Tag Archives: trust

Not Sure (or, The Scariest Thing I’ve Ever Written)

I’m not sure if I’m a feminist. To be fair, these days there are a lot of things I’m not sure about, but right now, this seems to be at the top of the list.

You see, “feminism” has never been something I’ve thought about or prayed about or engaged with. Its existence has always been in the back of my mind, I guess, somewhere in that part of my brain where all of the yes, that is a thing which exists, but that’s all I know about it things live – but that was as far as it went.

Until, all at once, it went a lot further.

I took a required course on the role of women in the church, and what had once been a non-issue suddenly moved to the forefront of my academic thinking.
Soon, it moved from my academic thinking to my heart’s questions.
I got mad.
I cried a lot.
I wrote an angry letter to my old pastor, then I burned it.
I read A Year of Biblical Womanhood, and I felt peace. A lot of peace.
After the peace, I had a lot more questions than answers.
But this time, the questions were tinged with a knowledge that everything would be okay.
I subscribed to some blogs.
I wasn’t looking for feminism. I wasn’t looking for anything with a name.
I read blogs from all across the board.
I got mad at Mark Driscoll, so I tried to figure out why.
I read the Bible. Especially New Testament instructions to the church
I emailed a feminist I had mutual friends with.
She wrote back.
I subscribed to more blogs.
We ate donuts together and I asked her a million and twelve questions.
She gave me a hug.
She was normal.

And now, here I am. I’m not sure if I’m a feminist or not. I’ve done some research, but I don’t have time to fully immerse myself in the study. There are still some things I can’t reconcile, some questions that haven’t been answered, and some implications that I’m not fully comfortable with. I am pro-life, and I am 100% convinced that homosexuality is a sin – those are two big ones. I want to get married and I am pretty sure I want my husband to lead me – but I also know that I want a voice, and that I will not be silenced based on my relationship status. I’m not sure how to deal with the hundreds of people who are smarter than I am, who have interpreted Scripture differently.

There are a lot of things I am sure of, though:

I am sure that Jesus does not think less of me, as a woman, than he does of men.
I am sure that I have been called to serve Him.
I am sure that call will not change whether I am married or single.
I am sure that justice will not come to millions of oppressed women around the world as long as the Church continues to believe that women are worth less than men in the eyes of their Savior.
I am sure that I trust the Holy Spirit to guide my life, and that He has brought this issue to the forefront of my life for a reason.
I am sure that I will have somewhat of a nervous breakdown after I hit “publish” on this post, because a lot of people I love very dearly will misunderstand it and be offended or assume I’m “struggling.”

I’m not sure if I’m a feminist, but I might be on the way.
I am a little terrified.
I am a lot unsure.
But I am asking Christ to guide me to freedom as He intended it; to His truth.
And I am sure that He will do that.

feminisms-fest-badge

This post is part of the three-day Feminisms Fest linkup, which today is being hosted at Love is What You Do. Please do yourself a favor and peruse the other blogs participating; they are really wonderful and encouraging. Join the discussion by adding your own blog to the linkup or on Twitter using the hashtag #femfest!
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Musings

It is hard for those who have lived a life of saying “yes” to learn how to say “no.” For those of us who have been consistently referred to as leaders, who have consistently overcommitted ourselves and always, always been there for others, it can be nearly impossible to learn how to be there for ourselves. It can be strange, even terrifying, to ask someone else to be there for us.

Removing a mask is a scary process. It leaves us raw and vulnerable, at a point where there’s nothing else with which to hide. This is me. Here I am. I can change nothing else. We attend seminars, take notes, read our Bibles. We teach ourselves, piece by scary piece, how to be vulnerable. Maybe the guard comes down late one night with a roommate or friend. Maybe someone taught us, without us even realizing it, through walks in cornfields and late night hugs.

