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November 28, 2012

It’s easy to loose track of the gospel in a world that is constantly moving and prioritizes productivity. Especially when we’re overrun by finals and job searches or overwhelmed by personal problems.

BUT the whole point isn’t about making us better people, it has to do with God himself.

Stop looking for progress or spiritual productivity and simply look upon the cross and enjoy the abundance that he has given freely to us.

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I’ve written about this here & here before, but hey.

People make such a big deal about relationships, because they are a big deal. For example, youth pastors have entire series devoted to teenage love. Years ago, I attended a youth event at my church in Singapore, entitled Waffles and Spaghetti. Men were waffles because they compartmentalize everything, while women were spaghetti because uhm, they don’t. While I do recognize that it might be a tendency, generalizations like that make me uncomfortable, not only because not everyone fits into a neatly labelled box, but also because these generalizations tend to perpetuate themselves… ugh, I’ll just stop here. Pastors conduct pre-marriage counseling. Christian bookstores are filled with books about it. Speaking of which, I have yet to find a non-cheesy one for women that isn’t in pink. One of my best friends gave me one called Fight Like A Girl by Lisa Bevere. While I like Jon Bevere and am sure his wife has wise things to say, the cover has diamond bracelet charms on it in the shape of high-heeled shoes and the Eiffel Tower… and is in purple and pink. I flipped through it but haven’t been able to bring myself to read it yet.

I think the above paragraph has made clear 1) how many Christians focus on it 2) my own gripes about some of the ways they have done it.

Which isn’t to say that relationships aren’t important. In fact I think they’re so important that they cannot be simplified into boy-blue and girl-pink labels. Instead of trying to organize every hormone-charged emotion and our social interactions into pristine categories, perhaps we have to zone in on the thing that makes sense and is all things to all men: Jesus. (At this point, I should just end this post, right?)

The above screenshot is of my recent Gchat conversation I had with one of my best friends, and it made me think about relationships, because it’s kind of the same principle, isn’t it? With a handful of exceptions, most of us will go through days in relationships or marriages when we don’t feel like we’re in love, and we’ll have to make an internal decision to stay. So much of love is a choice. You might be attracted to someone, but you choose to pick up that phone to call them, or approach them for a date, or to make a sacrifice for them. If someone can’t choose to commit to a relationship with a God who has loved them powerfully from the day they were born and sees them at their very worst and died for them and promises them grace (unmerited favor) for every moment of their lives, how are they going to commit to me, a tiny, imperfect human? Eventually what they will hold on to isn’t love, but something else: the idea of companionship, the comfortable habit of presence, or the emotional assurance of affection.

Last Wednesday, my pastor Carl Lentz preached a mid-week service on relationships, in which he said, among other very wise statements, to look for someone in the same vehicle as you, because skateboards and cars don’t move at the same pace. I had to grapple with this recently, but eventually decided that I didn’t want to spend my time on someone who wasn’t spending his time chasing after Jesus. If I can’t go to church with him, or gush excitedly about something God did in my life, or envision working together for God, then it’s not something I want to be involved with. I’m not perfect, but my convictions are to have God be like the glorious sun we set our eyes on, and the unchanging, steady, nourishing earth we stand on.

Btw, here’s a screenshot of Pastor Carl’s notes my small group leader at Hillsong posted in our Facebook group. Enjoy!

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On being a crazy person

July 18, 2012

Sometimes I look at my life and what I believe in and think I must be crazy. I put myself in the shoes of my parents or other non-Christian friends and find myself agreeing with them. Christians are nuts. I mean, I believe in a mysterious, intangible Presence in my life that I attribute to be God, yet I do not always sense Him. I don’t really hear His audible voice (because we Christians like to say we’ve heard His voice even though it sounds more like us telling ourselves a sudden piece of wisdom or and indistinguishable “voice” or just an unexplainable enlightenment, or something), I don’t know what His face looks like (although I’d imagine a lot of brightness, judging from Moses… and we only have approximate guesses as to what Jesus looks like), I don’t know what it is like to touch Him, yet I just know when He talks to me. I just know it when He says He wants me to go this way, or that way. How do I know? I don’t know, I just know! Insert Bible verse about how we are made with a spirit and so can sense God.

