Loneliness is a funny thing.
I am sitting in my bed tonight, like I do most nights missing this amazing man that I have the privilege of calling my own. We are closer than we have ever been to finally being together and yet, I wish it were closer.
After a year and a half of distance, and the blessing of doing life with this man even from a far, I can say that I have learned a few very valuable lessons. Whether it is the distance itself, the amazing heart of the man I love or the lessons God has been teaching me over the past two years I would like to say I am happier than I have ever been, distance or no. Even though being away from the love of my life aches in corners of my heart I didn’t know I had, somehow I wouldn’t change it.
You see from the very beginning, we knew we were choosing this life. We knew from the get-go that if we chose to take our friendship, and cross that line we had kept it behind for so long, that we would be choosing to do so over 500km’s apart. We would be choosing to see where “we” fit in the midst of two full time ministry positions, in two different cities, with the addition of school, family, and my health issues. Crazy? You bet, but we were even crazier about each other. I didn’t even hesitate for a second in choosing this man, there was not a second thought or pause. I entered into this whole heartedly, from the depths of my soul, with everything I had, despite the less than perfect conditions.
But it has been these conditions that have taught me things about the man I chose, that maybe I couldn’t have learned any other way. I learned that he is incredibly stubborn, but not in a bad way. He would like to say that he is ‘difficult’, but whatever you call it, I interpreted it as determination, to never give in, never give up, and never compromise when it came to our relationship. I saw this man go through the most incredible and sometimes unimaginable struggles, I sat with him on skype or the phone through some of the most heart-wrenching circumstances where everything inside of my felt like getting in my car, and driving all night to see him, to hold him. And yet even when I offered, even when I knew everything in him wanted me to be there just as bad, he said no. He chose wisdom, he chose to say no, don’t come, it doesn’t make sense, or it’s too late, or it’s not smart the way you’re feeling. With each moment of stubbornness I watched him put me first, love me more than he hated his circumstances, value me more than he wanted to be comforted. I watched him choose to love me by saying, It’s ok….I will be there soon.
I learned that you don’t need to see someone everyday to know their heart. I learned that talking for hours can bring two people closer than skin on skin ever would. I learned that by missing him, I could put him first, and allow him to serve powerfully where God had placed him, while I did the same. I learned that when we put God first, and we honoured where He had placed us that He would surely and eventually open doors to bring us together.
There are some things I am not perfect at yet. Truthfully I don’t believe I will ever be good at being away from the man I love, but what I have learned is that the life we have built together, even from afar is more than I could have ever hoped for and that the life we will build together in just a few months will be out of this world. How do I know? Because I have been loved such dedication, so passionately, with such strength and determination from miles away, that I know what that love transfers to when we are finally together.
I said to myself once, “well if we can do this, there is nothing we can’t do”, but you know the truth? This season is nothing compared to what I know we will face. I am not so disillusioned by love or passion that I can’t say we will face struggles. In fact I intend to work so powerfully for God’s kingdom with this man, that I might as well tape a target on my back now. I know without a doubt that we will face far greater things than distance. But I also know that I will face these things with the same man who puts me first, who refuses to settle, who chooses wisdom, and who seeks God above all else, and it’s for that reason that I cannot wait to walk hand in hand with him into our future.
So tonight, loneliness is a good thing. Loneliness is the reminder that I have someone amazing to miss, and we will have a life so full of love and so full of joy, hope, passion, and strength that it is worth the wait, and it always has been.
So here’s to forever, it’s really only days away.
So I spent this past weekend in two very incredible places.
First was jr high conference, where I took a group of 13 or so community students to their first Christian convention. For these students (all but three) have never been to church, never experienced worship, or corporate prayer, let alone altar time and the moving of the Holy Spirit.
Just before Friday night session I was struggling in my spirit. These days ministry has become tough. It’s a time of crazy transition and the accepting of change. I have really begun in the midst of all this to take responsibility for my students on myself. I realized very quickly as I began to try and enter into worship that I was carrying 13 jr highs on my back. I was bearing the load of their experience, feeling like I would be a failure if they didn’t dig in.
It was in a moment of worship, that clear as day, God reminded me of something very important. I was singing a line of the song “God I give it all to you, I lay it all down” and almost as if He was standing right in front of me, God said “but you gotta give me them too”.
With a heaviness in my chest and a sinking feeling in my stomach I knew He was right. Though I have been given the privilege of leading them, these kids do not belong to me. Their salvation won’t be because of me and it is not my job to fix them, only to love them with everything I have, and I do.
The service went on and the pastor spoke, and ended with a call for students to come to know Jesus. Following the request to keep our eyes closed, I did not look around when the Pastor asked for students to raise their hand if they wanted to accept Christ as their saviour. I simply stood and prayed and prayed and prayed. He went on a few minutes later to request that any student who raised their hand and prayed the prayer to accept Jesus come down to the front as a step of faith and act of obedience.
Moments later I opened my eyes and every single one of my students was gone. They had all gone down to the front. Suddenly my eyes filled up with tears, and I knew this was God confirming in me what He had spoken only moments before. Each of my students gave their heart to Jesus that night. Each of them prayed, and worshiped with hands raised and hearts abandoned. These students who didn’t even know Jesus died on a cross six months ago were tearfully, and whole heartedly worshiping him at the altar. It was one of the most peaceful and incredible moments of my life in ministry. God had them. He had had them all along.
