Moving…

I’ve done it, you probably have, and there comes a time when things must end and we have to move on.

This is the last hoorah for hippopotamusususus and the first for a plain and simple: Tessa Walsh.

The archives will all still be here because once on the internet, always on the internet. There is already a short post waiting for you, a little blurb about the reason for the change.

If you like hyperlinks like I do, there is one above. If not, here you go: https://tessareneewalsh.wordpress.com

 

Thanks for being faithful to read even with an impossible URL :)

xoxo,

Tessa

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A Building Anticipation

Celebrate verb. – to do something special or enjoyable for an important event.

December is my favorite month of the year. Each December when I wake up on the first a new excitement stirs in me. Maybe it’s because it’s my birth month, maybe because I love celebrating birthdays and so many of my friends were also born in this month, or maybe it’s because I love anticipation.

When I was a kid, I lived for countdowns. As I’ve grown, I’ve still looked forward to events, but I’ve gotten better at being present in the moment and not letting countdowns get in the way of that.

This is the season of Advent, the season of the coming, the season of arrival. My family always did advent together, but the past few years it has meant so much more to me than just lighting candles. Advent stirs in me the anticipation of the coming of the King. It gets me excited for celebrating the birth of my Savior like nothing else will. I hate watching important days and events pass without the proper excitement.

With Advent, we spend time looking at the past so we can properly understand the importance of the birth and final coming of our King. Advent is so much more than just about Christ’s birth, but it is about his sacrifice and ultimately, His death for our sins. All of the Old Testament could be seen as the awaiting of the coming, and there are so many shadows of the True and Better Example.

I’m reading the She Reads Truth version (available online and can be sent to your email each morning) of Advent this year, but I also highly recommend either one of the Desiring God versions (which are available as free downloads! The Dawning of Indestructible Joy and Good News of Great Joy).

Come and worship Christ the new born King!

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Let’s enter into the anticipation and celebration, remembering our need, repenting of our sin, and rejoicing in the “already” of Jesus’ birth and the “not yet” of all it means for eternity.

Messy Rooms

I sat up on my sleeping mat and glanced around my room.

“Ugh, my room is like my life right now. Overwhelming.”

I’m packing for college and cleaning out 18 years worth of why-in-the-world-did-I-keep-this.

“I hate how much stuff there is. I don’t need all of this stuff. Why did I get so many T-shirts from swimming? What am I supposed to do with them? Why do I have 25 dead pens in this drawer? Trash. Goodwill. Recycling. Go, go, go!”

I want to live out of a backpack. I know I don’t need that much stuff.

This also applies spiritually. Satan would be perfectly happy if I focused on trying to be good for God and independent. He knows that’s where I struggle. He knows that’s what brings me down.

I pulled my knees up to my chest. “Why do I have such a hard time going to God with what I have? He doesn’t want perfect Tessa, he wants Tessa with all her junk.”

I know that. I know that very very well. I might even go as far as to say I believe it. But I don’t live it. I feel the need to clean everything up before I take it to God.

It’s as if I’m scared that God will be mad at me for having a messy room. And I don’t want to shove everything in the closet, because I know from years of childhood experience that shoving things in random places doesn’t make your room clean, it just means that you’re going to lose a bunch of stuff.

But unlike my parents, God still wants to see me, even if my room is a mess. He doesn’t tell me I can’t leave until it’s all picked up and vacuumed. He wants me to be with me. He wants to help me. He wants me to want Him.

But Satan whispers, “Wait Tessa. Don’t open the door to him just yet. When He sees what’s under your bed He’s going to slam the door. Work in here for just a little longer. Try to make things a little better on your own. It’ll make Him proud to see how independent you are! He’ll be happy you’ve done all these good things.”

Even Satan’s attempts to get me to work when it’s unnecessary sound good.

