Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Honest Wanderer: Introspection and Freshman Year

To my readers who stayed so faithfully despite my over-a-year-long absence . . .

The Lord has put it on my heart to start up this blog again. I had it closed -- and intended for it to be closed permanently, but I realize now that this is an ongoing story. This is God's testimony of His constant faithfulness, going back years. Oh, the girl writing this post today is so very different than the girl writing her first post in 2010. She is (more) confident in her Father's love and wants to write about it for your sake, as a ministry -- and for my own, as a way to record and remember His presence.

Young daughters of the King, you are my calling. My heart is for you. I am your sister, you deserve to know that you're not alone.

I remember the countless letters, emails, and comments from you ladies, facilitated through this blog over the years. As you echoed my pain and told me your stories, it was proof that God was at work with each keystroke I made, even the somewhat immature ones. Part of me wants to go back through every post I wrote, to weed out woefully pitiful writing habits or recorded emotions that went public far too soon. But I can't do that. From the moment I started this blog as a 16 year old, I promised total honesty, total humiliation before my readers as a sinner in desperate need of divine adoption. This is my life as an open book. There is no reason that book should be closed - my Father is only beginning to write my story.

In the vein of total honesty, here's a recap on my last year.

I wandered. 

The Lord never left me. He was by my side the entire time, he never changed, he never "hurt" me to cause me to look away from him. I did it on my own. I went to college, a Christian one at that, and suddenly . . .
My world was about me.
My schedule, friends, success, downtime, reputation.
My feelings.

It was as if, somehow, I had forgotten that I am not my own, that as His daughter there is no such thing as "I" statements at all, even though we are forced to use them as human beings.

I went from a situation of total dependence on Christ for daily survival, to an environment where I was safe. I had a roof over my head. I had a meal plan. I was not struggling through poverty like I had been for years . . . Oh, comfort can indeed be our biggest enemy! Instead of pursuing God actively every moment of my day, literally "praying without ceasing" -- I was in a Christian environment where I didn't feel the need to fight the battle for my faith. There were no hardship to bring me to my knees. Christianity was fed to me through theologically sound classes, mandatory chapel sessions, and nearly every interaction I had with professors and peers alike. Instead of using that to grow my intimate relationship with my King, it made me complacent.
My guard came down.
I felt ... too... safe.
It was a year of piggy-backing on my Christian surroundings.

How far I wandered. 

Where did she go, the girl dependent on Him for each breath, talked to Him constantly, was known for her encouragement? Who included Christ as not a part of her life but as the centerpiece of it?

A few weeks ago, as I read through my daily (ahem, more like routine, robotic, emotionless) devotional, I came across a passage from Isaiah in my bible that had carried me through some of my darkest days. It was like a V-8 commercial, and I was the one getting bonked in the head.

Lauren, you are Israel. You executed plans, but not mine. You took the reins. 
And .... Still I love you. I'm here, aren't I? Have I ever left? I'm not leaving you. 
Turn back to me. 

His voice was so clear in my head. Clear ... like how it used to be, when He would speak to my heart. How long it had been since I truly heard the whisperings of my Father. 

When you hear your beloved's voice, how can you not run into His arms? How can you not collapse into his undying, unfailing love? 

It is impossible for me to resist Him. It is impossible to live a life of complacency for long, in light of this radical love.
Sophomore year, you are not going to be defined in terms of me. 

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