13 December 2010

Peace, Peace

Can I just say how much I appreciate Sara Groves and her ability to continually put forth album after album of music that is so incredibly good for my soul? This year, after having "It's True" on my everyday playlist for more than a year, Christopher and I went ahead and purchased the rest of her Christmas Album, "O Holy Night." All through December, I listened over and over to amazing words of songs that have been around for years - and felt as though I heard them for the first time, as Groves shaped the music around them in a different way.

One of my favorites is a song called "Peace, Peace", which includes a line from "O Little Town of Bethlehem" - "All your hopes and fears are met in Him tonight." What a beautiful line! And one that I have listened to countless times without actually understanding the profound nature of those words!

Peace, peace - it's hard to find;
Trouble comes like a wrecking ball to your peace of mind,
and all that worry you can't leave behind -
All your hopes and fears are met in Him tonight.

I usually love Christmas (and wrapping presents, which I could gush about for a while), but there was something so incredible about this Christmas. Early on, I began praying that my heart would be softened - that I would experience anew the incredible joy of our Savior's advent.

The end of the fall was particularly rough for me in places, but so sweet in others. In the wake of my grandmother's death, I finally found a perspective of what it means to hold to Christ all of our days - to walk with Him, to trust Him until the very end.

And I think that's when it hit me that God loves me. It's not this thing where He kind of tolerates me and decided that, since He was already saving a few others, I was available to throw into the bunch. Had that been the case, there would have been no need for things to have happened as they did.

To think that, not only did God humble Himself in becoming a baby boy in all of our human limitations, but He did so with the intent of taking on our filth so that we could be with Him each day of our lives on this earth - as well as the next day after we leave it.

I think I cried every day of the first two weeks of my winter break. Sometimes tears of sadness when I was overwhelmed by the still-new grief of my parents over their mothers' deaths, but mostly tears of gratitude and joy - something I haven't experienced in so much time I'm ashamed to admit to my lack of feeling.

God was faithful in answering my prayers that my heart be tender and softened for the season - all of my hopes and fears were met in Him.

Peace, peace - it's hard to find;
Doubt comes like a tiny voice that's so unkind,
and all your fears they conspire to unwind you.
All your hopes and fears are met in Him.

And, yet, it is difficult to return home. My hopes and fears here seem so very different than what they were when we were with our parents or at Faithwalkers and surrounded by our church family. I'm struggling to breathe the free air that I so easily experienced elsewhere. In my battle with apathy, I feel the ever-consuming urge to control what I doubt God can do. I've become laden with anxiety, my sleep has become erratic at best, and yet, still - All of my hopes and fears are met in Him tonight.

How splendid that my doubts and apathy have no effect on the goodness and glory of God - that even when I fail, He is still meeting all of my hopes and fears! My God is still in control over this mess that I continually make for myself. My God still rules the very air I breathe.

With that knowledge alone, I ought to (and can) have peace.

Peace, peace.

[[lyrics from "Peace, Peace" by Sara Groves, Ben Gowell and Aaron Fabbrini]]

01 December 2010

A different kind of happy

Go on and ask me anything - What do you need to know?
I'm not holding on to anything I'm not willing to let go of to be free.

I feel as though I'm emerging to new life in a very profound way. About a month ago, I was approached to share my testimony with the group of teenage girls and their moms, who I hang out with a few times a week. Since that time, I've been processing through what my story looks like, which is something that I haven't taken the time to do in a few years - at least not in any great depth.

Perhaps the greatest surprise has been a fixation on my battle with depression over the past 13 years. As some are aware, I have been in the midst of a major depressive episode since last August. It has been my third major battle with the disease. In my reflection, I've noticed patterns and triggers, and I've discovered a general sense of finally being able to understand what has happened off and on for more than a decade.

I've had several amazing conversations with my husband, who has been gracious and seeking to understand - perhaps all the more, as I have been more open than I have been in the past (as I begin to understand it more myself). I had the realization while eating lunch with one of my best friends today that I had never been candid about this particular area of my past with her - not necessarily because it wasn't important, but because I didn't feel it was necessary as it encompasses so much of my everyday life that I often can't separate it out.

And, in the midst of all of the processing I've been doing, I've realized that depression isn't highly addressed in Christian circles.

In looking back, I realize that I felt strange being a kid from a believing household and being constantly both down and lacking in joy. It never seemed right to talk about it. Until I was well into college, I didn't know that my mom had struggled with depression herself.

