She sits in coffee shops, sipping full-strength brew with a splash of cream, reading books on theology and listening to a band she discovered yesterday. She’s surrounded by friends, and whispers with them between homework assignments.
She hops on the Brown Line, transfers to the Red, takes the 156 to Union Station – and knows what all of those things mean. She knows where not to go alone at night, and could take you to the beach one of three ways.
Her hair is wild and curly, loose and carefree. These days, it’s rarely pulled into the severe ponytail or bun of her past. She puts thought into her appearance now, departing far from the girl who spent nearly every day in sweatpants and a teeshirt. She tucks jeans into boots, flicks on mascara, and adds a necklace without even thinking about it.
She sits at the dinner table for hours, eating spinach salad and exchanging banter about occasionally awkward topics. The end of dinner finds her roaming the tunnels with her favorite people in the world, lingering longer than necessary in random corners and doorways.
Every night, she hosts a prayer group in her room. Surrounded by four of the closest friends she’s known, she shares from the deepest place in her heart. She listens as the others share, bows before her Father while the group intercedes for one another. She laughs with them, cries with them, and doesn’t shy away from her feelings.
She bought a brand new journal at the beginning of the school year, and it’s already a quarter of the way full. She sits in the stairwells with her Sharpie pen, pouring out her heart to the Lord on paper. She asks the hard questions, begs for contentment, and gives thanks for the life she hardly recognizes.
During these times with Jesus, it hits her: she has the kind of life she used to secretly long for. She has been blessed with real friends, true acceptance. Most importantly, she has discovered legitimate, beautiful, profound, concrete, palpable intimacy with God. That intimacy has overflowed into every aspect of her life. Her heart is filled with real joy.
She’s not always “fine,” but she knows how to admit that now. Her mask fell off a few months ago, knocked off after some long conversations with her Father and her friends. It hit the ground and shattered into a million tiny pieces. She didn’t even try to pick it up. She doesn’t need it anymore.