He has taught me many things throughout my years; many things I have learned and grown through. I have a relationship with my Savior and it is personal- it is unflawed and completely satisfactory. I am alive when I seek him and He is beyond glorious and His face beautiful to me.
My God has revealed to me, after months of anxiety and pain and suffering and struggles beyond measure, that I have a community of people who love and care deeply about my well-being, many of whom will willingly do anything for me; pray for me, listen to my cries, and cry along with me, all under the name of Christ and the free, merciful gift of salvation He has given us- completely without cost. These people love me and serve me and lead me towards God and His gospel message.
For a while, I sat stuck in one place, dwelling on a very poor assumption on my part that I had no community- I got caught up in believing that I used to, but over the past few months I most definitely did not. I continually began seeking an answer from God, wondering where He would lead me next and where I could find solitude from a community and fellowship with other believers, ultimately resulting in the ability to grow and become closer to God. Clearly, I found nothing. I looked at others' situations revolving around the same issue and noticed growth, good friends and encouragement, and a community in which speaking, singing, and learning more about Jesus alongside other believers was totally doable. Somehow that seemed, in every aspect, unattainable. What a gross feeling! How upsetting to look around and see others- close friends even- being blessed by the opportunity to have people around them consistently who love them and want to help them grow spiritually, while all the while feeling alone, upset, anxious about nearly everything, and as far from having a community as possible. This was me.
The other day I was blessed with the opportunity to hang around some of my oldest friends to simply have a good ol' time celebrating old friendships, laughing and conversing about grits and the latest lightsaber trend- far be it from boring. Those people made me smile, on my face and in my heart, and not only that, but they caused me to feel loved and to appreciate my Creator even more- this was through minimal contact alone. I enjoyed that time, and then Wednesday came. Friends were awesome, conversations about life were had, prayers were spoken and given up to God, and encouragement was overwhelming to the point of tears, obviously purely of joy!! That is something I cannot explain, though, I could sit for hours on end just thinking about it. Thinking about the joy my Father brings me- the blessing it all is to my life and being and eternity.
I left and went to bed feeling so overjoyed, so filled with the spirit, and so loved by a community. Just days before I was considering leaving town and moving out in order to seek after a new group of people who could encourage and be there for me, and I for them- one that I, for so long, could not find, or better yet, refused to notice. Somehow, I disregarded the fact that I'd always had a community in that place and with those people, and that would never change; they have been my home for nearly four and a half years. It has been a long ride, so many ups and downs, so much change, and so many new people, but the goal and the mission has remained the same. The gospel message will never cease to be the focus at Crossroads, and every being that steps foot in that building- amidst that community- belongs. Every individual has a place and is loved and cared for, simply because we each have the greatest thing in common that any one person could have: Jesus. This is the truth.
This place has been wonderful to me; I have learned absolutely SO much and have befriended the most genuine, beautiful humans I could ever dream of knowing. I am blessed beyond compare, and every moment I spend with these people reminds me why I ever began attending youth group in the first place. The joy that overflows throughout the conversations with various people is something like a gift. My community has always been around me, I just chose to forget. God clearly can work anywhere, at anytime, and in anyone's life. I am an example of this (still, I am not entirely sure yet where God will be leading me this upcoming fall! But if it is to stay, I am content in that decision).
Today I am thanking God for the ability to wake up in the morning and praise His name, feel completely full with joy, and have a smiling heart, regardless of the circumstances. He has given me this opportunity, and I've been lucky enough to understand that it is because of Him. To be able to wake up and feel genuinely happy, to feel fulfilled, while glowing with praise for His name, is a blessing. It's not something I can personally achieve, nor can I find in the midst of life in this world. It is outside the box, away from societal norms, and far deep into His inexplicably perfect heart. He has answered my prayers, and I could not be more grateful.
I will remain smiling until I die, and by His strength, His word and power and glory and LOVE shall pass my lips and be shown to those around me. I love this life, because He is at the center of it.