Slowly, we find our identities beginning to change a little. No longer are we “a leader in my home church,” or “mentoring several middle school girls.” Instead, we’re searching for a church as different as possible from the one where we grew up. We’re the mentored instead of the mentor, crying into coffee and eventually signing up for counseling. We’re trying to figure out who we are, apart from those things that defined us.

We learn how to be weak. We get lots of practice telling people we aren’t okay. We buy new clothes and learn how to blowdry our hair. Journals, once gathering dust on the bookshelves, are filled with scribbles of this new thing called feelings. Some of our stubborn corners begin to wear off, and black and white start to fade to grey.

Questions that were once deemed controversial or scary now fill our conversations. We push back on the theological boundaries of our upbringing. We lie awake at night, begging God to prove Himself and crumpling into tears of awe and gratitude because He always does. Every time.

It’s such a process, that we don’t wake up one day completely different. Little by little things change, until we realize that we would no longer define ourselves with words like “leader,” or “strong,” or “role model,” but rather with words like “learning,” and “trusting,” and “receiving grace.”

Always grace. So much grace.

We’re still there for others. But now, others are here for us. We still like to lead – after all, it’s a spiritual gift. But now, we are learning how to be led. The process hasn’t ended. We are still being transformed. Grace is still being defined in every moment of our lives. We’re learning when to say yes and who we should be vulnerable with. The process isn’t perfect.

Yet we can feel Him. He is working in us, transforming us to be more like Him. Breaking our hearts, piece by piece, for the things that break His. He is molding us into something we have been all along: His precious children.

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A Weird Fall

This has been a weird fall, if I’m being honest. It has been a weird fall in so many ways, for so many people, that to even begin to try to explain the intricacies of the pain and joy interwoven in this tapestry called “life” would take pages and hours. My heart, the hearts of my friends and family, ripped and torn and bruised and beaten and healed and helped and dropped and kicked and restored – sometimes switching from ripped, beaten, bruised; to healed, helped, restored; and back again; within the span of a day or two. Faith, relationships, friendships, boys, girls, dogs, Alzheimers, school, pride, homesickness, in-laws, abuse, inadequacy – it seems everyone close to me is dealing with one of those in some big way, whether positively or negatively.

It’s been a fall of learning. Learning to love, learning to let go of love. Learning to embrace doubt without a ceiling, knowing that God is bigger than any doubt. Learning to step out and initiate new friendships, to invite the new girl to dinner or coffee, to stop being judgmental. Learning how to put up the necessary walls to get through a day of work or class. Learning when and with whom to take down those walls.

It’s been a fall of 8 page text messages, fingers tapping the screens of cell phones rapidly, urgently, as if typing fast enough can make the pain go away. It’s been a fall of honesty and confrontation, of putting the cell phone down and meeting in the plaza or at the beach or at Union Station to discuss in person. It’s been a fall of learning to admit feelings, to admit wrong, to admit to being hurt. Learning to stop sweeping everything under the rug. Learning to stop BEING the rug, letting everyone walk all over me.

It’s been a fall of ups and downs, rapidly, sometimes three or four in a day. Rejoicing with one friend then sobbing with another, in the same hour. Calling in to work because I just can’t get out of bed this morning, I’ll be in this afternoonThe kind of hysterical laughter that only comes when it’s been way too long since happiness from deep in the gut. Like a roller coaster, climbing and climbing then plummeting with no warning whatsoever.

Up, up, up, cornfields and new church and family reunions and journaling and long walks in the city lights and making up and new friends and late night nachos and perspective and surprise visits from Jocie. Down, down, down, endless headaches and misguided conversations and trying to make my own plans and crying in the car again and maybe not going back to Peru and things changing and Lady dying and nursing home conversation and doubt. Up, down, up, up, up, down, down, down, down, down, up, up, up, up, up.

{Have there been more ups than downs? Of course. Is God still faithful and in control? He is, has been, and forever will be.}

It’s been a fall of long-sleeve-covered hands wrapped around mugs of Peruvian mate de coca. It’s been a fall of new coffee shops, popcorn every night, How I Met Your Mother, apples, considering tattoos, and appreciating my roommate more than ever before. It’s been a fall of trips back to the Mitten almost every weekend, of avoiding journaling because I just can’t right now, of new musical tastes, boots and scarves, of solving other people’s problems alongside my own.

It’s been a fall of realizing how stinking blessed I am. A fall filled with moments where all I can do is whisper, “thank You,” because I don’t come anywhere near deserving the abundance of blessings God has heaped on my head. It’s been a fall of being selfish, forgetting how blessed I am just moments after my awe-filled “thank You,” demanding, “more, Daddy, more,” like a child. It’s been a fall of grace, of Him giving me more and more and more even though I ask for it selfishly. A fall of Him prying open my tightly closed fists, then wrapping His hands firmly around my now empty palms, showing me I’m not alone.

It’s been a weird and difficult fall, yes. But when I look back on my life, the seasons that were the “weirdest,” or “hardest,” are the seasons where God has taught me the most. The seasons where I’ve cried the most have been the seasons where I’ve also grown the most. It’s been a fall of leaves changing colors, falling to the ground, and being trampled on. The trees will freeze soon, but that won’t be the end. Soon enough it will be spring.

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Surprise!

Over the last few years of my life, I’ve learned that God enjoys working in the background in my life, through the little things I tend not to notice. This way, rather than logically connecting A to B to C to D, I look back and say, “WOW. God was working that whole time, through all those confusing/inconvenient/illogical things.”

The end result – due mostly to my general state of oblivion – is a little like the surprise party we threw my mom recently. I know He’s up to SOMETHING, but I could never dream it would be this. Looking back, I realize there were moments when I wondered what was going on. There were moments where I thought, “that’s weird, God doesn’t usually speak to me in this way,” or “Huh. That was an incredibly confusing answer to my prayer,” or “Why didn’t ____ happen the way I wanted it to? It’s not like it would have hurt anything!”

In these moments, sometimes I briefly wonder what God is up to, back there behind the scenes. When I look back in my journal, there are a lot of entries that say things like, “God, I really don’t understand what You’re doing here.” Those moments tend to pass quickly; a fleeting thought or scribbled sentence, soon replaced by the next thing demanding my attention.

I’ve got that feeling again. The feeling that maybe God is planning a surprise party for me. My course load is light this semester, I’ve made contacts and networked in ways I never dreamed of, and there are loads of new freshmen for me to meet. My best friend is here now, at my college, in my city. The student group I’m in is going in new directions. I’ve read three or four books about radical living and sacrificial giving in the past year, I changed my major, and I finally have a home church.

Basically, I’m starting to get suspicious. Starting to wonder why (to stretch the metaphor probably too far) God keeps whispering when I leave the room. I’m beginning to see things that can’t be called coincidences. Little details have shifted and changed and fallen into place just enough to make me question.

My heart is tight in anticipation. I know He’s up to SOMETHING, I’m just not sure what. Every time He drops another little clue, my heart pounds with excitement. Each time I open a new door, I brace myself, wondering if this is it… or if it’s just another step in the process.

Someday, I know, I’ll open that final door, and be completely blown away by what I find. And God will be there, smiling, and gently say,

“Surprised?”

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Home to Pucallpa

At this time tomorrow, Lord willing, I’ll be in Pucallpa. In fact, by this time, I’ll probably be in Mama Rosy and Papa Jacinto’s house, having eaten my first Peruvian meal of 2012. The air around me will smell like dust, smoke, and chicken, and – if I have my way – I’ll be laying in the hammock.

As I got ready to fall asleep in Aunt Lora’s squishy pink bed (the same place I’ve slept the night before every Peru trip) last night, I commented to Mom that this year’s trip felt different. Of course there are the few major differences – going alone, length of trip, purpose of the trip, etc – but there has just been a different feeling hovering over the whole idea of the trip itself.