It just isn't talked about, which is why I've felt that it's been laid on my heart to focus on when I share Friday night. The society that we live in steals our joy - and we must fight for it.

I've got to ask you something - But please don't be afraid.
There's a promise here that's heavier
than your answer might weigh: It's me.

There's a beauty in resting in Christ's assurance of forgiveness and love, even when dealing with the heavy things. As believers, we should never be afraid of condemnation.

And, yet, as believers, we can so easily condemn others for what they share.

The result is that we each hide ourselves away and keep ourselves from true fellowship. The isolation we feel simply compounds until we feel entirely alone and without hope.

As humans, we fail every day. But we must be faithful to those of the household of God (and of those who are not!) - to love and forgive, because that is what has been offered to us.

It's a sweet, sweet thing -
Standing here with you and nothing to hide:
Light shining down to our very insides, sharing our secrets,
bearing our souls, helping each other come clean.

Secrets and cyphers - There's no good way to hide.
There's redemption in confession and freedom in the light.
I'm not afraid.

How sweet it is to belong to the household of faith. How beautiful to be able to stand before my husband and know that there is nothing between us that is hidden, no matter how much it may hurt to have it out in the open. There's a wonderful freedom in having those things that reside in darkness being brought into the light of the grace and forgiveness and love of the Gospel of Christ.

I feel as though I might be discovering that freedom for the first time - hence, this odd little emergence I've been experiencing.

There's a "different kind of happy" that I'm learning to embrace. I don't have to dwell on what has come before, nor on what I've lost.

God has been faithful to me and, for the first time, I think I'm realizing that the God I am coming to know here will always be the God that has claimed my heart and life - nothing can change that or take that away from me.

When death comes, I want to be like my grandmother, who crossed that threshold and was not surprised at Who she found on the other side.

He is always mine. That means now and that means then.

And that means before the beginning of the world, I was His.

What a glorious thing to celebrate at this time of year - The promise of continuation when life on this round, ruddy rock has expired. Praise God!

[[words from "Different Kinds of Happy" by Sara Groves]]

18 November 2010

He will not abandon my soul

Psalm 16: You Will Not Abandon My Soul

A Miktam of David.

1 Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge.
2 I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord;
I have no good apart from you.”

3 As for the saints in the land, they are the excellent ones,
in whom is all my delight.

4 The sorrows of those who run after another god shall multiply;
their drink offerings of blood I will not pour out
or take their names on my lips.

5 The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup;
you hold my lot.
6 The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.

7 I bless the Lord who gives me counsel;
in the night also my heart instructs me.
8 I have set the Lord always before me;
because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.

9 Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices;
my flesh also dwells secure.
10 For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol,
or let your holy one see corruption.

11 You make known to me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of joy;

at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

How beautiful the thought that the same God who made us and sent His Son to die for us will not abandon our souls! There is rest in that thought.

And at the end of our lives, when we are on the cusp of entering the Kingdom and finally seeing His glorious face and beholding the pure joy of an unfettered, eternal life, we will fully understand what it means that He does not abandon our souls to Sheol. He has rescued us and kept us close to His very heart.

To cast in our lots with Him to the end is the path of life. After 91 years, my dear grandmother just walked out of this world and into the presence of her King, into the fullness of joy, and will only behold His pleasures forevermore.

One day, I'm going to join her.

09 November 2010

Impending change and all that stays the same

Change is a funny thing. The more you experience what surprises it may hold, the less those surprises actually surprise you when they happen. In fact, there is something within us that knows change is coming - we just never know when or quite how it will take its effects. And, for that, we lie awake in the middle of the night wondering what comes next.

But I don't know how to deal with what comes next.

Mountains high, valleys low -

These are the things that makes us grow.

But all I want to know is if You can hear me,
and all I want to know is if You're still there.

It's easy to struggle these days. My life consists of constant busyness, and I so easily hide within it. There are a lot of changes coming into our lives very quickly, and the result is that all sorts of things that are hidden - that I still can't even name - are making their way out into the open.

My battles with trying to feel a part of the kingdom of God as an individual are nothing new. For the last few years, my few posts have largely dealt with that topic - of feeling inadequate, useless, fickle, and disconnected.

