Depths

My conscience twisted as the music played. I shoved at the tears as I realized the depths I had reached. The thoughts that had been spilling in didn’t seem to belong to me. Yet they did. When I heard the words and read them, I knew. 

I knew He saw and He felt it too. I knew He heard. I was living in darkness. When people talk about valleys and shadows and deserts I wonder if they had felt what I had felt. This desperate longing to be full. A gnawing ache that nothing could quench. It was a thirst. A need. And my heart cried for it. 

You couldn’t tell by looking at my life. I don’t wear my heart on my sleeve. I wear heels and dresses and makeup to disguise it. It’s so smart, right? But the bitterness in my soul laughs.i won’t admit it. I’ll pull a smile and tell a joke but really I’ll want to tell you I need something. Please tell me. Tell me that I need Him. Tell me it’s not too late, that salvation is near. I might laugh and maybe scorn you, but later I’ll be crying out, gnashing my teeth bitterly. And you were there the whole time. You knew what I needed. 

You owe me hope. You owe me your joy. It’s real I know it is. Please tell me. 

Counting As Loss

I never knew I could deceive myself so well.

That I could take such a good look at myself in the mirror and forget to even deal with the condition of my soul. Maybe this sounds deep for a Saturday morning, but after last night, I feel compelled to write this. As though maybe the thoughts that are all disjointed can coalesce into something meaningful. That maybe then, I’ll be able to say, yes, that’s what I’m thinking, that’s what I need to change, that’s where I’m struggling and goodness I’ve never looked at myself so clearly as last night.

I spent the evening with a good friend that I’ve made in the NOVA area this past year. I have learned so much from her. I’ve learned that brokenness displays beauty more vibrantly than any mascara ever could. I learned that pain leads us to empathy and love and when it breaks you down, it leads you closer to Him. And that when we talk about how God is working in our lives and how He’s changing us and how He loves us, these aren’t just words that we reiterate in church, but they’re actions.

And this friend has been living them out in a powerful way.

The truth is that I don’t want to admit what I struggle with most of the time. I like keeping up a front so that nobody worries about me and that everybody’s happy. I know it sounds manipulative and pathetic, maybe. It mostly stems from my insecurity. I want people to love me and I’m terrified of being exposed for who I truly am. I think we all are, maybe, but last night I realized how much weight I put on what people think. How obsessed I’ve become with trying to look and be perfect when I’m so broken.

You see, I’ve followed Jesus for years, but this past year I’ve struggled with so much. I’ve struggled with believing that He loves me. I’ve struggled with believing that despite what His word says, He just wants my life to be filled with pain. I’ve been blessed more than I can imagine or deserve,  but for some reason I kept looking at the painful moments and pointing them out to Him and pleading for Him to take it away. Asking Him why. And when He wouldn’t answer, I was devastated.

But last night, my friend reminded me of God’s love for me. That He is for me. That even though this is such a deep, dark season, He is the one who has the last word over my life.

I’ve battled with this because I’ve heard so often the same clichés. Their script is so familiar and sometimes too painful. But I realized so clearly last night that I’ve chosen to doubt God. I’ve chosen to give up. The Enemy’s lies sounded more believable than my Father’s promises. Because I couldn’t feel them. Or experience them.

And this has led me to a verse in Philippians that has been threading through my thoughts this morning. Phil 3:7-8:

But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss [a]in view of the surpassing value of [b]knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, [

Because everything Paul had couldn’t measure up to the great worth of knowing Jesus as his Lord and Savior, he didn’t hold back telling the Philippians that all his credentials, everything he could boast in, all of that was a loss to him. These verses penetrated my heart because I realize just how often I count my intelligence, my looks and all of these superficial things as more important than Jesus. A lot of times, I just see Jesus as a part of my life, but to be able to say that all of these outward things are a loss compared to Christ? It exposed the shallowness of my faith.

