Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Encouragement


So it’s been two months since I last posted (apologies) and life has been flying by. I’m halfway through with first semester of Junior year and I want it all to sloooow down. I’ve been working hard and playing hard, but honestly that’s just it... its been hard. It’s been hard to stay focused on Jesus and not a To-Do list. It’s been hard transitioning from 9 weeks in a solid Christian community to living in a sorority house where I sometimes feel like an alien from another planet. It’s been hard to figure out how to have a relationship with Jesus without becoming “religious”, just going through the motions as if I could somehow earn God's grace. It’s been hard to be joyful when I’m truthfully just frustrated and a tad overwhelmed.

            I could go on, but everyone knows that life is hard. And just because I’m a Christian, God certainly didn’t promise that life would be easy. Living for Jesus is anything but easy. But what I really want to talk about is my friend Meredith’s birthday party I went to this past Friday and how God used the most random combination of people to encourage me to continue pursuing Him. Some were close friends, some merely acquaintances, some I just met there, but they all encouraged me more than they realize. The beautiful thing is that their encouragement wasn’t even intentional; it was just an overflow of their hearts. It was the Lord using His sons and daughters to remind me of why I’m living for Him. These people, they all love Jesus wholeheartedly and are living for Him. Hearing about what God is doing in their lives and just seeing their love for Him through their actions and words, was SO amazing. It reminded me of how God has radically changed MY life and how much I truly desire to live for Jesus, despite life’s daily struggles.
           
            One friend, Lucy, is a new Cru staff member (Lucy's Blog) and we were just talking about her support raising when she mentioned that she often uses me as an example of a girl whose life has been radically changed because of Jesus. I totally was not expecting her to say that and it was incredibly humbling. Not because of anything that I’ve done, but humbling when I remembered how good my God is. I so easily forget how God completely changed my life. I’ve just been feeling inadequate, feeling like God can’t really use me. I forgot the reality of what He rescued me from. I was reminded that not only has He literally transformed me from the inside out, He has used my life to influence and encourage others in ways that I could have never dreamed. I’m an undeserving sinner yet God calls me His daughter. Not only that but He chooses to bless me. He chooses to use my story of brokenness to show others His love and grace. It’s absolutely incredible.

            Recently I’ve been overwhelmed with gratitude for the community of Christians that the Lord has surrounded me with. As I told my friend, Laura, lately I’ve had a hard time understanding that God really loves me, but then I look around and see how He has blessed me with friends who love me deeply and who encourage me daily to pursue Jesus. God has really been pouring out His love on me through my brothers and sisters in Christ and I’m so thankful for that. If you’re reading this and you don’t have that kind of encouragement and support in your life, just ask God to provide and I promise that He’s faithful and He will.  He is good.

PS. Go read Psalm 103. Seriously, right now. God loves us SO much.