I’ve been taking a walk every single morning for the past three days. A walk with Jesus. Each day, I’ve written about each one, intending a separate post for each, but only now did I decide to compile them. I’m hesitant to do this, because there isn’t an overwhelming point. You’ll see. I was also really hesitant because I didn’t want any of the days to not be emphasized when they were all bunched together. They are all really unique, and I’d love for you to read them all. However, Saturday and Sunday were probably my favorites, so if you’re in a time crunch or just want to not read all 2,000 words, just scroll down a bit. Much love.
Do you ever go to meet with God, expecting Him to do something profound, and instead, He does something really simple? Or maybe He points out something you didn’t want to hear? Leads you somewhere you didn’t want to go? Creates an opportunity you don’t want to enter into? How many times do we expect God to do something amazing without wanting to give up our time, values, ideas? And stepping back, God’s idea seems really cool, pure, good, instructive. Because it’s who He is. But yet, your distractions and focuses heavily intervene.
I left with the intention of looking at the lake, taking a few artsy photos, talking to God as I walked, and returning in time for my 10:05 class. I did all of those things. The lake was gorgeous as always, but today, it was unable to be differentiated from the sky as many clouds covered the expanse over the water. Both the clouds and the water were together, and the outlines of the clouds glowed against the green land. It was also drizzling just in the slightest, and the air had a humid, fresh smell. Yellow and purple flowers presented themselves against the green and yellowing grasses and plants. Scenic. As I walked down a steep path to the lake front, birds and monarch butterflies covered the sides of the path. These birds didn’t move or fly away as I approached them, but instead, they aggressively plucked worms from the ground and walked through puddles.
As I finished going down the hill and transitioned to a path leading to a beach area, flies took the birds’ place. These flies surrounded me, landed on my jacket, my shoes, my hair, my hands. I want to pause to absolutely promise you I had taken a shower the night before and my clothes were freshly washed and dried just a few days prior. They were quite annoying, capturing my attention and essentially ruining the view. I became so caught up in swatting them or flipping them out of my hair. I was walking on this path right next to the rocks, venturing towards the beach area. Just prior to the beach area, there is a cross, made of two washed up logs, tied together with twine. It’s not perfect, the wood has defects and rests slightly slanted. But it stands. I went down with the intention of sitting there and praying, but I became incredibly reluctant after the flies seemed to follow me. So I took a photo, and walked back up to my dorm.
It’s funny isn’t it, how God works in ways so simple, but yet so clear and so personable. I knew exactly what God has trying to get me to notice through the abundance of flies. So many things capture my attention and prevent me from fulfilling my purpose. I think it’s harder for me to be in absolute awe of the close and intimate intervention occurring, just because I’m not prepared to give up things. I consider myself to put people as a priority in my life over sleep, work, my needs, and lately, time with God. Even as I was walking down to the lake front, I was sending photos of the campus to friends. The first thing I did when I woke up this morning? Reply to everyone, everyone back home. Everyone I love. Everyone who I feel is deserving of my time. The thing I didn’t do when I first woke up? Read my Bible, pray, have quiet time.
My focus is placed in so many people and responsibilities, and I’ve realized I haven’t been making enough time for God. People especially have been taking a large amount of my time, and I’ve definitely deepened so many relationships, but most have been back home. I love people. I really do. I love people back home, my springhill fam, the roommates, and so many others. I love to love, love to learn, love to grow, love to know. People are really awesome. However, I’ve realized my focus is pretty much completely centered on my pals back in the 847, and it has really prevented me from fully submerging myself into the college life. It’s disrupted studying, bonding, sleeping, basically everyday activity. I’ve realized I need to be really intentional here at college if I want the same community here. If I want college to feel like home and to really grow in Christ, I need to limit my time talking through screens and focus on the actual humans around me. I need to devote morning time to devotionals instead of opening ten second snaps and responding to unread messages. I can be giving all of my time to growing in Jesus and loving the people I get to be with for only four years. You’re only in college once (hopefully?), and I really want to make the most of it. I want to look back on this first semester and remember a transformation occurring around October. I really do.
Tonight, a pal of mine came back and immediately wanted to tell me how God moved in her late night walk. I absolutely love how personable, individualized, and simple God can be. We walked down the same path, looked out at the same lake, and spoke to the same God. However, my story is one of an almost unwanted revelation, and hers was more of a night filled with God’s joy and presence. Both were things we needed, and additionally, they both included elements of the sky. For me, the fog engulfing the hills reminded me of how attainable God’s presence can be. For her, she shared how the clouds seemed to part at just the right angle, allowing her to see the stars clearly. Her sky depicted majesty, divine timing, and clarity. For her, clouds were a barrier; my clouds were a comfort. God is really cool. Like really really cool. Here’s a photo from today.