This is a season of endings. It’s a season of being broken. But it’s also a season of seeing clearly that anything we think gives us meaning and identity and purpose apart from God holds no value.

Compared to knowing Him and following after Him and obeying His will even when it breaks off from my own will (which is so painful), all of the things I’ve chased after in this world are a loss.

Our appearances, our careers, how well liked we are, our grades, our status, the attention we can get from our peers or from someone in the workplace, our possessions, anything we boast in in this world and in our flesh – God calls us to something deeper. He gives us so much value and worth. He is our treasure and reward. In Him, all of those things can’t even begin to measure up.

This is a season of redemption. I want to be able to say that these things are loss to the surpassing worth of knowing Jesus as my Lord and Savior.  I hope that when you come to a season of brokenness you can see it as an opportunity, too. And count it all as loss to knowing Him.

 

Retrospect

I woke up with a caffeine headache. A pressing need to clean everything in my house. Figure out the meaning of my life. And try not to worry about my boy and driving troubles.

Shouldn’t take that long, right?

Sometimes it’s so wonderful to be an idealist.

You see the best in everything. Your heart pounds as the golds, blues and rose colored clouds sweep across the sky, mixed in with the shimmer of sunlight as it dips below the horizon. Eyes dazzling on a walk through a small town, with its enchanting brick sidewalks, pumpkin patches and bursts of autumn leaves mix together a kaleidoscope of fall.

An idealist sees the worst in herself, too. And feels it deeply.

I’ve been working through lately how I take in this world and how easy it is to feel overcome by everything that happens to me. But the truth is that God is in control. Those aren’t words that I recite to sound religious, they’re words I believe and want to live out.

It’s astonishing how much of an impact my date had on me yesterday. Not in a good way. But still, I couldn’t help but being deeply impacted by what happened.

You see, I went on a date with a boy I don’t like.

Before you stop right there and turn off your internet browser, or worse, switch back to MSN (you know you love those news updates about Trump and Hillary), please bear with me.

I went to a party last weekend. One where I dressed up as Hermione, showed up early, where screaming took the place of chatting (over the music blaring from the speakers), and met a boy.

You have to understand, I don’t play with hearts. I don’t see love as a game. I don’t ever want to just date a guy because I’m desperate for attention. Want affection. Am overcome with loneliness. None of those are valid reasons. They never should be for any single girl. But when you’re single, dating rules aren’t black and white. Sometimes they’re gray.

And a cute guy asks you out, and he has a really exciting great job and you know you’ll get a free meal out of it and so, what do you do but say yes?

The sixteen year old me would not have understood this. Maybe not even the twenty four year old me.

I want to tell you that it went well. That I gave him a chance and he surprised me. Swept me off my feet with his dreamy eyes and his cavalier demeanor. I want to tell you I fell for his laugh, his contagious smile, his chocolate brown eyes.

But that would be a lie.

You see, love can’t be forced.

I know, you want a good love story, but not all stories include them. Romance can’t be lit easily like a fire. It’s just about as simple as deciding whether to save another person’s life at the risk of your own. It’s frustrating and perplexing and painful. You debate if you should do it just to make that other person happy. Your thoughts wage a war against your emotions. And sometimes logic wins. But logic doesn’t equate to compatibility. Or harmony.

What throws me even now is that while I talk about this being so difficult for me, there’s a boy who lives a couple miles away who at this second believes it to be so simple, so easy. He’s already falling for me and to him, love is just like another box to check.

I mean, what if we really ended up together, I put my misgivings behind me and jumped?

I wonder if I would forfeit a part of myself. I wonder if I would lose myself in the past or in wondering what love could really have been like. Could I fake love? Apparently I can if I’ve led him to believe there could be something between us.

I wish there was a rule book on dating. Because then my heart wouldn’t be in the mess it’s in.

