Sometimes when I have a little less of something, and I choose to fill that space with God, it always confirms the God-shaped hole in my heart that can be filled only by him; His love, His spirit, His words. I’ve been thinking about this, discovering this, and leaning into this, especially lately. I’m currently in St. Joseph, MI, three weeks into my first clinical rotation of physical therapy school. Moving here for 6 weeks meant another transition, this time from my carefree two-week summer break in Traverse a City to this 40+ hour workweek in a new city, new apartment, and with new running routes. And as I drove 4 hours down here that Sunday evening, I was recovering from the stomach flu. I felt unsafe, unstable, and out of control; my soul screamed for comfort and familiarity. I craved my cozy house in TC, I craved my lake with my mom, I craved being arm-in-arm with Lillian, I craved early and long runs on M22 that ended in my lake. Part of me even craved classes in Chicago with Jen and Kali and Jess. I craved class. That just shows how badly I dislike transitions, which highlights my lack of reliance on God, and my tendency to live within and not above my circumstances. This was all within my first few days here, and with amplified emotions and thoughts and fears I told my mom “I’m sick of everything being so hard”. Drama queen. Back to that God-shaped hole. When God shows up, or the Holy Spirit nudges, or I feel a teensy sense of trust about God’s behind the scenes action, there is His supernatural strength and growth and peace. Times a million.
Thinking back on my past year, it was hard, difficult, overwhelming. But also raw and real and strengthening; growing with God through a lot of asking, wondering, seeking, and finding. I’ve experienced how this lack and this newness can provide opportunity, space, and room for God. Instead of comfort, familiarity, and routine comes random Christ-filled conversation, honest prayers, spiritual sensitivity, total dependence, full attention. Not to say these things are only possible in seasons of lack and difficulty, but it’s in this season for me that I’m connecting these dots and thoughts. The theme this season, and this past year, is that only God can truly satisfy my heart. Jeremiah knew this too, and he described it as broken cisterns that cannot hold water.
My people have committed two sins:
They have forsaken me,
the spring of living water,
and have dug their own cisterns,
broken cisterns that cannot hold water.
I may dig my own cistern in comfort and planning and control, but it can’t hold the living water of Jesus. It may hold a little water, but not for long. Things may fight for and temporarily satisfy my heart and mind, but only Jesus truly does. My mom knows this too, and has also been leaning into this truth for the past year. The Holy Spirit fills her heart in these thoughts of true strength and peace among uncertainty and change. In Christ her soul finds 10,000 reasons to praise the Lord. My dear friend Jackie is living this out too, but all the way in South Korea. She’s living alone, finding adventure, teaching English to children who don’t speak it. She’s digging deep to her roots of her faith and figuring out her edges. She’s growing in faith and strength and trust in God, with a whole new perspective, blogging about mud and rain and effort and feeling loved. For both of us, our time together in undergrad was hilarious and wonderful and uplifting, and we were so blessed by our time together there. There is nothing wrong with comfort such as this, and we were truly grateful for it and grew a lot in our faith while we were there, but it is true for both of us that as we moved away (her farther than me), it exposed the God-shaped holes and shed light on our cisterns. One night we both saw the same full moon and we praised God for what can connect us, 13 hours and continents apart. Something to be aware of.
My one word for 2014 was remain, as vine and branches, and it’s confirming to me how it is all connected. God plants seeds here and there, he prepares our hearts and minds for what is next. Back in January I chose remain, and that word holds even more true on today, the 2nd of August. I’m realizing more and more that the more time I spend with Him, the more close I feel, the more aligned our thoughts and desires are. The more I remain, the more I remain. Just like how you feel closer to the friends and family that you talk to daily, the more I talk with Jesus, the more I draw near, the more still I am, the more I remain.
Challenging myself to spend more time this weekend and week. This past week, I’ve been peeling myself out of bed at 6 to run six miles, then flying out the door to get to my clinical early enough to prepare for my patients. Then after my 10 hour days I nap without even meaning to, and try and run 3 more miles on tired legs to keep up with mileage for my marathon training. So basically I haven’t been diving into scripture this week, or spending one on one God time as I want to.
My cousin who is more like an uncle recently told me something his dad always told him, that if it were easy, everyone would do it. He also told me he was praying for me. Nothing better than having someone out of the blue tell you they’re actually praying for you. Except its not “out of the blue”, it’s out of God, from God, through God.
God leads me by quiet waters, He restores my soul, Psalm 23. This verse really resonates with me, as I love love love water, and I always seem to live by water, specifically Lake Michigan. The lake has become holy and soothing to me. I envision myself freaking out, lashing out, worrying and stressing, and God just trying to show me that with Him, I’m always be quiet waters, with Him as my strength, refreshing my weary self. From my current favorite band Sidewalk Prohets- I’m giving you fear and you give faith, I’m giving you doubt and you give grace. Praying through this.
Currently very thankful- for these great patients, for His word, Sidewalk Prophets, my recent noMI weekend, hands-on learning, Lake Michigan, blueberries, for God’s love and grace, and for finding my God-shaped hole, and feeling Him fill me.
Finding God through the sunrise and the sunsets, and as always, Lake Michigan–