I think it all boils down to feeling burnt out when it comes to the personal Gospel of Christ. It is not difficult to believe that Christ came to die for me. I am easily a sinful, bitter, defiant child who cannot save herself. But for some reason, I have not been able to connect that to love for my Father, for my Savior, for the One who should be at the center of all - either lately or often.

It has become difficult to separate the spiritual defiance from the psychological defiance. And, please, don't get me wrong when I talk about psychology... I do believe that there are specific responses that are built into our bodies - I do not, however, believe that they excuse behavior. It is second-nature to blame my depressive tendencies on all that is happening now - and perhaps I need to start with those tendencies, unravel and attack them, before attempting to figure out why I have been feeling so defiant.

I keep using that word - defiant. Nothing else seems well-enough equipped to describe my current mindset. I am boldly resisting and challenging much of what has come my way over the last few years, as well as many of the things that I know are coming. In the sincerest sense, I hate that I do so, but I also feel powerless to quench it.

And perhaps that is where I have to remind myself that the love of God is impermeable and immutable - there is no depth I can traverse that He does not readily hear me and is not eager to be by my side. There's such a blessing to know that I am His forever, even if I don't know it.

So I can feel Your love wash over like rain;
I could feel Your joy in the midst of my pain.
Can You shine? Shine, on me.
And give me the faith I long to believe, please?

I wish I knew what my soul was longing for me to believe in! All I know is that there is a strong desire within me that is looking for some rest, some peace of heart, some reassurance - and yet I have no idea what it is, much less how to take it before the Lord.

Seasons change - Well, I change, too.
Like spring and summer, I fall to You,
and all I want to know is if You can heal me;
and all I want to know is if You're still listening, God;

and all I want to know is if You're still there, God.

The leaves have been changing outside, and in their brilliant displays of reds and yellows and oranges, I find myself marveling at how beautiful change and the cycle of death and regeneration are in life. The problem is that I feel as though my soul is failing to regenerate this time - as though I've run out steam in the dying process.

There are times when I wonder if I'll ever know the springtime understanding of freshness and new life. It's easy to crawl into a hole and hibernate, and much more difficult to crawl out and embrace a new season where everything is unfamiliar and uncertain (you never know when you'll get a snowstorm in May!).

And, yet, I am beginning to see that I am in desperate need of Spring in my soul.

So, why don't You shine? Come on, shine on me,
and give me the faith I want to believe?
I believe. I said, "I believe." No one's gonna take away that from me.

Perhaps that's where it starts - with understanding that no one can negate that Christ died and rose and conquered that death and my sin for me. Why do I not understand this daily? Why can I so seemingly move from activity to extra busyness and forget why I live in the first place?

No one can take Christ from me - not even me!

So why don't You shine? Come on, shine on me.
I know You will shine on me.
I know You're going to shine on me,
and You'll give me the faith I know to believe.

Seasons change - Well, I change, too.
Like spring and summer, I fall back to You.

I don't know how to handle what is coming.

I am perfectly certain that this next season will not be easy for me to bear. Regardless, it will be fruitful and it will be full of my stepping out in faith in new ways, hoping to see and know the One who has saved me in new ways.

Some days, I wear struggle like a piece of clothing. Today was one of those days.

And when those days are here, I pray I remember Christ is my strength - and fall back to Him.

[[words from "Mountains High Valleys Low" by Phillip LaRue]]

14 September 2010

How fickle my heart and how woozy my eyes...

How fickle my heart

I cannot begin to describe how fickle my heart is. When it comes to change, to "irresolution, or instability," and to not remaining "constant or loyal in affections," I fear I have become quite adept at having a fickle heart.

I'm not quite sure I know what I want out of life. My affections change daily. One day, I am entirely enraptured by my program of study in getting my master's degree; the next, I am antsy and simply cannot wait to be done. One day, I weep at the knowledge that I am saved by the grace of a living and loving God; the next, I act as though I have no idea of who He is or the fact that He wants to spend time with me.

My heart is capricious in every form:
"The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure.
Who can understand it?" [[Jeremiah 17:9]]
And how woozy my eyes /
I struggle to find any truth in your lies

Perhaps the biggest thing I've noticed lately is that I seem "stupidly confused" and "muddled." I don't act intelligently. It appears that I can't even decipher truth and keep myself from falling into pits of despair when lies present themselves before me.