I’ve come to this conclusion before, but I need to restate it again to convince myself and maybe you, too, reader. Guys are amazing. Incredible. They make you stop breathing just by looking at you. I don’t know how that exactly works. But they can also be incredibly cruel. I never knew that love could be so painful, until I fell for someone. And then tried to walk it back. Which didn’t work. And so I’ve prayed. And prayed. For release. For my emotions to move on. To just not care when I see him again. And to forgive.

I think getting over someone is like a long distance run, and that you build up your endurance to singleness and rejection the longer you have to bear with it. But it doesn’t make it any less painful or challenging or arduous.

 

 

 

And When I Run

Broken Cisterns. Worthless idols. Forgetful Israelites. Faithful God. These concepts stood out to me the most on my way through Jeremiah 2.

I’ve started making my way through this Old Testament book recently. I began wary, I have to admit.

Sometimes the OT reads like a different language to me. It talks about idol worship and cities and towns that I’m not familiar with. It’s very severe when it comes to talking about Israel’s sin. It penetrates my heart much as it must have seared the consciences of the Israelites back then as it reprimands them for their half-hearted devotion to the Lord.

It uses references I can’t relate to. And it talks about a group of people that I frequently get annoyed with as I read about them consistently forsaking their God even after all the awesome things He’s done for them.

And yet, God is still speaking to us through His word despite the things we don’t think we can understand or relate with. In this specific chapter, God tells Jeremiah to speak to the people. So, Jeremiah tells them things that the Lord wants to say.

He first tells them that they once followed hard after God in full devotion to Him. He describes their holiness and God’s salvation from their enemies. Quickly, though, he begins to expose their present spiritual state. With a lot of bluntness that I’m sure even back then gnawed at them. Because on the outside I’m sure they looked fine. They still, as it says in this chapter, talked to God and prayed for his salvation. They thought they hadn’t sinned. That everything between them and God was great. And that they could still keep worshipping their idols.

And following their hearts. Despite how deceitful they are.

In Jeremiah 2:5-6, he says, “This is what the Lord says; ‘What fault did your fathers find in me, that they strayed so far from me? They followed worthless idols and became worthless themselves. They did not ask, ‘Where is the Lord, who brought us up out of Egypt and led us through the barren wilderness, through a land of deserts and rifts, a land of drought and darkness, a land where no one travels and no one lives?'”

God poses this question to the Israelites and I believe to us:

What fault did you find in Me that you ran from Me? My ways. My spring of life.

The Lord explains that the Israelites left the Lord, the spring of living water, and built their own broken wells.

What floors me when I read this is that God led the Israelites through an uninhabited desert. With no GPS. Or Google Maps. And they saw first hand him parting the Red Sea and destroying the Egyptian army. Then, he provided food for them in the desert. He protected them too many times to count from enemies that were way more equipped and skilled than them. Then we come to this chapter and something seems awfully wrong.

And it forces me to ask the question, what led them to this point?

The crazy part is that where the Israelites have failed, I have also failed. Where the Israelites blame God for their problems, I’ve questioned His motives, too. But as I read through these words, I hear the brokenness in His voice as He says to the Israelites through Jeremiah’s voice -“Why did you run from me? The One who loves you and saved you and is still providing for you? Why are you going to all of those places to be satisfied? Why are you still building wells when my spring of water is right at your feet?”

Just like the Israelites, I’m reminded today of God’s faithfulness. That He sees our sinfulness and brokenness and shame and offers us new life at his spring of water. He rebukes us, but that rebuke comes from His heart for us. He sees that the places we go make us worthless just like our idols. It hurts Him when we sin, because He sees us suffering. He wants us to run back to Him and has so much to offer us.

 

 

 

 

Shari Part One 1/2

“Shari?”

His voice again.

She fisted her hands. I have to fight this, she thought desperately as she pushed away the feelings.

It didn’t matter that he had perfect brown eyes. Or that in his arms she forgot to breathe. Or that she’d memorized almost everything about him.

It didn’t matter that every time someone brought him up, her stomach pitched like being on Apollo’s Chariot at Busch Gardens. She knew that he’d moved on to another girl. Who was of course perfectly gorgeous and docile.

