This morning I was sitting at my kitchen table, sipping on coffee and reading my bible. I looked up and glanced around my apartment. And then I paused, and looked again. I started to get really emotional as I looked around. I am so lucky. I am so blessed to be able to live in a place like this…a place, “too nice for a college kid.” (plot twist: I’m 22 currently. But it IS very nice for someone my age).
I recalled a conversation that my parents and I had while they were here a few days ago. My mom mentioned how she would love to take our (future) dogs to the beach. And she ended the thought with, “maybe we can go to the beach on vacation again someday.” Maybe someday. How much fun we used to have on those vacations! We haven’t been as a family since I was in the 7th grade.
Glancing around paired with the recollection of this conversation reminded me of all the sacrifices my parents have made and continue to make for me. Yes, they are my parents. Yes, they are SUPPOSED to provide for me. But they truly do go above and beyond. Money is a touchy subject in our household. Like in many families, there never seems to be quite enough of it. The end of the month is always tense and when an expensive appliance or car randomly breaks and needs fixing it puts a strain on both wallets and tempers. This is not usual…but it’s also not easy.
I think of all the summers I’ve been fortunate enough to travel to different states for music camps and festivals, all the school field trips my parents paid for, all the music lessons, the schooling, and yes…even the eating disorder treatment that they paid for and continue to pay for. I know my parents love me and that they would do whatever they could to help me. I also know that sometimes the only answer they can give when I ask for something, is “No.” Sometimes things just aren’t possible – when the money or the resources aren’t there, they simply aren’t there.
Isaiah 26:4 says, “Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord himself, if the Rock eternal.”
This is where I am not only reminded of my parents love and sacrifice, but also my Saviors. When I think back over the past few years I can see where God has taken heartache and turned it into blessings, taken tears and turned them into miracles, taken pain and suffering and used it to heal both myself and others. God has closed doors which, if it were up to me, I would have happily run through at full speed! Yet…despite these closed doors, life has turned out better than I could have ever imagined. I’m thankful for the closed doors, but also for the open ones…God has opened doors I never could have imagined myself wanting too or thinking of walking through. I could have never IMAGINED ending up in Michigan. And once the plan came into sight, God found a way to make the finances work – not easily or without strain, but it constantly puts myself and my parents in a place of surrendering and trusting Him. When summer plans all seemed as though they would fall through – here comes God – sweeping me through open doors and locking the closed ones I was trying so desperately to force my way through.
One thing that blows my mind the most about God and about these past few years are all the connections that have come out of it all. I have met so many wonderfully amazing people – I have become close with people I never realized could be or would be a vital part of my life. I have healed broken relationships and am in the process of letting go of toxic ones. I am learning to find the beauty in moments such as this morning – I am learning to count my blessings ten times over. I am learning to live a life of gratitude and love. I am learning that God uses our closed doors to advance His cause. A blocked door doesn’t mean He doesn’t love us. In fact, a blocked door is simply proof that He DOES love us.
I am learning that true love gives of itself. True love makes sacrifices and expects nothing in return. Ephesians 5:2 calls us to, “Live a life of love, just as Christ loved us.” and I am really grateful to my parents for, to the best of their human capacities, exhibiting and teaching those values to me.
I’m grateful that God saved me from the life of pure destruction I was living. I am grateful for the process of healing that I am still struggling my way through. The good days – and the bad days, they all teach us something if we’re willing to look. I am grateful to my parents for their uncountable sacrifices and for allowing me and encouraging me to chase my dreams to the best of my ability. I am grateful for their love and that they support me in all the ways they are capable of. I’m grateful to ALL my momma’s out there who have nudged me along in the right direction and offered up a shoulder to lean on throughout the journey. I’m grateful for my Colorado family, my summer music friends, my friends in Lynchburg, my REPC family and the pastors that have been so vital in my spiritual growth and development, my past and present teachers and peers, and my friends here in Ann Arbor. I’m especially grateful for this little nugget who I get to have as a room mate starting in August:
God is good. And I vow to have my life be proof of His love and His goodness. When people see me, I want them to see Him.
John 15:5, “I am the vine and you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me, you can do nothing.”
Proverbs 3:5-6, “trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will make straight your paths.”
Here are some pictures of my adorable new little place: