"In essence, I've been trying my best to take things one day at a time because sometimes that's all I can do... I've found that if my main focus is on a future that isn't entirely in my control or the past that I can't rewrite to perfection, I miss out on all that God is doing right here in the present moment.
I miss out on His gentle voice above all the noise. I miss out on the peace and contentment he invites us to as we trust in His will, His way. I miss out on an opportunity to learn from the past and prepare for the future with God-themed confidence.
And, I don't want to miss out on the wonders of our incredible God.
So, I'll be here, living in the moment, fighting the good fight, one day at a time. Singing my hallelujahs for all God has done, continues to do, and has yet to reveal."
I wrote the words above about 7 months ago. At the time, I was trying to refocus and realign my mindset in preparation for the next semester of nursing school. Little did I know how meaningful these words would become in a time where taking things one day at a time seems like the only way to remain sane.
I can't say that I know why things have been the way they've been, or what the strategic purpose is for the experiences we are all enduring during this pandemic, this fight for justice and equality, and what seems like widespread chaos, but I do know that even events as drastic as these do not catch God off guard. My heart still breaks for the lives lost, the opportunities missed, the wearying season we're experiencing, and the fear that hasn't quite subsided in our world. Yet, I have still found glimpses of gratitude in this season. This gratitude is accompanied by peace and hope that seem to peek in like the sunshine through the windows in the morning.
I have found great joy in the mornings of this season. It's a blessing to wake up to a new day and new opportunities. It's an even bigger blessing to wake up at home, surrounded by good company, good food, and grace upon grace.
Beginning these mornings in the Word and in prayer have been so filling, reminding me that God is still here, still speaking, still doing, still teaching, and still being the great God that He is. Miracle-worker, Provider, Healer, Renewer, Peace-Keeper, Abundant Life-Giver - the list goes on, but God is so so good.
From these mornings sprout the afternoons, full of reconnecting at home - conversations and quality time with family, facetime calls and snail mail to keep in touch from a safe distance, learning new recipes and throwing down in the kitchen, walks in the sunshine, and time to rest.
Some of my favorite moments have been laughing with my brother in all of our goofiness, cooking up new masterpieces with the master chef himself (my dad), and sitting in the living room watching movies (or Family Feud) with my mom. These opportunities to slow down have been so good for the soul.
If I'm being honest, I have had to take a step back to look at this goodness because it's all too easy to become entrapped in the ways of our world currently. Still, something is different.
Usually, I am the one to search for the light, even in the darkness. I believe that a hope that could only be found in the Lord reaches even our darkest and most devastating corners. And, that's a lot like what the world feels like nowadays - dark, heartbreaking, lonely, and broken.
The days sometimes seem to draw together, and you can't run too far before the sorrows of this current state sneak up on you, crippling you yet again.
This is so unusual for me. I haven't lost hope or joy in The Lord, but what many of us are feeling is something we've never experienced quite like this.
It's there when you open any form of social media or news platform. It's there when everyday people make comments in ignorance or lack of knowledge about human beings who are just as loved as they are or about experiences that they could never fully understand. It's there in these moments of being alone. It's there when you try to shut it all out and turn it all off.
But, we can't. Perhaps these moments are bringing light to situations that have been in the dark for far too long. While this blog post is not the place where I'm going to dive into these issues (please take the time to use the abundance of resources at your fingertips, people with real stories of real hurt [and real hope], and your own advantages to acknowledge, learn, and grow), it's important to note the tremendous role these issues have played over the past few months - how could they not?
This season has been heartbreakingly eye-opening, authentically raw, and full of more emotions than I could put into words. Yet, it has also been a season of the halleulujahs that are not contingent on our ever-changing circumstances. This season has challenged me in more ways than one, and one of the most significant ways is in the 2 words that I felt The Lord placed on my heart for this year 2020: bold hallelujah.
I am still learning what this means and how He will allow it to intertwine and unfold in the purpose He has for me. So far, this bold halleujah has been far from conventional. If I'm being honest, I haven't been feeling bold lately. I've felt unsure, weak, and devastated sometimes. I have struggled to sing my hallelujahs over the pounding sounds of hurt and uncertainty. But, this call to boldness has challenged me and stretched me. It has allowed me to be bold in advocating for justice, have courage to speak up for Truth, and cling to the bold faith I have been called to.
These hallelujahs have looked different, too. They've looked like sitting on the floor with a journal and my Bible as I talk to God. They've looked like intentional prayers that claim victory over sickness, addiction, brokenness, financial burdens, emotional obstacles, and everything else the devil has attempted to stir up and hinder us with. It's looked like praying with my patients and being grateful for the strength and perseverance they display each day. It's looked like tears, the same tears falling down my face as I write this, but entwined in the sorrow is a hope and a fire that I pray never burns out. It has looked like newfound gratitude in life's little blessings - family, health, nature, hope, and stillness.
I am still searching for answers and solutions for the world that so desperately needs an intervention, but as I said in my last post, I believe these answers could only be found in Him - in prayer with the One who is our perfect peace and everlasting hope, in His Word which speaks abundantly on matters of justice and love, and in His presence where we may truly find rest.
I am clinging to the only One who is constant, everlasting, and true - my Heavenly Father. He still holds the whole world in His hands. He still offers us hope in seemingly desolate places. He is still good, even here.
Though the fig tree does not bud
and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
and no cattle in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
I will be joyful in God my Savior.
The Sovereign Lord is my strength;
he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
he enables me to tread on the heights.
Habakkuk 3:17-19 // a hymn of faith
These verses remind us that we can still rejoice in times of suffering and loss because our faith is rooted in God's ability, strength, and goodness. Thank you, Lord.