(Which reminds me of Weezer's song, "Trainwrecks.")
I am, however, a consistent journaler. I've been seriously journaling since my freshman year of high school and just finished my 34th one last night. It tends to give me a feeling of ... not accomplishment ... more a sense of humility, really. When I look back at my previous journals, I am amazed at the way God cares for me. When I read what was going on in my life a week, a month, a year ago, I realize how much energy I wasted on anxiety; I reminisce about events and relationships; I laugh at my silly thoughts and ideas -- but even in the moments I wrote those words on the pages, the Lord knew my future. He knew where I would be now, which gives me hope and security knowing that He knows what lies ahead. Not only does He know -- He is orchestrating my situations, my circumstances, my interactions even now. I know that to be true, but it can be so difficult to hold onto in the midst of the mundane, and especially in times of trial. Oh, but He is so good, so kind, so compassionate.
One of my favorite verses that became life-giving hope and encouragement to me over the summer is 2 Timothy 2:13, which says,
"If we are faithless, he remains faithful - for he cannot deny himself."
Oh, how sweet that promise has been to me - and how often I have clung to it. I can be the lowliest, most unworthy sinner on the face of the earth - and yet He is faithful to me. He is faithful to who He is! Praise the Lord that He does not change like shifting shadows; that His love, grace, and forgiveness is not dependent on my performance, my abilities, my will-power, my determination. No, it is all HIM.
I have been attending a wonderful church over the last few months since moving to Peoria. This is a solid, Jesus-centered, Bible-preaching and teaching church - and I am encouraged and fed and humbled week after week after week. This church teaches the richness of the Word like I have never experienced on a consistent basis before - and I LOVE the church I grew up in, but there's just something so edifying for me about this church. Praise the Lord.
Although I am growing to love this church and am being encouraged and strengthened in the Lord by the preaching and teaching, it has been difficult for me to get to know people. This is a large congregation, which makes it difficult to meet the same people over and over - making it difficult to feel connected. I know that this is, in large part, my own responsibility. I need to take steps to get plugged in -- by joining ministries, BIble studies, small groups, etc., as well as volunteering through ministries. I'm hoping to join a small group after the New Year and I am going to look into helping out with a ministry (although I have no idea which one!).
I love to see how the Body works together. I know that each one has unique gifts to serve others and glorify God. I know that He has given me certain gifts that I need to use for His Kingdom. I struggle sometimes in knowing what those gifts are. But I truly desire to use them to edify the Body, to encourage others, to build up my brothers and sisters, to know Christ more intimately, and to bring praise to God.
It's a hard thing to transition. It's taken me several months to feel settled - and I wouldn't even say I feel "at home" really, although it's getting there. But the Lord has blessed me with new and old friends, closeness to my family, a good start with graduate school, and much more. I am thankful for what He has done and that He is always with me. May I recognize and acknowledge His presence. May I abide in Him moment-by-moment, trusting in Him, enjoying Him, and glorifying Him.