All that YOU have done.

“When I look around…I am overwhelmed…by all that You have done.”

It’s funny how God likes to surprise remind you of how good he is. For example, at a cold, outdoor concert that you really had no plans of going to. As the performer sings out a simple verse of worship, “When I look around…I am overwhelmed…by all that You have done. When I look around…I am overwhelmed…by all that You have done.”

When I look around

Lee’s soccer field. Bright lights and a large temporary concert stage. Some apartment buildings. A sunset. Sweet friends. Strangers. Parents. High school students. College students. Hands lifted up. Eyes closed. Jesus.

I am overwhelmed…

How much this place means to me. How much these people mean to me. God’s presence and good work on this campus.

By all that You have done…

I am here. Why am I here? I didn’t want to come to this concert…four years ago I didn’t even want to come to this school. But I am here with hundreds and hundreds of friends and strangers praising the Lord at the place that I call home.

I stand here with a strong faith…full of questions and wonderings, but still trusting that God is good, that He is there, and that He knows me. I stand with my hands raised in an outward display of praise. I stand here recognizing the power and joy of communal worship. I am here, but without God I wouldn’t be.

By all that You have done…

I think back to the earlier stages of my Christian journey, to the times when I thought everything was meant to be private–doubts were meant to be battled alone, lifting up hands was embarrassing and awkward, talking about God was reserved for formal church gatherings, and praying out loud happened in church and before holiday meals.

I was raised in a Christian family, but a very private Christian family. We didn’t talk about God, not really. I learned that this thing called a “Christian walk” was meant to be your own journey, not something to be shared with others. Spirituality was for the individual. Reading the Bible was rare and in private. Prayer was in the space of your own bedroom. Sharing this with others was awkward.

[Let me take the time to insert here that my parents are wonderful people and they raised me so well. Looking back, I believe that their own experiences with church and spirituality led to this environment in our house. I believe they did the best they could with guiding me and my brother in our faith, and for that I am deeply thankful. But that is a different conversation, and maybe I’ll dive into it one day.]

By all that You have done…

Yet I am here, truly thankful for faith in community.

I look around me at all the people. For the first time, I truly ask the question, “Why am I here?”

The answer is Jesus, and before this time that never seemed a satisfactory answer. If I am being honest, I always thought that answering a question with “Jesus” was the Christian fake and easy answer for “I’m not really sure” or “I don’t want to tell the whole story.” But as I sang out again and again “by all that You have done”, I was positive that this time the answer was actually Jesus.

By all that You have done…

When I was younger, there wasn’t anyone in my house encouraging me to pray. There was no one telling me to read the Bible every day. There was no one telling me about how good God is.

But I did pray in the privacy of my own room. I did read my Bible. I did ask God questions. I did try to know Him. WHY? Why would a child do that on their own?

Jesus.

When I look around…I am overwhelmed…by all that You have done…

Truly overwhelmed. I see so clearly the image of God pulling little me closer. Putting in me a curiosity to read the Bible, to pray, to know Him more. Putting people in my life to guide me further.

I should not be on a soccer field, worshiping, at a school that puts such an emphasis on spirituality.

I should not have faith.

I should not be willing to share that faith with others.

On this soccer field, I am so overwhelmed and humbled and glad of your goodness. And I feel it so deeply. I am amazed and overwhelmed and thankful, that such a big God could captivate such a little child and bring her to such an amazing place. As I look around at this place and these people, I am reminded once again that You are good. And I know that I am here just because of all that You have done. 

[See picture of baby, freshman me above. It seemed appropriate.]

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The curve in the road.

I’ve been journeying down this road for a while now. For the longest time, I thought I knew exactly where it was taking me, but now I’m not so sure. There is a curve ahead, and I can’t see beyond it just yet. It gets closer every day I go forward, but I still don’t know what’s on the other side. I feel that it is good, but I do not know. Still, I keep going. 


I write this as I sit on my couch thinking about a big curve that’s coming up in my life–a curve called graduation. I don’t know what’s behind it, but I do feel that it is good. Most of the time…if I’m being honest, sometimes I’m just plain scared. The unknown curves can do that to you. Still, I can sit here most days and say that I believe there is good coming, and I say that because, even though the curve is unknown, I know the road and I know that the road is good.

Last semester I took a senior course for my major called Capstone, and in this class we talked a lot about calling. And even as I participated in many enjoyable and thought-provoking discussions about the topic, I struggled to identify God’s specific calling in my life. I was stuck waiting for some AHA! moment, an arrow in the sky, or some wise words that said “Yes. This is what you need to do. This is your calling.” And even though I knew my passions, any attempts at labeling a specific career path as “my calling” seemed more like my own created label rather than God’s hand in my life. It seemed limiting…probably because it was.

I’m walking on a road that has twists and turns and, more often than not, I don’t know exactly where I am going. Still I keep walking the road, because that is my calling. I know my calling is to love people. It’s simple, it’s broad, and I believe without a shadow of a doubt that it is a calling from God. I do not know what this calling will look like (even though I definitely have desires); I cannot see beyond the curves. Still I keep walking–in the face of scary interviews, possible rejection, and changes galore–because I know the road of loving people is good, and for this I feel that there is good ahead.

 

Bigger than us.

I am student teaching this semester for about 100 crazy, wonderful high school Spanish students. I hope I’m teaching them something, but I know that they are teaching me each and every day. One huge example: I cannot control everything.

This Friday was the beginning of our spring break, but as I was driving towards Franklin for a relaxing few days at home, I found myself frantically trying to respond to a situation that had popped up in one of my classes that morning. I was sick. Why didn’t I do more? Why didn’t I do something quicker? What is wrong with me?

As I set in my car with the weight of the world crashing down on my very incapable shoulders, I got a text from my cooperating teacher that said, “We both know this is something way bigger than us.”

…….Boom. Yet again, I was wanting to save the world. Yet again, I was devastated to find myself in a situation that I could not save. It was bigger than me…but it wasn’t bigger than God.

It’s surprising how quick I can assign myself the role of “savior.” Maybe it seems noble or something, but at the end of the day it’s me saying that I can do it on my own. It’s saying that my 22 year old self can do more good than the Almighty God. News flash people, it doesn’t work that way. Why? Because people don’t save people. Jesus saves people. 

When we take it as our responsibility to fix every problem, we are doing two things. (1) We are taking on burdens that are way to big for us. We will not be able to handle them. (2) We are keeping Jesus from making lasting change in his people. When we are the savior, the victim sees us. When we are the tool and Jesus is the savior, then they see Jesus. Lasting change. True salvation. It really is the better outcome.

So friends. Dare to walk alongside someone in the hard times and choose to help them carry the burden.  But don’t forget to pray. Don’t forget to trust a God with so much more love and power than we can ever imagine. Let him be the savior, because some things are too big for us to save.

 

 

The details.

I’m discovering the details of a bold life each day.

So I know that I want to live a bold life, but I’m learning that this kind of living looks a little different each day. I know that if I want to truly live a bold life, I need to live boldly in the details. I need to talk to the struggling student, have a conversation with the rejected, give when others say not to, ask the questions, give a smile. These little details–that’s where the real change occurs.

Every day is a different story with different details. If you want to read more about these details, follow the links under the “categories” heading.