I have learned more about God in the past few months than I ever imagined I would. You make my footsteps and my paths secure.
It’s days when I have just come out of House Church and I’m sprinting and dancing and laughing in a summer rainstorm with a bunch of kids that I feel a closeness to God that I can’t describe, remember what a childlike heart looks like, and I am deeply aware of the Truth that one day He is going to come and make all the sad things become untrue.
It feels like a lot has gone wrong all at once or I have been super aware of my own distractions, and it reminded me of a quote from the Anne Lamott book I’m reading. “When a lot of things start going wrong all at once, it is to protect something big and lovely that is trying to get itself born–and that this something needs for you to be distracted so that it can be born as perfectly as possible.” They’re also things I haven’t allowed to weigh me down, which is odd because generally I let the dark stuff consume me, but it wasn’t until I told my best friend yesterday, “God tells us what He has told us or shown us in the dark, He calls us to proclaim in the light,” that I truly held the weight of that statement in my own hands. So whether I feel like I’m being consumed by my own sin struggles or I’m frustrated by the confusion and chaos of circumstances way out of my control or I’m allowing myself to be thrown back and forth in the wake of other people’s choices, I know that I am under the sovereignty of a God who calls me His and will never let me run too far. And He knows, I’m a runner. His heart is steadfast and He has invited me to become like Him, which means I have been praying and praying and praying that He would make my heart steadfast and faithful to the end.
He doesn’t say, “Be still and think about it. Maybe see how you feel after a little while.” No, He says, “Be still and KNOW that I am God.” And that is what I am learning. How to know God better by choosing a dependence on Him.
His goodness has come through in so many different ways lately. When Sarah came to lead worship at House Church this past weekend, we ended up hanging out beforehand and just having this awesome, solid conversation about Jesus and it was one of those where you could just feel each of us being pulled closer to Him with every single word. It ended when we parked outside my townhouse, turned on “We Dance,” and just sat and listened to the words. As many of you who regularly read this blog know, I am a crier. But in all honesty, I haven’t gotten emotional in quite a while. I sat in the car, feet on the dashboard and was so overwhelmed with the freedom and grace He offers us. And I will lock eyes with the One who’s ransomed me, the One who gave me joy for mourning. And I will lock eyes with the One who’s chosen me, the One who set my feet to dancing. Hot tears rolling down my cheeks. A deep, pit of burning desire to be with the One who has ransomed me, to taste and see His Kingdom here. It was so real. I never want to lose that feeling.
And I see His Kingdom in community. Dang, these people. I hardly have the words. I know I’ve talked about it before, but I will say that there is nothing like the closeness you feel to God when you have the people around you who rock your world and make breakfast for dinner and hold hands and bless the food and drink the coffee and hold each other up.
There is an entire new meaning to dependence on God. It’s clicked in a new way. There’s something very special about feeling wanted and I have always valued being wanted by other people, idolized it even. We all want to be wanted. And then I remembered, God always wants us. I know it may seem cliche and like something you would tweet or be told during a youth group sermon, but that doesn’t diminish the truth. We are desired by God. He delights in us. He wants us. We may not get those tangible reminders like having someone approach you to start a conversation or having someone reach over and hold your hand, but He relentlessly pursues us and we often overlook it. Nothing happens without Him. He keeps coming back with our permission or without it. One of my friends wrote in a post near the end of the school year, “You will walk back into the same dark nights of the soul where you’ve been before with those who don’t see that there is hope. But this time, you’ll walk through them with a lantern and a way through to the other side.” It’s like when we read different stories in the Bible and it is so evident where God is and how He is mapping this out for David or Paul and how could they not have faith in Him because look how it turns out, but they don’t see the end result when they’re in it. I have to keep reminding myself of that. Noah didn’t know how his story would play out. Paul didn’t know how his story would play out. David didn’t know how his story would play out. Where would the faith be in that?
So I’ve gone back and I’ve remembered these huge parts in my life where God showed. up. I wouldn’t have considered myself a believer until my senior year of high school, and that doesn’t mean that everything before that point was just a blank space, but it meant that now I have the opportunity to look back and see what God was doing even when I denied His existence or ignored it. There is power in remembering our stories, and there’s even more power in telling them. I sat at Swift with Katie yesterday, who has been walking me through creating my life purpose statement, and in order to do that I look back at huge moments in my life where God’s presence is undeniable and thread them together to get a better picture of how He has knit my heart and hold a better understanding of what exactly He has created me for. It takes a lot of mind power and a lot of sorting through things and a lot of emotional draining and filling back up and a lot of remembering. I remember sitting there last night telling her about my walk with Christ and talking about some circumstances that God used to slowly show me who He was but I couldn’t remember any one pivotal moment where I was like, “Yes. This is it. My heart is for You. No turning back. I want to chase after You with everything in me, worldly pleasures all forsaken. I just want You.” And as soon as I told her I didn’t know that moment and that it was a steady acclimation of my heart and God reassuring me of who He is, I remembered. It all came back so dang fast, and I don’t think I’ve ever remembered anything quite like that. I wasn’t really in the Word my junior year of high school, to put it lightly, and I had probably opened the Bible a few times within a 4 month span after some things happened that will be embedded in my heart and mind for a very long time. I was sitting at a Starbucks about 45 minutes from my house, end of a long table, reading DBQs and IDs for AP US History (let the records show, I do not miss this. Not one bit). So I’m studying and there’s a guy at the end of the long table on his laptop and he has this Passion City sticker on his laptop. I recognized it because I had gone to that church a few times prior to this moment in a random Starbucks. My best friend took me a handful of Sundays during my sophomore/junior year and I remember being like, “Dang, there’s something more, but I don’t really have the desire to seek it out right now so I just won’t,” and then I took a different path. Long story short, I recognized the sticker. Then his friend came in, and me, being a typical teenage girl, was like man, that is a really attractive guy. And then I just kept working on my homework, and he came and sat down next to me and it was like I had entered this Twilight Zone. And get this, he didn’t even say, “Hi.” He sat down, looked at me, and said, “Do you know Jesus?” I kid you not. I will never forget those words. Do. You. Know. Jesus. Who was this guy? Well, he ended up being a guy that shared his story of redemption with me, and I ended up telling him about the choices I had made that turned my world upside down. I didn’t know this guy. At all. Why was I compelled to tell him about my life? Absolutely no idea. And I remember him saying things about freedom from guilt and forgiveness and life in Jesus, but not the exact words. What I distinctly remember were the words: Do. You. Know. Jesus.
And his friends showed up, one of which I continued to have conversations with even after this encounter, and they wanted to pray over me. That’s when I got awkward. But they did it anyways. Middle of this Starbucks and I had these people I didn’t even know praying bold prayers over me, for healing and forgiveness and freedom. And that was the moment I knew. Life is not going to be the same anymore. This is it.
And ever since then, it has been a journey of learning to be more like Him. Now, I’m in a season where seeing Him looks like coming through the wringer of intense change and into a place where I can know Him more deeply than I ever have before. There are traits about Him that I desire to embody, and this is where I make the conscious effort to embody these traits because He is so good and kind in the way He allows us to see Him. So right now, it’s super evident in everything around me. I’m very aware of the work He is doing, and that is such a gift. I know every season won’t be like this so I am cherishing these days where I get to wake up and desire Him more and learn from Him and know Him.
Thank You. I will praise You as long as there is breath in my lungs. I will be secure in You. Thank You, Jesus, for Your kindness.