Do you ever struggle with the things that you simply can't understand? The things of the past that you just can't come to grips with? Or the parts of the future that you can't see yet?
If I'm being honest, lately I have been struggling to believe that God is writing a good story. I KNOW that he is, but sometimes it doesn't FEEL like it. I know that he knows what he's doing, but I don't understand it myself. And there's a part of me that wishes I did.
I like things to be CLEAR. I like it when I can SEE the lines on the page. I like NEAT penmanship.
But what if God doesn’t have neat penmanship? What if it’s hard to make out the story that he’s writing? What if I can’t read it, so I just have to trust his words when he says that the story he’s writing is good? What if he’s not hiding it from me and what if he’s not still writing it, but my little brain just can’t comprehend all the words on the page?
It’s like trying to read in a different language. I understand some of it, and I can get the gist sometimes…but other times I’m completely lost and I need a translator.
Jesus. Jesus came to be the translator. Jesus came to make it clear what is most important to know. So maybe he’s not an impersonal translator, but more of a personal teacher. He came to teach us the most important things, but he couldn’t stay here forever because we’re not supposed to learn it all. That’s impossible for us right now in our fallen, human state.
Jesus, the good teacher. Who brought us good news. To teach us a good story. One that we may not fully understand…but when we get to the end of the book, we’ll say, “Wow. That was a GOOD BOOK. God is a GOOD WRITER.”
And maybe he won’t translate it all into English by the end, but we’ll understand enough to be able to confidently say that the book was GOOD.
So in the meantime, I’ll keep reading this chapter. I’ll keep struggling through it. I’ll look forward to the challenge. I'm determined to not get discouraged when I don’t understand. I WILL TRUST that this story has a GOOD ENDING. And I might miss some of the details…but the important part is that I understand the main point of the story: that it’s not really about the story itself, but the author.
Our story is about the author. And THAT is what makes this story good.
As I reflect on this year, I am filled with gratitude. There were so many reasons for me to rejoice this year.
Making new friends. Deepening my relationships with old friends. A great first college track season. Getting more involved in the church that now feels like home. Encouraging kids towards Jesus through soccer. In person classes and real campus life this fall. Sweet time with family. And so many fun moments and memories in between.
And though my heart is full, I am also weary. The most accurate description of this fall semester is “emotionally exhausting.” I’ve really had to rely on God’s strength to get me through the difficult moments. This year more than ever, I’ve learned that I simply can’t do this life on my own. I need God. I need safe spaces to call home. I need people who encourage me and continue to love me, even when I have nothing left to give.
I’ve also had to learn that it’s okay to ask for help. It’s okay to not have it all together. It’s okay to not always be the strong one. It’s okay to bring my broken prayers to God, because he wants my whole heart—even the parts that hurt.
My word of the year for 2021 was REJOICE. It wasn’t a goal I attempted to achieve by the end of the year, but simply something to focus on. I wanted to focus on rejoicing in all circumstances. I’ve been reminded recently that this doesn’t mean plastering a fake smile on your face and pretending like everything’s fine. It means trusting that God has a plan and that he knows what he’s doing. It means trusting his promises, even when they don’t make sense. It means trusting that he will be with us and he will be faithful, even when this life feels far from good.
As this year comes to a close, maybe you feel weary, too. Maybe you’re exhausted. Maybe you’re scared of the unknown future. Maybe you don’t feel like rejoicing.
What would it look like if we chose to praise God in the midst of the uncertainty? What would it look like to trust that his plans are better than our own? What would it look like to rejoice anyway?
In this next year, I pray that we would create more safe spaces to process hard things together. I pray that we would bring our exhausted souls to the feet of the Father and receive real rest. I pray that we would wrap our arms around each other and kneel before our Father with humble, honest prayers. I pray that we would remember HIS promises and rely on HIS strength when things are difficult. And I pray that we would choose to rejoice. Together. Because it’s so much better when we choose to do life TOGETHER.
P.S. If you need a reason to smile today, here's a photo of my silly family :)
I just wanted to say
I know it’s been hard
But you’ll be okay
You’re doing your best
That’s all you can do
The fate of the world
Is not up to you
I can see the pain
Weighting you down
As you cry silently
Not making a sound
I see you there
You’re not alone
You don’t have to do this
On your own
It’s okay to admit
You don’t have it all together
And that you need help
Fighting against the weather
I see the storm inside
No, you’re not crazy
That’s how it feels sometimes
Sunflower in a field of daisies
What you feel, it’s okay
You don’t have to hide from me
I’ll sit here with you
And listen to the sea
As the waves crash
On shifting sand
In not knowing where to land
You’re not expected
To have it all figured out
So next time it’s confusing,
Don’t jump into doubt
Maybe it’s okay to pause
Maybe it’s okay to not know
Maybe it’s okay to wait
And take this slow
There’s no timer
On the days of your life
No deadline to figure out
Exactly how to thrive
Each day the sun rises
Is another reminder
To give yourself grace
And learn to be kinder
You’re not perfect
And that’s okay
I wouldn’t want it
Any other way
That’s what makes us human
The fact that we fall
This life is a journey
That’s the best part of all
You’re okay, friend
Things will get better
In the meantime,
Let’s do this together
I love foggy mornings and warm sweaters and raindrops on the window.