“I have to pray allll the time for the Holy Spirit to work in my heart and make it desire God. I get so frustrated at my fallen state. Like I just want to desire God all the time and never have doubts,” I texted my friend. She told me about Anything and told me to read it.

“But since he is God, we think he wants some song and dance from us [or a clean room]— in other words, behavior modification. He actually just wants us. He longs to set us free. And yes, to accomplish all that, he wants us entirely. God is home to us. He is where we were made to be. He is what we were made for. We just forget all that while we are trying to be good and independent.”-Anything

“Okay. I remember this time God. But I need you to keep reminding me. I can’t do this. Don’t let me lock you out of my room until it’s clean. Help me let go of all the “stuff” I’ve been holding on to…Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom…I want that freedom”

Taking a deep breath, I stood, grabbed my clothes, and walked out the door; I’ll have to go back and face it, but for now, I’m going to rest in His presence and I know I won’t go back alone.

My amazing and wonderful friend Soumya texted me this, I think she’s right.

“I think Satan even likes that we tend to be almost too introspective. He wants us to continue being frustrated with ourselves, looking at how we sin and fall short more than looking beyond that to the grace God gives. Satan likes that our overt introspective-ness hinders our immediate obedience in a lot of ways.”

***Yes, my parents had to fight me when I was little to clean my room and they weren’t always happy with the results of my efforts, thus they would send me back into my room. I believe God disciplines his children, and earthly parents follow suit, but God also has authority to do much more than my parents do which is why He can help me clean my room while my parents can’t.

It’ll Be Worth It

Have you ever felt sorry for yourself or hurt by someone and then realize that the exact same thing happened to Jesus? Christ went to great length to identify with us. (Hebrews 4:15- For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.) He became poor for our sake (2 Corinthians 8:9-For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.) He was rejected (Acts 4:11), laughed at (Luke 8:53), he was abandoned (Matthew 26:36-46), he was grieved (Mark 3:5), ect. What I’m getting at is that I’m not alone in these situations, and I am united with Christ. His Spirit dwells in me, I belong to Him, and although my body is dead because of sin, my spirit is alive because of righteousness. (Romans 8)

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At the end of a very tough week several months ago, I sat across the table from my mentor; I sat there crying telling her about how I had continually messed everything up. She said to me, “This is going to sound harsh, but stick with me. You DO mess everything up. You are rotten to the very core and nothing you do is good enough. But that’s why you need Jesus.” All the good in me is Jesus working, nothing I’m doing.  Without him I would be a puddle of black ink all over a white room. I’m literally dead in my sin, I’m worthless because of sin. But my spirit is alive because of righteousness. Jesus makes me new, he makes me clean, he knows me, he holds me, and get this, He died for me! Sometimes I can’t believe it, actually pretty regularly I forget that.

I complain about my present circumstances, I wallow in self pity, I find new ways to make it about me everyday.

FACT CHECK: You’re DEAD in your sin Tessa! The only thing in you that is of any worth is Jesus Christ.

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“So then, brothers, we are debtors…but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.” It’s my natural inclination to feel sorry for myself. My sinful self desires to have Tessa on the throne of Tessa’s heart; but my heart is captured by Christ the King, and by the Holy Spirit the deeds of my body can be fought and there will be victory.

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I’m the dullest knife in the box. I’m the worst of sinners. Guys, sometimes I even murder people in my heart. I’ve been prideful, and I’ve put another god over the God more times than I can count. I’ve complained, I’ve cheated, I’ve lied. I’m a horrible broken arrow. I’ve cursed mosquitos and flies, I’ve sought comfort in useless pleasures, and I’m never ever ever going to get better on my own. I’m stuck in this cycle of sin. But in steps Grace, and I’m met with a glorious new life. I don’t have what it takes, but Jesus Christ does. Jesus just gets me. He knows I’m a failure. He knows I’m a screwup. He knows I mess everything up. He knows, He’s seen it all. Even in the times when I turn South, Jesus stands there. Not only does He stick with me, He whispers gently into my ear, “Tessa, there is now no condemnation for you. You are mine and I am yours. We are united, no one can change that. I’ve got your heart forever, I’m not letting you go. Don’t let others make you feel condemned. I’m the only one who can do that to anyone, but I’ve chosen to shower you with my mercy, and I want you to come into my rest forever. I know it’s hard Tessa, I know. I’ve been there. People mocked me too, they abandoned me too, I’ve been there. Soon you will be in my glorious present. Sooner than you know, and I promise you, it’ll be worth it.”

