Maybe It’s Just Jesus

Do you ever have those moments in your relationship with the Lord where you come to the point of wondering, “What if I’m doing everything wrong?”

What if I’m just not getting it?

When nothing seems to be going right and I’m wrestling with things I shouldn’t be (whatever that means) and Jesus seems unfamiliar even though I feel like I’m giving my all… What am I missing?

When I am trying so hard and I still feel like I’m not growing or making any progress or living a life that matters at all… Is it supposed to be this difficult?

If I really loved Him shouldn’t I have moved past this awkward, getting-to-know-You, not sure if I’m totally bought-in kind of tension?

So then I set myself to work harder, to do better next time. Maybe I need to renew my mind more, or pray for a deeper change in my heart, or be tougher about putting my sin to death. And all of those things are important and beautiful! But why does it feel like I’m starting from scratch each time, trying new strategies to finally find the answers that will fix everything and make it look better from the outside, rather than building deeper history and intimacy with God?

And then there are those times when I doubt literally everything I have ever heard about who God is: Is He actually kind? Does He even want to be close? Have I pieced together the theology I’m comfortable with in order to make God into my own image, worshipping who I want Him to be rather than who He is?

Is my theology too lenient? Have I made His grace cheap by not demanding more from myself? Have I made His love bigger than it really is because I’m just lonely and desperately need His attention?

What if I’m getting all of this completely wrong?

“But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope…” (Lamentations 3:21)

And I remember that He is the God of Luke 15, who leaves the ninety-nine sheep to find the one that matters nothing to the world, but to Him is worth everything. He carries it home on His back because it’s too weak to walk on its own, even though it got itself lost in the first place. He is the Father who doesn’t give His wayward son a chance to prove himself worthy of being forgiven before He completely restores him to the family. A Father who was just happy to have His son back, not a Dad looking for free labor or the opportunity to say, “I told you so.”

He is the God of King David, who redeems David’s sin with Bathsheba by eventually bringing Solomon out of their relationship and keeping His covenant that promised the Messiah would still come from this line, even one tainted by sexual immorality and murder.

He is the God of tax collectors and sinners, who fiercely defended the woman caught in adultery (who, by bending down to write in the sand, took the attention off of her so she wouldn’t experience so much shame) and the one who intimately and indecently washed His feet with her hair, not caring that He was insulting the very people plotting His death.

He is the God who took me, a broken girl, and brought me Home as His daughter just because He wanted to. Who lifts my load as I give Him every one of my burdens, no matter how insignificant, because He cares for me. The One who had the audacity to call me his beloved. The God who reminds me what is Truth when I am drowning in insecurity, and who loves me too much to give me what I really, really want. He who brings me peace in my anxiety and puts me back together when my willful sin has torn me apart because He promised He would never give up on me.

So, maybe it isn’t more elaborate ideas or greater revelation that I need. It’s not a new book, worship song, or conference. It’s not even all the answers to my constant questions.

Maybe it’s just Jesus that I need. Just Jesus and nothing else. More time with Him, more intimacy, more familiarity. The real Jesus. The One who knows me, yet loves me the same. Just Jesus.

And somehow I know that if I just have Him, maybe I’m actually getting something right after all.

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My One Thing

Somewhere on our nine-hour journey from Denver to Kansas City, we started talking about the “one thing” (ha :)) we were hoping to get out of IHOP’s OneThing Conference. My answer was that I wanted to get wrecked—like, sobbing on the floor wrecked—by the presence of God. I was hungry to experience His love tangibly in a way I hadn’t before.

As the conference went on, it wasn’t happening the way I had been hoping for. I was certainly experiencing some painful conviction (love that, thanks Jesus), but in matters of His love He seemed pretty silent from my perspective. And especially so in those main worship sessions where everyone and their mom seems to be weeping.

But on the last day, in the prayer room, the Lord began to speak to my heart in just the way I didn’t realize I had been needing, and in a way I certainly wasn’t expecting. Through His gentle voice, I realized that I had come seeking evidence that I was experiencing the Lord, rather than God Himself. I wanted the signs and wonders, not the One behind them. Ouch.

