Sometimes I forget how blessed I am, which is pretty ridiculous considering how much God has blessed me, not just in the last couple of weeks, but throughout my entire life. Sometimes I just get so wound up in my own feelings and my circumstances that I forget to step back and look for God working, and He’s always working.
So the lesson of this first semester, I do believe, or at least one lesson, is to learn, or re-learn, how to say “no,” and how to not take on so many things at once. But even deeper than that it’s to bring everything (even the smallest things like going to lunch with someone or studying with someone) to God before making a decision, to take the time to really pray about it and wait on Him to give me an answer.
The other lesson, or one other, is to learn how to accept help from other people. It’s funny; I’ll pray for God to help me and provide for me and then I have trouble accepting the generosity of Sam and Maria and Jenny and all of the other people God uses to take care of me. It’s rather silly.
Today was a little rough. Last night, and the majority of yesterday, I wasn’t myself, couldn’t feel comfortable, and was, quite honestly, emotional and verbose, which is an upsetting combination. Today, however, I did wake up as myself again. Turns out all I needed was a good-night’s sleep 🙂
Anyway, several times I forgot something in my dorm (I live on the fourth floor), so I definitely got my workout in for the day 😀 Also, my emotions were playing around today and it was hard to focus and keep my eyes set on God and talk to Him throughout the day.
At one point in Studio, a very vulgar and disturbing conversation was going on and it bothered me so much that I nearly got up and left the room. But God stabilized me and helped me talk to Him and endure it. I never know what to do in those situations. Most times I will walk away, though not without first saying I’m leaving and that I’ll see people later, but in those situations when I can’t, all I do is wonder if it would be so horrible if I asked them to stop.
After I left Studio, after I’d handed in my short story, some awful feeling came up in my stomach.
A couple of weeks ago, in the middle of the night, I wrote a short story about a real woman experiencing real problems and then experiencing real redemption through Christ. It involved her getting two abortions and then having graphic and vivid nightmares. She ended up, after other major occurrences in her life transpired, in prison. Throughout the whole story, she’s referring to a “He” which is Christ, and the rest of the story (after prison) is about how God brings her to Him through different circumstances, and it ends with her having changed. I know it sounds cliche, but it happens in real life. Real life is hardly cliche.
Anyway, after class and after the manuscripts were already in the hands of my classmates, I realized how controversial the story was, how graphic and in-your-face it was, and how unlike my normal writing it fared. Part of me wished I could take it back, but the other part was interested to see the response and how God is going to help me react to their critiques. I’m definitely nervous…but at the same time I’m kind of excited to sit back and see God work.
As I grow, as I experience new things, especially things like the internship, budgeting, and lots o’ homework, it’s harder to be optimistic and peppy, but at the same time it’s much easier, because God helped me focus on His work in the small things, so now the bigger things are just a level-up, in a weird way.
Church tonight was really wonderful 🙂 Originally I wasn’t going to be able to go tonight, but God used Sam and Maria to help me get there. I was reminded that I don’t obey Christ to be accepted by Him, but instead obey Christ because He’s made me accepted by what He did on the Christ and by His salvation of my soul and by the guarantee of the Holy Spirit that lives within me. I needed to hear that.
Lately I’ve been thinking about how society wants women to be hard and successful and determined and all go-getter-y. But God doesn’t want that for His women, for His daughters. He wants them so badly to be kind, tender, soft, and willing to serve others, following Him in His loving footsteps. And I’m here in a city that’s filled with “successful” women, and I can’t help but feel the pressure to be like them.
But I have to remember that so long as I’m following Christ and pursuing His plan for my life, I’ll always be in the right place, with the right people, at the right time. By “right” I don’t mean perfect or ideal, but rather I mean within the parameters of God’s desire and plan for my life, those plans to give me hope and a future that He knows so well (Jeremiah 29:11).
After church I headed to the train and found myself walking in the same direction as Edward. We caught up a bit, him talking mostly and me listening, which I didn’t mind. When I got on the train I began to write, but instead of writing about what I was feeling, I instead wrote about what I knew was true, and I prayed hard, and I basked in the stability that God brought.
I knew this was going to be difficult, and while I’m incredibly aware of my Christian brothers and sisters around the world who are running for their lives because of their faith, it doesn’t make growing up and going against the grain any easier. But Matthew 19:26 says “But Jesus looked at them (the disciples) and said, ‘With man this (salvation) is impossible, but with God all things are possible” (emphasis and parentheses added). So I have to believe God can do this, He can get me through all the hard stuff, He can do what He says He would, so long as I’m seeking Him first, and, at this point, as I look around at all the world has to offer, as I witness pain and heartache and discouragement, I realize that He’s the only One worth following, the only One worth seeking.
“Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. God, the Lord, is my strength.” —Habakkuk 3:17-19