A Letter to My Beloved

You, you who are reading this, you are “My Beloved.” This is a message from the one who calls you beloved, worthy, chosen, holy, and redeemed.

My Beloved, you may not know me, but I know every intricate detail about you. I know your thoughts, your desires, your fears, your plans, your struggles, your pride, your everything. You are My Beloved, and I am your Abba. This means I am your Father. And unlike your father here on earth, I am a perfect Father. I am the perfect Father, and you are My Beloved.

My Beloved, I want you to know how much I love you. Before you walked this earth, I sacrificed my only, precious, oh so beloved son in exchange for your life. He was perfect. Absolutely perfect. He walked this earth and spread the good news of my love and my promise to give you new life. I allowed Him to die in order to enable you to live. It was an awful, painful, humiliating death. He was beaten and whipped, hung naked on a cross, mocked by everyone who gathered. His body was broken for yours. He endured this pain so you wouldn’t have to. This is how much I love you. I have given my only son in exchange for your life. I promise to give nations in exchange for you. Oh, My Beloved, I hope you can begin to understand how much I treasure you.

My Beloved, I now give you opportunity for new life. This new life is sweet. It is good. It is the best life possible. I don’t mean it will be easy all the time. But, I promise you I will be with you when it isn’t easy.

Oh, My Beloved, if only you could realize I am here. I am here, and I am here to cover you. I cover your weakness with my strength. I cover your loneliness with my presence. I cover your fear with my power. I cover your shortcomings with my perfect nature. I cover you with everlasting love; I sing over you while you sleep. I delight in you.

My Beloved, why can’t you see me?

Here I am. I am in the clouds, I am in the breeze. I am in the sparkling snow, the panting dog, the breathtaking sunset. Here I am, in the chaos of life. I am in the little things. I refresh you with storms and water overflowing. I show myself through the bright colors on fall days.

My Beloved, I created you. I created you fearfully and wonderfully; I created you in my image. I created your gifts, your personality, your passions. I knit you together in your mother’s womb. You are enough simply because you are mine.

My Beloved, I am the source of life. I give you breath; I sustain you. I uphold you. As you pass through deep waters, I will not let you sink. I will be with you. You will not be overwhelmed. When you pass through the fire, you will not be consumed. I will protect you.

My Beloved, you are mine. I long for you. I made you beautifully, and I want nothing more to be invited into your life. My arms are open. I am patient, and I long for you to run to me.

My Beloved, I want you to seek me on your worst days. I want you to feel my perfect presence when you feel alone and afraid. I want to comfort you as you cry. I want to bless you with simple joys. I want you to trust me. I want to be your number one. I want you to believe I am greater.

My Beloved, I am greater. You prioritize so many things; you constantly juggle more than you can hold. You listen to everyone else around you as they realize they are drowning in this world. You overload yourself with classes at school. You focus on the appearance you create online. You seek after romantic love, unsatisfied with your relationship status. Oh, you seek after all the wrong things. You seek material objects, control, stability, perfection. You strive to fit the expectations society give you. Oh, My Beloved, why do you waste your time?

Oh, My Beloved, can’t you see? Here I am! I am greater than everything you seek. I am in control. I have a great plan for you. I give you love overflowing. Seek me with your whole heart, and I have promised to give you what you desire. My Beloved, I want you to desire me first. I want you to desire me first and trust that I am enough to satisfy all your other desires.

My precious and worthy child, I expectedly await for you to seek me. My Beloved, come to me as you are. Come broken, weary, and hurt. Come from wherever you have been. Come to me with everything you carry. Come to me. Then,

Lay down your burdens.

Lay down your fears.

Lay down your doubts.

Lay down your shame.

Lay down your pride.

Lay down your need for control.

Lay down your expectations.

Lay down your tears.

Lay down your past.

Lay down your regrets, your mistakes.

Lay down your worldly desires.