I went on another walk today. This time, I made it down to the lake and sat on the rocks in front of the cross. I passed a few runners on my way down, and a student sitting in the grass, alone. Today, the sky was a soft blue and was littered with clouds. No flies. No birds. Just peace. The waters were calm. I sat on a rock directly in front of the cross, and I looked around for just a little while. Peace. I put on the song Good, Good Father, and I just sat in God’s presence and tried to focus completely on Him. It was funny, though; at one point, I noticed the boy sitting in the grass could see me. One of the first thoughts I had was what does he think of me? I kid you not, immediately, a fly flew in front of my head and into the area beyond. I don’t think God could be any clearer. focus. focus on me. i’m right here. i’m right here waiting to meet with you. please, focus.
And so I did. I pulled out my bible app, and I continued in the psalms. I read psalm 50, highlighted a few verses I enjoyed, and moved on. Psalm 51 overwhelmed me completely. I read it out loud, as a prayer, and I don’t even know if I can describe how God rocked my world in the moment (ps go read it). After, I felt warm inside. I had a new purpose. I felt redeemed. As I sit here and type today, my “redeemed” bracelet rests on my left wrist. It’s not uncomfortable. It’s where it belongs. It reminds me I belong. It reminds me of how God has prevailed these past few months. God is so so so so good. Redeemed. New, complete. My joy is found in Him. My purpose is in Him alone. My iniquities are overseen, and He sees me as broken as I am. Me, someone who is unworthy of His love. I don’t really know how to explain it besides acknowledging a surrender to Him. It was like a burden was lifted from me. Clean. I gave Him permission to take it, and take it He did. I looked at the cross, the waves, the little clouds in the sky. I felt new. I felt pure. I felt humbled in my father’s presence. It’s almost like my mind and heart were transformed in the moment. By no means am I perfect or anywhere near even mediocre. However, I’ve decided making time for Jesus, resting in his daily sufficient grace, relying on Him for joy, and bringing my burdens to Him are all things I need to do. I’ve learned new life is attainable. I’ve learned redemption comes with surrender. I’ve learned authenticity and simplicity coincide to create something beautiful. Redemption is acceptance of the grace awaiting you. I can’t articulate all of it, but it is truly beautiful. New life is beautiful.
As I walked back up the path, I approached the boy sitting in the grass. I wasn’t going to, but I felt prompted to at least ask if he was doing okay. So I did. He told me he was just praying, and as I walked away, I began to wonder just how many people have looked out over the bluff and contemplated suicide. The rocks, the crashing waves, it’d be so easy. I wondered if he was. I just kinda stopped, and I prayed for God to bring meaning into his life. Maybe I’ll see him again, maybe I won’t. But it was a thought. Here’s a photo from today’s walk.
This morning, I woke up two hours before my alarm, with a sense of urgency on my heart. Go to the rocks. It was all I could hear and think about. I threw on a sweatshirt, put my hair in a pony tail and went on my way. It was only then I wondered why? why would I need to go to the rocks? I talked about the boy sitting in the grass on my last walk. maybe he was considering ending his life? maybe there was a runner, standing near the cross again? maybe I needed to pray for someone? I walked down the usual trail and looked around to see if anyone was near the edge. A few people were running, but they were all running together, laughing and talking. The boy wasn’t sitting there. No one was there.
So I sat at the cross. My heart was heavy last night after reading about everything in the world, as you maybe read. I had read some psalms before I went to bed last night/this morning(?), so I was on psalm 55 and 56 for today. At first, I read them through and then reread different verses which really stuck out to me. I read psalm 55 again, and yet again, God blew my mind. It was yet another prayer. It applied to me, right now, right here, even though David wrote this many, many years ago. You should go read it, but I won’t hold it against you if you don’t. Basically, David calls out to the Lord and describes his heart as anguished, his thoughts troubled, his being distraught. His enemies slaughter around him and go about causing chaos. He says he would fly away if he could; he begs God to carry out immediate justice by ending the lives of his enemies. Finally, he ends his chapter with the words But as for me, I trust in you. I sat in awe for just a little while and thought about what it truly means. Trusting means surrender of your fears and your desires. It means going into uncharted territory and living out God’s purpose for you. It means constant reliance and relentless seeking, but it also means following through and obeying. Trust is hard. But as for me, I trust in God. Those eight words gave me a strong feeling of joy and peace today. I’ve actually just had so much joy these last two days. God is good. So so good. There is no one, no place, and nothing in the world which is capable of bringing me this joy. It is overwhelming and overflowing, and I am content. I am redeemed. I have joy. But most of all, I have a God who loves me and never fails to amaze me. Guys. God is so good. Here’s a photo of the beautiful sky. God is so so good.
Today’s appreciation post goes to someone who has listened to any and every part of the journey I’ve been on these last few weeks. To someone who takes time to write letters. To someone who serves with complete surrender. To someone who is honest, admirable, and kind. To someone who pursues God more than earthly things. To someone who inspires youth. To someone who isn’t afraid to speak in front of a gym full of adults or a room full of junior highers. To someone who thinks deeply and is sometimes willing to share those thoughts. To someone who directs me back to God in everything. To someone who used to wear a neon yellow shirt, which had both a smiley face and also the words “Smile, God loves you.” Thank you for your time and genuine support. You’re a star.