Beauty From Ashes

Babes I am back and better than ever. I am #LIVING (s/o to Nat Bassie) and the Lord is #MOVING and its #AWESOME!!!!

This summer was a trial and a half. A whopping four months of intense happiness and utter brokenness. But, I wouldn't change a thing about it. So, since I have been pretty MIA in regards to this silly blog. I thought that since I'm back at LU I'd pick it up again and wow do I have some stories to tell. Over and over again the Lord is reminding me that He WILL indeed make beauty from ashes in EVERY SEASON. Like really, how insane is that?

"now you're making me like you, clothing me in white. Bringing beauty from ashes, for you will have your bride. Free of all her guilt, rid of all her shame and known by her true name."

-Ever Be; Bethel Music

Coming to Liberty in 2016 was one of the best decisions I have made in my life. Yes, it was hard at first to get used to the 12 o'clock curfew but there was virtually nothing that I would have changed from year one. I grew in exponential ways both mentally and spiritually, I made friends that not only rocked my world but also my heart, and I built a community of creative people who push me to be better as an artist every single day. It is indeed a special place—a safe haven if you will.

So, leaving that safe haven left me in a kind of spiritual shock that I did not see coming. Writing about this is weird because I have an amazing family and amazing friends at home, but for some reason, being back in PA this summer was really hard. But, something that I have just recently unraveled is that the reason it was so hard was because I had split myself into two people.

I left one in VA and picked up the other on the way back to PA.

This poor girl had been left on the highway months ago when I decided to pack my car and head to LYH for my freshman year and she had been wandering around for months waiting for me to come back. So, when I picked her up on the way home she was tired and hardened by the year alone. She lacked the hope and the joy that the new me had found, she clung so desperately to who she wanted to be and refused to acknowledge who she was supposed to be. She treated her family badly at times and poured everything she had into empty relationships. This old girl was beat out. Her biggest temptations and her biggest regrets were all compiled into a skin that I had sworn I never would crawl back into. Yet only weeks into being back home I had not only crawled into that old skin, I had altered it to fit me again.

Mid-Summer my mom, sisters, and I went to visit my grandparents in Maine. They live on a beautiful lake in the woods that has served for several "come to Jesus" moments in my life. But, this year, Jesus was the last thing on my mind when getting there. I had somehow managed to get to a point so far from the Lord that prayer had become genuinely painful for me. Not because I was against the Lord, but because He wanted me so desperately that I couldn't ignore it anymore and I wasn't ready. I fought with everything in me to push Him out but, if you know Him, you know how hard that is.

I decided one morning to go kayaking and spend some time alone. I wanted to write. I wanted to get some things that were swirling around in my mind onto paper and out into the world. But as soon as I uncapped my pen I froze. I am not a crier and if my life was a movie this would be the scene that would be silent, but I kid you not a single tear fell out of my eyes onto the paper and I immediately felt the Lord say, "trust me." I wrote the single word trust into my journal, closed it, and sat there in silence. Me and the Lord. My fear had vaporized and for the first time in months I had felt as if I could grow from something. My skin was starting to shed and I like to think that in that moment I tore some of the alteration stitches out because the old skin loosened.

Stay with me, because this is going to sound irrelevant but I promise it will come full circle.

Months after this happened in Maine, I am back in Lynchburg, sitting on a dorm floor in South Tower on a Wednesday night and I heard something that rocked my world.

Apparently, in Biblical Jewish customs engagement was a huge deal. When a man and woman got engaged they were legally one, the marriage was more so of a celebration back then. The man would gather the two families for an "engagement party" and offer the woman a cup of wine, if she accepted, they were legally engaged to be married and immediately the man would leave. He would go straight to his parents home and begin building a home for he and his new bride. The woman, would go home with her mother and sisters and they would begin teaching her how to be a proper wife. A long period of time would go by, up to a year, and the man would finally return to his wife and bring her to the house that he had built for her.

When I heard this I was floored. I think its such a beautiful example of the relationship we are able to have with the Lord. He is preparing us a place. He's excited to bring us back to it when He's done. The thing that I found the coolest about this story is that in the time while he is building the house, the two are forbidden from seeing each other. Which  involves a lot of trust.

This is something that I constantly try to avoid because I know for a blunt fact that I have issues with and surrounding it. On my heart was the thought of, "what if we trusted everything in our lives the way we usually trust God?" What if I went to sit in a chair and trusted the chair to hold us up like we usually trust the Lord? I came to the conclusion that I most likely would never sit down. Or I'd sit down and then immediately jump back up because I'd think it would fall.

OR I'd build my own.

For some reason we trust our friends, our parents, our counselors—more than we trust the Lord most times. And when we write it out, when we talk about it, it feels ridiculous because um, hello? He's GOD. I think maybe it takes a couple conscious tries to sit down before we can get comfortable and put the foot rest up but I really think it'll be better than standing alone for the rest of our lives.

Being back at LU this year has already done a number on my heart in the best way possible. That skin has completely fallen off.

Beauty from Ashes babes.