I have forgotten who I am, and especially who God views me as - a beloved daughter, a righteous saint! Instead, I am caught up in who (and what) I'm not - perfect. I see my imperfections at every turn in my lack of desire, my selfish tendencies, and my seeming inability to be faithful.

And now my heart stumbles on things I don't know /
My weakness, I feel, I must finally show

All of this leads me, naturally to the place where I have such little faith in what I don't know. For instance, I have no idea just what God has planned for me when I finish this program - I don't even know if I'll have a job next semester! And, yet, I've stumbled so often in trying to plan around these great unknowns, rather than trusting the One who knows them all.

Therein lies my greatest weakness. I fail to trust God.

It seems as though it would come intrinsically enough for me, someone raised in a Christian home and who has seen God's provision and direction for 25 years... But I've rarely seen my own need as much as I have of late.

And the exposure to my need has revealed that I do not trust God as I ought. It is so much easier to "lean on my own understanding," as Proverbs says. It is too easy to see myself as wise and capable than it is to turn over all that I do not know to someone else.

Lend me your hand and we'll conquer them all /
But lend me your heart and I'll just let you fall

There is a blessed sweetness in fellowship. Inside of it, there seems to be the ability to conquer anything and everything that comes our way. But, even with others by my side, I look to our ability to conquer - not God's. If left to me, I would "just let you fall." I cannot conquer on my own. In all honesty, I'm beginning to believe that I cannot conquer at all.
"If only I had an enemy bigger than my apathy, I could have won."
[[Mumford & Sons, "I Gave You All"]]
The reason is simply that I'm apathetic - and I'd love to know why. Perhaps I am ignoring the raging battle that pits joy against my depressive tendencies. Perhaps I indulge my flesh more than I ought. Perhaps I do not know what true desire looks like.

But it tends to follow me, this apathy. I long to long for Christ, yet I find it difficult to obtain. My apathy is my biggest enemy, and that means I have a lengthy and difficult battle ahead of me. I can't let it keep winning. There is no victory if I let it win, and I have been called to victory:
"... in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us." [[Romans 8:37]]
Lend me your eyes - I can change what you see

It is not unusual for me to desire new eyes. I have been legally blind since middle school and have had a desire to see without aid for many of those years.

But in my physical blindness, I have failed to see my spiritual blindness. I need new eyes! The thing is that I can't just pop them in like I do with my contacts - I need the scales to be lifted from my heart. I cannot continue in apathy and expect to see the glorious grace that God has bestowed upon both my life and the world around me.

But your soul you must keep totally free

Anyone who knows me well understands that I see life rather negatively. It is unusual for me to experience lightness and freedom of heart, and it is far more usual for me to feel the burden and weight of what seems to be the whole world on my shoulders. Life is a responsibility to me - and only when the responsibility is covered do I feel I can actually experience freedom.

Sadly, these times are few and far between. I do not understand freedom, or joy, or lightness of heart with enough frequency even to know what they look like.
"Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God." [[Psalm 42:11, 43:5]]
So, if you think about it, please join me in praying that I might learn what freedom and joy look like - that I might abandon my apathy and understand a desire that leads to action and to the feet of Christ. It has been far too long since I sat at His feet and let myself simply be.

Awake, my soul! Awake, my soul!
For you were made to meet your Maker.

[[Headings taken from Mumford & Sons, "Awake My Soul"; Definitions from dictionary.com]]

07 September 2010

Why I'm leaving Facebook after 7 years as a user...

There was once a time that Facebook was simple, and so (to be honest) was my life. I went to classes and came home, seeing all the people I really knew in the dorms, catching up with them at dinner, and enjoying late night chats in the lounges. The few people I didn't see regularly, I began to keep up with on "the Face", which gave me a little bit of insight to their lives when I gave them a phone call and got caught up that way.

Life's now a little more complex, however, and so has become my Facebook habit.

Now, I've never gotten into the games. When I first saw that my father had planted corn (in Farmville, as I later found out), I was really confused because my parents' neighborhood won't let them plant anything edible. And when I tried to get into playing Scrabble with the family, I would forget to check on the game and ended up force-forfeiting almost every one I ever tried to play.

So, obviously, I'm not talking about that.

What has gotten quite absurdly out of control has been my need to know every tidbit about every person that I both do and do not hang out with on a daily basis. It wouldn't be so bad if I actually took the time to seek out each individual to see how he or she was doing, but the fact that it is so readily supplied and I do not need to initiate any type of communication (or relationship), is ridiculous. No wonder I feel cut off from people - almost every relationship is mediated and nothing is genuine.

