where do I even begin?

I moved back into my house at UNC earlier this week and as my housemates and I all tried to explain our summers, the words couldn’t come fast enough.  These past few months have provided the perfect opportunity for God to do a lot of heavy work on my heart, and all I really know to say as another school year starts is that I’ll always look back on this summer as one that changed my life.  So, as cliche and unnecessary as it all may seem, I feel overly compelled to write this nostalgic end-of-summer blog post because I think it can serve as inspiration to know that the God who has so intentionally pursued me this summer is the same One who offers that love to every single one of you.  Here’s the wrap-up of Summer 2013.

For those of you who have been following my story throughout the summer, you know that my time on Summer Project in New York City was in many ways the greatest tool God used to reveal His many lessons to me this summer.  While I had originally expected all of this spiritual growth to only occur within the confines of my time on the trip, I quickly realized that God had much greater plans for me.  In preparing for project, I was in constant prayer about the condition of my heart as the first day of project inched closer and closer.  When I came home from a month spent in an incredible city alongside people that will forever hold a special place in my heart, I had this silent (and somewhat unknown) hope that this time of learning and growing and refining had come to a temporary end.  But God loves me more than that.

As I went into the second half of my summer, I was convinced that the Lord would see no reason to work in me while I was working a job and living at home with my family.  Looking back, the most interesting thing about this thought process is that it would be absolutely true in the case of anyone other than this God — the One who loves us so deeply and intimately that He will use us in every situation and circumstance of our lives because He knows we need it.  He took my seemingly unimportant time at home and showed me that even when I’m not doing missions work or praying or reading my Bible as often as I should, He still chooses me.  He chooses me when I’m discouraged and when I’m disappointed, He chooses me when I’m angry at Him for not giving me what I expected and He chooses me when I lose sight of His goodness and grace.  And anyone else would have looked at my heart and given up on using me long before now, but not God — He just kept pursuing me and loving me and answering my prayers in situations that were important to no one but me.

God set a fire down in my soul this summer.  He didn’t do it through rigid discipline or with the threat of His unfathomable wrath, but with unending grace and a love that is far beyond my ability to explain or even comprehend.  I’ve heard it said before that our whole life is the story of God’s mission to bring us back to Him, because He loves us that much.  And when I process through everything that He has revealed to me this summer, all I really know is that God looked down and saw a broken girl — a girl who is obsessed with control and filled with impatience and keeps a track record of her accomplishments in the back of her head — He saw the sin and the lies and the dark secrets and He chose her anyway.  He chose me knowing that I would fail, knowing that I wouldn’t trust Him all of the time, knowing that I would say and do the wrong things.  And even though I’m in such an infant stage of beginning to understand this, I can say without a doubt that my heart and my life will forever be devoted to this love.

As I enter into senior year, I know there are so many unanswered questions and challenges that are lurking in the shadows of a time filled with fear and anxiety about the future.  For so many years now, I’ve been in endless pursuit of the perfect job and the perfect friends and the perfect life, only to realize that I don’t even want what I’m chasing.  God has shown me this summer that it is only in Him that I will ever be truly fulfilled and sustained, and I know this lesson couldn’t have come at a better time.  There will be days when I forget that there is not a thing in the world outside of the control of God.  I will forget that He is always fighting on my behalf and I will most definitely forget that my strength comes from Him and nowhere else.  Those days will be tough, but I have absolutely no doubt that I’ll know exactly who to run to when doubt creeps into my heart.  Because the Lord is good, and He delivers what He promises.  Praise Him for a life-changing summer and a truly unimaginable love.

“And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge — that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”

-Ephesians 3:17-21

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