And He reminded me that that isn’t love. Real love loves without expecting anything in return. Love just loves because it delights in the One who is the object of its affection. That’s how the Father, the Son, and Holy Spirit love.

So teach me how to love You that way! I asked. In that moment, I was convicted once again (do it, Lord!!!), but this time about how little I really know God, and how that hinders my heart from being fully His. I mean sure, I could tell you anything you wanted to hear about who God is or what He’s like, but if I really know Him? As in know that He is good even if the circumstances scream the opposite? Know that He is perfect in every way even when He doesn’t act the way I want Him to? If I were honest, I would have to say that I don’t really know Him as much as I thought I did.

It’s a pure desire to want to love the Lord more, but I now really believe that we can’t truly love Him unless we actually know who He is. When we learn who He really is, we can’t help but fall in love! He’s so perfect. And oh, is He beautiful. But until then, until we have pressed into His true character, we’ll be half-hearted in our pursuit and swayed by circumstances.

If we don’t truly know God (granted, knowing God is a life-long journey), we can’t really love Him. Sure, we can love the picture of Him we have in our heads, love who we want Him to be, or try to prove ourselves worthy and impress Him. But I don’t believe it can be the kind of love that pursues its beloved with joy and delight, and without needing to receive something in return. It won’t really be loving Him the way He loves us.

It seems like something I should’ve learned years ago, something so basic to a life of following Jesus. But as I was watching people worship with abandon alone in the prayer room, not needing a main session or a famous worship leader, it dawned on me.

They’re in love. They are in a head-over-heals, butterflies-in-your-stomach, it’s-all-you-can-think-about kind of love with Jesus. And it’s because they’ve spent the time it takes to learn who the Lord is and unravel the lies that they’ve come to believe about Him. They have laid down their lives to know God, whatever the cost.

If we don’t know deep in our bones that He is good, we’ll always have seeds of distrust in our hearts. If we don’t know that He loves us, that He likes us, we’ll hold back. If we don’t know that He is truly holy and worthy, we won’t give our lives in worship or stand in awe of Him in the way He deserves. Whatever part of God that we have trouble believing, we will keep our hearts hardened and guarded from that aspect of His character.

But if to know Him is to love Him, then all of our effort and attention should be focused on that pursuit. Jesus even tells us that loving him with all we are is the most important matter (Matthew 22:36-40). When we see Him rightly, we can’t help but fall in desperately in love. He’s amazing!! Completely breathtaking.

So that is my one thing. To lay down my life in pursuit of Him, falling in love with the One whose love is deep and alive, tender and healing, wild and beautiful. The One whose love is from eternity. The One who has miraculously chosen to call me His Beloved and will never change His mind.

“One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple.” Psalm 27:4

I Will Be Convinced.

There’s been a reoccurring theme in my prayers the past couple weeks, and it’s this word “convinced.” I’ve been asking the Lord a lot lately that in this next year, I would be increasingly convinced of His love. Not that He needs to do a better job of convincing me of course, but that I need to do a better job of choosing to be convinced of it.

My faith has often been characterized by times of very high highs followed by very low lows over the past four years that I’ve been a Christian, and it’s kind of become exhausting. Realizing that I am desperate to be rooted and established upon the Rock has lead me to asking Him how. And through His faithfulness to answer, I’m certain that it comes from being totally, incredibly, unwaveringly convinced of the total, incredible, unwavering love of our Savior.

So, in thinking about what I want for 2016, this is my prayer. I hope there is something in here that speaks to you and that you feel a tug to really dive into.

“What do you want for 2016?”

