The Undeniably Beautiful Journey

I recently visited my alma mater. Memories are buried so deep there, it’s unbelievable. From the coffee shop I spent countless hours at, had several DTRs at (yes, really, and if you don’t know what those are, then never mind, I’ll let you continue to think more highly of me than that); to my friend’s painting that still hangs on the wall; to the dorms where we laughed until 4:00 a.m. while cramming for exams; to the classrooms I sweated out those exams in; to the professors offices I struggled with my plans for the future in; to the student government office we made many-a-memories in while deliriously tired, laughing until we cried; to the hallways where spontaneous conversations occurred leading to deep and lasting relationships. Those are wonderful memories. Each one made a lasting impression on my heart. I cherish the laughter, the joy, the happiness, the friendships, and yes, even the tears and heartache. Each one of those experiences is now a memory that has played a role in shaping me into the person I am today.

I was also privileged to spend time with my girlfriends from college. It was a blast. I haven’t laughed that hard in a long time. We reminisced and laughed, and laughed some more. I am so blessed to have formed those relationships. It’s one of God’s many blessings in my life. Love you girls.

Life has brought a plethora of about a million emotions. Being back with old friends and surrounded by so many memories, caused me to be a bit reflective. SO…here is the beauty, the unexpected beauty, I might add, that I’ve discovered lately: God prepares our hearts for each new chapter He has in store for us, leading to an unbelievable journey.

Here’s an example of what I mean.

  • Before each breakup I’ve gone through, the Lord had been slowly showing me areas in which the relationship was not meant to be, a discomfort, an unrest, a preparedness for moving on. (I recently spoke with a very sweet and godly girl who initiated a breakup after several years–she had experienced a lack of peace from the Lord over the relationship for a long period of time that culminated into a tough but necessary breakup. It was a wonderful testimony of Christ at work in her life to prepare her, to move her, to teach her.)
  • I loved both high school and college, I made the most of those years, but about my senior years, I began to be sick of the work, ready to move on to the next stage, see what college held/ what the career world had, see what I could do with my newfound knowledge, what people I could meet, how I could impact the world; by both graduations I knew I would miss my friends, but I was ready in all other respects. 
  • Since graduation He has slowly created dissatisfaction in several areas of the way my life was going, preparing me for and leading me to new and exciting endeavors. That dissatisfaction was from Him and it was for a reason, to push me, to move me, to better me. (I was unhappy with my lack of involvement, I felt like I was letting myself go, not challenging myself, just existing and working–and yes, hanging onto the past– and that wasn’t enough. So I decided to embrace the chapter of life I’m in. I’ve made a concerted effort to be content right where I’m at. In order to do that, I’ve worked to develop friendships, volunteer through various means, and further my knowledge by enrolling in a masters program. Because I wanted to do more, to be more, I wanted Christ to receive the most out of this life He placed here on earth. I didn’t want to be frustrated with where God had me.)

See what I mean? Think about the major life changes you’ve had (relationship changes, job changes, growing up, graduations, new responsibilities, marriage, kids, new passions, new endeavors, big moves), and reflect on the faithfulness of Christ to bring you through and out. And if you let Him, to use each one of those life chapters, to create an absolutely exceptional life. But if you fight it…well, that’s going to create a problem. Don’t fight it. There is something wonderful about each chapter. I dare you to find that wonder.

Ok, side note. I love country music. I know all the words, it’s my favorite to listen to while driving, working, getting ready, you name it. Oh, boy, but that stuff can be terribly dangerous and counter productive to this whole moving forward thing. Way too many songs talk about mistakes made, high school memories, past loves, relationship mistakes, wanting a second chance. “Like We Never Said Goodbye,” “Last Kiss,” “Back to December,” “My Memory Ain’t What it Used to Be.” Just to name a few. If you’re not a country music fan just google the lyrics. IT MAKES IT SO EASY TO LIVE IN THE PAST. Or let your past drag you down. A constant reminder of what you miss or what you wish happened is not healthy. (There’s nothing wrong with those songs, I adore them. There is nothing wrong with fond memories from the past, I treasure mine. I’m just saying the philosophy, dwelling on the past and overlooking what God is doing in the present, can be counterproductive to God’s plan for you.) It’s not the way life is meant to be, it’s not the way God intended it. I can just picture God up there saying, I have something incredible planned for you if you just hang on and trust me. Life is intended to be a journey. A journey with both joy and sorrow. A journey with many different and unique chapters. But you cannot experience the fullest extent of joy from each chapter if you keep hanging onto the last, and He knows that.

