From its inception, this blog has been a vehicle for many things. Initially, I wrote as a way to vent my grief surrounding losing my best friend. Eventually, it transformed into an interactive journal of sorts, a place where my thoughts could be public, where I could share with others whatever it was I happened to be thinking about at any given moment. When inspiration was lacking, it became emptiness. When I could say nothing about the emotions that swirled through me because they were far too painful, it bled out into poetry. Vague enough to leave people guessing, but honest enough to set my mind at ease.
Now I am in a season of life where nothing is certain. Some days I feel a great need to speak, to write, to say something of value to leave some kind of impression on the world. More often than not, silence has been the only reply of my soul. Gone are the ramblings of adolescence; the wordless groans of adulthood are here to take their place!
Seasons come and seasons go, but I’m reminded of a powerful truth bestowed on me in college. I was given a journal my junior year and told of the story in 1 Samuel, where the Israelites were under siege from the Philistines. They asked Samuel to pray for them, and when God answered those prayers and the Philistines were defeated, Samuel placed a stone and called it Ebenezer. In Hebrew, Ebenezer means stone of help.It was a symbol of God’s help in times of struggle, one the people of Israel could look back on and remember God’s faithfulness.
In the past couple of years, my life has changed drastically. I’ve carved out a place for myself in this world, ministered to others, grown spiritually, made new friends, fell in and out of love, experienced overwhelming joy and devastating heartbreak. The only constant was change. And change can be scary. But as I hold that journal (and this blog) in my hand, one theme that rises from it is God’s faithfulness.
I am a broken mess, but God’s faithfulness has never left me.
When I struggled through loneliness in a new city, he provided me with peace and brought new friendships.
When I felt ineffective in my ministry, he sent his affirmation and strong, godly mentors to show me that God’s economy isn’t quantified in terms of success, but in obedience. He showed me those I ministered to experiencing God, some for the first time.
When one of my youth went into cardiac arrest…twice, he literally raised him to life. He showed me his power is not limited to our imaginations or probabilities, but is made perfect in our weakness.
When I faced my own depravity, he covered me in his grace.
When I experienced heartbreak, he reminded me that if everything else in my life were to vanish and all I had was Him, then I would be okay. He is enough. He is more than enough. He taught me to seek first the Kingdom of God, that his will and his way will always be most important.
When I thought I would lose my Dad this weekend, he comforted me. As I blazed down the interstate at 3 am, racing to get to his bedside, God protected me and comforted me and gave my family peace. When my Dad was on a ventilator for almost two days, unconscious, he showed us that joy is never lost and hope is never dead. When Dad woke up and laughed with us, he reminded us of his power and love. Dad told me that, as the ambulance pulled closer to the hospital and he lost consciousness, his last thought was that he only had peace. And he is alive because God’s power is not limited to my fear.
Ebenezers, all of them. From tragedy and brokenness, I have been given a peace that far surpasses my frail understanding of reality. I have seen God deliver me time and time again. I have seen his promises remain as true in moments of sorrow as in moments of joy.
I place these stories of God’s faithfulness to me and those I love here as a stone of help, a monument to his mercy and love for all of us. So that when times get tough, I can look back on these monuments and beam with joy at the goodness of my Savior.
“Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,
for his steadfast love endures forever!
Let the redeemed of the Lord say so,
whom he has redeemed from trouble…” (Psalm 107:1-2)