So, faith is a powerful thing. It moves mountains and erects buildings. It brings about life and sparks miracles. It builds endurance and trust in Christ and pushes us further than we ever imagined we’d be able to go. It sets us up to step forward on an assumption and go forward in blind trust, to find out that we’d placed our trust in the right One all along. God uses our faith not to trick us or show us that, yep, we were too trusting, but to show us that we weren’t trusting enough, and that He really is just as trustworthy as He says He is.
Trusting others, I’ve found, isn’t really about the person you’re trusting or not trusting…it’s really about how much you trust Christ. Your trust of others can’t depend on those people, because trust involves the one in whom your trusting being consistent and constant and unchanging. But this is unrealistic. I think there’s a difference between the trust we place in people and the trust we place in God…
But maybe I’m getting too much ahead of myself.
Let me go back to the beginning 🙂
Finals week came to a close, and I was running on thirty hours of sleep total for the week. Thursday night after I finished every part except for one of Douglas’s Adventure Story, Taylor and Kat came over to have a girls’ night of sorts, all popcorn and Oreos and watching White Christmas, starring Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney. Bree and I talked with them about Christmas and about going home and such. Then they asked about Jacob.
It came about in the course of conversation that Taylor lives in Clarksville, Tennessee, and the two of us realized that over Thanksgiving break, when I’d gone to visit Jacob in Fort Campbell with Hannah, Beth, and Christina and the guys, she had been less than a mile away from a coffee shop the group of us had visited. Go figure. We then had a bit of a girl moment where we freaked out about this, then continued on with our girls’ night. It was refreshing. What was cool was that as I told them about Jacob, there was no way for me to not bring Christ into the picture. And I love that 🙂
Bree and I talked for a while after that. But I couldn’t sleep. So, at around one in the morning, I decided it would be a good idea to give the entire bathroom a scrub down. As I washed the tile and scrubbed the shower curtain liner and spritzed the mirror with glass cleaner, I prayed and talked to God about fear and about nervousness.
Jacob, Hannah, and Beth were coming the next day to get me from the City. I’d never done anything like this before, letting someone other than my mother come and get me, going out of my way to make something like this happen. It was an odd but exceptionally exciting experience, and I had a choice between being afraid of allowing people to, in a way, take care of me, or excepting it as a blessing to both me and to them. And while I was cleaning the bathroom, I found myself stuck between the two.
A bleach-scented bathroom, four hours of sleep, and a long talk with God later, I stood in front of the gate of Pratt with Charlene and Bree, waiting for the arrival of my people. And as I stood and prayed some more, the neutral nervousness transitioned into nervous excitement, and I was reminded of who God was in all of this. Even if my fears all came true, even if something bad happened, even if everything I’d worried about and struggled with came about, God was still big enough to catch me and place me back on my feet. He was still God. Christ was still entirely able to bind up my broken heart should it require His healing touch. Because He was the One I was trusting ultimately, and if it was all on Him, there was no way for me to be let down, not truly. And so I awaited their arrival excitedly and readily.
I realize this thought process is a bit extreme, but fear is deep, and it’s a part of every day of my life, along with the fighting of fear and the filtering of fear through the lens of Christ and allowing Him to help me rise above it, because I can’t do it without Him.
So they came, and Jacob gave me the big hug I needed at the end of such a week, and Hannah and Beth gave me strong hugs that sucked the stress right out of me, leaving my body and most of my mind finally ready to relax. And everyone immediately introduced themselves to one another. As we walked to the dorms and everyone began to meld into the personalities of strangers, I saw my worlds colliding.
After a while of signing in and obtaining name tags and walking up the stairs to my dorm, we hung out for some time, talking about the campus and about the dorm room and about the ride here and the ride home, until we finally decided it was time to leave. And then, we were off.
The ride home involved much talking about the Bible, about Closer Walk and Koinonia (the ministry in which Hannah and Beth are involved), about people, about Christmas, and about each other, all the while listening to Kutless and having the atmosphere of the car be pierced by the beauty of the setting sun.
And that was the beginning of five amazing days with the Brocks.