I believe in speaking in tongues (I actually speak it! It’s this awesome God-given thing where you sound like you’re talking gibberish although sometimes you do end up speaking another language… and no you can’t really control it, it just flows out of you like an unstoppable babble… no I don’t always know what I’m actually saying… but it’s from God!) , I believe in medicine-defying healing, I believe in visions and prophecies, I believe that He created the world and that He can turn your life around and that He loves you and me. Yet I don’t understand most of Him. I don’t know why so many people died in Cyclone Nargis in 2008. I don’t know why the Rwandans who hid in churches during the 1994 genocide were shot up in the church itself. I don’t know how He saw it and didn’t swoop in and stop the murderers in their tracks. I don’t know why sometimes even when you pray, people die anyway.

Yet, I choose to live by faith. Yet it’s enough for me to live by faith. And God is real enough to me that I have chosen to live my life for Him. My entire life – having Him have control over my future job or my future spouse or which country I move to and all that – is surrendered to Him. Not only that, but having Him be the purpose for which I live. To have the reason I live be for His glory, to have my every breath speak of His grace.  

I am crazy. No wonder my dad thinks I’m foolish. I would too, if I were him. Insert Bible verse about being a fool in the world’s eyes when you choose Christ. 

But then I think about all that He has done for me. He was there when my family was falling apart, and I was an angry, bitter mess (read: one hot mess). His very presence was enough for me to hold on to life throughout all these years. He saw me through my relationships with people I should not have been having relationships with. He softened my heart and made me a better person. He gave me awesome pillars of strength. He brought me to Tufts against all odds. He has been the best friend I could have ever had. 

He sees me when I wake up, when I go to bed, and in the middle of the night, when I am feeling the loneliest or when I cry. He sees me at my absolute worst. And when I say thank you, he says, “my pleasure.” 

Then I think… hey, maybe I’m not so crazy after all. Maybe this is the only thing that actually makes sense.

 

HARRO THUR TCF

I don’t know if many of you will ever even see this, but I shall write away anyhoos

The odds are really low right that anyone I know from home will see this, so I’ll be honest. I’ve never really had friends at home in Alabama, but there are just two who did stick by me (kinda). I had one really rough night after school once in 10th grade when I realized one friend was just using me and making all sorts of false promises when I had given all of me to be a great friend to her. I was crushed. From then on, I just claimed my mom was my best friend. So if I say I miss home, I really mean I miss my immediate family and the comforts of having ‘free food’ and not having to wear flip-flops in the shower.

I’ve changed a lot since then though. God has made a huge transformation in me that is still an ongoing process of refining as He just loves on me. Now I realize that a Christ-like love for a friend means not expecting anything in return and being totally okay with that.

Well now I’m home and I’ve seen changes in myself every time I’ve returned from Tufts. I used to get homesick, but now it’s kinda the opposite. I miss Tufts terribly, mostly because of the TCF community. There have been challenges to living my faith at home that make it seem like I haven’t changed. It’s the first college break those 2 friends and I haven’t pretended to miss each other and meet up, and I’m kinda ecstatic that it’s finally over. However, I know I need an honest love and persistent strength from Jesus to fight for those friendships. How do I talk to my dad and figure out when and why we lost the daddy-princess relationship we had when I was growing up? How do I give my mom more room to grow in her walk with God (like not get so easily upset if she forgets that I process things differently and I’m really not talking back but asking an honest question)? How do I allow myself to return to my old, mean self when I get onto my little brother? These are all things that make me realize that my heart’s condition isn’t so pure and loving as I’d like to think if I interact so rudely with people at home that I claim to love. It challenges me to be the same person I am to my family as I am to you at Tufts (or like to think I am to you).

I hope I do stand up to those challenges instead of ignoring them. However, I realize one reason I miss TCF so much is that I don’t really have a whole community surrounding me to keep me accountable all the time. If I bring it up during a gchat convo, then hey, maybe I’ll have some accountability. However, when I’m surrounded by the tangibility of an atmosphere of Christ-like love and by people who desire to be better representations of Christ to our campus and each other, I can’t help but challenge myself to stay true to my goals.

Obviously I also miss you because you’re the only real friends I’ve ever had. I’ve seen through you what real friendship looks like. Friendship where both parties love each other immensely. Friendship where I know I am loved as I am… a unique, precious, daughter of God. That’s amazing. Besides the corny stuff, I also love that I can be my weird self knowing I won’t be judged (too much) :P It’s been quite lonely at home without people to just hang out with, even if it’s just sitting around. I’ve got my mom as a friend which is a blessing, but I can’t quite hang out with her like I do with ya’ll.

