The Lord has been teaching me a lot about resting in and trusting Him lately, and there is so much on my mind that I want to share with y'all. I am hoping that it doesn't read like one big jumbled mess.
Going into this school year, I was not really sure if I was excited. I did not know how to explain my feelings and emotions towards school when people would ask me, and now as I reflect back to various conversations, I lied a few times because I was not sure of what the truth was. Was I excited, nervous, doubtful? This I know- that I was looking forward to seeing my kids again. I was looking forward to seeing how they had grown over the summer and hearing about their adventures. And I was also excited to share with them about my mini (and many) summer adventures.
Interestingly enough, we often have expectations for situations without realizing. We put pressure on ourselves when we place all of our hope and worth in the prospect of a perfect situation that we have unconsciously (or consciously) dreamed up. I will not lie to you all when I tell you that last year was one of the hardest years of my life. But it was hard in a good way; the Lord was (and still is) refining me. These times, while difficult, have also been some of the sweetest times I have ever had with Him, and I would not give that up for the world.
This week in chapel, we hosted a guest speaker. He and his wife were tribal missionaries in Colombia, and as I sat listening to him as part of a captive audience on Monday morning, the Lord began to show me just how good I have it. Mr. Germann shared about how the tribal people reacted when the "white man" first arrived. They were distrusting and afraid, so they shot poisonous darts at them and treated them with disdain and some, hatred. Yet, the Germann family did not pack up and say, "God, I didn't sign up for this. I'm supposed to be the missionary hero here, and these people hate me." No, they stayed and trusted the Lord. Mr. Germann shared about the myriad of times we allow ourselves to keep our heads in the clouds of our circumstances instead of looking around with God's eyes to see all of the genuinely amazing things He is doing to show us that He loves us, He is for us, and He will never leave us. He is bigger than the circumstances in which I find myself, because He created the universe. How's that for a slice of humble pie?
So often, I find myself looking at my circumstances and thinking, "I didn't sign up for this." But does that matter? No. Does the fact that I am at times unhappy make God look up with eyes of disbelief and suddenly say, "Well, let's fix this!"? No. He cares about me. Immensely. Profoundly. More than I could ever fathom. But my happiness is not in the equation of loving Him and serving Him. His glory is the penultimate goal. In fact, it is the prize. My purpose in being here, and in living, is not to make myself look wonderful and draw people to myself, but rather to Him. He is the goal. He is the prize. He is everything.
The Lord has been so sweet to and patient with me. As I navigate through this quarter-life crisis time I find myself in, His goodness never ceases to astound me and stop me in my tracks. I just ordered and received the devotional book Jesus Calling, and I highly recommend it. Every morning, the Lord uses the selected Scripture to speak to me in such specific ways. Every day, He reminds me that what I am not, He is. I am not strong. He is. I am not perfect. He is. I am not holy. He is.
I do not know what the Lord has for me beyond this next year in Mexico. I have a few ideas and some things on my heart, but no specific answers nor commitments. Which is funny, because I find myself in the same place I was two years ago during my senior year at UGA. Listening and waiting. I think as life goes on, I will continue to find myself in this place over and over again. It is not necessary for me to have all of the answers right now. What I do know is that I want to be found faithful in the eyes of the Lord, and I want to use the time He has given me wisely. That means that I cannot take my eyes off of Him. I'm so glad He's promised me forever. I wouldn't know what to do without Him.
One part from the song "Praise the Lord" by Kristene Mueller keeps running through my mind. She sings:
And I get to love You through whatever comes.
What a privilege
That I get to love You through whatever comes.
Oh, how sweet it is,
And nothing's gonna take Your praise out of my mouth
As long as I shall live,
As long as I shall live.
Yes, I am tired. Yes, I am imperfect. Yes, I am overwhelmed. But I serve the Lord of lords and the King of kings, whose strength never fails and love never ends. And while I live in Chihuahua and will not see many leaves turning this year, I cannot help but think of the beautiful changes characterized by fall. We see leaves flourish and burst with color, and the vibrancy astounds us and stops us in our tracks. I remember walking through campus at UGA and marveling at the wonder of God's creation. There were a few trees in special places that became my favorites, and each year I would wait to see them turn. When leaves turn, they are beautiful. The colors are alive, and they beg you to drink them in. But as fall succumbs to winter, the once beautiful leaves are dead and brown. And yet as we all know, when winter is over (and sometimes it never seems to end) the once dead leaves will return to their once green state as they breathe new life.
In my walk with the Lord, He has brought me through such seasons. The spring holds much hope and promise, and the summer brings new life. Fall is a time of change, while winter brings a hard uncertainty and sometimes, silence. And yet He is God in all things. He is always on His throne. And this, my friends, gives me a hope and a joy unspeakable, which is so much better than fleeting happiness.
I have seen the burden God has placed on us all. Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end. So I concluded there is nothing better than to be happy and enjoy ourselves as long as we can.