It is 10:22 on a Monday night. I don’t know why I am still awake, to be honest, and I definitely do not know why I am blogging.
This post is something I have thought about for a while. My faith, as my family and friends know, is something very important to me. It is also something I struggle to elaborate on. In conversation I mention “God’s love,” or driving to church, but the words stop flowing when I try to further the discussion.
I never thought I would publish a post with this title. I thought it was too risky, too imposing, and too unnatural. If the words did not flow in discussion, they certainly would not flow on a public website. Luckily, a former version of myself had that covered.
Tonight, something inside of me caused me to read some of my “thought” posts from the summer. The post was written on my last day in the lab, at a time where my spiritual walk overwhelmed my daily actions.
I share this post with you because after reading it, I felt inspired. I felt empowered to share my beliefs without the fear of judgment. I felt willing to shed light on why I believe what I believe, and how sometimes personal experience changes our entire perception of the world around us.
However, before I share, this post is not a conversion post. I do not write to convince anyone about the “truth” of my beliefs. I do not write to tell people that I am right, or force my beliefs on anyone. These are just my beliefs. These are my experiences with a God that I fully believe in. These are my reflections on a life that was saved by faith. It is personal, and demonstrates more of an evolution of the sincerity of this blog than a missions effort.
I also just want to point out that this piece is extremely raw and therefore extremely vulnerable. A part of me is telling me to keep this all secret, but still, I know that these words are therapeutic for me to share. I hope that the honesty will help to shed light.
I guess this intro became pretty long, so I’ll just share what I wrote. I thank you all in advance for acceptance and patience. This post will certainly give me closure the next time I become silent in the face of religious questions.
I should be analyzing data, but I felt the need to write. Today is my last day here, in the lab, doing this. I do not feel upset, really. It’s funny: I am so thankful to have done this, but mostly because I feel like it is setting me up for something a lot greater.
For one, I am pretty set on being an environmental scientist. That is my chosen career path, and I don’t think it will deviate much (scientist or engineer is undecided… but either way: environmental). I also am pretty confident God wants me here. Between Monday morning and today, I can look at pictures of MRO without feeling heavy or sad. I can also look at my shady data, smile, and laugh about it.
I need to remind myself that there is a much longer life ahead of me. This is not the last science project I will ever do, and 2014 was definitely not the last time I was at camp. I have not lost anything. I have not lost time, or chances. In fact, God has used my 17 years for quite a lot, and I am only realizing now, through writing, the hugeness of His plans. I can’t eschew His presence. I can’t shake it off. He is so so so real, and powerful, and here with me. I kind of just want to write about how I can’t not think about Him.
I’ll be reading my book, and He’ll pop in to say hello. I’ll be writing my paper, and there He is. And the more I realize it, He has been planning this for such a long time. But unlike my (or any human’s) plans, God’s plans are not susceptible to time. They do not fade as minutes build. In 2013, my camp counselor (with whom I am still pretty close) shared Psalm 139. The final two verses,
Search me, Oh God, and know my heart. Try me, and know my thoughts. And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
are verses I committed to memory on my birthday this year. And those two verses pretty much epitomize my spiritual walk this last week. The wicked way in me has been idolatry and dishonesty. I have idolized achievement, winning, and recognition. I have been motivated by self-glory. Yet, I have been dishonest with myself, claiming that “my purpose” was to be recognized for my achievement and then glorify God.
That’s not exactly how it works though. God has shown me that I am not supposed to glorify myself before Him. I am not supposed to really do anything without or before Him. And, strangely enough, I have been reading about the dishonesty of the children of Israel in Isaiah. God has been opening my mind, and working in both hidden and obvious ways, and I cannot shake the inspiration and comfort that I feel when I reflect on all that He has done.
I think the irony of God’s love is pretty awesome as well. This experience- this amazingly intimate, spiritual relationship- happened in the unlikeliest of places. Instead of of completely surrendering to God’s presence at christian camp, or church, or even with my family, God spoke to me in a genetic engineering, microbiology (evolution supporting) lab in London, when I thought that I was completely alone. I think it is just some kind of fantastic reminder that we are never alone because God is omnipresent. I think the irony continues because this year I had a lot of doubts about God’s presence. Between [name removed] denouncing Him in class, scientific curiosity, and stress-induced upsetness, I never fully surrendered to Christ during the year. But before this project, I was feeling kind of down. I absolutely hated my body; I was on the verge of breaking down (and almost had a complete meltdown in front of Mom when she was here), I had little faith in my prospects of going to the college of my dreams, and was basing some kind of recovery on getting data. And in the midst of that mental state, God kept me holding on so that when everything came crashing down, He could remind me that He was still there. He will always be there; when my body is old and worn, my data never comes back positively, and I am surrounded by evolutionary scientists, God will remain.
God is the reason I have overcome the full body mirror, the sketchy data, and the dearth of familial physical presence. He is the reason I do not fear tomorrow, or regret yesterday, or wish for the passing of today. He is the reason I sit down and write my soul out; I know if I write I will have some stronger connection with Him. I will feel Him rushing through my hands onto this keyboard so that I can express my worship and praise for Him.
He has given me writing, nature, and His word so that He can use me to combine the two into something that brings more people into His care. He is looking to provide someone else- who I may never know- the same feeling that He has provided me. I just pray that He will use me, in His perfect timing; I pray that He will consume me and work through this physical body to relate to someone else, and eventually let them lie in His presence. In the words of my dreams last night:
for the first time in my life, I am ensconced in everlasting comfort.
I originally sat down to write about my day, and going home, and thinking about everything I do as “the last time I do this.” But it is so much better to write about what I will be doing for the rest of eternity. This environment is going to end. God will use me to speak and write through the environment as a way to bring more people to Him. But once He has used me for that, and once He is satisfied with the number of people who have returned to His fatherly love, then there will be no more environment to protect. There will be no more data to collect, or no more fading words to write. There will just be God and love. So I think I should write about that now. It will last a lot longer than my memories of lab work.