I want to be so completely, unshakably, convinced of Your love. I want to totally trust and believe that I am wanted. Every moment of every day. Rock solid to the core, knowing the truth. I want to be radically transformed and softened and wrecked by intimacy. I don’t want to waver or go back and forth because Your love does not. I want relentless pursuit to be my reality. I want to be defined by my desperation for You. I want to lock eyes with You and never look away, not for one second. I want to be brave because I know that You love me. I want to run so fast towards You with the sun against my skin and wind in my hair. I want to spend my time in the Secret Place and make it my home. I want the Presence to be where I am most comfortable. I want my heart to be completely Yours. I want to live carefree, like the way a little girl who knows she is loved by her Father does. And even when it hurts or I get scared, I want to run straight into Your arms with reckless abandon. I want my response to all things to be to worship. I want to believe grace. I want to feel Your joy!!! I want to know the One who ransomed me. I want to have radical trust that You are who You say You are. More than anything, I want to be convinced of the Love that is wild for me.

Home.

Our souls need a place to call home. The world pulls at us, trying to get our attention with all of its sparkly things. It deceives us by saying that what it has to offer will give our souls rest, and it promises that our hearts can be safe within its grasp. But as I’m sure we’ve all learned by now, this world is nothing but a liar.

The world tells us that our restless hearts will feel at peace when that certain boy finally notices us. It says that when we make the right friends we’ll be happy with ourselves. It makes us believe that if we achieve enough, then we’ll be worthy of the attention and admiration we crave. The world whispers that if we just lose enough weight, or if we just made ourselves a little bit prettier, then everything else would fall into place.

And so our souls wander aimlessly, thirsty and starving, desperate for a place to rest after we’ve discovered that nothing in this world fills it. It’s as if we’re trudging through a frigid winter night, looking for a safe place. As we look out to the horizon, all of these other distractions are the first to come into our line of sight. They call our names and offer a brief respite from the cold of winter, and our souls may find rest there for a while. But these “safe places” chew us up and spit us right back out. We end up worse than we were before: hungrier, emptier, and heartbroken that we were lied to.

We don’t find any warmth, satisfaction, or care like a good home offers. Why? Because Jesus is our home. He alone is where our souls will find rest.

“Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me,

for in you my soul takes refuge;

in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge,

till the storms of destruction pass by.” Psalm 57:1

Jesus is like a bright, warm, cheery little cottage whose light you can see through a snowstorm from miles away. When you finally make it, cold and wet after trekking through the frigid air, you open the door and are immediately greeted with warmth, wonderful holiday smells, and the sound of family all gathered to enjoy each other. You can take off your hat, gloves, coat, and boots—you won’t need them here. You can shed all those layers that were protecting you from the elements and finally be yourself. In this place, you are lovingly ushered into the living room and told to grab something to eat. You fall easily into conversation as you begin to warm up, and your heart finally feels at rest for the first time.

This is the presence of God.

And this is where our souls are invited to make their home.

My First Guest Post! A Pageant Story

I’m so excited to share the story of such a special friend I’ve recently met. Her name is Mattanah and I had the opportunity to contribute to her blog a little while ago, so now she’s written a guest post for me! Enjoy her awesome story and go check out her blog!

A Pageant Story

Mattanah DeWitt – 7.29.2015

I was standing there in front of 1000+ people with words coming out of my mouth faster than I could think, hoping that I was surrendered enough for God to be completely in control. Because I needed Him to be completely in control at this moment.

But wait a minute, let me back up.

Hi there! My name is Mattanah DeWitt. I am a follower of Jesus, the founder of This Same Purpose Blog, a student, and former Miss Tennessee National Teenager. I would like to tell you a not-so-typical pageant story.

Two years ago next month, I sent in an application to the Tennessee ANTSO Scholarship Pageant, just to see if I would qualify. I’m not actually signing up, I told myself. After all, pageants “weren’t my thing.” (It’s funny how God will change your plans in a heartbeat). Anyway, around that time, I had begun to seriously seek God for His will in every area of my life. I wanted more of Him. I wanted Him to use me to display His glory – no matter what it would look like.

Up until this point in my life, I had my blog, which was growing. I had filled a few leadership positions both at my church and school. And I had big dreams for places I would go and things I would do for the kingdom of God. None of those dreams was a pageant.

But the Lord gently led me in that direction, and I followed. As I prepared (and there was a lot of preparation), I realized that I was right where God wanted me and I was genuinely excited! In March of 2014, I became Miss Tennessee National Teenager. The process of my winning the state title is a story in itself, but I’m going to share an experience from the national competition.

