Tonight (I guess last night since it’s Wednesday morning now, if we want to get technical), I sat amazed. And in tears, to be completely honest.
My sins submerged, Your love has saved my soul. Your love is like a storm.
But I have to backtrack a little bit for you to fully understand what’s going through my head, or at least try to, so bear with me.
Being home was weird.
It smelled like home. Felt like home in movie nights & flannel PJ pants & baseball gear galore. All my dirty laundry that I dragged home smelled like home when I left, and no that isn’t a metaphor for anything this time. Home in a good way though. Each time I go home, it’s like a completely new atmosphere & holds a completely different meaning for me, but this time it was good. Whether it was rocking my little brother back and forth at one in the morning or drinking coffee, early in the morning in the kitchen alone, it all sort of fit into place & snuggled back into a new part of my heart.
Well-rested. Finally. Black coffee & nights in a Blue Ridge cabins & never-ending games of fishbowl (charades on steroids). I slept on a pull-out couch some nights this past week, and I can honestly say I haven’t felt this rested in a long time. It is a very very good feeling.
Debrief from the past few weeks:
- If you keep seeking anything, you will find. Even things that aren’t there. You can convince yourself they are. Seeking personality traits in people that are not there. Seeking bad situations where there is only good to be found. Seeking grief hidden in pockets throughout your days. Seeking anxiety tucked into planners & journals. Seeking wholeness in empty situations. Seeking Jesus in every single day life & I know that’s the most important one. Seek & find.
- You don’t need a last word. “The last word is the way you live your life. That is the final word.” Katie Jo, my heart needed this more than you realized in those moments at Swift.
- Consider the wildflowers. And then remember how much more the Father cares for you. You hold value. You are worthy. And even if I have to repeat this to myself 5,000 times a day, I know it to be true & it will never cease to be true. I’ve always said that the Lord speaks the loudest through the people around me & I also still know that to be true. Words matter. Words hold weight. Use your words for good. I know the women of God I constantly surround myself with definitely do.
- The light shines in the darkness & the darkness has not overcome it.
- Sometimes, we all need a good heart to heart. It was definitely a treat to be able to see some of my favorite home people more than once this week & even more of a treat to catch up with all of these people. My cup overflows.
- And still my favorite, His mercies never come to an end. They are new every morning.
Sharing the messy state of my heart is something I’m learning to be better at (and sometimes learning when not to share as well).
Freedom. A foreign concept for some. Most days, I feel like there is just one more thing I have to do to attain it or unlock that door or cross that bridge, but some days I feel it. Oh, I feel it & I run with it & dance in it & sing & shout it out. I think so often we let chains of comparison & lust & striving hold us down to the cross that was already carried for us. These are all thieves of joy. Comparison. Lust. Striving. It’s all sin that makes us say, “I can do this better than God. Let me walk it alone this time. I am capable of walking this alone.” And you’re wrong. Completely wrong.
I think the daily stuff is the hardest. In the most painful & trying times, you can body slam into God’s presence & grace & that’s not a question (depending on the circumstances). But every single day? That’s the rough stuff. Deciding to wake up every single day even when it feels like God has forsaken you or laid the weight of the world on your shoulders, that’s the hardest part. Choosing & reminding yourself every single day to trust Him when you cannot even trust yourself. Choosing & reminding yourself every single day that your worth & your value can only be found at the heart of God. Choosing & reminding yourself every single day that your every breath comes from the sacrificial & blameless Lamb so the least you could do is lay your worries & burdens at the foot of the cross & trust Him enough not to pick them back up.
I got back to campus on Friday afternoon & had over 48 hours completely to myself. I ran. I wrote. I was productive & filled up. Quiet time & time spent in solitude with Jesus is some of the most precious time for me (confessions of an introvert). However, on Sunday afternoon I went for a walk in 70 degree, perfect spring weather with a dear friend & it was exactly what I needed. I checked my mailbox in this time to find a skinny, yellow, inter-departmental mail envelope tucked neatly inside. I thought it must be something for work. It wasn’t. It was an anonymous letter from a friend.
“It’s been wonderful to see you love others despite inner struggles and I hope you know that your pursuit to love well has not gone unnoticed.”
My heart shattered & was put back together within a matter of seconds. God is faithful. He knows how to reach me. Thank you, whoever you are. I hope you know that your words are beautiful & powerful. These words were beautifully overwhelming, in the best form of that word. We live in communities of believers because we are supposed to be image-bearers of God & help carry one another’s burdens. He knows that we will try & try & try to carry our own burdens, so He gives us these communities. My heart swells at just the thought of these people. How incredibly fortunate I am to be called a child of the Most High God. To be chosen & adopted & redeemed. It makes me ugly cry when I think about these facts. These Truths.
This place. This community. These people. I am humbled & built up & so incredibly loved all at the same time. Part of me cries out of unspeakable joy & the other part cries out of sadness that things will never again be exactly as they are in these moments. I want to stop time, capture it, and carry this feeling around with me for the rest of my existence. And the funny thing: nothing ground-shaking happened tonight. I sat on the front steps of our library & watched our improv troupe perform. And I drank an amaretto latte. And I laughed until I cried. And I was spontaneously koala-hugged. And I was surrounded by people, some I don’t even know. And I felt loved.
God is lifted high in actions. He is lifted high in community, and not only that, but community that glorifies Him. He is lifted high in our daily rhythms, lavished in His unforced grace.
I once heard “Hallelujah” described as something we say when we have no higher words of praise. When there are no words to describe the awe we are experiencing toward God, “Hallelujah” steps in. And in the past few days, may it be in mountaintops moments or moments when I feel extremely sad for no apparent reason, Hallelujah floods its way into my mind and courses through every inch of me. Praise be to God for every feeling I’m allowed to feel and for all of the decisions I’m allowed to make under God’s sovereignty. I feel peace. An unspeakable joy. An oasis in the chaos. Hallelujah. Hallelujah. Hallelujah.