Uncharted Waters

As most of you know, I am heading to Cambodia for three weeks on Tuesday. Honestly I don’t have the words to describe what is going on inside of my head right now. Well, I could explain my mental to-do list that I have to constantly go over because I don’t want to forget it. But really, I’m here to share with you something God has been showing me over the past month.

When I travel, I change. I change a lot. When I go somewhere new, something happens to my heart; it gets a new stain.

During my first year in Taiwan, I met this little girl named Jane. She left the first stain on my heart. Jane was little, but she represents so much to me. That trip was three years ago, but the stain remains. And I hope it never lifts. That particular stain taught me about unconditional love. Jane hardly knew me, but she trusted me enough to leap into my arms and catch her weight. Even though I probably will never see Jane again, I still love her and think about her because she truly has left a stain on my heart.

Oh look at little me with Jane, Stacey and Bella

Oh look at little me with Jane, Stacey and Bella

My second trip to Taiwan was just a memorable. Two moments stand out to me as new stains: staring out the train window and sitting in the hot classroom next to a little boy named Rick.  I remember feeling completely content with where I was. No desire to be anywhere else. I believe those moments are little tastes of heaven. Don’t get me wrong, I long for heaven, I long to be with my Savior face to face, but I also believe He put me here for a reason and for a time period. Those moments of perfect peace, I was alone (yet surrounded by people) with God, resting in my Lovers arms. Missions trips continually stain my heart.

And that’s what I’m heading into on Tuesday. Another trip across the globe to experience and taste God’s goodness in new ways. Everything will be new. I have no idea how this will all play out. We are heading into uncharted waters. And while we’ve done our research, spent time in preparation and we aren’t doing this alone, it’s all new for our hearts. Physically and mentally I know what I’m getting into (sorta), but emotional and spiritually, I have no idea. But I do know this. I Am is there. THE I Am.

So what do I expect for Cambodia? I expect to be wrecked by God. I expect that I will not come home the same person who left Blacksburg three weeks earlier. I expect to have new stains covering my heart and I expect that I will leave a piece of me behind in Cambodia. I expect my desire to serve over seas for the rest of my life will be stronger than ever. I expect God to work in me in new and exciting and possibly painful ways like never before.

Through waters uncharted my soul will embark
I’ll follow Your voice straight into the dark
And if from the course You intend
I depart
Speak to the sails of my wandering heart

Like the stars
Your Word
Will align my voyage
And remind me where I’ve been
And where I am going

Lost in the shallows amidst fear and fog
Your truth is the compass that points me back north
Jesus
My Captain
My soul’s trusted Lord
All my allegiance is rightfully Yours

If you want to keep up with Carly and I, head over to our blog for the trip. AND SUBSCRIBE!!! You’ll get super fun updates from us and lots of cute pictures (duh, Carly will be in them!) https://missionsincambodia.wordpress.com

Unlearning “Jesus loves me”

I’ve had to unlearn that Jesus loves me. Growing up in church practically the first song you hear is “Jesus loves me”.  I learned the words in a matter of one Sunday school class.