Feet glued to the floor, she prayed a prayer of surrender.

Not my will, Lord.

How could she hold this against him still? How could she still care for him even after all of this time?

He took her arm. “Hey Shari, aren’t you going to sit with me?”

“For real?” Shari gaped at him. “What about Anna?”

She’d promised herself that she would avoid this church service, because she knew he’d be there. But today, she hadn’t been thinking.

“She goes to a different church.”

Of course. “Well, great. Look, I have to go….find a seat.”

“And I have no idea why you can’t just sit with me.”

“I’m saving a seat for Erin.”

“You don’t talk with Erin anymore.”

“I thought I could do this, but.”  Shaking her head, Shari spun and slipped out the door into the crisp fall breeze that picked up her auburn hair and tossed it in front of her face.

Talking with him stung. Especially  when he was kind and genuinely acted like he cared. She would forget. She would move on. It didn’t matter how many times she’d pray for him, or pray about the situation, she would push through. This didn’t have to be the end of her.

“He never cared about me, Lord. I was just another pretty, hot girl to him. I never mean anything to any guy ever. It’s my appearance that draws them, but my personality has them making U-turns. Why my knees still get weak when I’m with him, I don’t know. I hope some day I will. Please take it all away.”

 


 

 

 

 

Story Intro and Musings ;)

Every year when my birthday comes around, my emotions spiral like spaghetti, all tossed and thrown together and tangled. All of the goals I want to accomplish dangle just out of my reach.

I’ve been twenty six for three months. Most of my twenty-sixness I’ve spent languishing over a computer screen, applying to jobs, jaunting around my new city (DC’s sunrises never cease to take my breath away along with my words. Maybe it’s the color. Or the newness. Or the pristiness that contrasts so prolifically with my life.)

Anyway, all of this to say, the best way I can describe my life is through a story. I can’t really tell you what’s happening to me until I type it out and see the words fill the pages or my computer screen and reread them until I finally grasp what I’ve been struggling with all these months.

All of this to say, I wanted to share: The context is different, but still…. 😉

Sharilyn grimaced as she watched Jesse and a petite blonde angle their way near her group of friends waiting in line at Lochness Monster. Even in a crowd, Sharilyn knew she couldn’t hide.

“Lord,” the prayer came as she felt the bitterness rise in her heart.

Her hand was laced in his. Of course. Sharilyn swallowed her sarcasm and waved.

“Shari? How’s it going? I didn’t think I’d run into you today!” Jesse waltzed over. Perfect dark hair and chocolate eyes dazzling as always. He may be the most arrogant boy she’d ever known, and yet his gregarious personality was what had drawn her to him at first.

He raised his hand for a high five and Shari met it. Each movement, each breath, each look, Shari catalogued. Oh why did she even bother?

“I’m Sharilyn,” she threw out her hand to the model clinging to Jesse’s arm like a life jacket in the Atlantic Ocean, “I don’t think we’ve met.”

“Anna.”

“Nice to meet you.” Shari tried to keep her eyes from looking at Jesse’s face. She’d begged God to help her forgive and forget. She had no idea she’d feel so deflated and scrambling for words to say, to make the moment less awkward.

“So what are you doing with your life, Shari?” She sucked in a breath. DId he have to act like he cared? Did he have to be so confident and self-assured? She wanted to scream. Please, God, I don’t want to be nice to him.

“I just started working at a non-profit in DC.”

“That’s great, Shari!”

“What about you? How are things going with you?”

Shari studied his guarded expression, she was sure that was the best poker face she’d ever seen. Or maybe that was just how he operated normally, disguising his true self from everyone. Especially her.

“Training to join the Air Force.”

She grinned, “Good luck.”

“I don’t need it.”

“I know that…” Shari groped for words. What on earth?

