I spent the rest of the morning moving slowly and intentionally as I got ready to go to church. After watching the moon on Friday I had realized that I love taking life slowly and that I had lost the ability to do that. So, I took a long shower, took a while to pick my clothes out, and even put on a bit of makeup. I dressed up a bit more for church than usual, not to impress anyone or to convince myself that I feel good, but to express how I felt inside. I felt beautiful, I felt happy, I felt full of worth, loved. I put on mascara and told myself that I would not cry today and that today was going to be a good day. I made breakfast and grabbed my things to head to church. It was a rainy morning, but it felt so sacred. It reminded me of when I first started going to The Mercy House when I was in college, and how we used to comment about it always raining on Sundays. This rain reminded me of those days that were so refreshing for me, and today the rain served the same purpose. I knew that I didn't have to pretend to be anything or anyone that I am not, and I know that God's love for me was all I needed to accept in order to be happy.
I sent my worship team a wake-up text -- "This is the day that the Lord has made! Let us rejoice and be glad in it!" (Shout out to Camp Su'Na'Go' peeps ;D) I had a song in my heart. I headed to the door and proclaimed that I would open it on the first try. Note here-- our locks on the building we are in are HORRIBLE. I generally spend about ten minutes trying to wiggle the key and finagle the lock until the door finally opens, so getting it to turn on the first try would be a small but huge miracle. I approached the door with confidence, trust, and most importantly belief. I turned the key slowly and caught the lock on the first try...the door opened! "Praise God," I thought. I love it when God speaks in those small but huge ways.
We practiced, played through a beautiful service that was carried a divinely planned theme of letting God have control and learning to love and not resent, and then we had a time of communion with one another over a pitch-in meal, which is always a blessing. After cleaning up from the meal, a friend and I started chatting and she found out about the week that I had. I was planning on having a tough conversation with a friend that day, so she wanted to pray over me and talk with me about it. We went back inside, alone in the church, and talked more.
She spoke to me about things that there is no way she would have known without me telling her. She spoke directly to my heart about worth, about confidence, about God's innate love for his people, about acceptance, about peace and hope for the future, and she reassured me of some thoughts that I was already having. Then she spoke a strong, straightforward prayer of blessing and anointing over me, and I felt a warmth in my heart, not like a warmth of simply feeling loved, but a warmth of a deeper assurance of love, a warmth that I can only attribute to the Holy Spirit of God himself. I have only felt that when I have felt like my knowledge of God and my assurance of His love for me has been so certain. It was beautiful. I thanked her as we parted ways and I headed over to my friend's house to talk.
We had an awesome talk, and all the things we had been praying were exactly the way the conversation went. God is faithful. Another miracle of his love. The night ended peacefully with a community meeting at church (we have been meeting for the past few months to figure out where our church is going to meet starting at the end of September, so it's generally a stressful meeting). I went to bed feeling assured, secure, strong, confident, and happy.
So striving is never in vain if you can see it for its beauty. The process of striving is often synonymous with the process of growing. We may strive for a goal and then end up somewhere totally different. That doesn't mean we have failed or strived in vain, but that means that the one who knows what is best for us is intervening in a miraculous way. In times when I am struggling to see the blessings and the beauty of my life, instead of striving in frustration, I am going to slow down, take some deep breaths, and talk with God about it. I am going to let go of controlling my life and look to the one who created me for His will for me. I can only be happy when I accept the love my God has for me. His love is vast, deeper and wider than any body of water or distance in space that we can fathom. God is more present than we realize, more faithful than we acknowledge, and more good than we make Him out to be. No longer do we have to fear for our lives because He has already saved them.