Most of the weekend with them involved me having to depend on God more than I’ve ever depended on Him before. Every day started out with my picking out a “weapon” after reading through God’s word, and the weapon was basically a particular passage that I would use or recite whenever Satan tried to force a lie into my thoughts or perception. I was not backing down. At first, before God placed in me a determination to see this through, to really win each fight against fear and uncertainty to get to where He was standing, I kept telling Him I didn’t think I could do it, that it would be much easier for everyone if I just curled up and did nothing and lived the rest of my life never having to fight this battle ever again. And yet, being God’s girl, remembering that I’m His daughter, I was reminded that that’s not who I am. I’m actually incapable of doing that, because it’s not who I am anymore. When Christ said that the old has gone and the new has come, I believe He meant it, and I found myself, after talking to Him, unable to fathom the possibility of giving up. Which left only one option.
The first weapon was Psalm 25, which I felt like I’d never read before but found myself reading over lines that I’d marked with a ballpoint pen. I’d been here before. The second one was Psalm 86, along with 1 Corinthians 10:13 and 2 Corinthians 10:12. The reason why using scripture in this particular span of time was so important was because I’d realized that my fear wasn’t really coming from not trusting other people or believing they somehow weren’t who they said they were…it actually had everything to do with my perception of God and my trust of His being who He says He is. Oh. Therefore, it came back to trusting Him first before trying to trust others, just like in order to love other people I have to both know or have had a glimpse of how much God loves me and also constantly be learning how to love Him in my flawed state. And things became much clearer.
We all watched lots of movies and spent time talking about different things. I had great times of talking to Hannah and Beth and I stayed up late talking to them about their lives and my life and everything in between, and I needed it. I did the dishes with Jacob, went for a three and a half mile run with him, Hannah, Uncle Doug, and Nathan, and baked brownies for Patrick’s birthday. I went to church and was reunited with one of my three church families and I enjoyed talking to and seeing all of them. I went to the Christmas program on Sunday night and watched as the small people did a wonderful job communicating the true meaning of Christmas, and as I was reminded of how awesome God is, as I am nearly every day. A bunch of us went to a Chipotle-like Mexican restaurant called Moe’s and then headed to the movie theater to watch the third part of The Hobbit trilogy. I played pick-up sticks with Teddy, played Aye, Dark Overlord with the big kids, played Fish Bowl, and played Rummikub.
The five days ended with my family coming to visit the Brocks, planning on taking me home after the evening was over. We all had dinner together, and Stephen was there as well. Now, I was nervous. Scared out of my skin. I’d already been brought through seeing just two of my worlds colliding, but witnessing this phenomenon a second time was insane. But God is good and nothing except great things happened between my family and the Brocks. Honestly, again, even if my nervousness had been rational, grounded, and something unfavorable had happened, God would still be good.
Upon coming home, I discovered a beautifully decorated box from Jacob amongst my luggage. I put away all my things and changed into pajamas, and after everyone went to sleep I sat down in the living room with the box in my lap. I discovered inside the box several sets of beautiful stationery just begging for me to write on it, and two books of stamps.
Jacob leaves for South Korea on Friday, the day after Christmas. I head back to school on January 18th, and classes start on January 20th. Christmas Day is tomorrow. There’s a BaYouCa staff retreat on December 29th and 30th. And then there’s New Year’s. Time is moving very quickly and things are changing. Some things aren’t changing, or aren’t changing as quickly as I’d like, and so I’m sitting here, remembering that God is good and He has a plan and it is enough to trust that He works everything for the good of those who love Him. And it comes back to saying that I have no idea what’s going to happen in the future, not tomorrow, not next week, not for the next year, and I have absolutely pretty much no idea what I’m doing practically or otherwise…but God does. God knows exactly what’s going to happen and He has a purpose in all of it, even if it seems like things don’t make any sense.
I’m learning (again, yes) that I’ve been made to live day by day, that I can certainly expect to follow a plan and have a plan for the future and for tomorrow and for everything, but in reality, God knows what’s up, and it would be better for me to die to my own self, my plans, my desires, my hopes, my dreams, my fears every morning and set myself up to bend towards His will rather than my own. Because He’s the real in a world of fake, the truth in a sea of lies, the light in a pit of darkness, and the greatest thing that has ever and will ever happen to me 🙂
Have a Merry Christmas everyone 🙂
“The woman said to him, ‘I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When he comes, he will tell us all things.’ Jesus said to her, ‘I who speak to you am he.'” —John 4:25-26