"But I also pray that I will praise Him when the pain comes back. When things break and things aren't easy.
Teach me, Jesus, please teach me to trust You. To give You my expectations of how You should use pain in my life. I want to know in my soul and trust that You know exactly how much I can take. You won't give me an ounce more. What a gentle God. Alleluia."
I wrote those words this summer in a blog post and tucked it away for a day like today when the pain is back. I am so glad that YHWH is still on the throne on days like today, that He still loves me very much, that some things never change. He is very gentle and compassionate.
Looking back, 2012 has been a wild year.
Got in my first mini-wreck.
Found a new church that I LOVE.
Started helping in a new ministry. WHICH I ALSO LOVE.
Rode the Max. By Myself. Probably Stupid. But I met beautiful people, hungering for truth and love and Jesus.
Became a junior in college.
Was tested for Lupus and then told it's just eczema after meeting with several doctors.
Worked at a Radiator Shop the whole summer. Jesus met me. Changed me. Loved me.
Went to Iowa for a family reunion, went tubing, etc.
Became good, good friends with a man who I LOVE deeply. That season is ending, and I hurt very much, but I'm trying to cherish every memory. No regrets.
And I learned a few things. Or was taught a few things.
I learned that I can't put expectations on pain, on how long it should last for God to still be good (He is good, and He determines what we need. He is gentle too.).
I've learned the power of this verse: "We love because He first loved us." We must know His love in order to love.
I've learned that He is the God of encouragement and endurance. YHWH longs to encourage His children and calls for us to run farther and deeper, to keep going when times get hard, to work things out with each other. He is cheering for us.
I've learned a little more the power of God's grace and what it can do to someone who longs to give their life over to the LORD. Beauty.
I learned that God wants to be known as He relates to His people, "Slow to anger, merciful, gracious, abounding in love, . . . " etc.
I've learned again that God is trustworthy and that He answers wild prayers.
I've learned the importance of "embracing the lonely" and that I have to be fully dependent on Jesus.
I've learned that there are some things we will never understand nor have good answers for . . . but the LORD can carry our unanswered questions. He is strong enough.
I've learned that laughter really is good for the soul. And so are tears.
Dear dear Father,
This year was hard. You know. I struggled with You so much, especially the first half of the year, not understanding You, not understanding where You were at and what I was feeling and why I was feeling what I was feeling.
And then You sat me down by a lake in a Sweet Home summer and taught me about Your compassion through Isaiah.
And You revived my soul, and You let me be YOURS. Really YOURS. I knew I was loved by You.
And I thank You for all the precious gifts of this year.
For some of the best friends a girl could ask for. <3>3>
For good memories and crazy adventures and lots of encouraging texts.
For all the tears and the tough places and for those You sent to keep me going through them.
Thank You for speaking to me and for sending me incredible opportunities and beautiful people. Thank You for putting Yourself in me. God-in-me. Holy Spirit.
Thank You for nestling me into a church and surrounding me with people who care. This may be only for a season, who knows, but I am so grateful for it!
You know my heart, Jesus. You know it's not feeling very good today, but Your love will outlive my pain. We are yours.
I have no idea what a new year holds. It's kinda terrifying, Jesus.
But as long as You go with me, I'm ready.
I love You very much. Thank You for loving me.
In the Name of JESUS,