But Anna had already drawn him away to another ride and they dissolved into the crowd. Shari gaped after them, gripped the straps of her gym bag and jaunted toward the bathroom.

“Shari?” Kellie called for her but she already felt stifled, she had to let out all of her emotions and thoughts somehow. She couldn’t stand in line and hold it all in. “I’ll meet you all in Ireland!” She gave a quick wave and slipped into the closest bathroom stall.

And slipped to the floor.

“I thought I could do this, Lord, but each time I see him – ” A few minutes later, mascara stained cheeks, red eyes and an ice cream cone later, and Shari had left the park and was careening back down the highway.

____

A text from her friend Lora lit up her screen. “Want to hang out and have a chill evening with a few of us from church?”

“Sure.”

“It’ll just be easy going, maybe a movie and pizza!”

Shari pulled up to their friend’s apartment in Arlington. She let herself in the front door and plopped on the couch. “Lora, I’m here!” She called, then rubbed the ears of their Shih Tzu.

Lora threw open the back door to their back porch and a few more kids from church filled up the kitchen and living room area. Shari felt her chest constrict. Jesse was in the midst of them.

Lora finished setting the table and passed out plates.

Jesse walked over and started piling food on his plate. “Shari, I heard you and Kellie went hiking this weekend.”

“Yeah.” Shari heaped the stir fry on her plate and scooped out some hummus, breaking off the pita bread slowly. “You should try this pita bread, Lora makes the best.”

“She said you two went hiking at Great Falls. Erin,” he nodded to a cute brunette girl they’d both met this summer, “Kellie and Shari are going running this weekend at Scotts Run. Are you going along?”

Shari gaped, propping her hand on her hip. “Does she tell you everything?”

Erin walked over, her lips in a thin line that Shari knew easily drew into a scowl whenever prompted. She hadn’t included Erin in a lot of her outings lately, and couldn’t believe Jesse, first was texting Kellie at the same time he was talking with her, and next that he told Erin about her plans.

And then Anna walked in. And Shari dropped her plate on the floor.

“We’re all going bowling later,” Jesse ploughed right through, as though he didn’t know the emotions pulsing through her, as though she was the only girl in the room he cared about. It was so dumb. She had to get away from his spell. “You should come, Shari.”

“Lovelies! I’ve brought the most delicious apple pie you’ve ever tasted in your lives!” Maura waltzed in in a Grecian white halter dress and looped her arm through Jesse’s. Anna stood in the corner with Kellie and Erin, casting a stink eye at Maura.

Shari almost couldn’t take it.

“What did I miss?” Markus, Bill and Stephen, along with a few other guys from their church group shuffled through the door and Shari felt like laughing. She caught Lora’s eye and cornered her.

“This is one of the chillest evenings I’ve had in awhile.”

Lora almost spit out her bite of chicken and veggies. “Well I was texting Steve and Mark, and they all wanted to invite a few people…and they all ended up here. Is everything ok, Shar?” Lora’s eyes narrowed in on her friend.

“Couldn’t be better!” Lora soon got swept away talking with Samuel, a new attractive guy that all the girls in church were ambushing. Shari tossed her eyes, scooped up some apple pie and plopped down on the back porch, where nobody could see her. She hoped.

More soon 😉

 

Choices

I’m battling with choices today. This is nothing like a Robert Frost, which path should I travel down choice. This is more like a – should I give up or keep going choice.

Except whenever I wrestle with the decision to give up completely, my conscience can’t rest. I know I can’t do that. But I feel like I’ve come to a point in my life where I’ve got to make the choice and that choice is going to define how the rest of my life plays out.

You see, the biggest decision I have to make – besides what job to apply to – is do I decide to give in to worry and fear or don’t I. It’s so simple. And painful. And something I never would have imagined facing a few years ago.

I never thought that life could be this arduous. That the road I traveled in the future would be filled with so much struggle. I never knew that my heart could shatter and that Jesus would come in and heal me. I didn’t know how any of that would play out. I thought that suffering was awful, but now I’m realizing it’s so useful in making me more like Him.