Between the flight from Detroit to Ft. Lauderdale and the 8-hour layover in Ft. Boringdale that Spirit Air has blessed me with, I’ve had a lot of time to think about that feeling. I think I’ve figured it out.

You see, up until this year, Pucallpa was the only place where I had ever gone maskless. Something about the combination of serving, pure love despite the language barrier, and the sweltering heat, caused my mask to fall off when I first stepped out of the plane in 2008.  It was one of the things I loved most about Peru – how free I was always able to be when I was there. How I was able to laugh and cry from the deepest place inside of me, to sing and dance without feeling embarrassed, and to love from the deepest place in my soul.

Towards the beginning of my time at Moody, however, something changed. I was assigned to read the book “True Faced,” and it convicted me in the deepest way. God gently reached down, tipped my chin upward, pulled off my mask, and threw it on the ground. It shattered into a million tiny pieces, never able to be worn again.

As a result, I lived out this past year with the vulnerable confidence that I had previously only felt in Pucallpa. I learned to laugh, cry, dance (this is a relative term. I still can’t dance.), and be a friend. I learned the true, radical, life-altering meanings of church words like “grace,” “trust,” and “faith.” And I was content on a much deeper level.

That’s why this year feels different. Rather than longing to go to a place where I can truly be myself, I’m returning to the place that first taught me who “myself” was. I’m going home, but I’ve really been home all year long.

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My Only Constant

It goes without saying that the college years are, almost by definition, a time of great change. Whether attending community college, state school, a liberal arts college, or a Bible college; whether staying home, staying in-state, moving out-of-state, or traveling abroad; college ushers in a season of change for all of its attendees. Thus, it will come as no surprise to you when I state the following:

It seems like everything in my life is changing.

There are, of course, the obvious things. My zip code changed from 48746, to 60610, and back again, in the span of nine months. I went from living in a dorm room to living in my room at home. The label of “best friend” jumped from one person to another as my friend group at college grew. I took up journalling and learned to like coffee and spinach. The list goes on and on.

And then there are the not-so-obvious changes; the ones that don’t face every college student. The house I’ve lived in since fourth grade is up for sale. When I moved home from college, I deep-cleaned my room with the purpose of making it easier for my parents to pack it up and move it to Saginaw in the fall. My baby brother is going to high school in the fall, ending the era of St. Paul Lutheran School for the Hobson family.

I’m at my grandparents’ home in Hillsdale for a few days; my beloved farm #inthecornfields. With each visit, Nana’s Alzheimer’s is worse, and I see the changes in her almost daily. The house I grew up playing with is now outfitted for the senior citizens my grandparents have somehow become, complete with guardrails on the basement stairs and bars in the bathroom.

We spent last weekend at Piatt Lake, the place that has been my summer home since before I was born. Surrounded by friends from camp, I laughed from that deepest place inside of me… but even Piatt Lake has changed. As I’ve grown older, I’ve become aware that the place I once thought entirely perfect is, in fact, marred by sin. The place where I have heard God’s voice the loudest and most clearly is also the place where His children have hurt me the most deeply. The waterline is receding, the buildings and footbridge are aging. Where we once spent our summers happily disconnected from the world, we now have cell service on the beach and in splotches around the cabin; and our WiFi will be hooked back up this summer.

As a control freak, I’ve never been a big fan of change. In fact, if asked to list my biggest fears, “change” would top the list every single time. Yet change presses in from every side. Change doesn’t care about my plans, my control. Change takes charge and pushes me aside.

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about change since I’ve been home from school. As I thought, cried, prayed, journaled, etc, God pointed me to His Word. I looked up “unchangeable” in the concordance in the back of my Bible, and found these two verses.