 “Jesus loves me this I know

For the Bible tells me so

Little ones to Him belong

They are weak but He is strong

Yes Jesus loves, Yes Jesus loves

Yes Jesus loves me, the Bible tells me so”

I had to unlearn this song; because I only knew that Jesus loves me. I didn’t believe it, understand it, or allow it to consume my life.  Throughout my childhood I was taught facts about Jesus, the Bible and Christianity.  I knew the right thing, for the most part did the right thing, and even said I believed in all of it. But the reality was, I only knew all of it on the surface level. The Bible tells me that Jesus loves me, and it tells me that I am a Child of God and so much more. My surface level knowledge has grown and grown, so much that when you look at me you probably think “She’s a pretty good kid and loves Jesus a lot”.  But my knowledge has become like a crust on the top and nothing could break through to the depths of my soul.

I have a new anthem, a new song, a new theme for this season of life.  One line is “Let love come teach me who You are again.” (No, I didn’t write this song, Bethel Music did)

My crust is so hard, it is impossible for to break through it on my own.  I’m helpless and needing. That is why I have to let Love come.  I’ve had to unlearn so that I can relearn of the deep deep love of Jesus.

This is my prayer,

“Lord come do whatever you want to in my life with what I am facing. God I want to open my heart back up to You. I’ve been closed off Father, I know. Come do. Break through my crust and let love come teach me who You are again.  Take me back to the place where my heart was only about You and all I wanted was to just be with You. Bring me back into Your presence and quiet my soul. I will wait in Your Word, there Your spirit speaks.”

***Creds to Bethel Music “In over my head” and Hillsong Worship “Depths” and my journal

10 Bonhoeffer Quotes

On this day, 70 years ago, three weeks before the death of Hitler, Dietrich Bonhoeffer was executed in a Nazi concentration camp.  Despite his parents hopes for their sixth child, Bonhoeffer went into ministry, where he became one of the most influential theologians of the 20th century. In the midst of his circumstances, Bonhoeffer carried out his understanding of what it costs to be a disciple, which he so famously wrote about. He was a man of great conviction, willing to suffer for his people and for God. Even 70 years later, his life challenges us to follow God even through adversity, seek justice even when it is not popular, and to care for the oppressed. Here are ten of his quotes for you to remember on this day:

“When all is said and done, the life of faith is nothing if not an unending struggle of the spirit with every available weapon against the flesh.”

“Judging others makes us blind, whereas love is illuminating. By judging others we blind ourselves to our own evil and to the grace which others are just as entitled to as we are.”

“God does not love some ideal person, but rather human beings just as we are, not some ideal world, but rather the real world.”

“Cheap grace is the grace we bestow on ourselves. Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession…Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate.”

“Costly grace is the gospel which must be sought again and again and again, the gift which must be asked for, the door at which a man must knock. Such grace is costly because it calls us to follow, and it is grace because it calls us to follow Jesus Christ. It is costly because it costs a man his life, and it is grace because it gives a man the only true life. It is costly because it condemns sin, and grace because it justifies the sinner. Above all, it is costly because it cost God the life of his Son: ‘Ye were bought at a price’, and what has cost God much cannot be cheap for us. Above all, it is grace because God did not reckon his Son too dear a price to pay for our life, but delivered him up for us. Costly grace is the Incarnation of God.”

“We must be ready to allow ourselves to be interrupted by God.”

“It is only because he became like us that we can become like him.”

“To be silent does not mean to be inactive; rather it means to breathe in the will of God, to listen attentively and be ready to obey.”

“When we come to a clearer and more sober estimate of our own limitations and responsibilities, that makes it possible more genuinely to love our neighbor.”

“I can no longer condemn or hate a brother [or sister] for whom I pray, no matter how much trouble he causes me. His face that hitherto may have been strange and intolerable to me is transformed through intercession into the countenance of a brother for whom Christ died.”

“Which of us has really admitted that God’s goodness can also lead us into conflict.”