But more importantly now, I’m realizing that each day is a choice. Are you going to choose to love or choose to hate? Am I going to pray for that person that drives me insane and makes me want to scream or am I going to lash out at them? Will I choose to forgive that person who hurt me? Will I choose to show compassion when I want to focus on myself? Will I choose bitterness over grace and forgiveness? Will I walk through trials with others even when they’re too much for me to bear or even listen to? Will I choose to do life with people whose lifestyles and values are antithetical to mine? Will I put myself behind me completely and put my desires, my will, my way to death so that Christ can shine through me?

Will I choose the Lord’s will or will I choose mine?

My hope is that in this season I learn to seek God first over all of the things I desire. My comfort. My will. My way.

I want to seek His kingdom first and to seek Him with all of my heart (Psalm 119:2) In seeking Him, my hope is that He will make these choices clearer and the decision making process not as painful.

I hope this can be your prayer too, that seeking Him first will give us the right motives to choose others over ourselves. And that even in our brokenness when we fight for our own way, we can see that He is greater and that He is good. His faithfulness takes my breath away.

After all of the things I’ve sought and chosen, He is the One I choose and the One I will pursue. Nothing is impossible for Him.

 

 

No Control

The god of Control tricks its way into our lives with things we believe to be true.

But they’re not.

They’re lies.

And I’m so done believing in them.

So many times throughout the Gospels, Jesus keeps telling his followers things that make no sense to them. He speaks with authority and control. His power is something that leaves people speechless and changed. I was reading today of the cost of following Jesus in Matthew 8. It’s so ironic that I stumbled on this passage because it’s something I’ve been struggling with lately.

You see, I’m a twenty something girl who’s struggled most of her adult life without a boyfriend.

To so many, they would say this wouldn’t matter to them. For a while I truthfully believed it didn’t. It didn’t matter to me that all I focused on all day was schoolwork and getting A’s in every class. I didn’t need or want a man. I knew I didn’t need a boy to tell me I was pretty. And I so wanted high scores.


And I got them. Deep inside, part of me thought I had controlled my value. I was the A student. I got perfect grades. Why wasn’t this making me happier? I wondered so many times as I studied and aced another test.

What did it all matter if I didn’t have anyone?

You might also think that if you’ve never been in an actual bf-gf relationship, like most of the world has been, then your heart has never been broken. This is the furthest thing from the truth.

The truth is that I ended up being the girl who locks herself in a bathroom stall and cries about not having anyone. I remember moments when the pain cut into my heart and reality mocked me, the reality crushing in when I found myself alone on Friday and Saturday nights throughout the semester, watching and listening to stories of the perfect guy, the perfect date, and the perfect relationship.

Then the scene switched to the end of my senior year, when several friends became engaged to be married. And then after graduating, the volume of marriages and happily ever afters increased. Along with the brokenness of feeling valueless and worthless and to be completely truthful I felt unloved and not beautiful enough to ever be the girl a great guy would choose to marry.

To understand it, you’d have to walk in my Nikes. And feel the sting of rejection and loneliness. You’d have to grasp what I believed as I scrolled through social media and the gap between what I thought I needed in all of my friends’ fairytale romances and what I saw in my own life that just couldn’t be breached.

Most of us single girls on a good day are happy enough.

 We’re happy that we’re loved and valued and remind ourselves (if we love Jesus) that Jesus loves us and died for us. He gives us value and worth that nothing in this world could ever measure up to. But if you look closer, there’s a brokenness that we, or at least I, veil behind a mask of self-sufficiency. Especially being single and twenty something and you happen to still glance at your facebook feed as it blows up with diamond rings, fairytale weddings, and happily ever after families peering out from you in perfect snapshots.

And you catch your breath when you realize that those were your dreams once as a ten year old playing with your little cousins. You hoped that someday that would be you with all of that joy. And somehow you have arrived at life without it.