Then lay down, and rest. Rest in my perfect presence. In my presence, you will find peace. You will find joy and delight. You will find me. I am a God of love, and My Beloved, I adore you. I cover you with mercy and grace. I will give you hope. I will give you a future. I want to redeem you and make you new. I want to give you new life.

My Beloved, lift up your face. Taste and see that I am good.

I am good when you are faced with tough decisions. I am good when you are in the middle of heartbreak. I am good when you feel alone. I am good when you are barely hanging on. I am good when life is going well. I am good when you are overwhelmed. I am good when you are anxious and depressed. I am good when you want to give up. Through it all, I am still good.

Like a shepherd watches over his sheep, My Beloved, I will watch over you. I will take care of you. I will lead you back to me. I will restore you.

My Beloved, I love you. And I will always long for you. I long to be your Abba, your perfect Daddy. Oh, how I love you. Run to me child, run hard.

Love, 

your perfect Abba Father, your Daddy God.

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A Letter to My Beloved

College Mems S1 E6: Things I’m Learning

It’s just about that time of year. College choices. A variety of emotions accompany the word “college.” For some, it’s fear and doubt, others joy and high expectations. Wherever you fall on the spectrum, it’s okay. It’s okay to be unsure, and it’s also okay to have a plan set in stone. I’m about halfway through my second semester of college, and I still don’t have it all together. I’ve wanted to compile a list of things I’ve learned at college for a while, but the problem is I’m still learning. So here’s a list of things I’m learning.