Nationals were at the end of July and just so happened to be in my home state of Tennessee! I competed against 20+ amazing young women from all over the United States, many of whom are still very good friends of mine. The week leading up to competition was full of appearances and activities, which provided some great bonding time for new and old friends.

There were different categories such as: interview, evening gown, jean modeling, etc., but the one that I was most nervous about was the on-stage question. This competition required the contestant to answer a random question, given by the emcee. My awesome pageant director and very supportive mom both told me that I was great at it and had nothing to worry about, but I wasn’t so sure. I prayed about it. I thanked God for giving me the platform, recognized it wasn’t about me, and asked Him to give me words that would glorify Him.

On the night of preliminaries, it was almost my turn to walk up for my on-stage question. Right before I went on, a thought came to me. What if she asks me about my Queens in the Making Conference? I had recently created and facilitated a conference. The purpose of the conference was to empower young women to live as royalty in the kingdom of God. So I formulated my answer – just in case the emcee decided to ask me that question. And she did!

The only explanation I have is that the Holy Spirit let me know what the emcee would ask so I would know how to prepare. Matthew 10:19-20 says, “Take no thought how or what you shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what you shall speak. For it is not you that speaks, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you.” This was my confidence and my peace – and God came through on His promise in every way that night.

The next night was the final show. The top 10 were announced, and I was one of them! We competed again and only the top 5 out of those 10 competed in on-stage question – and I was one of them!

As I walked across the stage, I waited for the Holy Spirit to tell me what I would be asked. I heard nothing. I started to feel anxious. Ok, Lord, now is a great time to help me out! I still heard nothing. I heard nothing as she was asking me the question. I heard nothing after she was done asking the question!

Now, let’s freeze right there. I was standing in the middle of the stage, with the microphone in my hand. The lights were all shining on the stage, which made it hard to see the crowd of hundreds of people, plus the cameras that were broadcasting it live. In that moment, I wasn’t overly confident. I wasn’t afraid either. I was trusting. By that time, a lot of people knew about my faith. I didn’t care as much about failing my own expectations; I just didn’t want to fail God.

I hope at some point in your life, you experience the exhilarating place of being totally, absolutely dependent upon God. I hope you experience moments when His grace carries you to heights you could never have reached on your own. It’s called faith. And faith always takes you miles past the edges of everything familiar and comfortable. It’s wonderful.

In my moment of being overwhelmed by His unfathomable grace, words began to come out of my mouth faster than I could process them in my mind. Because of that, I knew it wasn’t me talking. The question I had been asked was, “What is your definition of beauty?”

I began to say that true beauty cannot be found outwardly, and it cannot be found inwardly either. I thought to myself, Mattanah, you’ve eliminated all your options! But then, I began to talk about the beauty of our Creator – how true beauty can only be found in people and things that bear His image.

I remember after the pageant, bursting into tears. I was mentally and physically exhausted, so no doubt, that was part of it. But more than anything, I was in awe. I had never experienced the power of God in such a real, personal way as I had that night. I realized that the demonstration of God’s power is not just for church services; it’s also for Mon-Sat when we’re living out our calling and need Him. If we walk close to Jesus, He will never leave us where He leads us.

Ever since that night, I’ve prayed that God would continually take me to a place where I’m not enough, where I’m completely dependent upon Him, where I have no other option but to walk by a crazy kind of faith. Because only then, will I see His glory. And that’s all I want.

140 Nationals - On Stage Question Untitled

Mattanah is a passionate woman with big dreams. Her heart is to live for Jesus and show His love to the world by utilizing the gifts He has given her and by putting to action the ambitions He has planted in her heart. Mattanah has served in various leadership positions, including the title she recieved in 2014, Miss Tennessee National Teenager. Born a Midwesterner and raised a Southerner, Mattanah enjoys the best of both worlds (i.e. drinking TN sweet tea while eating IA corn-on-the-cob). She loves meeting new people, making things look pretty, the outdoors, and chocolate.

