My heart felt so much different when i woke up this morning than it has for the past few weeks. Actually it's been feeling different from the moment i set foot in Iowa this weekend. I can't even begin to describe what a gift it was to be there, and what a treasure each one of the people i met became to my heart. I never thought that going to Iowa would be the way that God would start to to bring some warmth back into my heart after everything that's happened, but I guess that's why He's in charge and I'm not. I've been wanting to write about this weekend since I got back, but i still don't really know how to describe it. It was simple. It consisted of spending time with people. But every person i met was the face of Christ to me in such an incredible way. So genuine, and open and willing to give of themselves, even to a stranger. And for the first time in a long time, i felt as though I truly desired Christ. I really wanted him- I needed Him in my life, in a more urgent way that I've needed him these past few weeks. So many times over the past year or so, my prayer has been nothing more than "help me to desire you more, Jesus." When i can't find the strength to pray i pray for the desire for the desire to pray, to be with Him, to have a relationship with Him. There are a lot of things that I know... Scripture tells us that Mary pondered all things in her heart. I ponder in my head, and I am trying to learn to be more like her...but there are so many things I know, even though at times i fail to live as though i know that they are really true. I know that God has a plan for me; I know that God-willing, if I am to be married, there is a man walking around somewhere whose heart fits with mine; i know i will in fact eventually figure out what I'm going to do after college; i know that if i trust in Christ's faithfulness, He will never fail me. This weekend i was fortified so much in my belief that where I am right now in my life is just exactly where God wants me to be. No matter what anyone might say, no matter what speculations anyone might have, myself included, I am ready to embrace the fact that i have no plan.
There is a freedom in not knowing quite yet where I'm headed...and although at first it seemed impossible to understand why this breakup had to happen, i see that it is out of Christ's love for me that He has led me to this moment. It is an un-distracted devotion that he desires from me.
I remember really vividly a conversation i had with my youth minister on a retreat in high school- we were talking about being afraid of where God might lead us- and he said you know what....if God chooses to take everything i have, my wife, my children, my job...everything...he still desires for me to love him and to be satisfied with him no matter what. He is all i need.
I'm ready to give what He wants to take from me, and i want to do it willingly, and joyfully.
This reading from Baruch on Saturday morning really stunned me:
Fear not, my people!
You were sold to the nations
not for your destruction;
It was because you angered God
that you were handed over to your foes.
For you provoked your Maker
with sacrifices to demons, to no-gods;
You forsook the Eternal God who nourished you,
and you grieved Jerusalem who fostered you.
She indeed saw coming upon you
the anger of God; and she said:
“Hear, you neighbors of Zion!
God has brought great mourning upon me,
For I have seen the captivity
that the Eternal God has brought
upon my sons and daughters.
With joy I fostered them;
but with mourning and lament I let them go.
Let no one gloat over me, a widow,
bereft of many:
For the sins of my children I am left desolate,
because they turned from the law of God.
Fear not, my children; call out to God!
He who brought this upon you will remember you.
As your hearts have been disposed to stray from God,
turn now ten times the more to seek him;
For he who has brought disaster upon you
will, in saving you, bring you back enduring joy.”