  1. Resting. Rest sometimes seems impossible. There’s always more to study and more social events to attend. I’m learning the joy of power naps, and I’m also finding more and more value in sleeping more than seven hours a night. It’s perfectly acceptable to stay in the library until 2:00 AM a night or two every week. You will have late nights, and you will anxiously await the day you can sleep. You may find yourself awake for twenty hours of the day, and some days you may have classes for six to seven hours. Even so, you will soon realize you are not invincible. Rest is vital, and it’s not exactly optional. Choose your all nighters wisely.
  2. Failure. You’re going to fail. You may fail an exam or you may fail to meet the goals you’ve set. People will also fail you. Doubt often accompanies failure. Maybe you’ll doubt yourself, your major, your friends. It’s okay to doubt. It’s not okay to make impulsive decisions based on your doubt. Don’t change your major because of one failed quiz. It takes work, but you can recover. Don’t doubt someone’s appreciation for you because of something they say or do. It’s really easy to overanalyze and jump to conclusions. Everyone carries their own baggage, and sometimes their stress will be put on you. Finally, don’t doubt your ability. You are capable of overcoming even when it seems impossible. Drink some coffee, smile, and rise. (also you’ll probably end up drinking coffee if you didn’t before college. i didn’t think it could happen. it did.)
  3. Eating. There are so many different approaches to this topic. Some people have problems with remembering to eat, others have issues with making time to eat. Others eat enough, sometimes too much. Even others compare themselves to their peers and decide to stop eating. Eating healthy in college is hard. Keep produce in the fridge and bring sandwich bags and pack small snacks for busy days. If you find yourself struggling with an eating disorder, tell someone. Tell anyone. It could be a friend from home, a roommate, and often, the counselor’s office is pretty confidential when approaching these situations.
  4. Stress. You will be stressed! Duh. Your hair will fall out. Your body will be exhausted. Your mind will be torn in many directions. It’s important to remember to breathe. Focus on what you can do. Focus on the task at hand, not the task ahead. Pray. Get a hug. Take a walk. Take a shower and cry in the shower. Organize something. However, avoiding your task list because you’re overwhelmed isn’t going to do much for you. Write down everything you need to do and go down the list. Anyway, you’re going to get pretty good at managing stress. Good luck.
  5. Patience. I live with eight other girls in a suite originally designed for six people. The nine of us share two toilets, one shower, three sinks, one fridge, a microwave, and a toaster. We don’t have a common living area. Something I’ve learned is the importance of loving patiently. You may be the one to clean up after everyone. You may be the one to massage everyone’s feet and get rid of their headaches. You may be the last one to shower. Your food may not fit in the fridge. Your roommate may turn on the lights when you’re trying to nap. The room next door may keep you up an extra hour when they blast music at 1:00 AM. You may need to take care of the hairball resting on the floor of the shower. You may be the one to vacuum your room every. single. week. You may buy all the soap and cleaning supplies. You may need to listen to people. Patience. People deserve to be loved, and living with strangers is going to be challenging at first. If you need a rant, call someone back home. Love patiently.
  6. Community. I am so blessed to go to a school which values faith and openly advertises bible studies, chapels, and worship nights. Go. Get involved. Find a small group to meet with every week. Get to know the people on your floor. Don’t sit next to your roommate if you have classes together. Meet new people. Be bold. If you don’t, someday you’re going to come to the realization that everyone around you has already made their circles. It’s going to hit you hard. Everyone stresses getting involved. It’s so cliché. But it’s true. Start from the beginning, because it’s a whole lot harder to work up the courage halfway through second semester. Embrace community, and learn to be authentic and vulnerable with people. They may just become your lifelong friends.
  7. Love. Some people go to college and find the person they want to spend the rest of their life with. Some don’t. Some do during their senior year. Find peace with where you fall. If you do fall in love, yay. If you don’t, yay.
  8. Home. Your home will soon become your dorm room. Your dorm room will become your safe house, but you other days you will avoid it at all costs. Your family will miss you. Some friendships from home will last, others won’t. It happens. And it’s sad. But, you can be incredibly intentional about maintaining them. I love to ask how I can pray for my friends back home. It allows me to be in communication with them and remind them I care. When you come home for breaks, spend many moments with people you love. Also, when you come home for breaks, you’re going to want to go back to school immediately. When you come back to school after break, you’re going to want to go home. Some days, you won’t want to be in either place. That’s normal.
  9. Class. Go. To. Class. It’s important. You’re paying big money for this. Give your professor a reason to like you. Get those participation points. Appreciate the opportunity you have to learn. 8:00 AM’s aren’t cool. Neither are three hour long night classes. Either way, you need to go. Learning is neat, and often, your professors are actually really interesting people. Maybe the topic isn’t, but some profs will tell you about their personal life. Go to their office hours if you have questions. Try to get to know them as a person. My anatomy and phys prof used to be a Latvian Rhythmic Gymnast. Who knew.
  10. Faith. Your faith becomes up to you in college. It is up to you to make time for Jesus. It is up to you to find a church. It is up to you to watch sermons. It is up to you to find time to pray. It is up to you to find a community who will help you foster your faith. Take initiative. Run towards God. Go on prayer walks. Ask how you can pray for your roommates and friends. Find a few people you can have really deep theological conversations about. Keep a prayer journal. Jesus is the best thing you can run to in college. It’s also never to late for redemption. You will go through dry seasons, but run back to Him. He wants you and awaits you with open arms. Make goals of areas you want to grow in your faith. Set high expectations.
  11. Time. Time goes by so fast. I remember the day I moved in. I remember my first audition, my first class, my first chapel. Cherish these moments. Write down something happy each day. These years are going to fly by. Be present, and enjoy your crazy stay.

To all my anxious seniors, breathe. Whatever you end up choosing is going to enable you to learn. You will discover new things about yourself, and you will experience new things each day. Pray, but also know God will use you wherever you go. You’re allowed to be bold and ask for confirmation. Even after you get to school, it’s important to ask for God’s reaffirmation. Sometimes, His plans change. If there’s something on your heart, run towards it. It’s going to work out. So breathe, resist senioritis, enjoy your last days of gym class and bell schedules, take those AP tests, go to senior prom, and trust that it’s going to be okay.

xo.