So, why now?

I've been toying with this idea for a while. It is nothing new in the back recesses of my mind, though perhaps not purely in this light. My original stance was going to be for privacy, but Facebook fixed some things and that's not really a hill I wanted to die on.

This, however is:
Do not turn aside after empty things that cannot profit or deliver, for they are empty. [1 Samuel 12:21]

Those that cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs. [Jonah 2:8]

When we put it plainly like this - as a direct choice between God and our stuff - most of us hope we would choose God. But we need to realize that how we spend our time, what our money goes toward, and where we will invest our energy is equivalent to choosing God or rejecting Him. How could we think for even a second that something on this puny little earth compares to the Creator and Sustainer and Savior of it all? [Francis Chan, Crazy Love]
Now, I don't want to say that Facebook is entirely empty or without value - it certainly can be useful when handled with the correct heart. I simply do not currently have that heart.

Facebook can be a great communication tool, but I am not using it as such. It can be a great way to keep in touch with old friends at various distances, but I often find discouragement, heartache, and even bitterness in what appears in my News Feed.

My heart is not centered heavily on Christ right now - and I'm finally seeing that to be the root of the problem. I need Christ, but I do not see my need for Him.

And this must change.

In the next few months, I'm hoping to seek the stripping away of "worthless idols" - those things that are empty, that do not "profit or deliver" me to the foot of the cross. I want to choose my Creator over the created things that He has so graciously given me. I want to know again the desire to sit at His feet and be fully known by Him. I want to boldly come before the throne of grace - and, right now, I do not remember what that looks like.

Therefore, the first thing to go is Facebook. More will certainly follow, though it will certainly be a process that requires honesty with myself where (especially) my media use is concerned. Only as things are stripped away will I see what needs to go next.

My life has become a constant refrain of, "If only I get to keep (fill in the blank)... (fill in the blank)." We were created for so much more - if there is "no greater loss" than to lose myself in the One who was broken and died on a cross so that He could conquer death and my sin in His resurrection, then I need to change how I live, for my life does not currently reflect this.

On September 15th, I will pull the plug on my Facebook account. Until then, I'll be trying to gather as much contact information as I can so that I might possibly cultivate relationships again, rather than seeing my reading of status updates for people I know as "relationships".

Regardless, you can still get ahold of me here, at my e-mail address, akatereynolds[at]yahoo.com, on Twitter [akatereynolds] or by telephone.

Listening to: Mumford & Sons, Sigh No More
Reading: Jan Karon, In This Mountain [among other things]

17 July 2010

The Fast Waking Hours

I am finding that time moves incredibly fast these days. Already, I am two-thirds of the way through my summer and wondering 1) where June went and 2) when I'm going to work on stuff for school that I've been intending to do since I got done in May and really haven't had much time to do.

And, yet, perhaps the most striking thing I've noticed in the quickly passing days is how little of that time I am spending with my Savior. Which self-perpetuates, sinfully, as I am then ashamed of not spending time at Christ's feet and hide myself away - even more afraid that I ought not to come near Him.

My heart longs for so many things, yet I am afraid of those things. I yearn to pursue music (still can't get rid of that itch), but I refuse to sit down and work on it. I desire to write (in general, like a book) about my experiences growing up and how my walk with God has changed over these many years, but I sit down one evening and never return to it.

I find that I am failing at faithfulness. Perhaps I need to just keep that before me and remember the One who is forever faithful.

In all of my oddities, I often return to the poor midnight/haphazard recordings I do of songs after I write them (so that I can at least remember what I intended them to sound like), and I keep coming back to everything I've written in the last few years and just wondering why I feel stuck in the same places.

And I keep re-visiting a song I wrote when I went to my parents' house over winter break (a rare fit of intending to write some music). It was rooted in the following verse, which ought to more earth-shattering to me than it is most days:

They know not, nor do they discern, for he has shut their eyes, so that they cannot see, and their hearts, so that they cannot understand. No one considers, nor is there knowledge or discernment to say, "Half of it I burned in the fire; I also baked bread on its coals; I roasted meat and have eaten. And shall I make the rest of it an abomination? Shall I fall down before a block of wood?" He feeds on ashes; a deluded heart has led him astray, and he cannot deliver himself or say, "Is there not a lie in my right hand?" [Isaiah 44:19]

I so easily forget the ONE God. LORD Jesus, may it no longer be so!

