2014. Becoming that palace.

palace

2014 is a new year. Obviously. And with it comes new excitement and challenge.
If it’s anything like I expect, it’s going to be a crazy ride. More on all of that to come.
My word for this year is “Grow”.
The past few months as I’ve began adulthood, I’ve sometimes struggled with wanting to return to college.
Wanting to return where life was comfortable and I knew I could handle all the things I juggled.
It was easy enough and dreams could stay dreams for a while longer.
It was good for the season, but the season has changed.

And today, I realized I might not have been as ready as I thought.
Because today, and in the past six months post college graduation, pretty dreams become good and messy realities as we begin to work out the steps that will get us to the dreams we created and prepared for all this time.
And sometimes I wonder if I can handle it at all.

These are the places where God has been calling me to. The places where I’m not sure I am capable.
The places that require trusting fully in Him.
In a deeper way than I trusted when I went to college or broke up with a boy or went to Africa or ran for a position. Because at the end of the day, there was always a backup plan.
If I was wrong, I could transfer or take him back or come home early or…

There was always someone to take at least some of the pressure off.
There was always a person to lean on.
And there still are. Don’t get me wrong, Mom and Dad and friends and family.
They will always be there. But I threw that mortar board into the air last May and now it’s up to me. Up to all of us.
And it’s exciting because there is huge potential.
The things we’ve worked for and prayed about, the things that really matter to us, they are becoming our lives.
Jobs are the beginning of careers. Dreams are realities. Married friends are more common than not.

And it’s good. So good. Our lives are more beautiful and full than ever before.
The things our parents and grandparents prayed for are becoming realities in front of our eyes.
But that doesn’t make it much less scary.

And this year, 2014, I’m learning, once again, to trust.
My word of the year is “Grow.” To move forward. To love fully. To embrace change.
There’s never growth without heartache because what was has to change to become what will be.
And like C.S. Lewis said we’re in the midst of becoming a palace when all we thought we could be was a fixed up little cottage.

Prayers are appreciated for the still-new college grads. You are so very loved.

–Hallie.

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Jesus Christ. Life-Breath Eternal.

Usually, I want to know the future. I think I need to know it to be able to trust that God is as good as that leather book on my side table says He is. I want it all written down and handed to me in a black and white. I want an anthology of my life, typed out and waiting at my door.

I want it badly, so I can sit down at a cafe in a big city somewhere, pull out a highlighter and pen, underline the good, highlight the fantastic, cut out the bad and stick it in a box somewhere marked “Fragile, Handle With Care.” I want to know what my decisions will lead to before I make them. To know that this will all really and truly turn out good at the end of the day. I want each moment mapped out, the next seventy-five years in black and white. The ink dried and unchangeable. The kind that no white-out can make disappear and no Sharpie can cover. Usually.

And then there are moments of lucidity, moments that stick out like Pins dropped on the GoogleMaps App of my life. Moments that remind me why I am not in control and that God holds the world much more magically than even Walt Disney once did.

Because I’m beginning to understand that this life is an ever-changing process. An ever-growing relationship with the Man who loved us enough to hide from us the things that we could not understand. Because He walked this earth and knew what it meant to seek. Knew that something important came in the unsure seasons. Knew that something incredible came when God was glorified in the moments when we say, “Daddy, I want you to take this away, but more importantly I need you.” That He hung on that cross with the same desire.

He prayed in the garden that the hardships would be taken away, but knew with his whole self that it was worth it when God said there was no other way. That He, just as much of a man as He was God, decided that death was His path because I was worth it. A concept I just can’t fully grasp, but one I’ll be eternally working out in thanksgiving. Because the God-man Himself felt the deep emotions that fill my heart and bring mist to my eyes. That He bled from his pores for emotions bigger than the ones that I push down and try not to feel.

And in the midst of those emotions, He chose Love. He chose ME over himself, over all the plans He could have substituted. He chose to follow the will of the Father because He knew that the Father knew best.

And I’m learning that no matter what I feel, He is still Good. That it’s not so much about whether it’s a bad or good day. Or if I’m fulfilled or drained by the work that I’m doing, because it’s an hour to hour situation lately. But I’m learning to rest in the fact that He is Good, and that is enough. I’m in the beginning stages of understanding my misunderstanding. Beginning to dive deeper into the mystery that is Christ, swimming further than I’ve ever dared, scared to run out of my life-breath, and realizing the deeper I go, the more breath I have. And it’s an anomaly that can’t exist and yet it does.

But so was Christ, and so He is today.

–Hallie

I want fall.

Cottonwood Bonfire

I want fall. The real kind, where we wrap up in blankets and cheer for the home team with hot chocolate in mugs and a real sense of happiness. I want happiness, the fleeting kind Christians seem to bash sometimes, choosing joy over it day after day. I want a case of happiness. The warmth of it wrapping around me. I’ve got joy but I want immediacy. I want fall. The kind that comes when trick-or-treating is done with kiddos and laughter fills the air. I want the magic that came with the falls of my past. The warmth that comes when you need more than just a sweater to fill the hole that summer left. You need community and you find it with people who’ve known you a million years and laugh at your quirks but love you the same. I want to be settled. To know and be known. To not be in this transition state with borrowed furniture and white walls.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m so incredibly thankful for the job that I’ve been given this year. I’m learning more about my God and my self than I’ve ever learned before. I’m on the fast track to a fantastic relationship with the One I’ve longed for deeper communion with for years. But I’m not home. Not yet. And sometimes it hurts. Sometimes it’s sad to recognize that I’ve lost what I forgot to appreciate when I had it. That childhood is over, but more than that college is over. And with it went the strongest friendships I’d ever experienced. Not that they’re gone, per say, because those people will always be “my people”, but we’ve each moved on to a new and exciting adventure, and sometimes it seems a little cruel that I’m living forty minutes away from my college home, just close enough to be connected, but far enough away to make it all a little more difficult.

And today I’m longing for fall. To walk across that quad and wrap my arms around the people I love. I’m longing for fall, to get dressed up all warm and cozy and watch leaves change as the sun sets and have clothes that smell forever of bonfires. I’m longing for fall, unsure if it even still exists, in this place called the “real world”. Longing for fall, hoping for the contentment that I’ve always so associated with toes warmed by the fireplace and family all in arms reach. And somehow this life seems a little bit better knowing it’s somewhere around the corner.

Are you living in fall? Can you bring me with you?

Hallie.