But He is unchangeable, and who can turn Him back? What He desires, He does. For He will complete what He appoints for me, and many such things are in His mind. -Job 23:13-14

See, in the midst of all of this change, it’s easy for me to get caught up in worrying. It’s so, so simple for me to fret about my plans and purposes. Change is scary, especially knowing that we can never go back exactly to the way things were. Yet in the midst of my fear, I heard the quiet whisper of my Savior: “I am unchangeable.”

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

He was the same when He spoke the world into being. He was the same through the Exodus, through the time of the Judges and throughout all of the prophets and kings. He was the same when He watched His Son come into the world one busy night in Bethlehem. He was the same when He watched that same Son being killed, so that I may have a chance to know Him. He was the same through the beginning of the church, through Paul’s imprisonment, through the Reformation.

His character has not changed throughout all of history. Though kings and presidents have passed away, my Savior has remained steadfast. Though wars have been fought, won, and lost, He has not been moved. Though laws have been passed, He remains the same.

My Jesus is the only thing that’s constant. Though my life swirls around me, He is the same. Though I may not come “home” next year, He is the same. When Nana doesn’t know who I am, He is unchanging. Throughout the fluctuations of friendships, He remains steadfast. When His children mess up, He is the same. Whether I am on staff at Hiawatha or serving in Pucallpa, He is the same.

Are you getting the picture yet? My heart is screaming, and if I were talking to you face-to-face, you would see the wild look in my eyes, hear the tremors of relief in my voice as I realize the full depth of the meaning of this. I need not worry, I need not fear. For in a world that is filled with the one thing I fear most, change,

He has not changed.

He does not change.

He will not change.

For all eternity, my Savior is steadfast.

He is my only constant.

Hallelujah.

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Major Changes

They say the average undergrad student changes their major about five times.  I’ve always regarded this statistic slightly pridefully, with the air of smugness that comes from “having it all planned out.”  I’ll graduate from Moody in 3.5 years with a degree in TESOL (and Bible, of course), and move to Central/South America. (Hopefully getting married somewhere in there.) There, I’ll teach English fulltime as a missionary and, on the side, work with teenage/young adult girls who have been abused or involved in the sex trade.  Sounds like a good plan, right?

Let me back up about four years.  I was reading the book “Zealous Love” by Mike and Danae Yankoski, and came to the chapter on human trafficking.  Tears poured down my cheeks and my stomach turned as I read the accounts of girls, often as young as 5 or 6 years old, who were sold into the sex trade.  An overwhelming feeling came over me as my heart broke for these women.  As a 14 or 15 year old, I didn’t really know what to do with that feeling, but I bookmarked a few blogs and vowed to pray for the women and children caught up in that sickening industry.

Last year, on a whim, I picked up a $5 CD at Family Christian Bookstore.  It was called “Freedom: Artists United for the International Justice Mission,” and it featured several bands I like.  As I looked over the packaging, I realized it was a fundraiser for IJM and included a DVD.  I watched the DVD one night and cried again as the stories of women who had been rescued from prostitution and slavery… but all I did was cry.  After all, I already had my plan (see above).

My plan started out really well.  I came to Moody.  I declared TESOL as my major.  I started Intro to TESOL.  I observed some classes, wrote some lesson plans… and… little by little, realized I don’t really want to spend every day of the rest of my life in a classroom/writing lesson plans.  Rather than being super excited for my upcoming classes, teaching for PCM, and my internship, I would kind of slump my shoulders and resign myself to the coming realities.

A few weeks ago, I wrote about feeling convicted and not knowing what to do about it.  After I wrote that, I started to pray a lot about where I was going with my life.  The books I’ve been reading, things I’ve been studying, and discussions we’ve been having at Gospel Community have made me realize I need to do something different.  I’ve been slapped in the face a lot lately with the reality that, while it is an incredible door into lives, English is not a basic need.  Those who are starving, being sold, without homes, or in desperate need of true love do not need to learn English.  They need food, freedom, shelter, or love.

