I love photography. Not because it can freeze a moment in time but because it cannot quite capture the beauty of the world. You think a photograph of a sunset is amazing until you see a sunset in real life and it takes your breath away. No photograph of the sky compares to looking out of an airplane window and seeing the blanket of clouds covering the earth. I wonder if I could fall into the sky. I’d love that. The beauty of this Earth never ceases to mesmerize me. I love photography because it’s a simple reminder that no intelligent device of man can ever quite capture the artwork of God.
I want to be transformed every time I hear God. Every time I hear God speak, I should never be the same again. I want to fall in love all over again with every whisper of His voice. I want to be renewed with every minute I spend with Jesus. Every second I spend in prayer should be new. Every moment I spend in prayer should change my life. I want to learn something new about God every day. I want to be captivated by His infinite love every morning. I want to be amazed by who He is every night. I want to read His Word and be blown away. God, I want You to be a mystery that never fails to delight me. Because You are. And if I don’t see it, it’s not because You’re not. It’s because I’m not. So help me, God.
How there can be such a peace in the midst of this chaos, I can only attribute to Christ my King. In the face of storms that throw fear, doubt, anxiety, and hopelessness in my face, His love compels me, moves me, and drives my every thought and action. He didn’t just change me, He killed me and made something entirely new. Without even trying, I find myself counting everything else as lost. I can’t tame it, so I won’t hold back, I won’t sit down, I won’t be quiet. I’m gone, and I’m not going back; I’m completely lost in His arms and abandoned to His heart.
Stillness. Everything is so still. No obligation to talk to anyone, no deadlines, no pressure, no movement. Stillness. It’s so beautiful.
I should be writing my essay, but I can’t escape these thoughts. I can’t even begin to express how grateful I am for my small group. Looking back now that it’s over, I see how much I was poured into and blessed. Without failure. Small group was one of those things that built me up so naturally that I didn’t even see how much it grew me until now. I remember small group kick off second semester - I seriously judged every single person and was 200% confident that I would never be friends with these people. I couldn’t see myself talking to any of them, and I was so standoffish. But God always has other plans. Two months later, I looked forward to going to small group every week, to hear from every girl, to listen to Michelle and Hannah speak truth, and just to bond as sisters. It seriously became my family, and I felt so comfortable with the girls, some of whom I don’t really even know that well. Just bonding and uniting through the Spirit - it’s indescribable. Every night I was blown away, blasted, humbled, struck down, built up, or healed. Hearing others’ testimonies and struggles, their good days and bad, their praise reports and disappointments - God used every single daughter to take each of us on such a crazy ride. My heart jumps thinking about how much we’ve grown, and it blows my mind when I attempt to see how crazily God has been working. I can barely grasp how poured into we are with prayer from other classes, and I can’t wait to see how many more steps and leaps we get to take towards Jesus. And with nostalgia and sadness I left this last night of small group, wishing I had cherished every moment more than I did and overflowing with appreciation and gratitude for my loving sisters. But with enthusiasm and hope I look forward to the upcoming years, eagerly stepping into a seat to be a part of the wild ride God is taking us on next.
Society thinks that people use religion to make their lives easier. And the problem starts with the phrase “use religion.” If we’re seeing it as “using religion,” we’re not understanding the truth. Religion isn’t something that humans made up for ourselves; we’re not the center of the universe. God is real. God is true. And we don’t use the idea of God to satisfy ourselves; we seek out the inexplicable reality of God because we can see how real He is, because he makes His glory known to us every day. We can’t use God; God uses us. Maybe some peopleuse religion to make their lives easier, but that must be because they’re using the institution ofreligion and not the truth of it. When you let God use you, it doesn’t necessarily make life easier. Honestly, it hasn’t made my life easier. As I seek to love God more and know Him more, everything becomes a harder battle. And why would I put myself through this for something that isn’t real? Why would anybody die for something that isn’t undeniably real?
I know what it’s like to find pleasure in being sad sometimes. And people tell you that it’s normal, and society tells you to get used to it, and tumblr tells you depression is artistic. (It really does). But it breaks my heart that so many people are so drowned in sorrow that they start thinking that it’s the norm when there’s this true joy and pure happiness that’s infinitely more promising and fulfilling than anything else. And yet people don’t even want to try to find it because they’ve become complacent with hopelessness. I think that’s the worst part. That humans have become complacent with sadness, so much that we let ourselves dwell in it because we don’t dare to risk being completely shattered, again. We just don’t see the point of hoping in something else out of fear of being disappointed yet again. But that’s because humans will always disappoint. We’re not reliable beings. So may I be one to just put it out there? I want to tell everyone that there is SO much more and that there’s an unfailing love that overpowers everything else, really everything else. And if you dig up what little hope you can muster up from deep down in your heart, the leftover from all the broken hearts and let downs and scars, and put that mustard seed of faith in the one non-earthly being, you will never have to be disappointed again, I promise. He promises.