Tuesday, December 20, 2011


precious friends... :)  happy holidayyys!  It has been a while, but I hope each one of you found yourselves drifting off to sleep on November 24th with little tummies and hearts alike full of and from Thanksgiving!  I was so lucky to spend the Thanksgiving holiday with people I love so dearly, and that, in itself, was plenty to be thankful for though there are so many other things -- my cup overflows.  And now the most wonderful time of year is upon us!

As I'm certain many of you can relate, the past few months have been filled with busy schedules, papers, tests, work, friends, engagements, family, laughter, tears, love, peace, anxiety, sweet treats, books, joy, difficulties, decisions, emails, movies, TV on DVD, countless cups of coffee, phone calls, text messages, running, maybe a few letters here and there, and hopefully some late-night-pillow-talk with your bestie!  College is such a precious season of life, and I can hardly believe that it is a mere five months away from coming to a close.

I've made more genuine, loving, forgiving friends in the past four years than I ever thought humanly possible.  I'm so undeserving of them and undoubtedly do not thank Jesus enough for the precious people whom He has so gracefully allowed me to share life with these past few years.  Everything from living in the dorms to eating at the Caf to living in Theta and running down Chautauqua to spilling coffee on the way to class and drinking PTLs with the besties and biking around campus will forever be treasured in my mind.  Norman, Oklahoma is filled with so many vivid memories and so many more than my own.  Hundreds of thousands of lives have dwelt on this campus for over a hundred years.  As trite as it may sound, if walls could talk, I can only imagine the stories they'd have to tell.  But when I think of the stories that might be told of friends picnicking on the South Oval or pulling all-nighters at the Bizz during finals week or secret crushes in Microeconomics or tests taken in Dale or papers turned in at Gittenger or couples secretly (or not so secretly) makin' out in the Stacks, they're all special.

But what makes them even more special is when you connect the stories themselves to the people whom the stories are about.

Life in itself is so beautiful.  Creation is stunning and breathtaking, and so many times even a mere picture of the reality itself can move us to tears -- or me to tears at least (although we all know that isn't too much of a challenge).  How the universe works is mind-boggling, and I can't even attempt to begin to understand it.  I mean I could attempt, but let's be real, my efforts probs wouldn't be that fruitful.  Maybe your thing is the intricacies of how birds chirp and bees fly...  Or heck, I don't know, maybe you really like learning about chlorine or hydrogen or salinization or analyzing Shakespearian sonnets.  We're all special and unique in the things we enjoy.  But what is even more special than that...

is who we are.  

As cheesy as it sounds, what is most special about people is the heart behind their actions, the thoughts behind their words.  Think about the people you really love and the people who really love you.  You don't love them because they can name every species of caterpillar known to man.  Maybe you love caterpillars because they love caterpillars.  But I'd venture to say you love the people in your life because of something else -- something deeper.

You're special because of who you are -- because of what makes you who you are.  You're special because your heart and mind are uniquely yours.  For all the pain and joy dwelling inside of you, your story -- like mine -- is completely imperfect.  Yet the stories of all of our lives woven together somehow make something incredible.

For all of our hurts and pains and scars and joys and moments of sheer glee and freedom, while there is so much emotion (good and bad) tied up in those things, in reality, those are the things that have truly shaped us into who we are.  More so than that even, however, it is often the feelings we've experienced in life that allow us to relate to one another most deeply.  Shared experiences are so wonderful in fostering friendships, but more often than not -- it is the shared emotion from those shared experiences that bind us together in a beautiful way.  For even when the pictures of our lives aren't particularly pretty, when the stories of our lives lie next to one another, they're somehow so much stronger.

I always quote Frederick Buechner.  In fact, I've probably referenced this exact quote before, but it's my favorite... "The grace of God means something like this: Here is your life.  You might never have been, but you are because the party wouldn't have been complete without you.  Here is the world.  Beautiful and terrible things happen.  Don't be afraid. I am with you. Nothing can ever separate us. It's for you I created the universe. I love you.  There's only one catch.  Like any other gift, the gift of grace can be yours only if you'll reach out and take it.  Maybe being able to reach out and take it is a gift too."

I love that.  You're a part of the party.  Heck, we are in the middle of the party!  And I'm pretty confident that even amidst all of its pain and suffering, life is a stinkin' awesome party.  Thank you, Lord, for inviting us.  

