Light, glorious Light! I will go where You shine! Amen amen amen!
Three words: this past year.
The past year of my life probably could be made into a movie and it might actually be entertaining. Totally not entertaining to the world, but maybe to a few friends and family who know me. I’ve never had so many unexpected things happen to me in the span of a year before, and hello all, I’m a different being now.
This past year I have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator, because I have indeed been raised with Christ. (Colossians 3.)
It’s about that time in life for me when I’m like uuhhh, what kind of job do I want? Uuuh, my major? I’m gonna use it in real life? The days are up and down with thoughts of future career possibilities and dreams. A part of me knows that I probably won’t be a music educator for the next twenty years. Yeah, that’s a definite no. And some days when I’m feeling the pressure in the music department to be that way and feel the tension of my heart telling me that’s not who I am, it’s a little discouraging. I’m like, what in the world am I doing with this degree? Then I have moments of refreshment when I’m reminded of the Lord making me fearfully, wonderfully and in a unique way. The Lord reminded me of this through Dorie Sunshine the other day. She was like,
“Hey Natalie, I slept in your bed the other night!”
“Yeah, I was hanging with Lucy, and then I look over and am like, ‘oh, here’s Africa!’ and love the way you decorate your room. I totally see you doing non-profit stuff…”
Ah! Thank you Lord for that encouraging conversation. The word “willing” has been recurring in my mind as I’ve heard several recently talk about how the Lord uses the willing hearts. I am willing, and that’s why I chose my major, to do ministry, and how exciting it is to think of combining my skills and uniqueness with my non-profit passion. Recognizing and understanding more and more of Christ’s death and resurrection propels my heart into this willing state. As I put on my new self no wonder I have no clue what’s in store for me. I am a new creation, in Christ. Heck, I’m going to London this summer. Who knew? Jesus did!
Oh simply to speak His name is praise!
Changing, changing, changing so much. I can see lots of it coming, but I just didn’t last year. Now I find it harder and harder to connect with some of my friends who I considered myself close with a year ago, yet simultaneously the Lord has blessed me with precious, dear new friends, and also shown me those who have encouraged me along this rocky way too.
By this time next weekend a handful of dearly loved people will be removed from my life in one way or another, (it being graduation), and because of this time I can’t help but reflect on the past couple of years with them, see how much we have all grown, and be awed by the hope in Christ that has carried us. I treasure these relationships that have changed me for good, as Elphaba and Glinda would sing.
How relational the Lord has made me and how His power is made perfect through my weakness when I feel broken over changed friendships. He without a doubt binds up my broken heart for His glory using and moving me in immeasurable more ways than I could imagine. How exciting living for Him is, for wherever He leads, I’ll sing harmony.
Once again, Bethany Dillon pulls through. I want her to sing at my funeral.
One day we will feel a hand brushing across our cheek and a voice calling our name, and our eyes will open, as if from a long sleep, and on our bedside we will see Him whom we have longed all of our lives to see. And then we will realize, maybe for the first time… that He was not only there when we woke up in the morning, but He was with us all through the night.
Many conversations I have had recently with friends have involved talking about the Holy Spirit. I am encouraged by these times of fellowship very much so, but am restless to say something more. My heart has been dwelling on Him who in a way preceded the Holy Spirit. My mind is simply stuck on this man. His short life on earth beckons my heart like never before. Oh, my little baby mind!
Jesus. Jesus! The Son of Almighty God! He is so vibrantly on my mind. I don’t want to stop thinking about him. And the concept of believing. I believe that years and years ago he lived a “short” life here on earth. Not many people do much thinking about history other than studying its facts to vomit out on a test in school. They may believe the facts happened, but wholeheartedly? I don’t think so. It tends to be more like a, “well, sure that happened.” We don’t think outside of our own “here and nows” and get stuck in our stupid little ignorant lives thinking about our own desires and what’s for lunch. GEEZ, wake UP. Life is so much more, and this earth is gone so much quicker than we can actually comprehend.
God sent down His Son, to live a life on earth, being the most pure form of man to ever live, so that He could die in order to fulfill the promised prophecy, the truth. Oh my goodness, I should just stop writing because a simple blog post does nothing in conveying my thought process - I pray it may as does my life!
A man came named Jesus. Reading through the gospels and reading about the life that He lived on earth for 33 years has changed me as it’s like drinking the best water ever to my dry soul.
And though reading about his life is a large chunk of truth to process, there has been one phrase that recurs in my mind and heart almost daily as I think about Jesus and long for him. He continually says, “repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near!”
It’s my first Easter this year. It is, because for the first time in my life my eyes were opened, 3 months ago, to see the weight of my sinful, messed up self, Natalie. Feeling the weight of my sin, my sexual sin, my lies, my manipulative selfishness, my pride, my discontentment, my fallen state of being and longing for wholeness - to know that it is all laid on Jesus breaks me. How can I keep living the way I live here in Chattanooga, TN getting distracted by materialism and earthly dreams? How can I proclaim His truth? With boldness! His mission has not be fully carried out in Chattanooga. There are many who do not know of Him. My painful sin, after feeling it, I can hardly believe that Jesus felt its true depth for me… and then my brain literally is overwhelmed to attempt to imagine and understand Jesus feeling e v e r y o n e ’ s.
My brain feels like it literally stops. I’m not capable of understanding it. I’m stuck. I’m stuck on Jesus. Stuck in awe. I am stuck on Him and utterly long for Him. I want to be able to touch him like the disciples did when he was here on earth. To touch the Son of God.
And God has chosen me to be His daughter! Jesus became and is my older brother!? And I have been given truth that will set sinners free! Proclaim, repent, proclaim! My eyes have been shown light for truly the first time, and I am eager to see the Lord use my body to serve His Kingdom. To see for the first time. What change is seen in Saul’s seeing for the first time, becoming Paul. His life is spent proclaiming truth about Jesus’ death and resurrection, because he sees. Why am I not jumping on every opportunity as he did? Give me the strength of the Holy Spirit in which the disciples had, Lord. Oh how I am jealous of their literal walks with the Lord, with Jesus. To be able to see His face on this earth - teach me Lord to see You in everything.
To believe. Every morning and afternoon is another opportunity to get to know Jesus more.
Simply to speak Your name, Jesus, is praise.
Because Your love is better than life, O Lord, may my lips will glorify You!
Like mother, like daughter…
I am extremely thankful for this beautiful, young woman of God. Her delight in the Lord is so radiantly contagious. And how fun it is to see the many smiles that the Lord spreads over our friendship with similarities between us. Thankful. (And Happy Birthday in t-minus ten days, Laur!)
“If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” Colossians 3.
My heart is so different, guys! I’m ready to die, that’s the best way to put it.
And me and my little Tennessee self is fixin’ to go to London this summer. The Lord has opened and closed doors so clearly for me. Imma going, going… gone. My life in this body is like a breath, like a fleeting shadow.
O truth, be on my lips! For I have been RAISED.