The Joy of Jesus

I’ve been learning a lot about joy. And I’ve also learned a lot about happiness. Not because I’ve been full of joy and happiness for the past year, but because I haven’t. This past year and a half have been, well, a challenge. My freshman and sophomore years were good years. I have many good memories of times with friends and great memories of times with God. I have by no means suffered as many others have, and I don’t want to sound like I’m competing for the hardest life award, because I’m not. I am not living below the poverty line as many are, and I have more than I need. I live in America, where we spend 5x more on lunch than most of the world has to live on for a full day. I find it kind of funny, that though we are rich compared to the rest of the world, we are poor in one specific area: joy.

I firmly believe there is a HUGE difference between joy and happiness. I think that happiness is worldly. I’m not saying that God does not want us to be happy, nor am I saying that it is a sin to be happy. But happy is such an empty word. People throw around the phrase “this makes me happy” towards pictures of dogs dressed up or to an instagram of the dessert they just made. They say that happiness can’t be bought, but I think it can. If I find a sweater that is very soft, buying it would make me happy. If I want a milkshake, I would buy it and I would have a content look on my face; someone might even say, “Tessa’s happy”. Happy is a yuppie word. Yuppie, by definition, means a young, ambitious, and well-educated city-dweller who has a professional career and an affluent lifestyle. Honestly, many dream for that. They work hard and aspire to have that type of lifestyle. If you went to a reunion of any kind, and found out that someone had made it big in the professional world, had a big house, and a nice car, you would think that they have a pretty great life right? Happiness ranges from congratulating people on their marriage (eg. I’m so happy for you guys!) to drinking a milkshake.
Not only is happiness worldly, it’s short lived. And most of the time, I don’t find myself happy. You might consider me to be a pretty happy person, but that’s only on the surface level for the most part. I’ve been depressed and inwardly I’m fighting. But I don’t want to fight for happiness, I want to fight for joy.

Joy, on the other hand, is from God. It’s commanded by God. It glorifies God. (See Galatians 5:22,John 16:24,Psalm 90:14,and 1 Thessalonians 5:16) Joy is a deep, durable delight in God that ruins you for anything else. Everything becomes sour. It ruins your taste buds for all other pursuits of pleasure. Joy is eternal.(Psalm 16:11) We glorify God the most when we find our joy and our delight in Him.

Joy and happiness are not a package, you don’t need one for the other, though you can have both at once. I do not think we can ask for happiness without being selfish about it, but I do believe we can ask for joy. God desires for us to delight in Him. He wants us to want Him more and He created us to glorify Him. If we are to glorify God, and we do that best by delighting and finding joy in Him, then it is paramount that we fight for joy.

I started by saying that life has been rough lately. I find myself with more and more challenges with each passing day. This has been a season of loss, grief and trials. And I remember once saying, “Where is my joy? Why is God taking from me my joy?” Oh how wrong I was. What I was really saying was, “Where is my happiness? Why has God made my life hard and why am I not happy?” I was finding my happiness in things that are easy. Joy comes through suffering and trails and pain. It certainly came that way for Jesus. (See Hebrews 12:2)

No, I have not mastered the continuous joy that Jesus offers us, but I have learned that even when life is really really hard, you can find joy. Because joy is from God, and joy offers us what the world can’t: hope. We find our joy in the great hope of one day seeing Jesus clearly, face to face. Our fight for joy is a fight to see Christ more clearly. Jesus tells us in John 15:11 that he speaks these things that our joy may be in him and may be full or complete. The things he is speaking is oneness with the Father as He has experienced.

Oswald Chambers writes this on joy in his “My Utmost for His Highest“:
What was the joy that Jesus had? Joy should not be confused with happiness. In fact, it is an insult to Jesus Christ to use the word happiness in connection with Him. The joy of Jesus was His absolute self-surrender and self-sacrifice to His Father— the joy of doing that which the Father sent Him to do— “. . . who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross . . .” (Hebrews 12:2). “I delight to do Your will, O my God . . .” (Psalm 40:8). Jesus prayed that our joy might continue fulfilling itself until it becomes the same joy as His. Have I allowed Jesus Christ to introduce His joy to me?

