Thursday, December 15, 2011

Everything I Ever Wanted

"You are stronger. You are stronger. Sin is broken, You have saved me. It is written, Christ is risen. Jesus, You are Lord of all."

This is the song that was lifted up by hundreds of voices at Moody Bible Institute's dedication ceremony in August. Among all of the students, parents, and faculty stood my family and I as we tried to fight back tears of finality, trying to dispel all thoughts of the good-byes that were coming. I stood there, biting my lip and trying my hardest to fight back the tears that I knew would come. My little sister clung to me, and I broke. She looked up at me, looked down, and immediately looked back up at me again in surprise as she saw the tears flow. She began to cry, loudly this time, and I wasn't sure how I was going to endure the "good-byes" or the long months away from these people that I love so much. As the voices rose up to the One who had brought each and every one of us to this place, I was overwhelmed. Not by fear, not by doubt, not by sadness; no, I was overwhelmed with a peace that came only from the Lord; this God who is stronger, so much stronger and bigger than my doubts and fears. This God, who is Lord of all; He is Lord of my life and every moment of my life. Immediately, a peace overwhelmed me. It was a peace of knowing assurance that I was standing exactly in the place where the Lord wanted me to be. This is a peace that repels all doubts. This is a peace that enveloped my heart in a warm reassurance. This is a peace that passes all understanding.

This was back in August, four months ago. Looking back, it feels like it could have been a year ago as I ponder all that the Lord has done in my life and in my heart, all that He has taught me, and all the challenges that He has brought me through. In tutoring refugee children, persevering long days in the library writing 15 page Old Testament papers, investing hours of studying for tests and finals, searching for a "home" church without my family, adapting to life in the city, planning and team-teaching a class, making new friends, and starting a new life 676 miles and three states away from all that I knew and loved, the Lord has taught me and grown me more than I could have ever possibly imagined.

The Lord has sent me to this place. He has lovingly and providentially guided me to this place in my life, for such a time as this. I believe with all my heart that this was in His Plan for me before I ever sent in one college application. I had been so set - so set in my own way of going to a different college, one closer to "home". I almost did not follow the Lord to this place in my life; and if I hadn't, I would have missed out on all that He has for me here. I can hardly imagine it now. I can hardly imagine how I ever considered other places, how I almost rejected my acceptance letter, how I wanted to turn around and go back once I got here.

I am convinced more now than I ever was before that the Devil wants to steal my life away from me. He is constantly throwing darts of fear and doubt and discontent at me that cause me to want to turn around and turn away from all that the Lord has set before me. He has done it so many times before and each time it has been so strong that I literally almost turned around and ran away from what the Lord had asked of me. By God's grace, and only by His grace, I took a step forward in the direction the Lord was leading me in and I have never regretted doing so. I am resting in His arms. God is so sovereign and mighty... He is love... He is beauty... He is justice... I can rest my life in Him. I can turn away from all of my fears, worries, and doubts and look toward the face of Jesus and breathe out a big sigh of relief because in His arms, I am safe. I am loved. I am right where I was created to be when I rest my life in the arms of Christ. And I am blessed... So, so very blessed. This life He has given me is one that I have always wanted but never knew how to ask for, never knew how to put in words to pray for.

I cannot settle. I cannot ever settle for anything other than what He has for me. It is so freeing - so completely freeing - to be able to live out my passion for the Lord. I do not ever need to settle for anything less than the passions that He has placed in my heart. I should not settle for anything less than what He has placed on my heart to do for His Kingdom.

No, it's not easy. Yes, it is very challenging. But I am convinced more now than ever before that it is worth it. Why give in to fear for a moment, when that one moment can change your life forever? That one moment of giving in to fear can change one's entire life course. It almost changed mine.

"You are stronger. You are stronger. Sin is broken, You have saved me. It is written, Christ is risen. Jesus, You are Lord of all."

I listen to this song again, once more overwhelmed by the place where the Lord has brought me.
Looking back, I can see His providential hand faithfully guiding, providing, leading, and loving me throughout this season of my life and every one before it. The same God who was faithful to me then will be faithful to me now and forevermore. Even when I am so faithless, He was and is faithful. Praise Jesus.

Father, thank You. Thank You so much for who You are and for all that You have done and constantly do for me. I do not deserve this. Thank You for being unchanging. Thank You that I can trust You to walk me through every season of life. Thank You for loving me with a love that I can know nowhere else. Thank You for pouring out Your grace in my life every single day. May I never settle for anything other than what You have for me. May I never settle for something good when You ask me to live out Your best.
So be it. Amen.