So besides the silliness and fun I have just being around y’all as we grow on this journey together, during this time apart from TCF (but thank God we are always connected in the Spirit!), I’ve realized how much I grow in Christ with ya’ll around. You’re my family. Who cares if I’ve technically only been a part of the family for three years. It’s more like meeting long-lost family members and having an instant connection. I just read this book about a church planting movement in Mongolia where the missionaries accomplished their goals with God’s direction in three years. They said they left a part of their heart with those people and country, and at first, I thought it seems like a short time to leave a part of your heart there. Then I realized when you fully invest and give all of yourself to a community, how can you not leave part of your heart no matter how long the time span? Plus three years is a long time in a different culture. THEN I realized that’s me. I’ve given a lot of myself to this community at Tufts, and it’s already tearing at my heart that I must leave it after one more school year to move on to my next season of life. However, knowing I have just one more year gives me more reason to give whatever’s left of me, keep going back to God to fill me back up again, and keep giving. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I’m looking forward to a year of loving you guys more, getting to know and love those of you I don’t, and welcoming in one more class of freshmen just as I was welcomed in during the fall of 2009. Only one more Jesus and Java during pre-orientation left for my Tufts adventure. It’s absolutely insane that my time is drawing to an end, but that is life. God has much greater things in store, and I must remember that what seems great at the time will pale in comparison to what He has in store. Knowing that’s true, whatever’s coming is gonna blow my mind.

<3,

Anisha

Signing out

May 21, 2012

There was this moment today when I felt pretty bad about my time at Tufts. Everyone on stage seemed to be getting all these academic awards, and I was sitting there, looking at my card, and wondering if I had really spent my time at Tufts well. But God reminded me of some stuff today, while I was sitting there and wondering if I had accomplished anything. First of all, this semester was pretty hard for me academically. There were so many times when I felt like I didn’t think I could complete an assignment, and each time God came through. Even though I might have slacked off a lot earlier, I can rest knowing that I did work hard this semester, and God really did pull me through a lot of classes and assignments that I had no business getting through.

What really helped me the most, however, was this book I received from Jerry, who knows my heart really well, probably because he knows his own heart really well. It’s a beautiful book, full of memories and laughter, and words from people I cherish. When I look back at my time at Tufts, I’m not going to remember my time studying in the classrooms (I’m not going to remember what I was taught in those classrooms either trolololol…I might remember trolling in Eaton, though). I’m going to remember the time I spent with people, and the memories we shared. I’ll remember the ways I was about to pour into others, and I’ll remember the ways all of you have taught me over the years. If you guys haven’t realized already, I try to listen when you guys tell me about what God does in your lives. God speaks through people so often that we can miss His voice if we’re not humble, and if we don’t honor others. I really have learned from all of you, and I’ve tried my best to take what you give me.

As I look back at this year and semester, I really do see that the seniors have played a huge difference in this fellowship these few years. But I do want to remind all of you that God still has a huge vision for this campus, and that vision involves you. Whatever we did, we were able to do through God. Whatever obstacles you go through, you will be able to overcome, through God. I’ve tried to be as open as I could be with the struggles and the victories I saw over these past four years, because of something I read in The Supernatural Ways of Royalty a while back. In the book, Kris Vallonton talked about the importance of discipleship, about raising up people in the generation under you, so that their floor would be my ceiling. You guys are still in my generation, but I hope that the mistakes I’ve made, the lessons I’ve learned, and the things I shared with you will be a blessing to you. And whatever happens, I think the world of all of you. I see the same destiny and potential in all of you, that destiny that Jesus spoke about when He told His disciples that they were going to do greater things than He ever did.

As for me, leaving hurts so much. I’ve made so many good friends, and I feel like I’ve found people who see everything good and bad in me, and still love me. It’s hard giving that up. But I also think about our God, and how He chose to become flesh. He had everything in heaven, and yet He chose to come to Earth, and to go through all the pain and struggle of life. It’s time for me to go, I think, to see new things, and to continue this adventure with God, to be stretched and to laugh and cry. It’s been a beautiful four years, and it’s been a life-shaping four years, too. TCF, in particular, has played such a huge role for me these past few years. But I know that I’m leaving this fellowship in capable hands, and I’m exciting to see how you guys will run with this torch. I love all of you so much, and I’ll miss all of you so much.