 

 

College Mems S1 E6: Things I’m Learning

College Mems S.1 E.5: Control

I like order. I like having organized drawers and folded laundry. I like when all my socks have a pair. I like when all my pencils are facing the same way. I like when all my shirts are hanging the same way. I like when all my dishes are clean at the same time. I like when my binders don’t have mess of papers stashed in the front pocket. I like when my trash can is empty. I like when the color of my notebook matches the color of my binder.

These preferences don’t result from OCD. I don’t think I have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. I think it’s a little more like Obsessive Control Disorder. I don’t necessarily feel overwhelmed because messes are present. Rather, I like to rid of disorder because I am overwhelmed in other areas of life. Cleaning and organizing are things I can control. I can control when I do my laundry, vacuum my room, sanitize my desk, make my bed, organize my drawers, etc. I like order, but I like order because I can control it. I like being in charge and feeling responsible. I like feeling accomplished and seeing the work of my hands. I like walking into an organized environment which I have created.

We all like control. When life gets out of control, we tend to wear a mask until it gets torn off our faces, revealing fear, sorrow, pain, anger, addictions, and insecurities beneath. I’m extremely guilty of this. I’m guilty of wearing a mask which tells the world “I’ve got it all together, look at me!” I’m guilty of typing “I’m okay,” feeling torn between wanting the recipient to believe me, but also wanting to be seen. I think some of it comes from not wanting to be a burden to others. Most of it, though, comes from a desire to be seen as strong, capable, and enough.

So right now, I’m going to be honest and tell you I’m just getting by. I’m physically exhausted. I’m emotionally drained. I’m spiritually fatigued. I’m mentally overwhelmed. Tuesday was one of the longest days I’ve had in a long time. I had two exams, two quizzes, and two papers due, a flute lesson, rehearsal, and a large load of work due for Wednesday. I also spent thirty minutes crying on the phone with a friend because of some news I received. I didn’t find time to pray or spend time reading my bible yesterday, and I haven’t in quite a while. I’m overwhelmed. Right now, my desk is sanitized, my laundry is all hanging the same way, the rest of my laundry is all folded (missing two socks), my dishes are done, my trash can is near empty, my floor is vacuumed, and every single drawer is organized. Even my mail drawer. After cleaning and organizing everything, I am yet again reminded I still have no control over life. Cleaning didn’t fix any of my circumstances. It just made everything appear in order.

Isn’t it crazy how fast God can intervene and remind us of our impotence? My friends, we are not in control this life. We do not tell the sun to rise or command the sea to be calm. And sometimes, it’s really hard to accept. It’s hard to accept we are weak, incapable, and living in chaos. In times of confusion, heavy burdens, and long days, it is crucial for us to give our concerns to the one who is in control. It helps to know that God is good (ps. 136:1). He is always good. It also helps to know He promises us His plans are the best plans. He intends to give us a hope and a future (jer. 29:11). Lastly, it helps to know you don’t have to walk alone. You are a child of a God who loves you and promises to go with you through deep waters (isa. 43:2). It’s easier said than done, but we don’t need to be overwhelmed, to fight for control, or to do it all by ourselves. Let go. His arms are open, and He is more than capable of carrying it all. Unlike humans and coping tactics, He doesn’t disappoint. He also loves you. A lot.

In all my years, I’ve never participated in Lent. Last year, I did a devotional each day during the forty days, but I didn’t give up anything aside from time. This year, I’m giving up instagram and snacking, and I’d love for you to keep me accountable for it. I also want to remind you that Lent isn’t a second opportunity for New Year’s Resolutions. It’s a time to create space for God to show up. By giving up things which are of great importance to us, we create room for Him and remind ourselves that He is more deserving than anything else. This year, I’m giving up and expecting to encounter God in new ways. I’m giving Him control over my circumstances and desires. I’m ready to let go.

xo.

College Mems S.1 E.5: Control