Monday, November 18, 2013

Finding Joy.

This weekend the curtain in Hoke Auditorium rose and fell with three performances of Play On. And as the curtain fell for the very last time, I came to the startling conclusion that I'd grown to really appreciate and enjoy the group of people I'd walked through the last 10 weeks with. In the midst of Herm finals and mid-semester stress, they'd become a reasonably safe place where I could come and pretend to be someone else for a little Bible dictionaries and hard conversations required. A mini-family. Of course, the typical "oh we're gonna hang out still!"s were exchanged, but there's a subtle, unspoken acknowledgement that it won't be the same anymore. And even though it seems like a lesson I'm learning late, I'm beginning to learn that life ebbs and flows in sections, and they can come and go before you ever learn how to fully appreciate them for what they are. 

Sophomore year is hard....probably the hardest year of life I've walked through yet. But I think, as absolutely ridiculous as it sounds, I'm learning to appreciate it for what it is: growth and destruction and joy in the midst of pain and uncomfortability and inconvenience. And I think as I begin to appreciate sophomore year, I'm beginning to realize that though it's my hardest, this might be one of my favorite years yet. 

It has been a year thus far of the Lord re-breaking the bones of my soul that I have allowed to grow back together crookedly and misaligned on their own....and it has been painful and has humbled me time and time again. And it seems weird to think that in the midst of this kind of confusion and questioning of the things I thought I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that there could be joy, and yet there is. 

Because the weaker and more fragile I become, the more aware I become of the over-encompassing, overwhelming strength and power of the Gospel. I've been so guilty of attributing myself the work in my life that so directly falls from the extension of God's grace....I've credited myself with working my way to humility, with teaching myself grace, with loving people well because I just happen to be a compassionate person and it comes easy. And it seems so abnormal to think that I dread all the stress and anxiety and questions and uncertainty ending....but with it comes a daily dependence on Christ that I have never experienced before because if we're being honest I've never realized my need for it before. 

It's strange to think that hardship could be a gift....and yet it is. A gifting and ability to experience God's grace and mercy in ways that I've never had opportunity to before. I fall so often into the temptation of assuming I know the Lord's plan and purpose, and I forget that sometimes the things I point at and say "Lord this is good" aren't, and the things I ask the Lord to take away I shouldn't. 

So here's to joy in the midst of sophomore year, grace that comes in strange wrappings, and the realization AGAIN that I don't even begin to have God figured learning that staying home with a cup of coffee and an open Bible can sometimes bring just as much healing as driving to a people-full building and listening to the discovering that John Mayer really does comprise the perfect study session playlist....and to looking for the Lord in the little things so He is glorified ever more in the bigger ones. 

And here's to all the really jumbled up thoughts coming out of my mind. I don't know if they make sense, but here's hoping that maybe they do :) 

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