As I’ve eluded to recently, this year has held a lot of unknowns and surprising developments..good and bad. During the spring semester I took a few college courses and received a promotion at work to co-lead a classroom in the school I have been a T.A. for two years now. Woohoo!! In between that journey were a lot of ugly bumps (in my personal life) but by the time August rolled around I felt like I had come on top and was doing fine. I had found the cutest studio and was living in my favorite part of Chicago, slowly beginning to decorate and really make the place my own.
But living on your own in a big city can have demons of its own. (I dealt with) Loneliness.
In most areas of life I was satisfied. But I felt a disconnect in my relationships and was not fulfilled. Looking back I realize my fellowship with God was lacking but at the time I analyzed I just needed to make new friends and open myself up to new experiences. A few crazy nights later and I’m feeling empty again because I went to materials that couldn’t offer me what my heart was really yearning for.
I was still reading the Christian books, attending Bible study and church on Sundays, but I had a separate life. A side I only entertained when I had nothing better to do, idle hands. I’m thankful to say this only went on for a few months when it could have been much longer. Friends and family listened to my story as it unfolded while I deflated. God spoke through each one as they encouraged me to step away. One Sunday I knew, this was over but fast forward two weeks later and I’m putty in their hands again.
If it hadn’t been for my family’s unexpected trip to Tennessee, I’m not sure what my life would look like right now. I came back to Chicago, changed my number to truly leave those relationships in the past and set forward on a new path.
You know how many times scripture prompts us to flee sexual temptation? Actually, I don’t either. But I do realize when He says flee, you better run like there’s a flame to your butt. Because you don’t play with fire. You see, I was playing a role without living out my commitment. It felt wrong and uncomfortable to me but as I tried to forage my way back to Christ, I kept stumbling and tripping myself up. Some of you may be surprised to be reading this but now more than ever has it become clear to me how important our testimonies are! Several stick out in my mind that (in dark seasons) reminded me where I had gone was not the worst as well as God’s grace in their lives. He is always present, always gracious and always loving (even when it hurts.)
A book I had been putting off reading all summer was a book titled, Praying, Finding Our Way Through Duty to Delight by JI Packer. I have read many convicting Christian “revival” books but this one is so saturated with scripture it’s impossible to not walk away with a changed heart.
During a transitional season of shifting from living one way to living the way, it was the perfect companion. “He is the God who is there, everywhere present, and everywhere in control.”
Joshua 23:14 “Not one word has failed of all the good things that the Lord your God has promised concerning you. All have come to pass for you, not one of them has failed.”
Romans 4:20-22 “No distrust made him waiver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in His faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he promised. That is why his faith was counted to him as righteousness.”
These scriptures are precious to me because they remind me the plan I have in mind is bound to change and evolve as my life becomes His. God has promised many good things, and he will not go back on His word. Of that I’m confident.