I’m older now, and different.
It makes me sad, but not too sad. It makes me miss the way things were back then, but not too much.
See, I met Jesus when I was 16, and after I met him, I changed dramatically. I made radical decisions with my life, my time, my money, my relationships.
I packed a big suitcase and traveled far away to places I’d never been before, where I didn’t know anybody, because I had felt a tug on my heart that there was something to know of Him in those places, and I had to know it.
I fasted meals to search out His word regularly, because I was hungry. I needed those words, that life. His word was my daily bread.
I gave up a big portion of my social life because I had been so captivated by the character of Him.
I chose to go places many my age weren’t interested in going, like prayer meetings on weekends and bible studies on weeknights. I wasn’t bored in these meetings, I was captivated. I was thrilled.
I had tasted and seen that the Lord was good, and I couldn’t get enough.
I passed up a few tempting offers for romantic relationships, because I didn’t have peace about them.
It all sounds so far away now, like a distant memory. But in reality, it’s not far at all. Because that girl will always be a part of me.
Yet I’m older now, and different.
While I’ve matured in many areas, I still feel sadness when I imagine that He misses that girl. But He never lets me get too sad, because He reminds me that He knew I wouldn’t stay that way forever. He’s not upset that I grew.
He looks back at that girl with fondness and pleasure, and it may be true that He misses that time. But He also cherishes this time, this moment. He loves me right now, as I am.
I’ve grown in so many ways.
I’ve learned to speak up when I have something to say, to stand for what I believe is the truth, regardless of whether or not it offends someone.
I’m learning still to live without caring. To do what I feel I should do without giving thought to what others are going to think. That’s an ongoing process and I reckon I won’t ever be quite finished with it. But still, I’m growing there.
I’ve learned to say yes to relationships, as much as is possible right now. And also, I’ve learned to invest first. To reach out. Because people and relationships are worth it. They’re worth the effort, time and occasional inconvenience.
I long to be someone who loves well.
I want, more than anything, for the ones close to me, those in my life, to have absolutely no doubt whatsoever that I loved them. I want no one to have to guess how much they meant to me. I want to prove that each and every person God’s put in my life, is radically and infinitely loved by me.
I don’t ever want my friends and family to question how much I love them.
So I do things like drive all day to see someone I care about who’s stopping by a city somewhat close to me, at an inconvenient time for me, because that person is worth the inconvenience.
When I think of the future I want to be true of my life, even the right now of life, I picture friends who are family gathered around a big table, sipping coffee and wine, laughing, enjoying the pleasure of just being in each others company.
I picture people I love knowing that they can stop by any time, and the door will always be open. I picture stopping by their homes, knowing the door is always open. Because that’s what family is about. I picture our kids growing up together, and feeling like we are parents not only of our biological children, but of every kid in the room, and them feeling the same about our children.
I picture jamming 30 people into someone’s living room with a couple of guitars and Bibles, and seeking Him together. Hearing from Him together.
I picture doing the normal routine of life with these people, this family. Hanging out on the weekends, spending an afternoon at the park, seeing movies together, watching each others’ kids, having tough conversations together.
This is the life I want to live. Community and family is the best way to do this thing called life, because we so need each other. We can’t do this without a company of people surrounding us, and in turn surrounding those people.
Right now, I’m 26 years old, with a full time job and hardly any time for hobbies, trying my best to love God and invest in the people around me, all while keeping up with chores, errands, cleaning, and investing in my marriage.
Life is good, and sweet. I’m working towards goals I have in my work, my writing, and my relationships.
I have a severe case of house fever. We’ve been in our darling apartment since getting married in February, about 9 months.
But I find myself every day craving a little house with wood floors and lots of windows, one where we can host friends and family inside its walls, study the Word in its living room, play games on its floors, share meals and conversations around a long table in its kitchen.
I long for a house with walls to paint, rooms to decorate, and memories to be made within.
These days, I find that I cry much more easily. It almost feels like every one of my senses are heightened, to the point where every emotion is felt more deeply, and gets me good. All the feels happening lately.
It’s almost as if I can see more clearly with my spiritual eyes. All the colors of life are bold and brilliant and vivid.
I cry when I’m overjoyed, and when I’m sorrowful.
Mostly I just cry because I’m overwhelmed. Not in a bad way.
I can feel it – I’m alive.
And in these few fleeting months of Autumn with their vibrant golden hues and sharp, enlivening temperatures of coolness, I’ll sip tea and cider, cook way too many crock-pot suppers, gather around fires with friends and family, watch the entire series of Breaking Bad with my husband, and cling to His Word as if my life depends upon it – because it does.
I’m a different person than I was at 16, and that’s OK.
My Father loves me.
I love Him, and as long as that doesn’t change, I’ll always be in a good place.
As long as I keep reaching for Him, even in the times I feel like I barely know Him anymore, I’m good.
If I don’t quit this race, this marathon, I’ll always win.
That’s enough for me today.