Listening to: The Civil Wars, Live from Eddie's Attic
Reading: Madeleine L'Engle, The Irrational Season

Blocks of Wood
©2010 A. Kate Reynolds

I have worshiped my blocks of wood;
I have eaten their ashes and fashioned their shape;

I have used them for fuel and warmth;

and when the days close, I hold them high and say:

“These are my gods;

the fruit of my toil.

I’ve worked and whittled

taking them from the soil.”

These gods can do naught

but rest in my hands -

I need to remember and understand:

That there is one God who formed me,

and one who calls out my name,

who has chosen to redeem me,

and removed my sins and their stains.

So, sing out, oh heavens,

Shout, depths of the earth,

For the Lord has redeemed

and stripped away the curse!

I have worshiped the graven gold;

I have found it a comfort and hated its loss;

I have trusted the men on its sides;

and when the days open, I hold it closeby:

“These are my gods;

fashioned by men.

I think I’ve deserved

every bit I did win.”

But these gods can do naught

except clink in my hands -

I need to remember and understand:

That there is one God who formed me,

and one who calls out my name,

who has chosen to redeem me,

and removed my sins and their stains.

So, sing out, oh heavens,

Shout, depths of the earth,

For the Lord has redeemed

and stripped away the curse!

Gods of wood and gold can’t go before you.

Gods of earth and stone can’t ever love you.

There is only One who...

That there is one God who formed me,

and one who calls out my name,

who has chosen to redeem me,

and removed my sins and their stains.

There is one God who keeps me;

There is only One who came;

There is one God who frees me,

who has loosed all of my chains.

So, sing out, oh heavens,

Shout, depths of the earth,

For the Lord has redeemed

and stripped away the curse!


11 April 2010

11 & 300

On April 21, I will turn 11.

For eleven years, I have walked with Christ; I have written music; I have seen His faithfulness in every aspect of my life.

And in preparation to celebrate, I have started my annual trek through old prayer journals. I can only stand amazed at the goodness and faithfulness of God.

Even in my moments of utmost foolishness, He was fully faithful. Every year, I walk away with some main thread of what God has been teaching me. Perhaps what this year is about is coming to an understanding of the faithfulness of God.

I picked up one of my prayer journals from my best friend back in December. She had borrowed it many years ago and had kept it for several after that.

It is this journal that I picked up tonight when I couldn't sleep. I can't tell you the last time I read any of its pages, but its pages tell of my last year of high school and my first few years of college.

I must have been an odd specimen as a teenager, though perhaps it was the depression that I constantly battled that made me as introspective as I was. Every page contains depth that I somehow trusted God with.

At my worst, I still asked Him to correct my heart and bless me.

Granted, I was horridly foolish, but foolish with an honest, God-fearing heart.

And yet He was faithful! Prayers that I don't remember ever praying are recorded in the pages of this simple book - prayers for the husband that sleeps next to me, for the shaping of my heart, for perseverance in music, for peace.

Eleven years. How did they go by so quickly? How does each phase seem as if it were another life? I somehow went from 14 to nearly 25 and feel as if I've lived five lifetimes in the blink of an eye.

I'm so grateful for the roles that different people have played in my spiritual development over the years. As I read, the names flooded me and I felt the overwhelming desire to track each of them down to express my gratitude. Unfortunately, this would likely be impossible, especially as I'm called to be faithful in the life that God has blessed me with at the present time, but how much I still love them! How blessed I was to know them!

Somehow, I've also reached 300 posts on this ol' blog. 300 posts in five years. Some years have been a little more wordy than others, I suppose, but they're all here - and each one reflects a place in my life where Christ was living and active.

And I am so grateful for that.

In reading through my prayer journal tonight, I was struck by my faithfulness and diligence in seeking God through writing during those years. I wrote constantly. I prayed constantly. I relied on Christ day-in and day-out. God's faithfulness to me over the years calls me to remain faithful, and I am learning what that means in my daily life - all over again.

Life looks so much different at 24 than it did at 14, both in obvious and subtle ways. But there is one thing that remains the same - I am still human and I still desperately need a Savior.

Hallelujah! No kinder Savior waits for me than Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God.