As I prayed, I began to realize something.  When I think about my true dream – the thing I’m the most excited about when I tell people “my plan,” – it’s not standing in front of a class or writing lesson plans.  It’s the part I always refer to as “on the side.”  It’s the reason I attempted to interdisciplinary (basically a minor, for those of you who don’t go to Moody) in pre-counseling.  I want to work with girls who have been wounded, sold, and stolen.  Girls who had their innocence ripped away from them, who were so desperate for money that they sold their right to themselves.  I want to teach them that they have worth, that they are beautiful.  To LOVE them.  To show them the One who will never, ever abuse them.  From the first time I read about the issue of sexual exploitation, I have had a burden in my heart for those girls.

Yesterday, in chapel, one of our professors stood at the podium and said she had a “very exciting announcement.”  She announced that Moody was beginning a new major: Ministry to Victims of Sexual Exploitation.  As she explained the details, tears pooled in my eyes and my mind began scrambling.  The first conscious thought I had was, “I have to do this,” followed shortly by about six reasons why there was no possible way I could do this.

One at a time, throughout the day yesterday, God countered each of those points.  In fact, He didn’t just counter them, He gave me even more reasons why I needed to lace up my shoes and run.  I called my mom, who had been sitting in a chapel at Bo’s school while I was in chapel.  Their speaker was a missionary from Peru (of all places!) who runs a shelter for battered women… many of whom have been rescued from sexual exploitation.  The first class for this major fit PERFECTLY into an hour and fifteen minute hole that just happened to be in my fall schedule. 9-12 more credits from Mott would transfer in with the switch.

I got my change of major form this afternoon and filled it out.  When I went to the Missions Department to have it signed, the hallway seemed deserted.  “Okay, God,” I whispered.  “I’m 99% sure this is what I’m supposed to do… but if it REALLY is… just give me one more sign?” (Oh, me of little faith…)  I walked to the end of the hall, towards what I was certain would be a deserted office, and there was Dr. Sisk.  He signed off on my major change as chair of the Missions Department, and I was gone in about 30 seconds.

I could easily write another 900+ words about all of the tiny details, “coincidences,” and neon signs shouting that I should go ahead with this that have happened in the last 48 hours… but I’ll spare you the extra reading.  As of next week, everything should be approved, and my major will be officially changed from TESOL to Ministry to Victims of Sexual Exploitation.  Do I have a 5 or 10 year plan?  Nope.  But He does, and I know that there’s nothing better for me than His plan.

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Stretched Thin, Spread Out, Worn Down

Sometimes, feelings bottle up inside and the only way to sort them out is to write them. This blog post is a result of those feelings. It may not make complete sense, and I promise that I’m not looking for your pity. Sometimes, I just need to share. Thanks for “listening.”

I should begin by saying I realize that my life is great. I am entirely aware of how blessed I am.  I’m a student at one of the top Bible colleges in the world. I have a solid group of friends who prop me up when I’m too weak to stand on my own. I have finally found a home church, and joined a Gospel Community there. I’m in classes for my major now, I have a job that I love, and my basic needs are met: food, water, shelter, etc.  If you look at my life on the surface, it’s “pretty great, actually.” In fact…

“I’m fine.”
“I’m doing great.”
“Life is good.”

These are all things I’ve told people over the last few weeks.  But they aren’t entirely accurate.

I’m balancing 17 credit hours, 15 hours a week of work, homework, Puente, 5North Min Team, PCM, some semblance of a social life, and sleep.  Actually, “balancing” is the wrong word.  It would be more accurate to say that I’m “precariously juggling” all of those things. And then there’s the fact that, as a human being,I’m required to experience a certain amount of feelings.  I lost one of my closest friends over Christmas break and I’m trying to find time to just be sad for a minute.  I sat in the hallway for over an hour, crying with another friend over her deep hurt. I’ve started counseling to deal with the hurt from our church split last spring. I’m actually homesick this semester, especially for my little brother. There is increasing tension in my group of friends that needs to be dealt with. Between my lack of sleep and the knowledge that each day will bring a lot more stress, it has become increasingly difficult to stop hitting the snooze button.