I was so busy worried about making things perfect for them that I forgot to release them to the God who is love, who is perfect and who is always working for them. God showed me that night that when I surrender to Him, even my students who I hold nearer and dearer than most anyone in this life, He shows me His power to speak to them and guide them. It all really has very little to do with me, and that’s a beautiful thing.
After jr high conference I went away to Northern Pastors Conference. It was an amazing few days of refreshment and teaching.
The Pastor who spoke this week was incredibly candid, and vulnerable about burn out and how to remain seeking God ourselves as pastors, rather than just aiding others in seeking God.
He mentioned something that stuck with me. He said “just because it’s a common saying or even cliché doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be said”
It got me thinking about all the times I’ve hurt and been struggling or I’ve seen students struggle and hurt themselves and somewhere along the line I convinced myself that telling them to “trust God”, or that “God works all things for good”, or that “God never breaks His promises” is to cliché or common place and won’t help them. And you know what, that’s ridiculous.
Just because something is a common Christian saying or even a commonly quoted Biblical truth does not make it any less powerful in our lives. In fact it has likely become repeated and common BECAUSE it is truth. We say things like this over and over not because they are just easy things to say but because they are Bible written truths that we can choose to declare over the situations we face in this life. We live in a world that is always looking for the “the next best thing”, and so sometimes in life we end up doing the same. We look at our walk with God and the support we receive through these truths being spoken over us, and instead of being appreciative and humble we ask for something better or bigger or new.
I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say that if everyone in your life is “repeating” the same truth over you, it’s likely that it’s probably less a cliché and more that you need to hear it and God is trying to get your attention.
Watching my students meet with Jesus this past weekend was one of the most incredible experiences of my life, and you know what? They were called to the front to “surrender” to “give it all to God”. They responded to these exact “cliché Christian sayings” not because they were new and amazing but because they are the truth. There is no better solution in this life for anything we face than to give it to God.
I’m realizing that life with Jesus and life being used in ministry is not about looking for the next best thing, or for building my ego and carrying the spiritual life of students on my back. Life is walking in the dark, trusting that God is leading you somewhere good. Ministry is saying “here I am, send me and use me” and knowing that the outcomes belong solely to God.
So tonight I shout every “cliché” from the rooftops because God IS good, and He IS for me, and that means NO ONE can be against me. I have learnt that when I SURRENDER, God takes what I lay down and makes something incredibly great out of it.
So here’s to the simple truths that make the biggest impact at the end of the day.
Made these tonight <3 #soexcited
What a surreal and incredible weekend. This weekend, I answered the most amazing and life-changing question. This past saturday I said yes, to marrying the man of my dreams.
It was an insane day. Complete with wedding-dress shopping, a scavenger hunt, a flash mob in the park and fireworks! The proposal itself was beyond anything I could have ever imagined, and the time and organization put into it only speaks to the dedication of the man I love.
Without a doubt it was and is a day to remember. But as I sit here now and reflect on it all, I am struck with an even more exciting thought. More than saying yes, or planning my wedding, or even my wedding day, I am excited just to be married. I am excited to do life with my best friend every day, to serve and work alongside him, and for the impact God will make through us as a team.
I read an article today that was all about hating the expression that weddings are the “first day of the rest of your life”. Now on some levels I do understand this. Because I do believe that my life up until this point and up until I am married is incredibly full of purpose, direction, shaping, moulding, growth and impact. I do not for a minute discount my life before being engaged or married or even before dating. In fact it’s that part of my life that as I sit and reflect hits me the hardest. It’s the days and years spent becoming the woman of God that my soon-to-be husband deserves. Not that this was my life purpose, because I believe God’s plans for me far exceed a marriage and being something for someone else. But it’s more the idea that God’s incredible plan to make me the woman He intends me to be included this. It’s the thought that as I am in transit, as God has and continues to develop me, I have become the woman my fiancé deserves and the type of woman God intended for him, and vice versa. It’s just incredible to me that God knits us together in such neat ways. That even though my purpose is so much more than to be with someone else, God still thought to bring me the one person who could support me, challenge me, and love me for everything I am and am not.
It’s the thought that my life up until this point always included this man, even though I didn’t know it yet. That God knew who I would ultimately chose, and so He created a plan to use us both for the kingdom. Not to say that if I had spent my single, that I would have been any-less affective. This is not some rant about being married, nor is it meant to diminish those who are single.
This is simple a post of awe and wonder and thankfulness towards God for my blessings. It is a moment taken to glorify God for his incredible plan, and for all the ways He knew exactly what I needed, and for His perfect provision. It is the realization that my marriage will be a victory for the kingdom, as I partner with this man to reach others for Jesus. It’s the understanding that I am incredibly blessed and powerful on my own through Jesus, but that God blessed with the choice to choose another, and to work as a team.
I am ecstatic about the endless possibilities of life with this man, and I cannot wait to see how God uses our marriage to touch lives, and ultimately glorify Him. It’s the realization that marriage should be and will be a picture of God’s perfect love for us, and that He plans to use us to display that love in ways we cannot yet imagine.
So here is to this partnership and all that comes next, realizing that this blessing is all that I could have ever hoped for, and infinitely more than I deserve.