Keep in touch,

Wai

supermuyshroom.wordpress.com

waicheng257@gmail.com

Wielding the Sword

February 23, 2012

The other day, someone spoke up on retreat about something she learned from Romans 8, and it reminded me how God has used that chapter in my life. I remember praying for someone one day, and I could tell that something was holding her down, and all of a sudden, Romans 8:1 came to mind, and I was able to pray that truth over her sternly, letting her know how God saw her. Since then, Romans 8:1 has been the one verse that I’ve held in my heart whenever something gets me down.

I remember reading Romans 8 a lot when I was in China, in a time when I was really struggling with some sins, and also from a lack of Christian community. It was one thing for me to read the Word every day, but another thing for me to learn how to place it into my heart. It was one thing to read about how the Holy Spirit lived in me, and how God had made me His son and coheir, and how I would never be separated from his love, and another thing to know those truths in my heart.

And somewhere along the way, I kind of forgot what God had taught me these past years about my identity in Him. We as Christians need to learn how to wield the Sword of the Spirit, the Word of God. We need to learn how to proclaim these truths over people, and to ponder these truths in our own hearts.

As Christians, we are called to be humble, but there’s a fine line between genuine humility and false humility. There’s a line in the Final Quest that says that genuine humility is agreement with the truth. But sometimes that truth can be really awesome, and something that people don’t believe, because it is the awesome. One things I’ve struggled with is this idea of God telling us that we are not sinners anymore. It’s pretty clear that I do sin, but God also makes it very clear that He sees me as clean, and that He sees me as a saint, able to do the same works (and even greater ones) that Jesus did.

It took me a while to figure this out, but God can do this, because we are not what we do in His eyes. Rather, we do what we do because of what God has done in us. Yes, we still sin. But that does not affect what God has done for us, and our identities as His children. As the people of God, part of learning how to wield the sword is learning who God has made us to be. It is not pride to believe this, and even more than that, I believe that this truth is something that can change the world. As Romans 8:19 says, the creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed.

It’s very easy to lose  focus when you’re leading. I am not the perfect leader, and I am a little more aware of how much I need God now. I am aware that if I don’t get Him everyday and if I don’t talk to God everyday, then I am going to fall. It’s easy to think that ministry can serve as a substitute for a relationship with God, but ministry can also become an idol, too. I’ve learned that sometimes I have a habit of leading to earn praise and approval from people, when I should be seeking to obey God instead (Galatians 1:10). That shows me that sometimes I have an issue with identity, and that I don’t exactly know how God sees me. But God is good, and even though I know I am His son, as I grow with Him, and get to know Him more, it stops being something I know in my mind, and something I know deep inside me.

And I’ve also learned that, like Moses, I have often let my perception of my weaknesses and obstacles determine how I act and think. But for every person, the call is not to be strong, but to trust in God, in spite of your weaknesses. Don’t look at yourself or rely on your strength. I challenge you to read through your Bible, and just take note of how God did things…how He fought Israel’s battles, how He selected the disciples, and who He used. My pastor, Brian, reminded me once that Philippians 4:13 is not a verse about letting God do things for you. It’s about having the faith to let God do things through you. And faith is the opposite of fear. Often, I need to check myself and ask why I’m doing something. Is it out of fear, or out of faith? Is it out of duty, or out of love? These things matter to God. These things show your belief.

Even as a formal leader now, I must remember how I serve. Do I serve with my strength or do I serve through God? We must not be hasty to enter leadership, if we feel God telling us no, but we also must remember not to hesitate, if God tells us go. Results are up to God, and don’t get caught up in the idea that good results mean holiness. Our part is to trust, obey, and have hope, faith and love. I write this, because if we place the burden on ourselves, and do not seek God, and do not ask Him for wisdom and help, then we will burn out, and we won’t grow in God.

I remember this time when I had just finished my freshman year, and was just starting to get to know who God was. I really wanted to lead, and I think I placed too much of identity and hope in becoming a freshman small group leader for TCF. I remember looking through my emails, the summer after freshmen year, and realizing that I had not been asked to be a leader, even though it seemed like everyone else in my class had been asked to lead. When I came back to school after summer, it hurt so much, and I thought that the people in leadership did not trust me for some reason. But later on, one of my really good friends told me that my leadership application had actually been lost over the summer. Looking back now, I think that God was protecting me. I really learned about who God was that sophomore year, and it blew my mind. I still lead that year, without a formal title, because leadership is servanthood, and our King, Jesus, is the greatest servant of them all. I made so many good friends, friends that I have been privileged and amazed to see have grown greater than me. I ate lunch with tons of people, and learned some valuable things, like asking people about their stories. And I know now that even though there seemed to be several times where I was serving, and no one else knew, God knew, and it must have brought a smile to His eyes.