I’m stretched thin, spread out, worn down. If I could wave a magic wand to get anything I wanted, it would be a long weekend on a beach with a pillow, my Bible, my journal, and some music.  I long for sunshine and warmth, for the laughter and freedom that summer brings.  I want to spend a few days at the farm on Cole Rd, cooking for Nana and Papa, watering the steer, and rocking in the corner of the living room reading old issues of Farm and Ranch. I want to go to East Lansing with Maggie and Jocie and eat at Chipotle and go to Bubble Island and talk for hours.

None of those things are options right now. Instead, I snag a few free minutes to journal each day. I take time to breathe and relax before I fall asleep. Coffee is my new best friend, and I’ve started eating breakfast in an effort to have more energy throughout the day.  Sometimes I pause to stare at a wall for a few moments. Gospel Community is a welcome time to break out of the “Moody bubble” and share life with people outside of my daily circles. I make myself find joy in the little things. I remind myself that I am a wretched, awful sinner, but Jesus loves me in spite of myself. My roommate listens to me complain. I look at pictures of sunshine and beaches and summer. I hug people a lot. Gramma Kelci gives me frequent back massages. Sometimes, like last night, I drop everything and do something spontaneous with my friends. When none of those things work, I hide under my covers and talk to Jesus until I fall asleep.

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Faithfulness and Stars

“But when I look at the stars, I feel like myself.” -Switchfoot, Stars

On Monday night, before the craziness of this semester had officially set in (16 credit hours, 18 hours of work, PCM, homework, AND a social life. Yeah.), a few of my friends and I took a walk to the beach.  We hadn’t been off-campus together as a group since returning from Christmas break, so it was a relaxing time to catch up on life.

If you live in the Midwest or pay attention to the news, you’ll know that we’re having a frighteningly warm winter thus far.  It was nearly 50 degrees the night we walked to the beach. Yes, you read that correctly. It was “sweatshirt weather,” in Chicago, in January, after dark.  I don’t know enough about meteorology or astronomy or basic science to know if this had anything to do with the phenomena I am about to explain, but as we stepped on to the beach, I instinctively looked up…

and there were stars.

Not just the one super-bright star that I’m semi-convinced is fake.  Not just some particularly slow-moving airplanes.  No, as I began to count the stars out loud while pointing excitedly and bouncing like I was hyped up on sugar, I realized there were more than I could reasonably count!  I even managed to locate Orion’s belt.

There were stars. In Chicago.  One of the few things I hate about this city is the lack of stars.  I was incredibly excited to return this semester, but was sorely disappointed that I hadn’t seen any stars while I was home for Christmas break.  Since junior high, looking at the stars has always been one of my biggest reminders of God’s enormity and never-ending faithfulness.

No matter where I am, if I can find a familiar constellation or even see the stars spilled across in their varying levels of brightness, I instantly feel comforted.  I love knowing that I see the same stars as my friends across the globe.  The fact that God knows each of those stars by name reminds me of my sheer tininess compared to His grandeur.

Simply put, stars tug on my heartstrings on about 12 different levels.

As I said before, I don’t know anything about science.  Maybe there is a perfectly logical explanation for the sudden display of splendor over downtown Chicago.  However, I prefer my explanation: the night before, I had tossed and turned as I worried (in the way only sinful humans can) about the coming semester.  Finally, I started to pray.  As I sleepily told my Daddy about my worries and concerns, I asked him to remind me of His faithfulness.  I begged Him to allow me to live this season of my life knowing beyond the shadow of a doubt that He was holding my hand.  The next night, I went for a walk…

and there were stars.

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