It's kind of hard to believe it' been 18 months since I last typed out a few lines here.
Although a part of me wishes I could say I've spent the last few months soaring from one mountain-top experience to the next, the truth is, I've found it to be the case that most of the growth that's ever happened in my short life has happened somewhere in the valleys.
Just please don't ask me all the ways I've grown these past months, because I don't know if I'd have an answer for that.
But the question I do have an answer for, is if God's been good to me. And He has. More times and in more ways than I can recount or fathom. Every gifted breath and every-beat of-my-heart kind of goodness. The kind that paints the sky a million brilliant shades, and hangs the ivory moon among the stars, each one named and known, just to see me smile... The kind of goodness that springs from the heart of a God willing to give up His only Son to a cruel death, so that a planet living in open rebellion would have a chance at eternity with Him.
This time last year, I was living in a small peaceful town in TN, and now I live in a big city where there's a couple thousand miles and time-zones between me and my mom, brothers, and cat.
So a couple months in I'm still in the middle of figuring out this transition and half the time I feel like I'm muddling everything up. New state, new job, new everything. Change can be hard. And sometimes I ask myself how I ended up here. Sometimes I'm tempted to doubt if I heard God correctly, if I'm messing up His plan for me and most days I still feel like a little girl still learning to tie her shoes. I still doubt my nursing skills, still second-guess so many decisions and often feel inadequate.
And I am. Inadequate. But that's the beauty of it. He makes up the difference. Every single time.
One early morning a handful of weeks ago as I was walking to work weighed down by the reality of my stressful job and feeling anything but graceful or put-together and talking to God about it all, I came across a quote that stilled my troubled heart.
"In the matchless gift of His son, God has encircled the whole world with an atmosphere of grace as real as the air which circulates around the globe. All who choose to breathe this life-giving atmosphere will live, and grow up to the stature of men and women in Christ Jesus." EGW
With the cool breeze on my face as I crossed the walkway a couple of stories above ground, the distant mountains still draped in darkness, that quote, it felt so incredibly real. It fit perfectly into a crevice in my heart I hadn't realized needed filling.
"as real as the air which circulates around the globe"-- I was feeling the air that I daily breathe in that moment. And God reminded me, His grace, even when I don't feel it, IS there. And it encircles me. Every day, all the time.
All. the. time.
So often I've heard about grace,and intellectually appreciated it, but sometimes my heart had trouble fully connecting. It's a word I often felt was overused/misapplied. But this quote, during this season of my life...it's an answer to a prayer I hadn't realized I had been praying.
His grace... Every day at work, I've seen it in action. Everywhere I go, I see it in places and in ways I've never before. And I'm grateful.
Even if the quote really isn't that profound, to me, it has been. Because now, at the most unexpected times or places, I think of grace. And now anytime I happen to feel the wind blow against me or hear it whispering through the trees, I think not just of the Holy Spirit, but also of grace. And of what it costs Him.
"In the matchless gift of His Son."--that's what this grace costs Him. It costs Him everything. Present tense, not just past.
I am so incredibly blessed to know about God, about Jesus, about heaven. To know that every good and perfect gift in my life is straight from His hand...to know that His unmerited favor will continue to surround me, even when I'm making a mess at life, even when life gets hard...Even until the end of the world. He is there bestowing grace upon grace.
So many hurting souls still haven't been granted the opportunity to know Him like we do. We live in utter luxury (...but that is another topic, for another day...).
Anything that turns my eyes heavenward, anything that increases my appreciation for His immeasurable sacrifice, anything that centers me deeper into Him, anything that gives me a hunger for more of Him, may I always treasure it and never take it for granted.--So for now, in the midst of some weighty life seasons and transitions, I'm hanging on to this quote, and asking Him to continue to help me to "grow up to the stature" so that not only I can learn to live in the reality of His "life-giving atmosphere", but so that others too can come face to face with His eternal beauty and make Him their own. I want heaven to be filled to overflowing.
And this little sliver of heaven? This second niece of mine? Ali Rose...she too speaks of grace upon grace. Clearer than most everything else.
Little October-niece, how utterly grateful I am to be granted the privilege of being a part of your life. May every day you live bring you closer and closer to the One who formed you, and loved you before you were even a star in your mothers eyes.