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Friday, January 15, 2016

So I don't forget...





Life music: age 21.
James Morrison, James Bay, City and Colour, The Head and The Heart, Regina Specktor, Josh Garrells, Mumford and Sons, Tallest Man on Earth, Adele 25 (duh.), Ellie Goulding Delirium (only song: codes), Augustana, Phil Wickham, NeedtoBreathe, Penny and Sparrow, Bon Iver, Damien Rice, Ray LaMontagne, John Mayer, James Taylor, and the occasional Ed Sheeran song, Sia (song only: elastic heart), Matt Wertz, lastly:slightly embarrassing, but for honesty's sake: Justin Beiber's Purpose

new adventure, different purpose

As I've read back on my blog lately I can't help but laugh...mostly because the issues that felt so life-altering have been put into the perspective that time inevitably brings. As I begin this new adventure in Oxford, England I find myself drawing parallels between current me and the 20 year old girl who flew to Milan only one short year ago- heartbroken, confused, excited, afraid, and eager to experience what the world had to offer. Is it possible to be a different person within the span of a year? It must be. Sanctification is a crazy thing. My posts start out sounding a bit like a person who's lived a long life and is offering some invaluable wisdom, but they become progressively more personal
I read my Bible and pray less, but I love people in a realer (not a word, but I like it) way. And I love Jesus more. This, at times, is incredibly frustrating. 
In high school I had high hopes for 21 year old Anna. She would be praying at least two hours a day and constantly quoting scripture. But, God never works like we plan. In my mind, as my love for God and my knowledge of grace grows, so does time spent with Him. I believe this to be true as a general rule for those with an established faith. However, He has a way of stripping away any source of pride that hinders us from falling on our knees in humble adoration of His accomplishment on the cross. 
In Italy I realized that I didn't want God. I wanted what God gave me. I didn't want to walk with Him, know Him, hear from Him, or sit in the silence to hear about a Love that couldn't be earned...a Love that isn't legitimized by any effort on my part. When I failed I wanted Him to be disappointed until I could work back into favor. 
I could talk about grace all day long, and I did....but never once did I consider its implications. Never once did I ask myself- do I REJOICE? God's grace was enough for THAT person, of course, but it couldn't be enough for me. I couldn't just offer myself to God, bringing nothing. However, I quickly learned that I have nothing of worth to present to the King- my heart wasn't pure.
Yes, this trip will be different than the last. Instead of breaking my perfect lifeless Christian routines and reminding me that I'm human and it's okay to feel things (Thank you Italia), I think He's going to show me how to surrender my humanness to His plan. I think, now that He's allowed me to experience what is empty (the world and everything it offers) I think He's going to show me the beauty of intimacy with Him. I sense this shift from legalism to grace already, and my prayers have shifted from lists to tears...tears of thankfulness and release. All the tears I held in for the sake of "being strong." All the tears from YEARS of attempting to be a "good person" and the disappointments of failure. Tears for my friends who don't yet know Jesus....and, finally, tears because He can handle them. Unlike any man in my family, He can handle tears. 
He waits. He waits for us to come with nothing, eager to embrace us when no one else is.
May we be brave enough to discover our own depravity and fears; and may we turn to see Him waiting.