Christmas will be here before we know it. Personally, that makes me quite excited. I love this time of year! No, I have not started listening to Christmas music yet- although I have been tempted to. I started to recall the excitement I had as a child, especially when all the gifts were around the tree. I loved, and still love, surprises. My mom often reminds me of what I use to say in anticipation of the gifts: “What is it?!?!? What is it?!?!? Don’t tell me!!! Don’t tell me!!” I said both with the same breathless excitement. I loved the unknown and the thought that there was a good gift for me. Maybe it was what I was hoping for, or maybe it was something even better than I had imagined. Sometimes, I wish I carried that hopefulness into my daily life, especially with all the changes that have happened in the last couple of months.
Transition is tricky. Change can be a good thing, but many people cringe at it because it reveals what we value. Whether it’s people, positions, or places, when there’s a move, aspects of those things are lost or changed. Staying comfortable is easier. It doesn’t usually require self examination or learning how to start new friendships. These are at least a few of the observations I’ve pieced together in the almost three months of everything being new for me.
God has been so kind in where He has placed me. I get to spend time with some amazing college girls who are wanting to follow Christ with their lives. They push me to keep knowing Him more through their transparency and questions. Getting to know different international students – some from China, some from the Middle East, and even a few from Europe – has been wonderful. They bring such a different perspective, and though most of them do not understand the Gospel, God is helping me understand the Gospel in greater depths as I try to connect and share truth with these new friends. They value different traditions or aspects of culture, but the love and grace of God’s character connects with them as much as it does for me as a Western American, just maybe from a different angle.
For instance, the other night a group of us were talking about the life of Abraham. What stood out to my Chinese friend is that God seemed to be a very personal God in how He communicated to Abraham. I think that struck her because that is not how she understands deity or even leadership, communicating at such a personal level. I would not have spent time on that part of the story had she not made the comment she did. I easily forget the close and caring character of my God because of my familiarity with the story.
God is continuing to give more opportunities, and for that I am thankful. Life is not what I thought it would be at 26, and I still feel at a loss many days to know how to balance everything. I get stuck on the things I don’t understand, or the prayers that have yet to be answered. However, I am praying I return to the sincere and simple excitement I had as a child, enjoying the anticipation of the unknowns while trusting that God’s gifts are far greater than I could imagine.
I took this picture a while ago, and I wanted to write some thoughts of what God’s been teaching me. Sometimes I want to know the end goal, the big picture He has in mind. But sometimes He shows us just enough for today, just enough light to walk today’s path.
The beauty of the sunsets beams
Ensures the hope of the home we dream.
The path is full of hills and streams,
One day we will be at ease and fully redeemed.
But we wince at what the passage may show,
For although the light may give a helpful glow
It uncovers all the rocks and thorns that surely are our foes.
Who can see how long this journey will indeed go?
The rays at times invoke an unspoken fear
The whispers of pain is all we hear.
We do not know if home is far or near
Where is this hope that was once so dear?
Yet the rays and the sun are not one in the same.
If the sun came down, his brightness we could not contain.
Yet without his presence life could not be sustained
The light revealed is just enough to stay in his divine frame.
If we could see the path in all its entirety
We would soon give up in full anxiety,
Convinced we would never be sufficiently mighty,
Even if we were full of power and piety.
Yet the mix of the warmth and light are in perfect relation.
When we scale the mountain it offers foundation,
And when we face the battle, it provides duration.
For in this day we have what we need to follow the narration.