Which was part of what I thought I’d find when I moved to DC. I thought I’d find security and value in a job and a career. I thought, as I interned on the Hill, that I’d someday find a great job that would provide value and meaning and purpose to my life. I thought that through the friends and career that I worked tirelessly to pursue, I would accomplish all that I wanted and a man didn’t need to be in the picture.

I would be completely satisfied and content with taking the reins.

If you know me, you know that’s not where I’m at. God’s ways are higher than mine. I used to view valleys and deserts as empty, atrocious places where nothing fun happened. But then He came and wrecked my life with these things that have happened this past year.

I don’t know all His reasons, but my soul knows this: He is the only One who satisfies. I’ve ached and searched and tried to control how I can get value and attention from my job and comfort and worth from trying to figure out my life my way.

None of those things satisfied me except Jesus.

Which brings me to Matthew 8. In this chapter, a teacher of the law approached Jesus, telling him he would follow Jesus wherever he went. In response, Jesus tells him that “the Son of Man has no place to lay His head.” And then one of his disciples mention about burying the dead, to which Jesus replies “follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead.”

As I read this, I realized how much I want to control my relationship with Jesus. Even back then, the disciples and teachers of the law had their own perception of following Christ. They imagined that they could follow Him their own way, and He would give them everything they wanted in their timing, and their happiness would result in all that God was giving them in their way and in their timing. And that it wouldn’t cost them comfort. That it wouldn’t cost them everything. Especially their control.

You see, in these few verses Jesus was teaching what He’d been teaching the whole time He walked the earth. He was telling people that we can’t come to God on our own terms and expect God to show up in a mighty way. We can’t come to Him with half-hearted desires for Him. We can’t come to Him expecting comfort in this life or to expect Him to sympathize with how much we want to just stay comfortable instead of stepping out in obedience to Him.

The past few years, I’ve tried to control everything in my life – career, job – and even my relationship with Jesus. But there’s no such thing as both of us controlling how I follow Him.  There’s also no such thing as both of us controlling my career, my job, or any part of my life.

So even in this season of singleness and heartache, I’m reminded of the God who is in control. Whose authority is worth relying on and whose power is enough to turn even the most hopeless seasons into hopeful ones. We can trust Him in the valley seasons because it’s at the end of ourselves that He says – nope, you can’t control this, but I can.

And HE will.

 

 

 

Friday Anecdotes

Brakes squealing, I hear a loud POP sound as metal against metal collide on the highway outside of my little house, providing a jolting alternative to my alarm clock this Friday morning.

I literally live along a main highway in Northern Virginia, so this actually happens more often than you think. Pulling out of my driveway for a  coffee run, two totaled cars hedged along the side of the highway, along with a tow truck and police car.

It served as a warning for my often careless-driving-music-channel-switching self. Pay more attention, A, my thoughts whisper even as I zip downtown to buy expresso and jaunt around town.

Oh being a twenty something in a big city is so opposite of a Carrie Bradshaw life. I’m actually quite ok with this. I don’t need to buy expensive clothes I can barely afford, and live a glamorous fast paced lifestyle while going out with attractive guys every weekend to find happiness.

One thing I’ve learned, is that attitude is everything. If someone who didn’t even know me compared my life with what it looked like last year, they would say that I’m in almost the same position. I’m still floundering, and trying to find a stable job. Yet, I feel so excited about this season. If I didn’t take the risk of moving out, I never would have engaged with my church at Mclean Bible and I never would have experienced what it was like to be an intern on Capitol Hill for a congressional office.

Uncertainty has fueled my confidence in God and grown my faith. And while I’m still in the process of walking through all of these things, still in the valley trying to find my way, I’m reminded of the Lord’s great love for me.

It’s a love that’s reached in and filled so many parts of me while I’ve been going from one desert season to the next. And I can honestly say that I still have hope.

Let your uncertainty lead you to relying on the Lord in this season and never give up on your dreams even if everything looks and seems impossible.

