friends are awesome. God is awesomer.

{Yes. “Awesomer” is a word.}
                                           

Right now I am basking in the light, joyous feeling that comes from sweet company. It is a feeling I have not experienced often in the last couple of months. It is not that I did not have enjoyable company, but my heart was too heavy to enjoy the moment I was in.

Ok, I’ll try to give you the short version of what has made my heart heavy over the last couple of months.

In merely a week, a friend’s mom tragically died unexpectedly, I found out my Aunt had cancer, a friend was extremely depressed due to undeserved meanness continually shown to her, also several people I love dearly showed me very ugly sides of their character all at the same time (which took me by surprise), and one of my closest friends wasn’t there for me when I was really upset about all this, and she said some very hurtful words to me. This is only half of the burdens I felt. This doesn’t even include all of the stress I had with stuff on my senior to do list. To sum it up in one word I was overwhelmed.

This all took place in one single week in May. A time when I should have been enjoying my last days as a high school student, but  instead I was miserable. I have an annoying habit of taking on the weight of other people’s problems and trying to fix them, so that didn’t help the situation at all.

Three days after I graduated I went on a ten day missions trip to the Dominican Republic. My heart was anything but ready. I was feeling inadequate, disconnected from my team, and apathetic— which really scared me. This was my first mission trip. I had waited my whole life to do this very thing. Yet, in the midst of what I had yearned to do for so long, I was lacking compassion and a desire to be where I was. It was confusing to say the least, and I certainly didn’t want to feel that way. It frustrated me to the point of tears. I continued praying and leaning on God for help and understanding.

Despite my confusion, God had told me to go to the Dominican Republic and He honored my obedience. He used me in ways I could’ve never foreseen. I had the privilege of speaking about the Great Commission (the end of Matthew when Jesus tells His disciples to go into all the Earth making disciples), as well as speak about my own personal testimony and passion regarding missions at an evangelism college in the Dominican. They wanted to start sending out missionaries from their country, but they were unfamiliar with how to do it and the reason to do it. So they asked us to come share with their faculty and board of directors. It was a blessing to me. In preparation for this I was unsure if half of what I wrote was even relevant, but I felt strongly that every word I wrote was what I was meant to say. The people responded better than I could’ve ever imagined. It strengthened my courage, as well as my faith and purpose.

Even though God did many, many amazing things in that country, as well as in my heart, when I came back to America I still felt heavy hearted. The following week I met up with several friends at different times who wanted to hear about my trip. The conversation was good, but it wasn’t like it usually was, at least for me it wasn’t. I didn’t leave the conversation feeling lighthearted and refreshed as I always did after spending one on one time with a close friend. I felt like I was meeting with them more out of some sort of friendship duty to be a good friend, so I could check it off of some list. It became more like a chore and I absolutely HATED that. One on one convos with friends are what I LIVE for, so it didn’t make any sense. And to make it worse, the one friend that I wanted to talk to more than anything was always busy, and I felt like I was being avoided and lied to. I felt rejected by her, and this wasn’t the first time. It was frustrating because I was so excited to share with her about my trip, and I felt like I had to beg for her to hang out with me, to no avail. I missed her and it hurt my heart more deeply than it should have.

I am telling you all of this to say that through all of my pain, worry, and confusion God came when I called. Yes, I have continuously prayed about all of these things as they’ve occurred these last few months, but until this week I had not laid down my pride and truly given God reign. One night as I laid in my bed thinking over everything, I gave every single thing to God. Even the sins that I had been trying to foolishly hide and forget about. I laid it all at His feet, and as always He accepted me with open arms. My heart was finally open to receive the love and healing it needed. This was brought through convicting scriptures, but mostly through my sweet time with my friend Ana today, whom I mentioned when I started this long story.

When I shared with her the things I was going through right now, she shared with me some of the same wisdom others had shared with me in the past, but until today I wasn’t ready to receive it with an open mind. The hardest words of wisdom for me to swallow were the fact that friendships are sometimes just for a season. God puts you in people lives, you plant seeds, and then you let go. She told me that maybe my friendship with that particular girl was just for a season and that season is over. I don’t know if this is true, but I can’t ignore this possibility as much as I hate it with everything in me. When I’m friends with someone, we’re friends for life. I don’t like this whole “seasons” idea, but it is Biblical.

My favorite part of our conversation was when we were able to relate to each others struggles on a heart level, or point out ways the enemy was trying to plant lies or start chaos in each other’s lives. Just being able to reveal my heart to someone who loves Jesus and pursues Him in such a similar fashion fills my heart with such an overwhelming amount of joy.

This week I began at a low place and now I am at a much better place. I am not through the struggles yet, but I feel encouraged, joyful, and confident in Jesus’ love and support of me. I am also very eager to pursue more of what Jesus has for me. I need more. Though friendships are great, I cannot rely on them for all my comfort and wisdom. My main source should be Jesus. That’s hard for me to remember all the time, which is why my heart can so easily become heavy-laden. I too often go to other people with my problems expecting relief, when my first instinct should be to run to my heavenly Father.

I know that I have shared with you more negative than positive in this blog post today, but I want to be honest with you. A lot of people think Christians never struggle and have it all together. I sure as heck don’t. I am a mess that God has graciously and lovingly turned into a story of His magnificent glory. I am forever thankful. Even in my weakness, He is strong. He lifts me up and carries me through the struggle when I call upon Him, and He’ll do the same for you.

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