So, I’m going to go ahead and tell you that I am completely taken aback by a certain something that happened quite literally over night. I can’t tell you what it is, but I am going to say that I was just minding my own business, doing what God wanted me to do, and then BOOM! It just happened.
Maybe I should explain a little bit.
There comes a point in time, I’ve found, when you so desperately want something to happen and you pray for it and talk about it and dream about it and you’re sitting and wondering why God isn’t making things move. God, in His perfect way, reminds you that you don’t know the future and that His timing is perfect, and that you need to trust Him if you’re going to maintain your sanity. Eventually, after some more begging, you realize God, as usual, is right, and that He should be your primary focus in life and if anything should happen in that area of life then it’ll be His doing. But meanwhile, focus on what He needs you to focus on.
Since school started, I’ve been focusing on really spending time with the people around me and developing relationships with them and allowing them to get close enough to see the gospel in my life. I’ve also been focusing on working hard and excelling in my classes and being studious and becoming a better writer. I’ve also, above everything, been spending a lot of time with God and continuing my pursuit of a deeper knowledge of Him and putting myself in a position to see Him change my life and see Him change the lives of those around me. This is ALL I was focusing on. And then, all of a sudden, out of the blue, something I’d been very patiently waiting for, something I had put away for a later time, something I’d given to God, just happened.
This morning I woke up and I couldn’t believe it actually happened. It doesn’t make any sense, and my thoughts are rather happily scattered and my heart is rocked in a wonderful way. I’ve never experienced God answering prayer or changing things up this way, so I’m hesitant and cautious, but I’m also very excited to see what else He’s going to do.
But yeah…God answers prayer 😀 I have no idea why that’s such a big surprise. I guess I just….I don’t know. It’s just cool. Yeah, God answers prayer.
I remember falling asleep on the floor last night and then somehow I woke up in my own bed. There was a huge rainstorm with thunder and lightning and a box of chocolates. Well, the storm broke the unbearable humidity we’ve been experiencing up in New England (or, in New York City, that is), so when I woke up I was refreshed and cool and comfortable. Granted, I was exhausted because of the night, but I was comfortable. The sunshine was wonderful and the day was already awesome.
Though I was tired, God gave me plenty of time and energy to spend with Him and prepare myself for whatever the day might bring. So, investing in other people, particularly in those within your sphere of influence, is much more difficult than I thought it would be. I guess I failed to keep up with my sesquipedalian-logophilic nature and didn’t realize the word ‘invest’ means, especially in the biblical sense of the word, much more than just passively spending time with someone. The Bible is filled with reasons why we should love each other as brothers and sisters in Christ, why we should be united, as well as talk about how through Christ’s sacrifice and His love for us we’ve been made able to love others as we should truly love. God has enabled us to love in a way that no one can love outside of His influence and His guidance. Yes, people without God and without a relationship with Him can love each other, but the love is skewed and not the true love God has to offer them.
This is insane.
We’re incapable of loving, truly loving, the way God intended, apart from Him. He comes in, intervenes with the sacrifice of His son, makes it so we can first experience His love, the purest love ever to be doled out on such undeserving subjects, and then He gives us the ability and grows and cultivates in us the desire and the ability to love other people as He has loved us. In addition to giving us all of Him, He gives us the opportunity and the ability to live in the freedom that His love brings through knowing how loved we are, loving Him back, though imperfectly, and loving others.
I changed into a Sunday dress and grabbed my backpack and headed outside to grab my bike. Now, the first time I went to ride my bike (on Labor Day, to Sam and Maria’s house), I’d unlocked the chain, went to put it in the basket of my bike, only to find that some random person had deposited a plastic hand in the basket. It was one of those bloodied, cut-at-the-wrist hands people might use during Halloween, placing them in their bowls of candy or gluing them to their stomachs (I have no idea). I had removed the hand from my basket, put it in my backpack, and headed off.
Well, each time I lock up my bike on campus, I just put the hand back in there, thinking that if someone goes to steal my bike, they might see the dismembered hand and think I was a weirdo and decide not to steal my bike.
It’s worked so far.
Anyway, I took the hand out of the basket and put it in my backpack and peddled off.
So, I’ve never ridden a bike in a dress. I’ve also never ridden a bike in a dress in NYC. So today was interesting. I had to stand up for most of the ride there, pedaling and avoiding cars and other bicyclists, to avoid being immodest. The ride there, because the humidity had broke and the sun was out and the air felt clean and refreshing, was beautiful. I talked to God all the way there, savoring the wonderful opportunity I experienced just by riding my bike to church. It was amazing 🙂
I arrived to church a little late, but it was okay. I still had time to freshen up and head to Sunday school. I can’t express how loved and enjoyed I feel whenever I come to church. Not only do I refresh my spirit by studying God’s word with other believers, but I also refresh my spirit by just spending time with them.
In morning service, while we sang, I smiled a big toothy smile, still in awe and happy confusion concerning the amazing thing that I mentioned at the beginning of this post. I just couldn’t believe it, couldn’t put it into words. Reassurance of “God knows what He’s doing,” “You can trust Him with everything,” “God has perfect timing,” and “God stands by His word,” all came flooding into my heart. Even though it wasn’t a huge, big, revelation, it was still a quite reminder of God’s wonder.
After morning service, Rebecca, Jenny, and I walked to Dunkin’ Donuts for pumpkin donuts and iced apple ciders. It was nice to just be with my girl friends and talk about fashion and God and being women and things you just can’t comfortably talk about with men. It was refreshing, like the weather.
I ate my donut and drank my cider and then headed home. Bree and I had to meet with our RA to compile our roommate contract at four, so I couldn’t go to afternoon church. Originally the meeting had been during church in the morning, but I was able to get it changed, and Bree was awesome enough to talk to my RA about it before I even knew when it was supposed to happen.
I got home, we had our meeting, skyped Mom for a bit, and then I fell asleep for a while. After an exceptionally long nap, I went to the Pi Shop and grabbed food, meeting up with some of my writing people whom I would normally hang out with. We went and ate our food in front of the library, talking about the exact things Rebecca, Jenny, and I talked about that afternoon: being women, how much we appreciate it when men are men, and other things. It was nice 🙂
After this I returned to my room, talking to God for a while and receiving an encouraging message from Beth 🙂 When I have Sundays like this, I tend to appreciate it more, mostly because not only do I see it as a gift from God, but also because I need the refreshment of spending time with other believers before taking on the week, and this one might be a bit more of a challenge than the last couple, but we’ll see. I don’t know what’s going to happen, but God does, and He’ll be there with me, so I won’t be facing anything alone.
What happened, the blessing I talked about…I really just can’t express how caught off guard I was…I guess for a while I was under the odd impression that what I’d been asking for wasn’t in God’s plan for my life and I just had to accept it, but even if it never happens again, even if nothing else happens in this area of my life, I will truly cherish the way God so wonderfully did this for me. Why would He do such a thing? I don’t know…because He loves me? Because He has a plan and this is part of His plan? Because He promised that when I delight myself in the Him He’d give me the desires of my heart? Wow.
“Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name give glory, for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness!”
—Psalm 115:1, ESV