Love,

 

A

 

Can Endings be a Beginning?

 

It’s funny how in our most broken moments we experience God’s faithfulness. But maybe that’s how God works.

On a Monday afternoon this past January, I was enjoying my time out of my house especially since I had been cramped inside for the past few days. I was simply texting friends and my cousins, having a grand time, until I went to key my ignition and a clicking sound echoed back.

A few panicked moments ensued, as I kept keying the ignition, exasperated and upset with myself, when a young Hispanic couple came over to help jump my car. After their futile attempts, and still no response from my engine a mechanic/construction worker Hispanic man came over to inspect the car. Following his inspection and vague explanation of something needing fixed, the engine started, I hopped back in my car and called my parents.

Suddenly, the engine sputtered and died again. The panic rose in my throat like a fizzy carbonated drink. My mom suggested I call a friend to help. After his attempts to jump my car, another mechanic came over to help. After he fiddled around in my engine, he explained that it would need to be repaired. Finally, the engine started again, and I tried to drive my car away.

However, as I was inching out, my accelerator wouldn’t work and I shot out of the car, explaining my predicament. When the mechanic assured me it took time to warm up, I idled in my car, talking with my friend, calling Triple A who radioed in for a tow truck. As soon as the tow truck came twenty minutes later or so, he hooked my car up to the truck and deposited my car and I at a Tire and Auto repair shop.
After traipsing around in the snow for a couple minutes, I panicked because I wanted to walk myself home. Finally, I requested for someone to drive me back because I was completely stranded. A young man from the auto repair store zipped me back despite the chaotic snow filled mess that the snow plows seemed to exacerbate. Relieved to be home, I plopped on a cushy chair, ate French toast with my roommates and focused my thoughts on relaxing.

The next day, I spent baking, reading, watching random movies on TV and talking with my other roommate who also had off. Around 5, I went to pick up my car, drove it back home and picked up my roommate, promising that we would go to Starbucks for coffee. After I turned onto Annandale road, I flipped on the Air conditioning and my engine began to shudder. Next, the lights flickered, the engine rattled and sputtered and then it DIED. Completely. Like, in the middle of a street it went completely dead.

Redialing AAA, I explained my location and situation. Thirty minutes later, another man with a tow truck rescued my roommate and I, took us to the Auto shop, where we were shuttled back home.

The first time, I was a nervous wreck, almost completely. Things like that typically never happen to me. However on Tuesday, after initially being upset, I just started to freak out and then laugh about how ridiculous the situation was. Then I prayed and laughed some more! It was an insanely exhausting evening that I had no idea would happen.

Maybe it’s a good thing to learn to deal with chaotic situations. I just was almost nearly paralyzed with fear at first and I felt completely terrible that I put my roommate in that situation especially since I had promised her coffee. Good grief!

Despite all of this, there’s a peace that crawled in and wrapped its arms around my heart last night. I really can’t describe it, just that I know that God was there and that He was in control and that He kept me from being hit in the middle of a crowded road in rush hour traffic.

The thing is, I hate depending on people, but He’s broken me of that. He knows that when I’m brought to the end of myself, I’m forced to rely on Him. While I write it off as terrifying and completely inconvenient and humiliating, He sees it as a way to speak to me, drawing me in, reminding me that He is good even when my circumstances aren’t.

And it’s reached to other areas of my life too. I’ve been so upset and overwhelmed about surviving in this expensive city while simultaneously interning on Capitol Hill. I’ve been so caught up in believing that a full time job will give me peace and happiness.

But it’s almost like He’s saying through this:

I am enough.You don’t need a perfect life or perfect circumstances to follow me. When you’re stripped of basically everything – I can finally show you that those things you depended on so much won’t ever satisfy you.

He reminds me that He will provide and I have peace about this now – an almost impossible peace. But it’s there and through this, He’s using this to show me how when my life shatters, He is faithful.