“My God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” (Phil 4:19)

I’ve always trusted God to meet my needs. The problem is I’ve been trusting more in my needs than in God. Today, God was showing me that He doesn’t meet my needs according to what I think should happen, but according to Christ.

For me, it’s easy to trust God by relating to his nature as a loving and caring Father. Jesus himself points us this way when he says the Father will provide for us like He does for the lilies and sparrows. The problem with this is that it’s easy to present our Father with a wish-list and then ask him to provide. We get upset when he doesn’t meet the list and even ask ourselves, “what kind of father would do that?” “He must not love me,” and, for some, project the failings of our own earthly fathers onto our Heavenly one. Instead, we need to trust God to provide for our needs in the way HE will, rather than in the way we want Him to. For example, I’ll say “God I trust you to provide for my apartment” then I’ll go and try to find one based on what I think are my needs rather than seeking God IN the process. I trust Him to work it out, but I’ll go and figure out all the details. What I’m really doing is asking for His blessing on MY plans. What I need to do is seek HIS plans and rest in His blessing there.

So, this Phillipians 4:19 business: God is going to meet my needs according to his glorious riches in Christ. How is that going to meet my needs? BECAUSE WHAT I NEED IS CHRIST. What I have always needed is Christ, and so God [is going to/has already] meets my needs by giving me Christ. A perfect match. God’s greatest treasure (glorious riches) is Christ, and He is sharing that with me. So many Christian songs talk about Christ being “everything” and “ALL I need” and “more than enough” – do we get it yet? Jesus is the complete fulfillment of everything I need. He is not just the fulfillment of my “Jesus-fix” on Sunday mornings (and Thurs night and Wed night and Mon night :P), He is the fulfillment of my BEING (Acts 17:28).

The temptation is to apply this by saying, “okay, let’s see how Jesus fulfills my needs of food, companionship, enjoyment, direction, satisfaction, success, etc.) He may do so indeed, but if you look at it this way then you are still presenting a wish-list based on your own perceptions of what you need and how you want those needs met. We need to get off Santa’s knee and onto our own, admitting our all-encompassing need for Jesus and asking for Him only. Let us lay down our perceived needs (relinquish them fully from our hands) and ask Him to reveal our true neediness.  For example, we may be driven by a worldly need for “success” and many of our “needs” may stem from that. Jesus does not want to grant this request, He wants to free us from it’s clutches. He wants to free us from every desire, need, and motivation that is not in Him and from His own heart. This pretty much constitutes a full-system reboot every time He shows us another area of our operating system that is not founded in Christ alone. If we look to Him, He will show us our needs; if we look to Him, He will meet them.

So I know we’re all wicked smaht (as we say in Maine) and like to put our brains together to solve problems, be it a mathematical proof, social injustices, or how to fit your entire class schedule onto just two days of the week. (the I-can-do-it attitude which is another thing Jesus wants to free us from btw, see John 15:5 and Phil 4:13) Be cautious of bringing this into your relationship with God. He doesnt want us to figure it out for ourselves while He blesses our plans from afar, He wants to bring us into the blessing of self-abandonment and full reliance on Jesus Christ.

So to a university that asks, “are you smart enough?” and to a self-centered predisposition towards self-reliance seeking fulfillment of my needs:

Trust in the LORD with ALL your heart and lean NOT on YOUR OWN understanding; in ALL your ways submit to HIM, and HE WILL make your paths straight. (Prov 3: 5-6)

Small things for eternity

August 17, 2011

I was walking home thinking about how I got into Tufts. To be honest, I was questioning how I ever got into Tufts. After all, I know what I did in high school, and more importantly, I know what I didn’t do. But I realized in the end that it was God who brought me. He wanted me here…so He made it happen. And now it’s three years later, and I’m starting to look forward to my last year at Tufts (hopefully or hopefully not, depending on your point of view). I’ve realized that what we do on this campus is not insignificant, because in the end, everyone ends up leaving this campus, and each person that leaves this campus has the potential to leave his or her mark on the world.

