I would like to somehow be able to write all of what I’ve experienced in the past weeks, and somehow have my words do the awesomeness justice. But I’m struggling with knowing where to start and where to end, and how to make the end remember the beginning.
Well, maybe I’ll start there 🙂
First of all, I got a concussion. And an inflamed jaw…Long story short, during a basketball game, a girl elbowed me in the chin and it leveled me. I went to the hospital afterwards. The memory I have of that is sitting in the waiting room with my teammate, Adrienne, and her mom, eating Five Guys and asking them about what they believe. I wasn’t too upset about the concussion.
For the rest of the week, my head seemed to spin and spin and spin in a whirlwind of questions. I continued to spend time with God, pray for my classmates, pursue relationships with them, go to Bible Study, and grow. But the upcoming weekend, Jacob’s visit, I let God handle. I’d talked through it with Him over and over again, and I knew He knew my heart, my thoughts, how everything connected in my head. I knew He had it covered.
Turns out, everything went better than expected. In fact, nothing went according to plan, and things went far differently than I’d imagined. Jacob stayed with Duston and Mindy, then at Sam and Maria’s. These two couples were so flexible and generous and gracious in hosting him, in providing him with a place to stay while he visited me. And I wondered how God could’ve seen this whole thing coming. Sometimes I forget that He knows everything.
We walked for miles, it seemed, through Brooklyn and then later on Manhattan. We visited all of my places, from Unnameable to Grand Army Plaza, and from Connecticut Muffin to Greenlight. We ventured through and climbed over and maneuvered Central Park. We explored St. John’s and then St. Patrick’s cathedral, amazed at the greatness, but aware of the lack of Christ in the space; grand, but empty. We ended the visit with sitting next to the skating rink in Bryant Park, eating vegan food from the open-air market, creating stories for people as they zoomed past us. The moon was bright, the Empire State Building glowed to the right, Christmas music filled the air. And we wondered why God would do something so great, that seemed so accidental to us, when we deserved none of it.
Wednesday morning, the day before Thanksgiving, I woke up and wondered what God was thinking, what He was doing, what thoughts He had for me, for my life, for where I am now. I wondered what He had in mind for Jacob, for both of us together, and I decided that, whatever it was, He seemed to care about it a lot. I remembered that He does extraordinary things with ordinary people.
We road-tripped back to the Sticks, to my house, munching on Swedish Fish and Sour Gummy Worms, talking about everything. He and I had an early Thanksgiving dinner with my family, then he went home to the Brocks. The next day, both of us had Thanksgiving with our own families. Gracie, Jimmy, Stephen, and I had breakfast at McDonald’s with my Daddy. I remembered God’s ability to heal, to break open, and to make vulnerable, and then to make strong.
Uncle Doug, after my Thanksgiving dinner, came and picked me up to take me back to the Brocks. We talked. And talked. And talked. I remembered that Jesus wept, that it’s okay to be broken up about the brokenness of the world.
The next morning, Friday, Jacob, Hannah, Beth, Nathan, and I began the eleven hour trek down the East Coast to Ft. Bragg, North Carolina. The time went by more quickly than I thought it would, but every moment was so special, from munching on Bojangles to singing out to Third Day, and from Jacob’s tickling Beth in the backseat to rolling down the windows and feeling the Southern sunset.
That evening we had Thanksgiving (yes, again :P) with a large group of couples and guys from the Navigators, the ministry of which Jacob is a part. I talked to these men and women, and I learned and I was learned of. I remembered that Christ transcends culture, background, upbringing, and circumstance; no one is beyond His reach. It was during this time that I learned there was a couple in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, right around Pratt, who have been faithfully praying for ministry at Pratt, for, as it was put, “someone to come and labor on Pratt campus,” and they’ve been praying for a long time, even before I came to college…That doesn’t make any kind of sense in my head, and I haven’t quite grasped what that means, and my words won’t do the feeling justice, won’t accurately describe how I feel that someone may have been praying me into Pratt…but when I get there, I’ll let you know.
The evening ended with pecan pie, Apples to Apples, and an intense game of Settlers of Catan. No, I did not win 😛
The rest of the weekend there, we explored and laughed and chilled and cried. We ate gyros and talked about Christ and just were. I was reminded that God never meant for me to get comfortable, and that this life, especially when I’m actively seeking to give it over to Him, will constantly be changing. God means to move me, to shift me, to let me fall and then to catch me with both arms.
On Monday, we stopped in Virginia for brunch with the Fairchilds, long-time family friends of the Brocks. They were so wonderful. Mrs. Fairchild is a loving mother to the core, and she loves the Brocks like her own kids. Her daughter, Elizabeth, is charming, and the two boys tied to their family, though not related, are equally so. I felt so loved and welcomed and accepted.
I think it was then, as I listened to Hannah tell her and Matthew’s story, and then as I listened to Jacob telling ours, that I got it. That it clicked. That God never meant for any of this to be temporary, for my relationship with Him to stop or plateau at any point in time. His desire for my growth and my becoming more and more like Him would be intertwined with the Brock family, with Pratt, with my own family, with all that my life is right now.
The previous days I’d been wondering what His plan is for me, where He wants me to go from here, what He has in mind for my future. And sitting there, drinking coffee and laughing, listening to the Virginia rain beat down on the neighborhood outside, I understood that when God asks for my future, He means all of it. When God requests that I live for Him, when He asks, commands me to trust Him, believe Him, follow Him, He means in absolutely everything. Every area. All of it.
“Thus says the Lord who made the earth, the Lord who formed it to establish it—the Lord is his name: Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things you have not known.” —Jeremiah 33:2-3