Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The Promised King

I look outside my window right now and all I want to do is curl up with a good book and a soft blanket and read all day long. Doesn't that sound perfectly delightful?

I think so, too.

The trees have lost their October beauty, all of the leaves lay scattered on the ground. The sky is dark and the weather gloomy.

Thanksgiving is literally just around the corner. I'm personally very excited for the Macy's Day Parade. It's probably my second favorite thing on Thanksgiving.

The first? Our Bowers family Thanksgiving dinner. We gather around the table at my Aunt's house. All of us hold hands, making a circle around the entire kitchen. It's a beautiful family, you see. I am so blessed with a family who gets along, who loves one another deeply. And this time of year I am incredibly grateful.

After dinner is over, all of us ladies clean up the kitchen while the guys watch football. It's just what happens. The house gets warmer as everyone laughs and talks. But the warmth doesn't seem to bother anyone- because we're together.

And together is a beautiful place to be.

We're together, and we're joyful and we're oh-so-thankful for this huge, crazy family God has given us.

On the way back to our house, Dad turns on the Christmas music and we sing all the way back from Charlotte. On Saturday we'll decorate our tree and hang the ornaments, the music still blaring. We'll get started on Christmas shopping.

But just as Thanksgiving isn't just about the turkey or the football games or parades, Christmas isn't about the trees or the music or the shopping.

Sure we're thankful for our families and our homes...but Christmas comes so close to Thanksgiving that I can't help but wonder if God did this on purpose.

Back in the Old Testament we see that God's people had to wait 400 years for the coming of the Messiah. 400 years! That's a LONG time. If you went back 400 years from 2014 it would be 1614! Ha. That's crazy.

Imagine you're God's people and you've waited and waited and waited for the Promised Christ's coming, hoping maybe this is the generation who will see the Lord.

Then you hear of this baby born in Bethlehem...son of Mary and Joseph and His name is Jesus, Emmanuel, God with us.

Imagine you were one of the ones in Scripture who realized He was the Promised King, the Promised One come to save us all. Your heart would sing with praise and thankfulness. 

So Thanksgiving is on Thursday...less than one month from Christmas, less than one month from the celebration of Christ's coming. May we take this Thanksgiving to be especially grateful for these weeks of waiting and exciting anticipation of the celebration of the baby who came to save us all.

Happy Thanksgiving.


Friday, November 14, 2014

Not Knowing

The night before taking the SAT for the first time, a friend and I were talking about growing up. "It's just so crazy," she said, "That all of our lives people are telling us what to do and how to do it. And then all of the sudden when we hit our junior or senior year in high school, they start asking us what we're doing with our lives. They ask us and they expect us to know what to do and how to do it on our own when all of our lives they've been telling us what to do. Like, seriously, what changes?"

It's that question that everyone who is a junior or senior in high school hates the most, "Where are you going to college? What do you want to do? Have you decided on a college yet?"

No. No. No. 

Because going to college is a big step. 

Because this career and degree I pick are a big deal. 

Because picking a college is going to play a huge factor in my life over the next four years. 

And I feel like we need time. 

That maybe having more time would help.

But over the past couple of weeks, I've seen that what we need isn't time to make decisions. Because in a way, time blurs things. After visiting several colleges, I thought I had my mind made up. I thought, "This is where I want to go and this is what I want to do."

Then people said, "But what about this school? And what about this profession?"

And my entire being screams, "I DON'T KNOW."

I was texting a friend the other day about all of this...about how I'm so tired of my answer being, "I don't know."

Just typing these words brings back the emotions- the emotions of confusion and frustration. 

Right now my answer is still, "I don't know." 

But right now in this moment, I'm okay with that. 

At camp this past summer, I was talking with my youth pastor. We were having one of those conversations that I will never forget. One of those conversations where things are real and honest and he figures how to get me to open up like no one else but my very closest friends can. 

He said something like this, "All of your senior year people are going to act like they know what they want to do and where they want to go. But in reality...they're going to be just as confused and overwhelmed as you are."

While it helps to know this, I'm not just okay with all of these unknowns because other people are going through it, too.

I'm okay with it because it's not in my hands. 

I'm not in control. 

As I type those words I can breathe deeply. I am not in control. 

I don't know what's best for myself. There's only One person who always knows what's best for me. 

He's the One who crafted the stars and called them each by name. He's the One who created every animal and knew just what they would look like before ever speaking them into existence. He's the One who spoke and it was good. He's the One who crafted the mountains and the volcanos and knew just how the Grand Canyon would dip and curve, each groove marked by his breath. 

He's also the One who breathed life into my very soul! His breath is inside of me! I wasn't just good...no, I was very good. We were the peak of His creation, the thing He was most pleased with. 

This God who crafted the mountains and stars that reach thousands of miles higher than we could ever imagine is the God who knows my every day, my every move, my every breath. 

My days are so small. My life is so short. Yet He cares. 

He cares because He made me, He breathed into my lungs the breath of life. 

He loves me. 

Tears brim in my eyes at that thought. 

He is big enough to shape every star...and He loves me. Little, tiny me...

Scripture says He is jealous for me...for all of us.

He is jealous of the things that take our attention away from Him. Because He knows that when we are in Him, we are the best we could ever be. 

I find my purpose in Him. I find my joy in Him. I find everything I need to exist in my God who knows all of the stars by name. 

So I'm okay not knowing exactly what's going to come next. 

Because He knows. 

And if He is able to sustain this entire world...He is more than able to know what's going to happen in my life. 

So yes, college is coming. And yes, that's a big deal. 

But tonight I choose to rest in the knowledge that He knows what tomorrow will hold. He knows what next August will bring. He knows the relationships I will make and the stories I will write and the lives I will impact. 

He knows each and every step. 

He's writing my story. 

And that is worth living for. 


P.S. If we're mentioning stories...I guess I should tell you that book #3 is in the making. Surprise!