Blog: www.thissamepurpose.com

Instagram: https://instagram.com/mattanahdewitt/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/mattanah

What I’ve Been Up To!

Hello friends and family and faithful readers of my little blog 🙂 I’m so grateful for all your support as I share some vulnerable parts of my heart. I haven’t been as active on my blog, but I have been active on these ones!

I can’t say enough wonderful things about Tirzah Magazine. The founder and editor in Chief, Yelena Bosovik, is an incredible woman of God who has faithfully served the many girls who find have had their soul’s fed through Tirzah’s articles, devotionals, and community. I’ve had the opportunity to contribute to Tirzah since this spring and I am totally loving it. Check out my articles!

http://tirzahmag.com/2015/06/05/seen-and-known/

http://tirzahmag.com/2015/04/29/the-search-for-strength-as-a-woman-of-god/

http://tirzahmag.com/2015/03/30/we-are-called-to-right-now/

http://tirzahmag.com/2015/02/16/finding-healing-waiting/

The other blog I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to contribute to is This Same Purpose. Mattanah DeWitt runs it and she has quickly become a sweet friend. I am so honored that I had the opportunity to write a guest post for Mattanah. Her heart for her readers is so inspiring—to learn how to follow our callings and “live on purpose.” Check out all the fun happenings she’s got going on over at thissamepurpose.com. Here’s the link to my guest post:

http://www.thissamepurpose.com/2015/07/guest-post-great-helper-by-maddie.html

I’m so thankful for the ways the Lord uses the things He teaches us to encourage others facing similar challenges. Stay tuned for more posts about my walk with the Lord here, and keep your eyes pealed for something new and exciting that may just be in the works in the next couple of months!

I Wish I Could Describe It Better

I’d like to consider myself someone who is alright with words. I usually know how to put sentences together, but I also talk way too much, so maybe I just have a lot of practice. But I think it’s really neat, and really challenging, when God works in a way that I just don’t know how to describe, and He sweetly tells me, “Maybe you could just enjoy it this time instead of needing to define it.”

I like to share what the Lord is teaching me through blogging or talking with friends because it helps me to process and learn the lessons. But it becomes frustrating when I can’t put my finger on what God is doing, and now is one of those moments. I’m at a bit of a loss for words because Jesus has moved so mightily that I just don’t know what to say about it this time in order to do Him justice.

All I know is that I laid on my dorm bed one night asking Jesus for a miracle because I felt myself slipping frighteningly further away from Him, and He did it. I don’t even know what IT was, but He did it. He pulled me back in when I was running away. He fought for me. He won my heart. He pursued me. Like a lover trying to prove his faithfulness to his beloved, Jesus took my hand and began to show me I could trust Him. That He loved me, wanted me, and was for me. He won me through hugs from friends and sunsets and tender care from my parents and Ben Rector love songs. All I know is that I asked Him to come through and He did.

When my doubts swirled around me like a heavy fog, His light invaded every scary place and made the darkness flee. His strong love battled for my heart. I wish I could better describe what He did, but every one-liner I have just falls flat. He just loved me.

If I learned anything through that unsettling season of doubt, it’s that if you stop trying so hard to save yourself, He has room to come through. I guess He just held my fists and helped me stop fighting Him this time. When you give up your false sense of strength that believes it can move a mountain by kicking it (and stubbing your toe in the process), His perfect strength actually throws it into the sea.

At the same time though, if you get face-to-face with Christ, if you persist, if you dig in, if you really tussle—not to try to heal your own heart or be your own god—but to find His heart and submit to Him as God, He will hold nothing back in loving you fiercely. If you get serious about your searching in the Word and wrestle with Him in prayer, you’re going to come away whole and healed.

Man, I wish I could describe it better. He frustrates me when I can’t describe Him, but I think all the best loves involve a bit of frustration in not being able to fully understand the other person when you so badly want to.

In Jane Austen’s book Emma, Mr. Knightley says to Emma, “If I loved you less, I might be able to talk about it more.” So maybe I’ll just have to settle for this explanation as to why my God has left me speechless.

