But now thus says the LORD,Isaiah 43:1-3, ESV
he who created you, O Jacob,
he who formed you, O Israel:
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name, you are mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
and the flame shall not consume you.
For I am the LORD your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
Winter break is always a weird time for a high school graduate who is currently in college, and I have many friends who can attest to that. You go back home and there is always the confusion on whether or not to go and hang out with old high school friends or suffer through 4 weeks sitting around at home where the only social interaction you have is with your family (which is not completely horrible, you just tend to miss people your own age at times; please do not take this the wrong way mom and dad). But then there IS hanging out with old high school friends which also feels strange because there is the notion of “did I ever move on?” Let me tell you. This is a conundrum I have yet to figure out. But I’ll let you into what happened over my break.
I did hang out with friends from my high school theatre department, WHICH WAS SURREAL.
And by surreal, there was definitely a part of me that thought this would never happen after my senior year in high school.
That may be a story for a different day..
But I do want to talk about a night I did have with high school friends on two separate occasions from these last two weeks that kind of took a hold on my heart in a way that I did not expect.
Now—I have written about reconciliation many different times but this time feels a bit different. This time I have been faced with reconciliation but in the light of seeing the faithfulness of God. Which is a day I for sure never thought would come.
My first experience of meeting with old high school friends was organized in order to catch up and see where everyone was at in life. My first instinct was to completely decline this invitation and laugh it off as insanity, but the more I thought about it, the more I felt that I needed to go, so I went.
I am glad I did because I got to catch up with so many people and through this people started owning up to mistakes and actions that we did in high school, and one by one the hurtful things we did so many years ago in the light of trauma just faded away through conversation and vulnerability. I mean—it wasn’t just completely earth shatteringly vulnerable but for people I have not seen in years, it was pretty bold. It was a conversation I had wished would happen for years.. it was a culmination of grudges and feelings washing away with the rainfall of maturity and growth.
After this night I went for a detour drive on my way home just thinking and praying about what had happened—now everyone was not a hearts out Jesus “I’m going to sacrifice my first born” follower. But there was growth that was obvious through years of processing and distance. During my drive I started to see how much I needed the processing and distance too. God knew that I was longing for a reconciliation with my past but before that I needed reconciliation with myself, so He put a few years of personal growth in there. Not my favorite—But, ended up being for the best.
My second night with a different set of old high school theatre friends ended up being a bit more emotional for me. These were friends whom I had been really close with in my final days in high school and we dropped each other after a year of college (for unrelated reasons). But sitting with them and unpacking our experiences and emotions was something that I did not know my heart needed. Shortly after our dinner I took a bit longer of a detour and went to old spots that I hung out at when I was in high school and I sat with my thoughts. I was thinking through how much God had redeemed and transformed me since my graduation day in high school those many years ago.
In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace,Ephesians 1:7, ESV
Four years ago I was planning on moving to New York. Actually—the plan was that in about a week I would be moving to New York to start my life as an actor. That is not happening. Through the redemption and transformation that has been working through me by the faithfulness of God, I am starting a job in the Chapel office at ACU. Which IS surreal to me. So during my drive to my old high school spots I thanked God and what He has done for me. I look back at my year on the last day of 2019 and I thank Him for how much His faithfulness and love has absolutely changed my life.
It came with changing some pretty drastic things in my life, saying some pretty big “yeses” to things and finally just having the guts to know that it is just worth it sometimes. I hope you know what I mean because that would just take TOO long to explain. Anyway—I look back on my year in 2019 and thank the Lord for how He has worked in my life. I look back on the decade of 2010 and see the faithfulness of my Father in heaven.
We have one more day of 2019 left, use it to see how much God has been present or even where He has been wanting to be present in your life.
My word for the year of 2019 was “Strength,” and at first I thought this was a symbolic word for me seizing what strength I had in me in order to prove my own confidence. But as the year has gone by, and especially over the last six months, I have for sure seen the strength of God. The strength of the love that God offers to all of His children.
I am excited for this next year, to see His faithfulness and to see how much more He can move in my life when I am willing to let Him.
I am excited for this next decade, to bring on more redemption and reconciliation and how much more He can transform my life and the lives around me.
I am excited to be among the children of God, to start a movement of the church that claims Jesus is Lord.