Into All Truth.

Being back home for the past couple weeks has made me reflect upon this school year, and especially upon the growth I’ve experienced in my relationship with God even in this last semester.

One concept that my heart continues returning to is the reality of what God has shown me during this season compared to the reality of my thoughts and mind before this season. Let me explain…

For so much of my life, I have lived in fear. Fear of what may happen. Fear of dreadful possibilities. Fear that God wouldn’t come through for me. For more nights than I can count, I would spend exorbitant amounts of time lying paralyzed with fear about things beyond my control. I was so fearful that I couldn’t fall asleep because I was afraid to fall asleep. The enemy presented a reality of fear to me, and I willingly accepted living in fear as my reality. And as the enemy continued to feed me with fear, I continued to listen because it was familiar to me, and therefore had a sense of safety attached to it. I could rely on my fear because I knew that it would always be there. (Even as I write this, the irrationality of the enemy’s thoughts in my head are so apparent.) I surrendered to allowing fear to be a part of my everyday life, and fear became an activity I was not even conscious of at times because of its familiarity.

Yet, the Holy Spirit speaks truth. He leads us into ALL truth. No lies are found in Him, and He speaks no lies to us. And where the Spirit is, there is FREEDOM.

And this past year, I have begun to experience this beautiful freedom from fear. I have realized that God’s perfect love casts out all of my fear. I have realized that His love is my reality. My new reality. It is jaw-dropping to me to think that I lived so much of my time in fear because I believed it was the best reality I could live. I believed that because I had always been fearful, that I would always have to live that way. No. Not so. I am not meant to live in fear. We are not meant to live in fear.

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” 
~2 Timothy 1:7

As many times as I’ve heard this verse, I was never truly believing it. As I believe this verse and claim it over my life, it is changing the way I live!

His love is becoming more and more familiar to me, and the fear the enemy has injected into me is becoming more foreign. As I pray for God to continue to perfect His love in me, He continues to help me see how perfect His love is for me.

When I have a fearful thought about the future, I am beginning to surrender to His love, not the enemy’s fear. Here I am each night, lying down in the same bedroom I’ve fallen asleep in for the past 19+ years, but for the first time in my life, I do not fall prey to the enemy’s gripping fear. There is an amazing peace that envelops my heart these days…soothing me, calming me, allowing me to trust that God is holding the tomorrow that He chooses to give me. I am sleeping with a restful heart.

God gives freedom from the reality the enemy has earnestly imparted to us. God’s reality is true.

TRUTH.

“When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth.” ~John 16:13a
Holy Spirit, lead us into Your truth. Make so apparent the lies of the enemy we have readily believed. May Your truth permeate our hearts, allowing us to not only glimpse–but experience–the reality of what You have for us. Such good things.

Make Someone Happy.

It’s amazing how creative God is in the way He speaks to us.

At the start of this week, my mom and I took a talk at Lake Katherine. What a joy it was to be within nature once again, admiring the trees and water and ducks and geese (Well, not so much the geese. My mom and I had to run away from one that started to chase us).

Maybe I was a little TOO glad to be back. It took us three times as long to walk the one-mile trail because I had to stop to “Awww” at the turtles, the swans, the breeze, the sun…But it was delightful.

Somewhere along our walk when I was capturing a photo of some tulips, an elderly gentleman (probably around the age of 80) came up to us. First, he offered to take a picture of me and my mom. With this gesture, he encouraged us to capture not just the scenery but the person we were enjoying the day with.

After he had the woman who was with him (who appeared to be his caregiver) take this photo of us, he opened up a grocery bag he was holding and gave us each a hand-painted rock. Here’s a picture of mine:

He did this for no apparent reason but to share with us something that he made. He suggested that we put the rocks in one of our planters during the summer to add some decoration. Then he feebly walked away. My mom and I were touched. He didn’t have to momentarily enter our lives, but he chose to share his smile and his little garden rocks with us to make our day brighter.

This whole week, I haven’t been able to forget this gentleman’s gesture. It was so simple, yet it gave me great perspective. How can I make someone’s day brighter? Too often, I am caught up with what’s next on my agenda or where I have to be by a certain time. Do I open my eyes to see who I can impact at church, in the grocery store, or even on a walking path? What ways can I make someone happy?

I may not cross paths with you again, kind gentleman, but thank you for this beautiful rock. You have reminded me that I have much to give those around me, even if it is through the simplest of measures.

A Hallmark Card.

I’m checking out of my cozy dorm room in Walther Hall tomorrow evening. This means I have spent much of my day today packing for the journey home that begins after I wake up from pillowing my head for the last time in my room tonight. When I sift through my belongings while packing, I tend to reflect on what each belonging means to me. This can make packing an lengthy and emotionally involved process. Nonetheless, it’s part of my packing routine.

While taking down items from my wall, I stopped and stared at one of my favorite high school graduation cards. I received this card from my brother–a Hallmark card (My dream is to work as a Hallmark card writer one day!). This card has greatly impacted me from the first time I read it, and it has hung on my wall above my desk this past year as a reminder of the support I have from my brother and other caring individuals back home.

To me, the greatest compliments are those that point toward my character. In the midst of a society that continues to focus on how many accomplishments one can tally up, this card reminds me that it’s the person I am who can affect the individuals around me–not what fantastic grades I can put on my transcript or how many degrees I can achieve. During finals week, this gives me a needed perspective. It’s easy for me to tie in my worth to how well I conquer an exam or a course, but the Holy Spirit softly speaks to my heart to reassure me that God sees me for who I am in Him, not what I accomplish. 
I want to make the world a better place. I want to make people smile when they are in my company. Not to gain charisma or fame, but to show God’s love in all that I do. For in being who He has made me to BE, He will speak to my heart to show me what to DO. 
God wants us to recognize that He is drawing us to BE in Him. He calls us lovely, complete, and loved in Him. What a beautiful identity.