i have a lot of thoughts mixing around in my head right now. tonight was the first night of a sweet acts29 conference i was lucky enough to be invited to by soma. matt carter spoke tonight and i feel like i need to hash out my thoughts a bit.
1. i was challenged to think about moments in my life that serve as guideposts, sort-of-speak. matt spoke about a moment in peter’s life where as he’s sitting in his prison cell, all alone, with a tiny window, and as he watches the raindrops fall outside it reminds him of the ocean, and the beach, where he first met Jesus. that was a huge, defining moment in peter’s life because he gave up everything, to follow Jesus. what is my beach moment?
well, there’s, salvation. a realization of a need for a saviour. i can not do this on my own, and Jesus you are good and right and i will follow you. yes! all of these. for me, these were thoughts and understandings i had in the 7th grade, and as i sat there, memories and thoughts flooded my head in a very unclear, fuzzy way, and BAM, i remembered.
i think about this particular moment a lot and i wasn’t sure why until tonight. my fish year of college, i became part of a sweet college ministry in lubbock, called nine30 and this group had gone on a mission trip to califonia over spring break. i did not go. i was kinda a flake. but i remember sitting at a ‘reflection’ service, if you will, the sunday after spring break, with my friend megan, watching the videos of what they had done and emotion just over took me. i bawled my eyes out. God had never spoken to me before. He had never used my thoughts and surroundings and feelings to absolutely captivate me like He did and i knew it was special and something i could not ignore.
God was calling me. by name. to sit with Him at a table He had prepared for me. with food that would fill me, and an eternal water that would forever quench my thirst. He was saving me a place and all i had to do was sit down.
immediately, i left that summer for camp, where i lived a life of purposefully not talking to God anymore and absolute, utter rebellion. when i came back to school that fall, i was broken. i had great friends and mentors who helped me see that was not the kind of life i wanted to live. i really didn’t. i spent the next four years falling deeper into the pit of anxiety and depression that i had already been treading around the edges of for years. i was in an abusive relationship for about three years, that just absolutely took everything i had. and i let it.
through dealing with and living out the consequences of my sin, God was so gracious to me, in showing me glimpses of Himself here and there. He provided for me in ways that i still continue to discover. finally in 2004, in an effort to ‘get well’ i moved to dallas through a series of events, and was a part of a wonderful community that loved me and cared for me. it was true to the story of the prodigal son that once i said ‘yes God, i’m yours’ crazy awesome joy began to flow into my heart and my life. i had this moment, driving on 35 one day, that….dang. i feel normal. i forgot what this was like.
i cried the whole way home, with a mixture of emotions of…how could i have been in bondage to these things for so long, to…i can never forget where i was and what God brought me out of because this is just a part of me…to anger…to frustration…to gladness and acceptance of Love for…i don’t know, maybe one of the first true times in my life.
after this, i had the opportunity to come back to lubbock. deal with some ghosts i left behind and minister to college students at texas tech. all because people there believed in me. they believed that God could use me to speak to others and share His goodness. it was one of the most incredible opportunities of my life. i had the honor of working with many people who i consider heart friends today. we ate together, prayed together, dreamed together.
coming back into community with other people who call upon God this past fall was like being well again. i have a great community that edifies one another and honors truth. i am so freaking blessed. community, to me, is a picture of everything i have just written. truly, no matter where i have been, people love me because God loved us first.
it’s taken me along time to write this out. and not just tonight as i sit here with my laptop, but to really talk about the things of my past and the hurt the junk that God has brought me out of. the Lord replaces the years that the locusts have eaten away, but it is good to remember where we came from.
i have SO many more thoughts rolling around about community and an awesome video that we watched and how sometimes i think God uses actions and activities and projects to bring us into a feeling or emotion that connects us with Him in a memorable way, but i’m kinda worn out. this is a good night. and i’m thankful i can freely write about these things and talk about how great God is to me.
thanks for reading.