So many times we can get so caught up with what we're doing rather than resting in who we are.  I can be so guilty of this at times.  But here is the beautiful part... You weren't invited to the party because of what you do but because of who you are and even more so because of who God is.  But even above the idea that life is a party and we're all invited (we just have to show up), maybe the coolest thing is that behind all the little stories that make up the overarching story of an individual's life, there exists the creator of all good stories Himself.

He has already given us the most meaningful story of them all.  And in regard to His story, He simply asks us to believe.  Behind that story was a man named Jesus and behind Jesus was God because Jesus is God.  Jesus said that by looking at himself we could know and have seen God. See John 1:14, John 1:18, and John 14:5-14.  So many times we create in our minds a picture of what God looks like based off of our own experiences with authority figures or our own fathers even.  But GOD IS PERFECT.  God is the PERFECT Father. He is the DIVINE creator.  He is our protector, our high priest, our daddy.  He is PEACE and LOVE and JOY.  He is beginning and end.  All the good jokes -- he came up with them first.  He forgives always even when we cannot forgive ourselves.  He is faithful even when we are not.  He never leaves us and will never leave us.  He is so complex that to even begin to describe Him would completely limit His power and the entirety of who He is.

And yet we have such a difficult time believing and trusting.  (We aren't alone -- it happened to Job and Moses too... For God's response to Job see there.  Wowzers.  And before then when Moses doubted God's ability to use him, God replied, "I AM WHO I AM."

It's like He says, "Get in the boat.  I will be with you wherever you go.  I know you can't do it.  I know you can't possibly understand how much I love you or all that I am doing, but you underestimate me so.  Oh and did you forget... I win.  I already won."

I want to be completely honest in that some days it is difficult for me to believe everything about God and the Bible.  Sometimes I don't understand why God allows certain things to happen.  Even in my own life when I can justify painful situations by trusting that God knows what is best and that all things work for his glory -- that often times doesn't make the situation any less painful.  But somehow simply knowing that He sees the bigger picture (He created it) gives me joy.  It gives me hope.

Trusting and believing who He is gives me hope for eternity, and it makes me want to dance and sing and frolic in the sunset like it's heaven on earth.  I'm pretty sure the only reason I have that hope is because I believe that God is the ultimate creator, and He sees the bigger picture.  He sees the WHOLE picture.  He sees it all.  And in those situations where I don't understand a dang thing or I'm so stinkin' confused about a decision or the way a situation is playing out or everything seems to be crumbling down around me... I can stand to see the salvation of the Lord, for the battle is not mine but His.  He will fight for us if we are only still.  He holds our lives in His hands.  As believers, we have been adopted into the family and are HIS CHILDREN.  And if we are His children, than we share in His inheritance.  We share in his glory, and we share in His story.

In Christ, this is our story: While we are completely sinful beings, we are made NEW.  By believing in Jesus, we are restored into the beings we were intended to be.  The best way I can describe it is that it's magical in a sense because we can't do it on our own.  But it isn't magical at the same time because it's Jesus, and that's just who He is.  He restores.  He makes all things new.  He never gives up.  And it isn't as though believing in Jesus fixes all of your problems or that you never screw up again because life is still hard and you (or at least I) still make sooo many mistakes.  But that new life begins NOW.  So it isn't like we have to wait to be hopeful or joyful until we get to heaven because we have the power of the Holy Spirit inside of us to be peaceful and joyful and hopeful and loving in ALL situations because HE IS ALL THESE THINGS ALWAYS.  As our lives are reflective of our stories, our stories thus ought to be reflective of the one who created them in the first place.  

And I'm convinced that when we BELIEVE and firmly FIX OUR HOPE on JESUS, that hope should make us want to bring hope to others... to bring love to others... to let them know that THEY ARE LOVED... that in Christ... they are NEW... not better... NEW... To walk into situations where people are hurting and bring peace and bring love and bring joy not by our own power but by the power of Christ living inside of us.

Believe this Christmas and forevermore that God is with you and for you.  He saves.  He hears.  He sees.  He heals.  He loves and forgives always and forever.  And He simply asks that we take Him at His word and believe.

"I pray that God, the source of hope will fill you completely with joy and peace because you believe in Him.  Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit." -Romans 15:13

"whatever is in front of me, I choose to sing hallelujah!"

glory, glory, glory

All my love:)

1 comment:

  1. beautiful, Sister!! you are such a marvelous writer and I know there are BIG things up ahead!