Tonight is the first time I’ve had to just sit and reflect in a while. Not for the first time, I am finding myself caught up in awe over the journey God has me on.
If you had asked me when I was 10, 16, or even 18 years old, where I thought I would be when I was 21, the answer would gone something along the lines of “finishing up college, getting married right after graduation and working in the field I had majored in”.
Instead. I’m 21.5, have a bachelor’s degree, no boyfriend, live in Indiana (where I told myself I would NEVER end up), working as a secretary in a school with absolutely no relation to my major, and I’m considering spending the next year of my life traveling the world as a missionary. Also, my life goals include running a marathon (hopefully more than one), hiking the appalachian trail, backpacking through Europe and eventually adopting kids.
… My 10 year old self wouldn’t recognize me. Nor would my 16 year old self or my 18 year old self.
This is the girl who was scared of spiders up until two years ago. And hated running. And now I laugh as I kill spiders and run for fun. Who am I?
It’s crazy to see how true some of the lamest “christian cliches” are. “There’s beauty in the brokenness” is so true and I am a living testimony of that.
The last three years have been the hardest years of my life. And yet, they have completely shaped who I am right now. Jesus is taking my anxiety-ridden, comfort-seeking, obsessive-compulsive-perfectionist heart and completely re-molded it into how he intended it to be from the beginning. He has redeemed my life through the brokenness of the last three years.
Three years, two months and five days ago, Jesus started ruining my life. A rollover car crash should have taken my life. Instead I was broken, bleeding and surrounded by broken glass. Before then, I never knew that 30 seconds could change your life. But that 30 seconds spent completely out of control, rolling and skidding and screaming, listening to glass shatter and metal crush – that 30 seconds changed my life.
From that moment on, I bore scars reminding me of life’s brevity. Of it’s uncertainty. Of my own mortality. And that scared me more than I ever cared to admit.
However, this realization of how short life is has affected how I live every day. I don’t ever want to miss opportunities to share love. Or laughter. I don’t ever want to get to the end of my life without ever having gone out of my comfort zone and without ever following the Lord’s voice. This realization is the reason that I choose to live my life the way I do – spontaneously, lovingly and recklessly for the Lord.
Fast forward two months and two days. September 17, 2010. That was the day that I learned how 2 words could also completely turn your world upside down. “Mallori died”. A freak accident. A terrible, awful accident that left a friend dead and another a quadriplegic. I wasn’t just broken – I was shattered. I felt like someone had taken a bomb and detonated it over my life. I was worn out just thinking about trying to pick up the pieces.
And yet. God had a greater plan than just surviving life for me. He slowly began to stitch my broken life back together. The day I was able to speak about life without crying was a day for celebration. Then I slowly began to actually look forward to the future. And what God had planned for my life. I began to seriously question the purpose of life because of Mallori’s short life. It was yet another reminder to never live life in my comfort zone, to leave a legacy of hope and of purpose. To show Jesus to the world.
Two years later, I was dating the guy I thought I was going to marry. I had been fighting God and choosing to ignore what I knew he was saying about our relationship. So God decided to take the choice away from me and I was blindsided by the break-up because it didn’t come from my end. I was brokenhearted and broken in spirit. It took months before the pain finally eased up.
Funny thing is, the very next week after the breakup, I signed up to go to Guatemala for two months. And it was there I learned all about what trusting the Lord actually meant in real life. I learned to listen to His voice and to just rest in His presence. I learned to truly seek Him out. I learned what it meant to love Him and His people. I learned what real love looks like.
Now I’m looking at all of these possibilities for my life that would have never been possible if I was about to get married to the guy I thought I was going to, or if I was in the job that I thought I would be in. No. I’m not living a normal life. No, I’m not successful by American standards.
Jesus has changed my heart and my mind and I am no longer okay with simply being normal or successful by the world’s standards. The only words of affirmation I live for are the ones that will come when I meet Him for the first time – “Well done, my good and faithful servant”
Before we went to college, my church ran a program called “Senior’s Only”. Before we could go on the retreat at the end, we had to memorize Psalm 103. I didn’t really understand the verse then. Only on an intellectual level. Now I understand it on a heart level because I’ve lived it. I love this passage.
“Let all that I am praise the LORD;
with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name.
Let all that I am praise the LORD;
may I never forget the good things he does for me.
He forgives all my sins
and heals my diseases.
He redeems me from death
and crowns me with love and tender mercies.
He fills my life with good things.
My youth is renewed like the eagle’s!
The LORD gives righteousness
and justice to all those who are treated unfairly.
He revealed his character to Moses
and his deeds to the people of Israel.
The LORD is compassionate and merciful,
slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love.
He will not constantly accuse us,
nor remain angry forever.
He does not punish us for all our sins;
he does not deal harshly with us, as we deserve.
For his unfailing love toward those who fear him
is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth.
He has removed our sins as far from us
as the east is from the west.
The LORD is like a father to his children,
tender and compassionate to those who fear him.
For he knows how weak we are;
he remembers we are only dust.
Our days on earth are like grass;
like wildflowers, we bloom and die.
The wind blows, and we are gone-
as though we had never been here.
But the love of the LORD remains forever
with those who fear him.
His salvation extends to the children’s children
of those who are faithful to his covenant,
of those who obey his commandments!
The LORD has made the heavens his throne;
from there he rules over everything.
Praise the LORD, you angels,
you mighty ones who carry out his plans,
listening for each of his commands
Yes, praise the LORD, you armies of angels
who serve him and do his will!
Praise the LORD, everything he has created,
everything in all his kingdom.
Let all that I am praise the LORD.“