West-Coast Grace: resting in His presence.

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Sometimes it takes a trip to the other side of the country to really start to see God more fully.

 

It’s not about the travel, though. Sometimes just a change of pace, and scenery, and a lot of long walks and talks with people that know your soul. Sometimes it’s just the space to sit for an hour with a journal in the early hours of the morning in a dark living room, or as the wind whips through messy hair and thick sweaters on front porches.

 

It is in the kitchen that I find myself on a Saturday morning, gripping a mug of good coffee, overthinking. We’ve squeezed seventeen people into a beach house, and so I’m surrounded by the coffee drinkers, those of us lingering around the counter as people have started to spread out – some on couches with fuzzy blankets and guitars, some around tables with card games, some zipping up jackets to walk to the beach.

 

As the conversation begins to wind down, I quietly slip out of the kitchen, grab my Bible and journal, and find a place alone outside, to think and pray and read and cry silent tears, if they’ll come.

Continue reading “West-Coast Grace: resting in His presence.”

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where i’ve been, what i’ve learned, and the God who’s been constant through it all. // + my photography!

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It’s been too long.

 

Each time I’ve tried to sit down and write, I’ve either gotten distracted, become unmotivated, or overwhelmed, hence the silence on my part. And so instead, I’ve been gone, treating my blog as an intimidating monster to be slayed, not a haven to use to think and rest in, which I think has done me more harm than good.

 

Regardless, here I am, and thank you for sticking around to read – it means the world.

 

The past few months have been stretching for me. The end of my summer marked the end of a metaphorical season in my life, and whenever a season ends, in my experience, it’s like something’s come out of nowhere and struck me blind, leaving me dazed and confused about where to go next. Moving forward was the only option, and while I’m not sure if I’ve done it gracefully, it’s been a necessary and worthwhile journey.

 

And so, I took a trip with friends from all over North America. We traipsed around different states, drank a lot of coffee, and had extensive, passionate conversations until the sun came up. I came home with a renewed sense of what I want my life to look like, reality colliding with my visions, my passions, my dreams, and my desires.

 

And since then, I’ve had so many more conversations across the miles with those friends who mean so much to me, and I’ve discovered even more about myself, about God, about the people with whom I share my life, and who I want to be. Continue reading “where i’ve been, what i’ve learned, and the God who’s been constant through it all. // + my photography!”

The Loneliness Cure

Lonely Girl

It’s real.

Loneliness.

Loneliness is ever so real, and oh, have I felt it.

Sometimes I try to escape the feeling of loneliness by distracting myself. Listening to music, reading a book, texting a friend. Though it may make me “cheer up,” for a moment, I just go back to feeling alone.

It hurts. Trust me.

When my friends leave, when I don’t talk to someone for eight months, when I haven’t seen my best friend in so long, when I haven’t cried with anyone since who-knows-when, when I haven’t been able to pour my heart out to someone at my level – that’s when it hits.

I would not call it depression; I would simply put it as devastating lonely disappointment. The more I dwell on how imperfect I and everyone else is, the more I see the flaws in every aspect of life. And the more I dwell on flaws (mine include), the more I feel sorry for myself.

I feel sorry that people haven’t texted me, or that I wasn’t invited to so-and-so’s house the other night, or that my old friends aren’t my closest friends anymore. I feel sorry for myself because ultimately, life is not perfect. And I can’t expect it to be.

It hurts me to dwell on “how few” friends I have. That is, friends that I am free to share my heart with; friends that I trust; friends that will talk to me out-of-the-blue, because they just really do care. (Um, yes, this probably sounds pathetic and over-dramatized. I do have a lot of friends, it’s just hard to consider *all* my friends to be my closest friends.)

But I’ve realized something really important.

No matter the number of friends I have, no matter the quality of friends I have, no matter what I’m given in life, I’m still going to be lonely.

That is, if I rely on people. We’ve already established that people are imperfect, and this world is flawed. Therefore, it stands to reason, that there is no way that friends alone can cure my loneliness.

But Someone else can.

That amazing Someone is God, who created us to love Him and crave His love. And by His amazing Word, I know that He is the only one that can cure me.

Isaiah 41:10

“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

 

Deuteronomy 31:6

“Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”

 

Psalm 38:9-11; 15

“O Lord, all my longing is before you;

    my sighing is not hidden from you.

My heart throbs; my strength fails me,

    and the light of my eyes—it also has gone from me.

My friends and companions stand aloof from my plague,

    and my nearest kin stand far off.

[…]

But for you, O Lord, do I wait;

    it is you, O Lord my God, who will answer.”

 

Joshua 1:5

“No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you.”

 

Psalm 34:17-18

“When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.”

 

Psalm 9:9

“The Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.”

 

Isaiah 26:3

You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.”

 

See, the Lord God Almighty (and all-merciful) is the One who our hearts long for. My heart longs to be filled with His love, and His peace, and His strength, and His saving, and His steady grace to fill me where I cannot fill myself. It’s so amazing to have this to lean on!

So whenever I am wallowing in my loneliness, I make myself remember. I remember how much God loves me. I remember how much grace He gives me. I remember how He will never leave me. I remember how He’s saved me. I remember that He’s on my side. I remember how He gives me courage to face anything, because He is here with me. I remember that He is my friend who will never fail me. I remember that He restores my soul.

And no matter what, He will uphold me. No matter what I’m going through, He will be here with me.

And in comparison to my loneliness – this horrible beast that wants to ruin me – it has absolutely NOTHING on the God who bought my life with His own.

Loneliness can be cured. But not by a phone call, or a friendship, or a trinket, or a pep talk.

My loneliness can only be cured by the love that comes from my Father in Heaven, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

When I’m feeling alone – I am not alone. I have the God of Angel Armies on my side, and no one can stand against. Praise the Lord!

*aj