You are strong, and You love me

Last weekend Peggy asked me to talk at Thursday’s Praise, Worship & Communion service about how God’s been working in my life in relation to things I learned at LT. Here’s what I said in case you missed it. (Disclaimer: a small portion of this came from a blog post I wrote in June.)

Given that my prompt for tonight was “Talk about how what you learned at LT has affected how you’ve lived back at Mizzou,” I had a hard time deciding on what I was going to talk about. You may or may not know that this necklace is made of more than 100 beads, each representing something I did or something I learned in Colorado this summer. For example, this gold bead represents the things I learned in a workshop about community taught by Peggy Meyers. This bear charm stands for the day Amanda Schoemaker and I saw a bear at work on the front porch of the Linden cabin. Like I said, there are a lot of beads on here, and if you ever want to hear about them, I would love to sit down and tell you. But in the mean time, tonight I want to talk about these two beads, which represent Psalm 62:11-12:

One thing God has spoken,
two things have I heard:
that you, O God, are strong,
and that you, O Lord, are loving.

You may or may not know that I am 21 years old, and I have never been kissed. This isn’t on purpose, as some people have asked me; I’m not necessarily saving up my kisses for my wedding day. It’s just that, as far as I know, no guy has ever wanted to kiss me. 75% of the time I would say I’m not worried about my romantic future. It used to bother me a lot that I haven’t dated anyone, but I’ve worked through a lot of that, and good things have come from my singleness. In my head I know God will put me where I need to be and put the people in my life that need to be there. In my head I trust him.

But then my heart kicks in. To be completely honest, my dream job is a stay-at-home mom. Don’t get me wrong. I love working with college kids and am excited to go to grad school and learn more about working in Student Affairs, God willing, but if my life worked out perfectly to my plans, I wouldn’t work, and I would stay home with my kids “when I grow up.”

And even if I trust God in my head, my singleness hurts my heart sometimes. Not all of the time. Just when something awakens that fear like a dormant virus.

For example, over Christmas break, Angela, my best friend from high school, got engaged. This wasn’t a shocking event; I knew they had been talking about it for several months, but at the same time, the engagement sent me into another bout of distrust. Angela and I had shared our singleness until we were 20, and she started dating her now-fiancé Luke. As I looked at her shiny ring, I felt like I was being left behind and began to doubt again that I would ever have a ring like hers.

It’s times like these that I snatch my worry that I handed over to God right back from Him and hold on for dear life, which is completely irrational and counterintuitive to everything I’ve learned about God. I know I can trust him in my head. I’ve seen him work in very specific ways in my life that prove that I can trust him. But sometimes my head and heart don’t line up.

About halfway through June at LT, we had a speaker who gave two talks: one on fear and one on faith. One Tuesday night, Neil Kring asked us what we were most afraid of and why. I wrote down that my biggest fear was never getting married.

Thursday night he read us a passage from Psalms and reminded us of two of God’s biggest attributes: God is loving, and God is strong.

“One thing God has spoken, two things have I heard: that you, O God, are strong, and that you, O Lord, are loving. Surely you will reward each person according to what he has done.”
—Psalm 62:11-12

My heart was reminded again that God loves me. God knows the desires of my heart. God knows I want a family, children, a husband. And while there is the possibility that none of that is in His plans for me, God loves me and won’t let those desires go unanswered. He may not answer them the way I want Him to, but He will resolve those feelings in some way. My honest prayer is that he resolves them with a husband and children, but I’ve got to trust him enough to know that God loves me and will provide for me.

God continued to work on me through the rest of the summer and strengthened my trust in him by teaching me some hard lessons. I came back to school with a new sense of peace about me for my future and a new verse to meditate on when I felt my trust in God slipping. I heard Jon Foreman’s song “Your Love is Strong” for the first time last semester and fell in love with its scriptural allusions to the Lord’s Prayer and to passages about not worrying. It’s chorus, repeating “Your love is strong,” has gotten me through many moments of doubt.

So why should I worry?
Why do I freak out?
God knows what I need
You know what I need
Your love is strong

One of these moments of doubt came in my graduate school search. Before I went out to LT, I began realizing how homesick I was for Texas. I missed my family and my state and started looking into graduate school programs back home, one at Texas A&M in particular. After meeting and getting to know several Aggies through LT, I began to desire A&M for grad school more and more, but I refused to admit it outright that it was my #1 choice for school.

My friend Kelsey finally asked me during my last week in Colorado “Why don’t you just admit to yourself and to everyone else that you want to go to A&M next year?” I realized I was scared to admit this desire to go to A&M because I thought it meant that I was disregarding God’s plans and telling him I knew best. I thought I was distrusting his plan for me, like I so often did with my desires for marriage. All I wanted to do was follow God’s path and trust him for my grad school experience, but at the time, I felt that desiring anything specific was snatching control from God.

Before I go into my final point, I will say that desiring something more than God is wrong, and I learned this summer that sometimes I worship the idol of marriage, but that’s another talk for another time, or something to think about over the next month in our idol series.