And I guess as I look forward to Jesus and Java, I can still remember the small things that really made a difference during those first few critical weeks at Tufts. For example, I remember being greeted by a senior named Elton Sykes. When I came back the next week, he still remembered my name. I also remember asking Kat some weird questions about Filipinos, and I still remember how Alex Nesbeda actually drove to Bush Hall to bring me to church the day after Jesus and Java. I write about this, because the reason why I can go up to a person and talk to them at TCF is because I know how it feels to enter into a place, and be awkward, and alone in a room full of people. And it meant a lot to me those days when people actually cared about who I was. Maybe other people don’t feel that way, but I felt like that for the longest time. And even before, I just had this idea in my head that if people got to know me, the real me, then they wouldn’t like me at all (luckily, God likes me). So I guess what I mean to say from all this is that it just comes down to obedience with love.

I think lots of people know who D.L Moody is. But not a lot of people hear about Edward Kimball, the guy who led Moody to Christ. Kimball was freaked out on the day he led Moody to Christ. Moody apparently was not a nice guy, but because Kimball overcame his fears, or rather, because Kimball didn’t let his fears dictate whether or not he obeyed God, God was able to touch the life of D.L Moody, and use him powerfully in the lives of many others. Likewise, everyone knows about the Apostle Paul, but few people remember Ananias, who God assigned to pray for Paul after Paul became blind. In my Bible, you can actually flip to the same passage and read my comment on Acts 9: LOL OH CRAP HE’S BACK. I think it was Tyler who had that insight into the passage. For the longest time, Paul had been terrorizing the Christians, and all of a sudden, God wanted Ananias to pray for this guy’s eyes. I think Ananias must have been freaked out, and maybe even unsure of himself. After all, if God blinded Osama Bin Laden and then told you to go to him and pray for his healing, what would you think? Maybe not a perfect parallel, but eventually, Ananias said yes to God. You know, the world has largely forgotten about these men, but I can tell you that God hasn’t. And one thing I know about God is that if you give him the loaves and the fishes, He multiplies them for you. And you know, because of the love that a few people showed me in the beginning of my freshmen year, my life has not been the same. And I pray that as I enter my senior year at Tufts that I would be able to do the same things for others.

First, I would like to preface by saying, Hey all, my name is Ana Carvalho and I am a rising junior. I haven’t met a lot of people in TCF or know a lot of people by name, BUT I do have a passion for this group and what its presence has done not only for me but also for the Tufts community as a whole. TCF has, at random times, been a rope out of the bottom of a deep hole for me. I know with all my heart that our fellowship is a gift from God.

Now I want to continue my post by explaining its purpose. I want to tell you all about my grandmother’s death. I have been wanting to do this for a long time, but hadn’t had the strength yet.

Here we go:  About five weeks ago, I lost one of the people that meant the most to me in life. The funny thing is that I used to say to myself that if God ever took my grandmother before I saw her again, I would stop believing that He exists.

On Friday June 16th, my mother came into my room with tear-stained cheeks and told me that my grandmother Arlete who lived in Brazil had just returned from the hospital and was in critical condition. I did not think much of this, because I had faith that God would never let my grandmother die before I could say a proper goodbye. I had a good night’s sleep that night, and the following night, until around 7am on Sunday when my mom came into my room and sat on the edge of my bed. My alarm had just gone off and I was about to get ready for work, when she said in a meek voice that I had never heard come from my strong mother: Your grandmother died. I cannot begin to explain how I felt upon hearing those words, but my first thought was “There is no God.”

I spent that entire Sunday and many days that would follow coming in and out of bursts of desperation and endless crying and screaming. I was weak and lost. My grandmother, one of my strongest pillars of hope, was dead. But look closely and here is where you see God’s hand. During one of my moments of anger, while screaming bloody murder up to heaven, I said to Him, “All I wanted was for you to take care of her.”  Then very quietly, in a moment that even as I recall it now I am filled with an indescribable sense of peace and tranquility, He whispered, “I did.”

Here is what I have understood of myself and of God through all this pain and agony: our plans are not His plans. We may think we know what is best for us, but only He knows, and if we give ourselves completely to God, He will take care of us. Imagine yourself as a baby that hasn’t conquered full motor coordination yet. You’re crying, kicking and screaming, and just as you think that you have been forgotten, He scoops you up into His arms and nurses you to sleep.

I have never known the pain that I am currently experiencing, but I have never felt God this way either. Everywhere, I see Him.

I cannot say that I no longer have issues with my faith, or that suddenly I am the perfect, devoted Christian. What I am trying to say is that in the midst of drowning, I have constantly found a hand to pull me out of the water in God. No one else has been able to help me or give me the comfort that God has given me.

All that I have left is a question, How do people recover from great tragedies without God? I am thinking that the answer is simple: They don’t.

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