But I think it would be more accurate to change it to say this instead:

If He loved me less, I might be able to talk about it more.

What I Wish I Learned in New York

I had the incredible opportunity of going to New York with some people from school to sing at Carnegie Hall. For five days, we explored every inch of the city that we could and we wore our tired feet proudly. Going into the trip, I had some expectations. Jesus always teaches me something when I go to new places, so here’s what I was hoping He would teach me and remind me of, and what I wanted to write about when it was all over:

I wanted to learn that even in a crowd of millions, Jesus still saw me personally. That He loved me in the midst of tourists with selfie sticks and harsh New Yorkers and businessmen in nice suits. I wanted to learn that you can see Jesus even in big cities—that He is in the magic of the lights of Broadway and the jarring noise of honking horns and the infinity of running through a big city after midnight. But I did not learn these things, and that will not be the pretty blog post I write.

What I learned is far messier and more isolating than the streets of a crowded city. What I learned is that there are times when our faith comes crashing down. When you realize that the stone castle you thought you lived in is really just a house of straw because you built it with your own fragile hands.

This is why I love travel—because getting out of your usual routine can open your eyes to things you had no idea about, but the lessons you learn are not always happy ones.

I don’t know how it came to the point of being hesitant about the Lord. Maybe it was when I realized that no matter what I’ve done or what new Christian method I’ve tried, nothing has worked to fill that ache in my soul. That so often I still feel incredibly broken even when I’ve asked Him over and over to fix me and I feel like He’s not coming through. And so, the terrifying beginnings of doubt began to creep in.

Maybe it would be more accurate to say that my faith in my own strength is what came crashing down. I lost faith in my ability to fix myself, which is the best thing that could have ever happened to me. Because all I’ve experienced since the moment everything fell apart is Him tenderly caring for my heart even when I have so many questions and there is so much tension between us.

It’s question after question circling through my mind since then, but I’m learning to love and be thankful for the uncertainty. I wish with everything that is in me that I could say, “these are the thoughts that WERE circling in my mind, but I’m better now.” But falsely putting this struggling in the past tense when it is still very present would be dishonest. And anything but vulnerability is not going to help anyone facing these same questions.

What I really did learn in New York is that I build my faith on my ever-changing, human emotions. When I have days where I feel like Jesus doesn’t love me or that I’m not forgiven, instead of replacing those lies with truth, I take them as the ultimate truth and I let them shape my view of a perfectly good and loving God.

However, His truth stands in all situations and all circumstances, no matter what I feel. It is dangerous and scary to base Christianity on our feelings, and the Lord will let everything crumble if that’s what it will take to reestablish you.

I know with all that is in me that Jesus is showing up in this season of questions. I know that because His Word says this is true. I am convinced that this is something all Christians must face at some time or another, so when we do, we have a choice: Are we going to stare this doubt in the face and stand firm until we see the power and truth in Jesus Christ? Or are we going to walk away?

I’ve decided to stand my ground. I hope that you do the same.

“Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.” Matthew 7:7

Those Bones in the Closet

“Write hard and clear about what hurts.” Ernest Hemingway

We crowd our lives with all the things that distract us from what hurts. There’s so much talk about our culture being “busy” and “fast-paced,” but I don’t think it’s because we’re running towards any specific goal—we’re running away. We pack our schedules from morning until night so we barely have time to breathe, let alone think. We daydream, turn to Netflix, spend hours on Pinterest, and for what? To avoid the things that make us feel uncomfortable.

It’s no surprise that we’re all broken. Even those of us who are most put-together (as if that’s even possible) still have scars. We all have fears and insecurities and things that make us fall apart.

But, instead of ignoring them, what if we faced them?

What if no one ever finds me desirable enough to marry me?
What if God calls me to a life of singleness?
What if I can’t have kids?
What if Jesus calls me to drop everything and move somewhere scary?
What if none of my dreams as they are now come true?

You have to face the things that scare you. You have to stare your heartbreak straight in the face and tell it, “my God is stronger than you are. His love is better.” I’ve learned that the idea of facing our fear is so much worse than actually facing it. We’re scared of the way it will hurt when we address it or what it will take to find healing or that we’ll be different people without carrying these things on our backs rather than foreseeing the freedom that’s waiting right on the other side.