I love mountains and tall trees and greenery all around me.
I love walking alone and walking at night and walking with people and walking under the stars.
I love sunrises and sunsets and the feeling of warm light on my skin.
I love journaling and stargazing and thinking deeply.
I love intentional questions and good conversations and sharing empathy with others.
I love supporting and encouraging and simply being a friend.
I love listening and I love it when others are willing to listen.
I love people and people watching and watching people people watch.
I love little kids and old couples and all the time in between.
I love tender moments and gentle touches and simply being held.
I love love and I love hugs and I love helping hearts heal.
I love the cool breeze that reminds me that God’s presence is real.
I love light breaking through the clouds or shining through the trees.
I love misty runs and dramatic skies.
I love being allowed to cry and not needing to explain why.
I love grace and gratitude.
I love joy and peace and hope.
I love pausing to breathe and soak in the little moments that are few and fleeting in this busy world.
Life is sweet and simple and I prefer to celebrate it that way.
I haven’t shared much of my writing recently. If I’m being honest, I’m still working through some things. It’s hard to share what’s on my heart when I’m still not quite sure what it means. But we all have seasons like that. Seasons of waiting, seasons of growing, seasons of pruning, etc.
Ecclesiastes 3 says that there is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens. The author lists all the different seasons we go through. If you’re anything like me, sometimes it can be difficult to understand what you’re feeling at any given point in time. If you look through the list in Ecclesiastes 3, it might help you to make sense of the season you’re in right now.
I don’t have it all figured out. If there’s one sentence I’ve said more than anything else this semester, it’s that I don’t have everything figured out. My close friends can all attest to that! :) I have to keep reminding myself that I’m not supposed to have it all figured out. But I know the God who’s already figured everything out. He knows his plans and he knows my future. He knows my thoughts and he knows my heart even better than I do. He knows what he’s up to. I can rest in the arms of my Heavenly Father, knowing that he knows. He knows it all.
So here’s to learning to be comfortable
Even amidst the uncertainty
I am learning that I can grow
Even when I don’t know what I’m growing towards
There is a time for everything
And a moment for every emotion
A time to grow and a time to prune
A time to work and a time to rest
A time to run and a time to slow down
A time to fight and a time to surrender
A time to wait and a time to dance
A time to laugh and a time to cry
A time to understand and a time to be uncertain
Here’s to the moments
Where we don’t know what we feel
Here’s to the times
When we don’t feel certain about anything
Here’s to the seasons
Where our thoughts are as cloudy as the skies
Because there is always time for grace
There is always time for love
There is always time for joy
There is always time for peace
There is always time for hope
There is always time for growth
There is always time to be grateful
So here’s to the seasons of uncertainty. Here’s to learning how to be comfortable being uncomfortable. Here’s to the unknown.
And here’s to being grateful for the little moments in between that bring us joy. Here’s to sweet friends and sunny days and polaroids and barefoot soccer games. Here’s to the little blessings that make life so much sweeter :)
I’ve been thinking a lot about gratefulness recently. But not as something that I need to work on (because I’ve been there done that, right? HAHA). Instead, I’ve been judging others for their lack of gratefulness. Oh, THEY need to be more grateful. THEY have so much to be grateful for. THEY are taking so much for granted. THEY need to remember that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.
God convicted me today about my own ungratefulness. He gently exposed those moments in my life where I say things like “I just wish…” or “If only…” or “I can’t wait until…” or “Can we just skip to the part when…” You get the point.
As I was finally seeing how ungrateful I've been, God whispered this to me: "The grass isn’t always greener on the other side. But the grass is always greener where you’re grateful."
What if we took the time to thank God for every blade of grass? What if we even thanked him for the grass we can’t see but trust is still growing?
If we were grateful for every blade of grass, we would have to slow WAY down. We would have to open our eyes to see the finer details. We would have to stop rushing around and pause to take in the moment.
I don’t know about you, but I could use a whole lot more of that. More peace. More rest. More pausing. More listening. More gratefulness.
Though we might not be able to literally thank God for every single blade of grass, we can start by thanking him for the grass beneath our feet. We can start by being grateful wherever we are.
Let’s do this together. Let’s be grateful for the ground we’re standing on. Let’s be grateful for the road ahead, overgrown and obscure as it may be. Let’s be grateful for the growth in life, even when it’s slow.
