twenty-seventh of september, two thousand sixteen

It’s 2016 and scientists still have not discovered a way to prepare college students for life after graduation. Two months in, and I still sometimes wonder if I will wake up out of this weird dream, but nevertheless, here I am. And I must confess that morning after morning, my heart sighs a little as God pulls me out of bed because another day has arrived where I feel directionless, purposeless, and mediocre.

A few weeks before graduation, a kindred heart shared with me the truth about graduation. She said, “There will never again be a time in your life where you aren’t expected anywhere, where you are not committed to anyone or anything. It’s complete unadulterated freedom—a great time for the Lord to work.” At the time, this statement seemed to me exciting and promising. It was a drink of water after wandering weary and exhausted in the desert. But now? Now that I am living that sentiment two months later, it is exhilarating terror. It is untamed, infinite, and possible. It is powerful and holy.

It has been months since I have taken the time to let my spirit pour out on paper, and even now, as I’m typing this, my hands quiver above the keys because I’m hoping for some kind of greatness to shine from this blank slate. And I think that is what we all expect after graduation—for greatness to shine. We expect life to take off in a full sprint, first to the finish line, but instead life takes a stroll. Life takes a stroll, and we wrestle with it, attempting to pull it along in any direction that is willing to take us somewhere else from the path we are on. I have been guilty of this, throwing myself into opportunities or ideas that could lead me anywhere but here, whether they lead to me fulfilling my dreams or not. It’s easy to justify the detours.

For example, I recently found myself on one of my midnight expeditions on LinkedIn looking for a job. I mentioned working for a school district to my roommate, to which she replied, “I have never heard you express interest in working at a school. Why now?” I popped off a few reasons as to why it would be a good idea, and needless to say, all of them reflected a lack of trust in God.

One thing I have learned in life after graduation is that it takes more courage to say ‘no’ than to say ‘yes.’ It is easy to jump into opportunities because (ironically) they are safe or good or convenient because anything feels better than doing the “same old, same old.” But I think sometimes the world needs to hear my “no” because Jesus wants me to wait with him. On life’s stroll, He has decided to sit down on a bench and He wants me to sit down beside Him. This is my time to delight, to dwell, to rest. And these things—delighting, dwelling, resting—look differently to me now than ever before because I’m in a different place than I have ever been before. But I need to trust that this place is good because He is good. He loves to work in these still moments.

“The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul.” Psalm 23

Waking up, I fight the feelings of mediocrity, and purposelessness. I pray for the grace to see Him, sitting next to me on this bench, and I pray for the desire to ask what we are going to do today, trusting that whatever we do will be a part of a bigger picture that I can’t fully see yet. I pray for the humility to savor the moments of sunshine and laughter and quiet stillness on this bench, and I pray for the courage to journey on when we arise and continue walking because I know it will be messier, more challenging, and further than I have ever walked before.

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i carry your heart with me i carry it in my heart II ee cummings

If you read the entire poem (one of my favorites) you’ll find that he is so moved by a love that transcends the separation of stars and casts out fear. And I suppose what I’m saying is, I want this belief and faith to express itself through my First Love’s love for me. Because if I can’t live truly wholeheartedly, believing in His radical love for me- free from fear and anxiety and a need to perform and earn His affections- then what’s the point?  And even though I have done that so often, I want to grow out of it. I think it’s about slowing down and remembering that I’m carrying Him with me. Hopefully it’ll come to be as effortless as breathing. I won’t have to slow down and remember; I’ll just know.

So here’s to another year of slowing down to remember that He’s with me & hugging Him a little tighter, so fear and anxiety don’t have space to wiggle in.

on holiday

Sometimes I find myself in this place that is isolating. It seems to be void of anything in my spirit that believes “it is well.” What’s even worse is that when I’m in this place, I have zero desire to fight my way out of it. My hopelessness becomes my closest confidant and assures me that no one else needs to know.

But glory to God that He can name all the stars in the sky, call them out every night, and not one is missing. Glory to God that His understanding is unsearchable because I would have given up on myself a long time ago. Glory to God that He provides strength for the weak, that He helps us rise and soar on His grace.

Glory to God that He graces us with relationships that reminds us of His grace. Glory to God that we are always seen & never forgotten.

 

james & wisdom

James tells me that when I ask for wisdom, I will receive it because my Father loves giving wisdom to help us all understand Him a little better. but I doubt, and I become waves tossed on the rocks. I keep asking out of fear, believing that if I haven’t had some divine revelation, then He is holding out on me. But that’s not the case at all.

It comes with belief. It comes with a perfecting faith, believing that He answered my prayer when He gave James those inspired words long ago.

rest is holy

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God created rest before there was ever a need for it. He certainly didn’t need rest, and it was created before work was ever toilsome or exhausting. But He did. He created it on the seventh day after creating man on the sixth day. That tells me He created rest to spend time with me- where I could sit in His presence, and grow in my understanding of His character, and His love for me, memorizing the lines on His face as we sit and be still together. When we rest, He redirects dry bones and reignites faith. What a kind Father we have who gives us such a life breathing gift.

cut, pull, change.

I have been camping out in the story of creation, starting my trek in Genesis. I see myself in the flowers- in the way they need fresh cuts and new water every day to stay healthy, and occasionally they need a dying petal pulled.

Throughout creation, God separates + calls (names). This separation in the beginning was good; it was only when we messed up that separation became a bad thing. “God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night.” He’s in the business of restoring a dying world to Eden, and I see Him doing the same in my own life with His hands that separate. He takes me away from golden securities and afterwards? He speaks my name again, calling out to me, reminding me that He already claimed me years ago.

I see my refinement in the lives of the flowers. Gentle hands that cut and pull and change, only to give them the fullest life possible. So He does with me.

sixth of august, two thousand fifteen

In one year from now, I want to be able to read this and wholeheartedly believe it was all for “now.” (I’m tired of ‘somedays’.) I want to be reassured that failures are inevitable because there is always more to learn and there are even more spaces of sky to breathe in; failures happen because I’m human. I work hard and invest, but sometimes there is a lesson that will bring forth more water-to-wine change in my spirit than could ever be hoped for from getting what I want. I hope in one year from now, I will have finally learned to take people out of the equation because in the biggest photo of things, it’s me+God, and nothing else really matters. I hope by that time, I will have claimed my failures as my own, and named them, Steadfast, Brave, and Hope. And hopefully after one year from now, I’ll remember all of the failures that came with this season and laugh knowing that after each one, (eventually!!) came a success. But what made them so remarkable were the failures that came before them.