Wednesday, October 7, 2015

A Beautiful Rest

     I was up before my roommates today. I'm the sort of person who generally doesn't get out of bed until you drag me out or lure me out with food, but I woke up at about 7:15 and just didn't feel like sleeping anymore. I slipped out of the apartment and enjoyed a brief stroll through the rather brisk October air, taking my Bible and my prayer journal with me.
Our campus has these little secret spots; little pockets of forest tucked in among the lawns and landscaping. In particular, we have a big rocky outcropping that juts over the parking lot of my apartment building. It isn't hard to climb up to the top, so I did. I settled myself back into a hidden place in the rock.

     And I was still in the presence of the Lord.

     I think that sometimes I forget how perfect it feels just to breathe in and know that God is the very breath in my lungs. I forget what it's like to be still and know that He is God. I can't speak for any of you, but I know I often get hung up on the small things--I don't want to get up early, it's chilly outside, people will think I'm weird sitting on top of a big rock at 8am--and I forget how incredibly worth it this time is. I was able to sit, removed from the distractions of people and school and Facebook and just breathe. Feel the air fill my lungs. Over the sirens that seem to be constantly wailing in the distance, I heard birds and squirrels chattering. I hadn't expected to find any of this here, in New York, so far from the forests and mountains of my lovely Colorado. For the first time in days, my heart was truly thankful for all that God has given me. For the first time in days, I wasn't plagued by anxiety or self-doubt or loneliness or any of the other roller coaster feelings I've been experiencing since I came to college. As I focused on He who Was and Is and Is to Come, I remembered to just let myself be. Rather than trying to fill any role or accomplish any task or fit into any category. Just be. Exactly as God made me. No make-up, no fancy clothes or fancy words, just me and God on a chilly October morning.
     I have to say I treasure this time. I don't get to steal these moments as often as I could (or should). I almost didn't go this morning, for fear that someone would think I was weird. I'll admit I've struggled a little feeling like I don't have friends here yet. I almost didn't go because I wasn't sure how to meet with God. I feel like I've been very disconnected from Him over the last week or so. I almost didn't go because I've been feeling a lack of purpose in my life, and the last thing I want to do is be out of bed feeling useless and unproductive. But God knew all these things. And He used my time this morning to address each of them, in His timing, in His way. And I just remember thinking how incredibly, indescribably beautiful is He who comes to meet us as we are, who presents Himself in the stillness of an autumn morning or the drops of rain that fall on a September night. My heart is eight times lighter than it was when I left the apartment this morning.

     Never let it be said that God is not good.

     Tell me about your quiet moments. Sometimes I think we choose not to make room for rest because we think it isn't productive, but remember that we need rest in order to be rejuvenated and reminded of our purpose in Him. He uses rest to heal us, and to bring us closer to His heart. As always, I am happy to pray for you. Leave me a comment, email, or Facebook note. God bless.

Friday, October 2, 2015

My Response to the Oregon Shooting

     This doesn't strictly relate to beauty, but it's important. It's something God sort of put on my heart and I need to share it. I think it's important to remember that God has called us to courage, to something better than this life.
     Most of you have probably heard or read about the shooting in Oregon. I cried when I read the articles. It's frightening, knowing these things can and do happen. My prayers go with those who are with the Lord and those who are still struggling to make it. I pray they and their families will be wrapped in God's arms and that He will hold them close.
     But God also asked me something I wasn't sure I could answer. If I was in that room, if someone had pointed a gun at me and asked "are you a Christian?" would I have said yes? Would I have remembered Jesus' promise that "whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven", even if the risk was my life? Would you?
Continue to pray for these families. Continue to pray for Christians everywhere who are in danger of their lives for the message they bring. And have courage. Because even in their final hours God did not abandon them. He will not abandon us. And since He has not abandoned us, we do not need to fear for our lives, because no one can harm us unless it is in His will.

     Following is a quote from the BBC article covering the shooting.     "Stacy Boylan, the father of a woman who survived the shooting, told CNN that his daughter had described how the gunman asked his victims to state their religion before opening fire.
According to Mr Boylan, his daughter said the gunman told the Christians he killed that they were 'going to see God in just about one second'."

     "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid, not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go." -Joshua 1:9

     "You give and take away; you give and take away. My heart will choose to say: 'Lord, blessed is your name!'"