Living a full and overflowing life does not rest in bodily health, in circumstances, nor even in seeing God’s work succeed, but in the perfect understanding of God, and in the same fellowship and oneness with Him that Jesus Himself enjoyed. But the first thing that will hinder this joy is the subtle irritability caused by giving too much thought to our circumstances. Jesus said, “. . . the cares of this world, . . . choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful” (Mark 4:19). And before we even realize what has happened, we are caught up in our cares. All that God has done for us is merely the threshold— He wants us to come to the place where we will be His witnesses and proclaim who Jesus is.

Have the right relationship with God, finding your joy there, and out of you “will flow rivers of living water” (John 7:38). Be a fountain through which Jesus can pour His “living water.” Stop being hypocritical and proud, aware only of yourself, and live “your life . . . hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:3). A person who has the right relationship with God lives a life as natural as breathing wherever he goes. The lives that have been the greatest blessing to you are the lives of those people who themselves were unaware of having been a blessing.

Joy from the Father is available, partake in it!

Because of this Amazing Grace

Hearing the Gospel is not just for those who do not have a personal relationship with Jesus, it’s for all of us. And I do not preach the gospel to myself enough. On days when I am struggling to see my purpose in life; on days when I am seeking to figure out what to do with my life; and on days when it feels like everything has gone wrong and I’m left with nothing, I forget about the wonderful, life-giving Good News of Jesus Christ. In this season of life, I am in no shortage of decisions to make. And these decisions will effect my entire life; slightly daunting for someone who cannot legally vote yet. These weigh heavily and commonly, I’ll press through the day living with the ache in my heart, and only rejoice at the end because of the hope of a new day tomorrow. The days are not pleasant, growing, or encouraging and often leaves me waiting for the “next big thing” to happen to help me figure out what in the world I should do. (The “next big thing” being the hope of something “big” to encourage me. Such as Passion, Modgnik, or church) But I forget about the Truths that have set me free. “For it is by grace that you have been saved through faith…” (Eph. 2:8)

“Amazing grace, how sweet the sound

That saved a wretch like me

I once was lost, but now I’m found

Was blind but now I see

Oh I can see you now

Oh I can see the love in Your eyes

Laying Yourself down

Raising up the broken to life”

Every day this is true. I am broken; I am sinful; I am a mess and unworthy. Jesus Christ is perfect & loves me unconditionally. He freely gives His immeasurable grace. He became the sacrifice I need to be redeemed. He conquered death in His resurrection & is now seated at the right hand of God the Father. The Holy Spirit dwells inside me and because of this amazing grace, I am saved; I am found; I am set free.

Glorious Ruins

“to grant to those who mourn in Zion—
    to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
    the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit;
that they may be called oaks of righteousness,
    the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified.
They shall build up the ancient ruins;
    they shall raise up the former devastations;
they shall repair the ruined cities,
    the devastations of many generations.”

Isaiah 61:3&4 (ESV)

He asks me to come to Him broken and promises beauty in replace of ashes.  During this season of life, these verses mean more to me than they ever have.  Everyday God is reigning; He doesn’t take days off, nor does he cast me out of His presence.  In moments of suffering, sometimes it’s easy to cling to God.  Knowing that it is not God inflicting this pain, but it comes because of the broken state of the world.  Yet other times, it’s harder to come to Him because the suffering is not a direct result of sin.  And because I felt like it was God who hurt me, instead of seeing His arms wide open for comfort, I saw them as crossed and unwelcoming.  Let me explain.

