Warm tears on 20° mornings.

Hey hey, I bet you didn’t see this one coming, a Wednesday morning pick-me-up.  (Sometimes) I do Monday morning pick-me-ups, but I think we all need one for today. I know I do.

17 When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears
    and delivers them out of all their troubles.
18 The Lord is near to the brokenhearted
    and saves the crushed in spirit.

He is faithful. That’s the first promise I want to remind you of. Jesus will never cease to be faithful & I think that’s unfathomable to us, especially in the difficult situations that we face. It’s simple to say He’s faithful when you’re standing on the mountaintops, but it is much more of a challenge to remind yourself He is with you in the valleys. I will say I don’t know that I have prayed this hard or in these ways in such a long time. There is a closeness with God that I have felt in these past few days that I have never known before. It’s unfamiliar territory, but it’s also beautiful because it’s me learning more about God’s unwavering love.

Recently, I have come to realize the beauty in the people around me even more, as if it’s been heightened in every human being. I think God has started to reveal His character to me through people I know & I know that might sound a little strange, but bear with me. I am surrounded by beautiful people only by the grace of God. Beautiful hearts. Beautiful voices. Beautiful appearances. Beautiful words. Beautiful relationships. And they are all from an outpouring of love & beauty from the Father.

This is my friend. Her name is Lizzie & she possesses a beauty that is indescribable. She is a ray of light from the Father & anyone who comes in contact with her gets that. Lizzie is brimming with hope & an effervescent spirit that you cannot help but notice when you are around her. Lizzie radiates the love of the Lord. You will always smile in her presence because she is a breath of fresh air. Lizzie picks me up when I’m down & eats Moe’s with me when we both feel on top of the world & spontaneous. I found myself sipping free coffee & talking with her in her apartment last week. We were pining over old journals & pulling out notes & cards & sharing stories with each other that helped us connect our personalities & shared experiences & ultimately our love for the Lord even more. We’re crazy around each other & she gets it. We’re awkward around each other & she gets it. We’re weird around each other & she gets it. On Valentine’s Day, we went to this place called Fouche Gap really close to our campus because I had never been their before & she was excited to share this experience with me. Valentine’s Day & beautiful views that can only be described as of the Lord & more free coffee & burritos & endless selfies & happiness that makes you lose track of time. That is what every time with Lizzie looks like. Her spirit is indescribable. The way she loves is indescribable. Her beauty is indescribable.

And for the past 3 days, we’ve all had to try to understand & try to wrap our minds around the pain that shattered her world in an instant. Imagine the worst possible phone call & news you could have received & that was her weekend. Everything gone in an instant. But these circumstances do not change a single quality I just listed about Lizzie. She still possesses an indescribable spirit. She still loves in an indescribable way. Her beauty is still indescribable. Let us not forget that. Her world may be forever changed, but her Lord is the same, yesterday, today & forever. Let us pray for peace in her life. Let us pray for stillness in chaotic circumstances. Let us pray that she remembers she has built her house on a rock & the Lord will not let her be shaken. She has not been crushed or driven to despair or forsaken or destroyed, but there is still life in her. She has life in Jesus. Do not forget that.

“We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you.” // 2 CORINTHIANS 4:8-12 ESV

These times make me fall even more in love with this community, this family God has established around me. The generosity of people has blown my mind & restored my faith in humanity. I cannot describe the roller coaster of emotions. Tears until our eyes are dry & the hard questions & the even harder answers, or not answers. Lean into the people around you & do not shut yourself off. Ask the hard questions. Cry the hard tears & be prepared to not receive answers. Talk to God. He listens. Pray for discernment because sometimes we don’t have the right words to say, but Jesus does & sometimes silence is more necessary than empty words. To sit & listen in silence or to only weep when people weep is one of the most powerful things I have ever experienced. I sat in a prayer service for Lizzie yesterday & one of the most beautiful things was said. “God was the first to cry when this happened.” To know that this hurt the heart of the Savior of the world was the most difficult & humbling & freeing thing I have ever heard. It tells you that you have a right to feel this way. He cried first. And that means He understands the grief & the pain & the hurt that you are harboring in your heart. Hand it to Him. Ask Him to relieve you & He will. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. 

A few special thoughts to lead your prayers:

  1. Pray for the leaders in this community, that they would have the ability to comfort. Pray that they are being poured into as much as they are pouring out. Pray that they would have the words for comfort or know when silence is more appropriate.
  2. Pray for the people with Lizzie right now, that their strength would be renewed. Pray for their endurance in the coming days & weeks.
  3. Pray for her heart, that she would understand who she belongs to & who her Father is. Pray that she finds stillness & quietness in her heart in the midst of chaos. Pray for a comfort that can only come from Jesus.
  4. Pray for funds, that she would be supported & upheld by this community, her family now.
  5. Pray for lifted hearts & spirits in this community, that we would lean more into God than we ever have before. Pray that our hearts would be made new in the face of hard times & tragedy, that we would know how to react when she returns. For patience & not pressing & for space when needed.

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Warm tears on 20° mornings. I will embrace them. I will cling to them as the reminder that I am still alive & Jesus has decided to keep air in my lungs. I will relearn rhythms of grace because that is necessary in these times. I will break habits of unhealthiness & cling tightly to Truth. I will understand that these warm tears will not always be a daily ritual, though I am not convinced. I like to walk to class alone some days. I listen to & hum worship music or walk in silence in the freezing cold & it’s actually one of my favorite times of day. Winter is my favorite. I will cling to the peace in my heart as the cold wraps itself around me like a chunky sweater. I will find comfort in the environment Jesus has handcrafted around me today. Don’t forget to stop & soak that in.

Cling tightly to Jesus wherever you are this morning. In bed, over coffee, in front of your laptop at work, at your desk in class, eating breakfast, taking a quick break. Lean into Him & cling tighter than you ever have before because He is good. He is unchanging. He is faithful. He is constant in the storm. You will not be shaken because you have built your house on a rock & that rock is Jesus. Unchanging through the ages. Unchanging through every day & hour & second & breath we take. Yell at Him. He can take it. Cry to Him. Weep with Him. Listen to Him. Silence yourself before Him & humble yourself. His intentions are good. His love is good. His plans are good. And we cling tight to His promises because He is good.

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