Thursday, April 19, 2012

My Life is Stuffed with Blessings

It's been almost a year.

It's crazy how four little letters can contain so much. Change, growth, tears, laughter, plane tickets, moving boxes, textbooks, love, Jesus, multiple jars of Nutella, new friends, old friends, and family.

The beginning of May became very important in my life two years ago. My house flooded, my dad had a heart attack, and one of my best friends was involved in a life-threatening car accident within days of each other. One year ago, I took a leap of faith that caused a lot of heartbreak. Then took a journey to the Middle East for three weeks, where my life was changed forever.

So now that this semester (and my junior year of college) is quickly drawing to a close, I find that the beginning of May is fast approaching. And with the beginning of May comes time to remember and be thankful for the growth and for the love that has consumed my life.

A portion of this past year was spent with my heart, mind, and soul in fragmented pieces. Searching for truth, searching for worth, and searching for healing took on many different forms, some of them healthier than others. I traveled, made new friends, spent lots of time with old ones, and invested in some really fantastic girls in Franklin. I "unplugged" my self-worth line from Jesus and began to plug it into other things- work, boys, friendships...

But I learned that being "unplugged" from the life source of Jesus Christ was damaging my heart, mind, and soul. Satan had convinced me that what was in the world was greater than what I had with Jesus. I didn't walk away from the Lord completely, but I began to invest my heart into other things. The summer ended and I came back to school. I had put all my fragmented pieces back together in the resemblance of a heart, but it was held together with tape and glue. The slightest gust of wind or gentle shake could have brought my heart tumbling down again.

Fall semester, I joined this incredible ministry called Students With A Testimony. I met really freaking amazing college students who loved Jesus and loved students. We travel and lead DiscipleNow weekends with middle and high school students for churches in the area. I've traveled all over Georgia, Alabama, and I even did a weekend in Wisconsin for SWAT.
I joined SWAT thinking that I would be able to minister to young ladies and encourage them in their walks. Little did I know that the blessings I would receive in return were more than I could ever have imagined.
I met people - from students to host home families to other SWAT leaders to youth pastors. But the quality of the people I met, and the truth that they were speaking into me was so much more than I ever was expecting. And I am incredibly thankful for it. There were challenging moments (like getting 8 middle school girls off the topic of Justin Beiber and on to the topic of honoring Christ in our relationships with our families) but there were also fantastic moments where Jesus totally showed up. Being able to pour into younger girls and encourage them to fall head over heels in love with Jesus blessed my soul. And reminded me of how absolutely amazing Jesus is.

My life is stuffed with blessings.

This semester, I began to work for Cleveland City Schools. I help teach an after school program to elementary schoolers, kindergarten to fifth grade. Many of my little monsters (and I say that with the most love in my heart) come from really rough backgrounds. You can almost see the hunger for love in their eyes.
I have yelled, swept up Goldfish crumbs, played race, swung, given more hugs, been given more weed flower bouquets (those are my favorite), taken more temperatures, laughed, danced, and met more invisible friends in the past two months than I have in a long time. And it has provided more healing than anything else in the past year.
I am always amazed that even after the hardest day with my kiddos, I find myself missing them. The way they think I'm a hero, the way they say my name and want me to chase them around the playground, the way their sweet little arms wrap around my legs for hugs, and the way their eyes light up when they understand what we're learning...these are a few of my favorite things. And the way that I miss them the minute they leave only encourages me that I am made to teach elementary schoolers. Some days are chaos, and some days make me want to pull my hair out. But it's amazing how giving and giving and giving to others gives you so much in return. It's like my little friends have reached into the farthest places of my heart, blown off the cobwebs, and restored me to whole. It's only Jesus' grace and provision that I have the job I do and that I work with incredible co-workers who I have grown to love. And that I teach, laugh, play, chase, tickle, and adventure with some of the greatest elementary schoolers around.

My life is stuffed with blessings.

Through this year, I have continually asked myself how people live without Jesus. I saw this pin on Pinterest the other day (yes, I'm making a point out of something I saw on Pinterest.) that read,

"I love God. No, I don't want to force it down your throat. But man, you're missing out."

There is nothing truer. This past year has taught me that. The abundant life that Jesus offers...there's nothing sweeter, truer, purer, or more fulfilling. His grace is addicting and His love is extravagant. Trip Lee's new album is currently rocking my world (along with Christy Nockles, Flame, and the Hillsong Live album that came out in February) and he says it best in his song "One Sixteen":

When it comes to God everybody’s got a version
Some are wearing turbans
Others getting virgins
With all of these options, we know he’s for certain
‘Cause ain’t no other God like mine
You gots to admit it
Yeah, I’m fallin’ ‘cuz I’m sinning
Yet his grace is sufficient
Beat the grave
Said it’s finished
Got them unsearchable riches and they deep
That’s why I’m like
Can you dig it?

-Trip Lee, One Sixteen

His grace is sufficient. He beat the grave. His unsearchable riches go on and on and on.

I'mma brag on my King.

At the beginning of May of 2012, I'm moving into my first apartment (for my senior year at Lee). I'm also spending 5 days in Chicago with a blessing of a man. :) I am unbelievably excited for good memories and answers to prayer. This summer brings new relationships, a new apartment, classes, rock climbing, coffee drinking, laying in the sunshine, dancing, and I'm sure lots and lots more Jesus.

My life is stuffed with blessings.