/ / reflections / /

God’s goodness does not depend upon mine. Man, how my soul needs to hear that over and over. It is easy to treat God quid pro quo – this for that. I forget His love is unconditional and covenantal. I forget that He is good and that our choices matter. He has set up this world in a certain design, a good design, the best design, and the design I was made for, the one my heart really longs for. When I turn away from His good order and try to follow my own, my experience of Him changes, but the truth of His unconditional love does not. In the mess of striving to grasp for certainty and control, I loose sight of the truth that it’s my relationship and intimacy with Him that matters most.

I am thankful for a steadfast God, who does not always answer our “why,” or give us certainty in all our circumstances, but as one of my professors said, encounters us in our questions, uncertainty, and suffering as if to say that our experience with Him in those places does something for our soul that an answer to “why” never could.

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/ / from nature / /

Nature provides us with many lessons about our lives, about our God, and about our lives in light of our God.

I looked out my window to see that the sun was finally shining. It has been raining and storming for the past two days. I noticed something though. Even though the sun was shining, it was still raining. My immediate thought went something like, “wow, such a powerful lesson… rain and sun both together at the same time… just like life.” Then I wondered where the rainbow was, and THEN, I thought about what the rainbow means in scripture. God is faithful.

Often, our lives are a messy mix of beauty and sorrow. In our minds, or at least in mine, we deny that such opposites can exist together. That is the truth though, there is suffering, and yet somehow, God is good. How do you hold both of those truths? I have no idea. What I do know is that God has promised His goodness to us as His children. He has promised that He will make all things new. So, I choose to root myself in these truths, and allow room for life to be messy mix of rain, sun, sadness, joy, and all the other things (because, feelings).   😉

 

/ / listening and love / /

The past few months, I have thought a lot about connection. We often miss out on a certain level of connection with others, because we rush to our own conclusions about them and/or their situations. We (I) like answers and conclusions.

However, what people really want is to be heard and to feel heard. I think in order to be good listeners, we have to get comfortable with the uncomfortable. We have to be willing to sit with questions and resist the temptation to try and answer or conclude one thing or another. We have to be willing to listen to people who are different from us and hear their stories. We must realize that we don’t have to say a lot to say something meaningful, and sometimes, we don’t even have to say anything at all. The goal of good listening is empathy, not advice. Connection with a person happens in that place of empathy.

A lot of divisions have happened in our nation over the past year. Resentment has risen within groups towards other groups. Violence and hatred have reared their ugly heads. It’s as if people are shouting, “Do you hear me?” This year, I want to be better at hearing others. I want to be a person who builds bridges between myself and people who are different than me through empathy. I want to take the time to hear other’s stories without dismissing their perspectives or placing judgment on their experiences. Who is with me?

/ / o my soul / /

The night I wrote this song, I was just sitting in the floor of my bedroom. Sometimes I’ll just pick up my guitar and start singing whatever is on my heart. That day, I had heard someone talking on a commentary. This is my summary: We have all of these internal desires, and we think that the things we truly desire are the things that we really want. Sometimes we get that thing and we realize that it’s not what we wanted. We just thought it was what we wanted. If Jesus is who He says He is, then He offers everything I really want. It may not always feel like it, but at the end of the day what He offers, life and intimacy with Him, is really what I want.

So I thought about that all day. I thought about all of the tension and all of my unmet longings, and I started begging Jesus to really fill every desire. I truly believe that He can.

So here’s that simple song. I’ve never been one to share any songs I write. Mostly, because I just don’t like them. I also somewhat worry about what others will think, but I’m trying to stop caring so much about what people think and just freaking live my life.

O MY SOUL

I need you to draw near

Come and meet me here

You’re everything you say you are

Satisfy my wanting heart

 

O my soul

He is your hope

O my soul

He is your hope

 

Lovers that I chase

This life I live in haste

Again I do forget

You’re where I find rest

/ / a thrill of hope / /

Do you ever just feel like all your thoughts and emotions are a big jumbled mess? Well that’s how I’ve felt this past week. If I’m being honest, I feel that way a lot. Sometimes it’s hard for me to even make sense of how I feel or what I’m thinking, because I’m feeling and thinking so many things at the same time. Anyone else? Please tell me I’m not alone. HOWEVER… I have recently been able to put my thumb on my struggle with “the mundane.”

I like looking up definitions sometimes to help me better understand certain words. Like, I know what it means, but do I really know what it means, you know? Can I use a word that’s more accurate? #commstudiesmajor

Webster defines boredom as “The state of being weary or restless through lack of interest.” I was shocked to read that sentence, because just the other day I thought to myself, “Could all these weary feelings I’ve been living with lately be partially because I’m kind of bored with day to day life?” That definition was the confirmation for the “yes” I already assumed. The mundane has always been hard for me. As I’ve become older, I’ve grown into a person that likes excitement, adventure, and spontaneity in life. You can call me a free spirit, a true idealist, an INFP.

Being in the thick of the Christmas season, I am reminded of a line in one of my favorite Christmas carols:

“A thrill of Hope
The weary world rejoices”

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve failed to hope in Christ and instead hoped in my circumstances and how they made me feel. Too often, my heart is in search of novel experiences, instead of running to the novel ONE. My weary soul can rejoice, because He has come to redeem and make a way for us to have true intimacy with Him. So, here I am reminded that walking with Him is the most thrilling adventure of all. It is both novel and intimate, because of who He is. It may not always feel good or seem exciting, but at the end of the day, it really is what I want.

/ / enough / /

So tonight I was driving home, and I was thinking.

Lately I’ve been dealing with a lot of insecurity with the fact that I am single. My singleness was a struggle in high school and early on in college, but over the past few years, God really enabled my heart to stay content in that area. However, this “new” post-grad season of life has brought that struggle back to my heart and mind. As I was driving, I was telling the Lord how I felt like I just wasn’t enough. I felt like the reason I was so, so single was because I wasn’t virtuous enough, responsible enough, “grown up” enough, and patient enough for a Godly relationship.

Then the Holy Spirit reminded me that I was right. I am not enough. In all aspects of my life, I am not enough. I will never be able to measure up, and that’s the beauty of the gospel. God reminded me that I am nothing without Him. I was lost. I was dead in my sin. I was full of lack, and had fallen so short of God’s perfect standard. I was stained with sin, but Jesus took my place. He bridged the gap between the Father and I by living a perfect life and taking my place on the cross. And the cross is enough.

So, I am grateful that God does not call me to muster up enough strength to live the life that He has called me to. I am completely reliant upon Jesus to live His life through me. I am also thankful that God has reminded me, yet again, to seek Him and not worry about trying to be “good enough” for a relationship, because that is a lie from the enemy.

In all aspects of my life it is Christ’s perfection that I depend on. And if the Lord sees fit to bring a relationship in my life, it will be because of His goodness, and not because I have earned it. And if He does not He is still good, and He is still enough. He is the greatest love that I will ever know, and He is all-satisfying. It is Jesus who is enough in me, and Jesus who is enough for me.

“Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness and speak tenderly to her. And there I will give her her vineyards and make the Valley of Anchor a door of hope.”

Hosea 2: 14-15

“And I will betroth you to me forever. I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy. I will betroth you to me in faithfulness. And you shall know the LORD.”

Hosea 2:19-20

“Each time he said, ‘My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.’ So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.”  

2 Corinthians 12:9