Two years ago today, I walked into church alone. I had barely eaten in three days and I probably looked like I had hit been hit by a bus. I was coming to grips with my new reality after some abrupt and unexpected changes occurred.
I have been going to church my whole life. I’d been going for the bible bucks in children’s church and the cool parties as a pre-teen and I basically skipped it in college except for Easter because I wouldn’t miss out on an opportunity to get a new spring dress. After college, I knew I should go but I was one foot in, one foot out. But this day two years ago, I actually NEEDED to be there. I had no place else to go.
So two years ago today, I walked in to church. Because three days before the bottom had fallen out on my life.
Let me rewind:
Two and a half years ago I made the move to Chicago. The guy I was seeing lived in here and I was living in Atlanta. We were getting pretty serious and I was ready to begin my law school journey anywhere BUT Atlanta. God blessed me with acceptance letters and three huge scholarships from schools in Chicago. I was able to move up to be closer to him and begin law school. It was a win-win. I had no reason not to be excited. I was READY to leave Atlanta and to go on this new adventure. I had the perfect plan:
It was going to be so easy. I will start school, he will propose, we will get married, I’ll graduate, move to a cute condo and life will be PERFECT.
…I didn’t see the depression coming. I didn’t plan for the anxiety that debilitated me. I didn’t account for the homesickness that would flood my heart. I didn’t think I wasn’t actually READY for all the life changes I had willingly signed up for. I didn’t realize I wasn’t actually…happy. He thought HE was the one surprised by my rocky adjustment…But I was truly perplexed by my own struggles. Something was off. My perfect plan wasnt going as planned. Trying to balance school, a new city, new friends and so many other changes was taking a toll on me.
So, I pushed and pushed and pushed. I tried to push myself out of depression by studying as hard as I could. I tried to push myself to being happy. But the more I pushed the more things tore. The more frustrated I was when I didn’t understand a legal concept and the more mean I was when he didn’t understand ME. But I didn’t understand me. I had no idea I was pushing myself right out of my fairytale. All I knew was that this dream life I had planned no longer fit me. Or I know longer fit in it. I kept telling myself it will all be okay after finals. If I can just make it through finals, we will get along again and he will propose and I will have good grades and everything will be back on track. I had a plan. It was all going to be fine. But, my pushing only resulted in breaking. Three days after finals, he walked in my apartment with his head hung low, wringing his hands, tears in his eyes and told me that he was out. He was done. He was devastated. I was too.
I now had to go home for Christmas break without him and tell everyone I wasn’t going to be engaged, law school may actually break me, and the life I told everyone I would have when they all hugged me good-bye, was gone. I now lost the closest person to me in this humongous city and along with him went my entire support system. He was from here. I wasn’t. I had no house in the suburbs to run home to, no more god-daughter to babysit, no more friends to watch the Bears lose with. I was alone. More alone than I have ever felt in my entire life.
I was out of plans. I had nothing left to push. Nothing left to give. My life felt like it had fallen apart. I only knew of One person who could put it back together. JESUS. So two years ago today, I went to church. Not because it was Easter and not because it was sunday. But because I needed Jesus. There was something about walking into the building that day that just renewed my hope. The hugs from greeters and smiles from strangers and the crazy dancing candy-canes on stage for the kids Christmas pageant were somehow just the thing I needed to remind me that God was with me and this wasn’t the end of the world. Little did I know, this one decision to show up to church that day would literally be the start of an entire transformation.
Friend, if you had asked me on December 20th, 2015, I would have said there is no way I would feel so whole, so full, so grateful and so healthy in just two years time. BUT GOD. A month after this, I was baptized at this same church, six months later I started the Faith Feast, and two years later I am writing this wondering how in the world God did it? How did He take me from one of my lowest points to truly living my best life?! It looked like a mess. It looked like everything had fallen apart but I can truly and wholeheartedly say, it was really just things coming together. What originally looked like a terrible outcome ended up being the best thing for me.
I needed to be released from my own plans so I could discover His.
It wasn’t the easiest two years by any means. But I wouldn’t trade a moment of it for the world. It was hard navigating this huge city by myself. It was complicated building new friendships and stressful finding my footing in law school. But the Lord truly was with me every step of the way. The more I sought Him, the more He showed up. The more I leaned on Him, the more He carried me.
So I just want to encourage you to trust God. TRUST HIM. God’s plans for you ARE good. (Jer. 29:11) He heals the brokenhearted and He binds up their wounds. (Psalm 147:3) He makes you whole where you feel completley broken. He IS the God who restores, rebuilds, revives and renews. Stay close to Him, stay tucked under His wings (Psalm 91) and stay surrendered, He will bring you out on the other side stronger, fuller, and TRULY set free. Let Him take over in the midst of the chaos. He is bigger than what you’re going through and He always has a plan. Trust Him.
And soon you’ll be emailing me saying …“How in the world did He do it?”.
love you mean it,