But in general, desires are not wrong. It took me several more weeks and a talk by Drage about desires to officially admit that A&M was my number one choice for grad school, though no one was really surprised by the announcement. They had seen the desire in my words and actions even if I hadn’t explicitly stated it yet.

Desiring marriage or a certain graduate school is not wrong. What is wrong is not trusting that God will take care of these desires. As I said before, God may not fulfill them “with our script,” as another LT speaker talked about, but he will fulfill them in some form, and we have to trust him in that. And when I forget, I go back to Psalm 62 and Jon Foreman’s paraphrase:

Two things you told me
That you are strong
And you love me
Yes, you love me
Your love is strong.

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10 thoughts on “You are strong, and You love me

  1. just wanted to let you know that I pray for everyone at LT everyday, and especially you, you took me in that first day and made me feel invited to come to LT service. I don’t know what I would have done, if you hadn’t ever suggested it. Meeting you and Sam and everyone else in LT has changed my life forever, and I’m so glad that it happened. I’ve finally learned to let GOD make some decisions in my life, and I’ve never been happier. He’s allowed me to get closure in some parts of my life that I needed this week alone, and hes given me opportunities to move on to bigger and better things. I really miss you, and I’m so glad that I met you this summer, you and god have shown me things about myself that I never knew.
    Thanks

  2. I found this blog after Googling “Mizzou grad school blogs,” and it’s amazing how much it was exactly what I needed to hear.

    I’ve been freaking out for like a month about whether or not I’ll get into Mizzou’s graduate journalism program, and I keep Twitter-, Facebook-, and Google-searching to see if I can find any other applicants online! I just need to trust God with all of it!

    P.S. We have so much in common.
    21 and still haven’t dated? Check.
    Best friend getting married? Check.
    Want to be a stay-at-home mom? Check.
    Love for Jon Foreman? Check. Check. Check. (I held his hand once!)

    I really hope everything works out with you and Texas A&M!

    • Ha! We DO have a lot in common, down to the obsession with our prospective graduate schools. 🙂 I checked out your blog and I loved it! I’ll definitely be adding you to my Google reader. Best of luck with Mizzou as a journalism undergrad I know how exciting the program is!

  3. I know this is completely out of the blue, but sometimes God works that way. I stumbled upon your blog in search of the Scripture “you are strong and you are loving” from Jon Foreman’s song. I kept reading and just wanted to encourage you to continue to seek His face. Yes, He is strong, and Yes, He is loving. He is good and in His right hand are pleasures forever (Psalm 16:11). I feel like we could be friends in real life (I graduated from A&M in ’07 with a degree in Mathematics), teach high school seniors, and am working on my masters (distance program through A&M) so I can eventually teach college. I have been single my whole life, and like you am still apart of the NBK club. 🙂 I have also seen friend after friend after friend get married, and it has been a complete joy to stand along side so many, and yet, I still wonder in my heart, “How long O Lord?” (Psalm 13) But I always go back to His truth. If He is asking us to wait, it is because His glory is at stake. It is for His greater glory. I cling to Psalm 84:11, “No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly”. Thank you for posting this. You are not alone in your wait. God has a purpose in all things, and in the end, when the enemy tempts by trying to consume us with everything we feel as if God is withholding from us, we must cling to the truth. He is working all things out for the good of those who are called by Him (Shane and Shane have a great song- for the good based off Rom 8:28) and most of all He is working for His namesake. Press on sister. Matt 6:33

    • Thank you so, so much for your comment, Ashley! It was really encouraging. Good news: I got into A&M and will be moving down in about a month! God has blessed this transition from undergrad to grad school so much, and I can’t wait to see what opportunities he has laid out for me to serve him in College Station. As for the marriage thing, I still pray for patience, and I always need encouragement like this, so again, thank you 🙂

  4. Thank you for this post. I googled to find the address for Psalm 62:11-12 and your blog post was the first hit that came up. I shared the song on facebook for my nieces who recently lost theid.r dad to cancer. The picture on the Youtube version of the song shows a tree with a big circle song on yellow paper. One of the girls painted a picture just this last Friday of a tree like that one inside a circle on a yellow background. Wow. I posted the verse and the song. In the comment line I tagged all my nieces individually with lyrics from the song that would speak to each one of them. Please pray for them, for their faith. Thank you.

  5. I came across your blog while searching on Psalm 62 :11-12, just like many have. This has encouraged me so much, as I can relate to how you feel. Being single at 22 here, with everything going on around me and my dreams that seem so far away, it was very encouraging to read this. Thank you! Your love is strong is one of my favourite songs by Jon Foreman. I hope to meet him someday so I can let him know how much he has inspired me. Press on, sister!

    • I’m glad this post encouraged you! I still love “Your Love is Strong,” and actually, 4 years after this post, I used the song in my wedding! It has been beautiful to see God guide me in this season of my life between college, grad school, and the rest of my 20s. Things have unfolded in unexpected and exciting ways I never would have thought of myself. He is good!

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