Each new chapter brings something wonderful. Something worth pursuing. The next portion of a masterfully orchestrated plan. All you gotta do is live it.

God prepares us to move on so we can experience all that He has planned. Embrace what He is doing in your life. He is a good God. Imagine if my mind was consumed with my high school years, or re-doing past relationships? Imagine if a mother could not fathom having another child because of the pain of the last child birth? Well that wouldn’t be good. No, He provides us with the ability to love and live at that moment, to cherish memories, but He also provides the ability to lessen the intensity of memories so we can embrace the present and look forward to the future.

It’s entirely counter intuitive (and counter cultural) to trust God has a plan, to trust that each experience is a string in a perfect web to bring you through a journey, a journey designed just for you, to bring glory to your Savior. But He does and it is. No experience is an accident. No open door is a mistake. No closed door was happenstance. Every single piece of your life happens for a reason. When it’s time to move you on, He’s gracious to prepare your heart. Don’t live in the past. Find joy in the present and peace in the future. Be content. Make the most of this moment. If you do, He’ll take you places, open doors, and do things you would never have imagined. Don’t wish for it to change. Don’t hope for something different. Don’t wish this, right here, right now, away. You’ll never get it back.

That is why trials (which are often chapters in life) should bring welcome tears–they are very calculated moves to create you into the person you were meant to be; to prepare you for your future; to break you in the places you need to be broken; to grow you in the areas that need growth; but most importantly, to draw you near to a Savior that created you, wants to use your life, and loves you dearly. (I’ve discovered He may bring you through a difficult chapter to create dissatisfaction and distrust in this age so you learn to trust Him and only Him.) But when it’s time to move you on, you better believe He’ll heal you and bring beauty from the ashes.

And during those tough chapters, never forget this: “My grace is sufficient for you, My power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

That is why there is something to be said for finding contentment and joy in each chapter in life. So embrace life and its changes and chapters, find comfort in knowing it’s all on purpose, part of shaping you and bringing glory to Himself. And don’t stop looking to Christ, being sensitive to His moving in your heart, expecting the greatest of things. He is good and ever-faithful. He has a master plan. Nothing slips through His sovereign hands. Let Him prepare you for each new step, and in the process bring you the most thrilling plan you can imagine. It’s His journey. It’s His story. And holding onto the past isn’t part of that plan. I challenge you this: when you are tempted to hang onto the past, cling to the Lord, saturate your life in prayer. Rely on His strength to take you new places. Trust in His future grace for your life.

“Forget about what’s happened, Don’t keep going over old history. Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new.” Isaiah 43:18-19 The Message


“The Lord is good to those who wait for Him.” Lamentations 3:25

Embrace the life He brings. I dare you to find to the wonder. I promise you, there is beauty lying beneath, no matter how far you have to dig.
Source: piccsy.com via Lauren on Pinterest

These lyrics by Thompson Square (though secular and a song about romantic love) are a beautiful picture of a life that isn’t always perfect, a life that has its bumps and bruises, that sometimes hurts, with paths that will cause you to wonder why you ever took them; but a journey all the same with reason to love and live like there is no tomorrow. You don’t truly live if you don’t trust and have a little faith that EVERYTHING, yes everything, is all part of an incredible, intentional journey.

Trying to live and love,
With a heart that can’t be broken,
Is like trying to see the light with eyes that can’t be opened.
Yeah, we both carry baggage,
We picked up on our way, so if you love me do it gently,
And I will do the same.

We may shine, we may shatter,
We may be picking up the pieces here on after,
We are fragile, we are human,
We are shaped by the light we let through us,
We break fast, cause we are glass.
Cause we are glass.

I’ll let you look inside me, through the stains and through the cracks,
And in the darkness of this moment,
You see the good and bad.
But try not to judge me, ’cause we’ve walked down different paths,
But it brought us here together, so I won’t take that back.

We may shine, we may shatter,
We may be picking up the pieces here on after,
We are fragile, we are human,
We are shaped by the light we let through us,
We break fast, cause we are glass.

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