And let’s see just how much gratitude can change the way we see the world. Let’s see just how much a heart can change with a simple “thank you.” Let’s see just how much greener the world can be when we appreciate every blade of grass.
Because the grass is always greener where we’re grateful.
I am so proud of who you are becoming. You’ve been through so much in the past year, but you’ve come out so much stronger than before. I don’t know if you see it yet, but I see God doing beautiful things in your life…and that brings me SO MUCH JOY.
I’m so proud of you for not letting someone else’s words decide your worth. I’m so proud of you for deciding that God, and God alone, is the one who can rule your world.
And I’m so sorry about the ones who didn’t respect you the way you deserve. I’m so sorry they didn’t listen to the cries of your heart. I’m so sorry they were too selfish to see the beauty in your life. I’m so sorry that they tried to stunt your growth as you were blooming. I may never understand exactly what that felt like, but I am so inspired by your determination to learn, to grow, and to emerge stronger than ever.
You are beautiful. You are good. You are worthy. You are wanted. You are free. You are loved.
And I am so proud of you :)
Lord, your love is an endless mountain. I climb higher and higher but I’ll never reach the top. Yet I won’t be frustrated because your love is not an achievement. It’s not an end goal. It’s all about the journey. I will wait on you and I will keep climbing higher and higher, finding light around the bend and joy at every corner.
As I climb up the mountain, there is so much joy and love and peace. Yet this peace is not because of the place I’m in, but rather the presence I’m in. And I carry that presence with me everywhere I go. Your presence follows me down the mountain and along winding roads. Your presence follows me on city streets and under bright lights. Your presence is always in me, therefore I always have that mountaintop kind of peace inside of me. I need only to pause and rest in your presence to receive it.
I will wait on you. I will keep seeking you and your love for as long as I live. I will wait on you. And as I wait, I will praise you. I will praise you for every moment in this blessed life that you’ve given me. I will praise you for your goodness. I will praise you for the challenges. I will praise you for your love and when I fall down, I will praise you for picking me back up again.
Jesus, THANK YOU. Thank you for the waiting. Thank you for your presence. Thank you for this endless mountain of your love. May I never grow tired of climbing it.
There will be days when you’ll feel uninspired and unmotivated. Like your brain is running at a thousand miles an hour but it’s not going anywhere. Like all your thoughts are a jumbled mess and you can’t seem to make sense of any of it. Like the emotions are piled up inside but you can’t find the words to describe any of it. Like you know exactly what you need to do but you have absolutely no idea how to do it.
There will be days when it feels like you’re walking in a dark forest, all alone. There will be days when you feel like giving up. There will be days when you would do anything just to escape. There will be days when you’re scared out of your mind for no reason at all. There will be days when you cry and cry and you can’t stop, and days that you need to cry but just can’t. There will be days when this world seems like the cruelest place and you can’t seem to find a single spark of good anywhere.
It’s what you do on those days that matters most.
Weep, mourn, grieve, destroy some paper, feel it all, do whatever you need to. Then walk it off, go on a run, lift some weights, and clear your head. Stop pushing it down and let that anger and frustration and confusion boil up inside of you. Then pour your heart out and release it all. Release the pressure. Release your need for perfection. Release control and simply BREATHE. Breathe in truth and breathe out light. Feel the peace that comes with surrender. Let your heart heal as you move on.
And whatever you do, don’t give up. Keep going. Keep fighting. Come back stronger than before. Be fortified with the strength that comes from overcoming a challenge. Run forward with a renewed sense of passion and fervor for life. Learn to live and live to learn and love to learn and learn to love again. Again and again and again.
And trust me, it will get better. Those dark days you face will soon be met by the rising sun. Hope will return. Joy will be renewed. Love will come back for you. You’re gonna be okay.
You’re not alone. I’ve been there too. Things will get better and you will be okay. Trust me. In the meantime, I’m cheering you on. You got this. You TOTALLY got this.
Pour out your heart. Let the light in. Let him meet you where you are.
And let his love transform the way you live. Share it with others. Give others the same grace you have received. Allow others the same freedom to breathe. Love well and love deeply and love without looking back.
Cherish these moments. Pause to appreciate the little things. A bird on a tree. The gentle breeze. The afternoon sun. A cool morning run. The tiny grains of sand and the wrinkles in your hand. The chorus of the universe singing praises to the one who made it all.
Let your gratitude change your mindset. Let challenges become opportunities. Let the awkward moments be what they are. Trust that this is all part of his plan.
He has a purpose. His will is good. And he’s holding you in his hand. He loves you and he wants the best for you.
So pour out your heart. Allow yourself to be filled up by his love and to overflow with grace and compassion. Speak gentle truths and bright encouragement. Let joy and peace be the song that you sing.
And do this all for the glory of our king. To him who first poured his heart out for you. He loves you more than you will ever understand.