When you were a kid, the shadows on the wall in your dark room or the scary sounds you heard at night were monsters and bad guys. But when you turned on the light, it so happens that it was really just the broom in the corner or the sounds an old house makes. When you drag the things that hurt you into the light, they are the ones that shrink back in fear, not you. They don’t have a hold on you anymore.

They can’t.

When I have to face the feelings of “what’s wrong with me?” when another relationship doesn’t work out.
When I had to realize the messed up way my happiness rested solely on my performance in pursuing boys.
When I had to deal with the fact that I only served other people because I wanted something out of them.
When I had to face up to the Lord calling me to major in Music for a season when I really didn’t want to.

But, when I stared these things in the face, when I stopped filling my life with distractions, when I refused to ignore these really deep heartaches—they started to heal. Jesus wasn’t going to work on anything that I wouldn’t let Him touch. He wasn’t going to heal me and make me strong until I actually wanted Him to. I promise that nothing good comes from shoving your fear under the rug.

So I finally opened the door to all my skeletons in that dark closet. I realized that the monsters I thought would overwhelm me really ended up cowering in fear. The things I thought would hurt so much that it would mean the end of my joy was really just the beginning of it.

And honestly, when the light turned on, I realized it was just a pile of old bones that held no power over me or my God.

And somehow, the monsters just weren’t as scary anymore.

“The secret to joy is to keep seeking God where we doubt He is.” Ann Voskamp

Seasons Change

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens” Ecclesiastes 3:1

There are often seasons where everything is broken.

When you go through dry periods and condemn yourself as a bad Christian, forgetting that God is God of the deserted and barren places of the earth just as much as He is the God of the lush rainforests and peaceful meadows.

When you are in desperate need of healing yet God has told you to wait.

When just being still long enough for Him to get a hold of you seems exhausting.

When another dream crumbles in front of your eyes and you strain to trust that this is God’s good and perfect plan.

When there’s nothing really going wrong but there’s also nothing going right.

When the prospect of trudging through another day hits you the moment you open your eyes and already you’ve been knocked down in defeat.

When no matter what you do and how hard you try you just don’t. get. better.

And when you face these seasons, sometimes nothing makes sense.

Sometimes, there’s nothing you can learn other than that Jesus will stop on this journey and sit with you in the middle of the road for a while when others seem to be zooming past.

Sometimes, you have to think really hard to remember the good things about God and you have to try really, really hard to believe He is who He says He is.

Sometimes, you have to learn that there are times when you just can’t do anything and in those moments Jesus is still for you.

Sometimes, you have to learn that there are days where all God has planned for you is to weep and to mourn and to grieve and that is enough.

Sometimes, you must sprint as fast as you can into the pain because healing will only be found in the aching.

Sometimes, you must humble yourself to let people just love you when there’s not much you can give them in return.

But as sure as the dawn of each new day, this season will begin to change before your eyes and all that was once dead will be resurrected.

Seasons change when you find the courage to worship even when every part of you is broken.

Seasons change when you see the wonder of a sunrise and are reminded that God’s faithfulness is painted all through creation.

Seasons change when you find hope because you may not know what He is doing but somehow you remember that you know who He is.

Seasons change when you feel the Lord’s delight as you roll down all the windows of your car while listening to your favorite song and you know somewhere deep down in your soul that everything is going to be okay.

Seasons change when everything in you wants to run away but you hear His sweet voice whispering in your ear that oh, how He desires that you would stay.

Seasons change when you do run away, but finally stumble Home as He runs to greet you, overjoyed to have you back, kissing and bandaging your scraped up knees.

Seasons change when against all odds, you hear your King going to battle for your heart and you know that there is nothing He wouldn’t do to win you.

Seasons change when the first few warm days of the year help you remember that no matter how long winter may seem to last, Spring is right around the corner.

Hold on, darling. No matter how desolate this season may be, I promise you that seasons change.