, and I really do believe that’s true.

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And I think you have to continually tell yourself truths in order to forgive. I tried out a new church this weekend (& loved it), and I remember the pastor saying, over and over again, “It is well. It is well. It is well.” And you keep saying it until you believe it.

It is well.

And eventually, Truth hits you hard. And that moment is beautiful.

And then more tears came on Sunday night. Way out of the blue. So basically, instead of this whole week being a roller coaster, it’s like every single day has been a roller coaster & then everything just comes out at the end of it. For lack of better words, freaking crazy. But I’ve found these people & they just get it. How beautiful it is to have people that understand the depths of your heart & soul.  So beautiful & humbling & just goes to show how God-orchestrated every single moment of my life has been. And I love Him for that.

I love Him for this. This season of being present & learning what the heck forgiveness actually is. And even when I get lost in this chaos, I will recognize His voice & this beauty. I will recognize Him because He is constant. And I heard Him tell me that this week, standing in prayer in a new church & an unfamiliar mindset, I heard Him comfort me:

“I am the Lord, I change not.”

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