Several weeks ago I received some heart breaking news.  After finally crossing over the final hurdle, God closed and locked the door between me and Cambodia. For now, God has delayed this trip, His timing is different that what I originally heard. I will not go into the details, but this news hurt me more than any other news I have ever received.  Why would God take away a trip I had spent months working on that was intended for His glory? Was I not following His commandment to go into all nations? I’ve felt the call before, I don’t believe I misheard Him. Did he not want everyone to come to repentance? And why, of all the people, would He want to take away a missions trip from me?  Does He not know how much I love Him and how I want to do this because I know that I was designed to do this? Could God not see that I am basing my entire life on His commandment to make disciples?  I wanted to go more than I wanted anything else.  I’m infected with the missions bug; I cannot stay away.  Why would God take this from me?

Now, I know what you’re thinking.  God has a reason.  Yes, He does.  He has a perfect will, you’re right.  He has a plan that will bring the most glory to Him, and it will advance His kingdom.  But that does not change how much this hurts.  And because I felt like this was Gods fault, and I knew that He was not going to apologize (Why would He? He didn’t do anything wrong), I ignored Him.  I couldn’t cling to Him, and all hope was gone.  My life felt like it was without a purpose.  Everything I had worked so hard for had been peeled away.  God took my trip to Cambodia, placed it within my grasp and then ripped it up in front of me.  Instead of running into His arms, I did not speak to Him, read His Word, or worship Him in any form.  Have you ever tried to be mad at someone you really wanted to talk to and hang out with? It’s really hard. It’s nearly impossible to ignore the only One who gives me life.  I am literally incapable of stopping from singing His praises.

Just over a week after I had found out my plans had been dashed into the rocks, I broke.  My eyes became the source of a river. I yelled, cried, and told God how mad I was at Him.  I needed to know that He still had the whole world in His hand, so I demanded that He tell me.  That day, my Bible study leader directed me to 1 Peter, the whole book.  So I sat down and read it.  I tried to take it in, and allow the truths I knew become the truths I believed.  God is in the business of restoration, it’s promised. “And the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will Himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.” (1 Peter 5:16)

After being angry, upset, disappointed, and frustrated with God for a week, I ran back to Him.  His arms were open wide, and I felt His comfort for the first time in a while.  Sometimes it’s okay to be angry, sometimes it feels like God doesn’t love us, sometimes God allows us to suffer, and every time God has a purpose.  I’ve struggled with trusting God more in the past few years than I have with anything else.  I sing that God alone is enough, but do I believe that? Do I trust God that He will supply what I need? Who am I to say that God needs to me to bring people to Him?  Every day He is reigning.  Every day he offers me beauty for my ashes.  And every day he is turning ruins into glorious life.

I am still sad.  My church is like an international airport, we send out trips all of the time.  It’s hard to sit and watch my friends go out into all of the corners of the world while I stay at home. Literally every close friend I have is going somewhere. It’s not easy.  But my Comfort and Rest will be found in the One who is in control of my whole life.  Earlier this year I talked about abandonment, giving my whole life to Jesus and how I would fight to follow.  Well, total abandonment to God doesn’t solely including sacrificing a summer to go overseas, it also includes being willing to stay. John Piper says, “Waiting for the Lord is the opposite of running ahead of the Lord and it’s the opposite of bailing out on the Lord. It’s staying at your appointed place while he says stay, or it’s going at his appointed pace while he says go. It’s not impetuous and it’s not despairing.”  By saying “Yes!” to Jesus, He gets to decide when I go and when I stay.  Like I said, this won’t be easy. But He is with me and I will find my strength in His presence. 

When the mountains fall and the tempest roars, You are with me
When creation folds, still my soul will soar on Your mercy

And I’ll walk through the fire 
With my head lifted high and my spirit revived in Your story 
And I’ll look to the cross as my failure is lost in the light of Your glorious grace

So let the ruins come to life
In the beauty of Your name
Rising up from the ashes
God forever You reign 
And my soul will find refuge in the shadow of Your wings
I will love You forever and forever I’ll sing

When the world caves in, still my hope will cling to Your promise
When my courage ends, let my heart find strength in Your presence

(Glorious Ruins by Hillsong United)