My life has been one crazy, wild ride the past month.
I moved back to Ames, started to figure out what it looks like to be working with college students but not to be a college student. Somehow began adulting. (Health insurance? Automatic payments? Cooking meals and trying to eat healthy?!) Pulled some crazy long 12 hour+days, and had other days that weren't so long, therefore eliciting the desire to sleep all day. And be alone. I love people, I'm an extrovert—but I suddenly was also totally. ok. being. alone.
Oh, campus ministry. You're a mystery to me.
In the midst of not-even-sure-what-is-going-on, God has been so present. And you know what? I'm learning a lot, when I take the time to pull back from the crazy and be still for a few minutes. He's always here. And I'm still me—fine being busy, working hard, or being lazy. I still have to intentionally set apart time to retreat with Jesus and to listen. If you know me, you know I like to talk. Listening is good, but it can be hard to just shut up.
In fact, this Labor Day weekend, we had a retreat.
"What do you think is one of your strengths? What do you bring, add to, our team?" Adam asked us as we sat around the table during team bonding time.
Silence. Wow. This is hard. I can look at Liz and easily see her attention to detail as a strength. Morganne's crazy love of laughter & humor & fun, and Michael's kindness & care as things that would diminish our team should they leave. But myself?
I didn't know.
I think I said that I can talk and make small talk. But honestly, right now, I feel like my extroversion is a weakness. Talking comes more naturally than it did five years ago. Small talk is cheap, but easy. Getting to the harder things, that takes intentional questions. And waiting, silence, listening.
Listening is something I need more of. Distractions and obsession with the busyness of life is rampant, whether in college or in the working world.
Knowing this, yesterday I felt restless. Tired. Unsure. So I got in my car, opened up the sunroof. Put on some Josh Garrels and drove. Found myself at Ada Hayden. Surrounded by sunshine, the deep unsaturated blue-and-silver water, Black-Eyed-Susans, and space to breathe.
no wifi. no music playing. no friend to talk with. just me, a girl with a restless heart, a need for sunshine and the Son. two hours, 4 journal pages, a few tears, prayer, and Galatians 5 later, my heart was full. OVERFLOWING! to rest is to enter in to the presence of God, to sit at His feet and seek His face. to remember truth.
Walking back to the parking lot, full of feels and rejuvenation, I saw them. I mean, really saw them. Yes, they'd been there when I'd passed that way earlier, but now I remembered. Last week, I'd asked Jesus to give me flowers. Flowers are some of my favorite things in all creation, and I'd wanted some surprise gifting of a bouquet to sit in my room. Instead, Jesus had slowly drawn me out of my room and to Ada Hayden…where wild flowers (the best!) are growing and blooming in abundance! Oh, what a sweet gift and reminder from the King of Creation!
Now, you all know I'm a photographer. So, having only my handy dandy iPhone in my bag, I pulled it out to capture them. And realized that being a photographer is such a temporary, short-lived thing.
I'm created for Heaven, for Eternity.
This soul of mine, it longs so deeply for Forever. "He has written eternity on the hearts of man." But I live in a broken, dying world. It cries out for salvation, redemption. It reeks of rust and spoiling food, of decay and dust. We all race against time. I fight it, and in some ways, I fight time with my camera. The desire to remember, so capture and keep beauty.
Friends, dearest hearts, all beauty comes from God! He is beautiful, and in creation He has reflected that—from breathtaking mountains to delicate field flowers. In my race to capture photos of newborn babies or a sunset, I am seeking to capture time. To stay in the forever, in the eternal beauty, to somehow grasp it in between my fingers.
In Heaven, there will be no photographers. At least, I don't think there will be.
I don't have scripture to say that—so I could be mistaken! But in eternity, those who are with God will forever be with Beauty. It will not fade.
"No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city and his servants will serve him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever."—Revelation 22:3-5
What joy! No longer will I be trying to soak up the moments before they pass, remember the colors of the sunset before it goes away or the butterflies before winter comes—I shall reign with the Lord forever, and be surrounded by His (and all) beauty...in every moment, for all eternity!