Gaining What I Never Knew I Needed

I’typorama.jpgve been thinking a lot about the Lord’s faithfulness. In the Christian bubble, it is common to hear phrases like “the Lord answers prayers”  or “His plan is best.” But when you’re in the mire, trudging through a difficult season, these encouraging messages start to feel more like salt in the (many) wounds.

Those who know me best, know that the past year has been both pain splattered and tear stained. Last March, so many aspects of my life felt fragile. A relationship I thought was marriage focused had ended and the college I had chosen didn’t seem to fit. A period of depression covered me like a wave. I cried a lot. I prayed a lot. And I began to learn how to be open with God. Instead of hiding my anger and frustration, I told him how broken and battered I felt.

After choosing to leave school and come home, my world felt rocked. I still cried a lot. I still prayed with a vengeance. For months, I felt bitter at the loss of my relationship, and anger at the cards that I had been dealt.

What I couldn’t see, what I couldn’t even imagine, was the beautiful way God was leading me into His arms. Eventually the tears stopped rolling down my face. The autumn leaves began to fall, and I was a new student once again.

In the midst of my depression, I felt led to volunteer at a women’s ministry. I had no idea which one to choose, but when I stumbled upon the PRC website, I knew God was leading me in their direction. My first thought was: “Well if God wants me here, He’s going to have to make it work because I’m definitely too young to be accepted as a volunteer.” He probably chucked at that, because I received a phone call a few days after I submitted my application.

When I started volunteering at the Pregnancy Resource Center, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. In my eyes, I was broken and hoped to find some sort of healing by pouring myself out to others. After being stuck in a selfish state of “why me?” for months, I craved service. The Lord led me to the center, and I found myself wide-eyed at the beauty of the ministry.

The center became the highlight of my week. When I was serving Jesus alongside the other women there, I felt His peace and His presence beckoning me closer to Him. I had been praying for community for months, and found it as I crossed the threshold at the center.

One day it dawned on me that I hadn’t thought about my relationship ending for months. Instead of feeling empty all the time, I felt full. I felt more on fire for the Lord than ever before. My season of singleness had strengthened my relationship with the Lord in countless ways.

And when I was hired on staff at the center, tears rushed down my face as I remembered asking God so many questions a year ago: “Why are you moving me back to Charlotte?” “Why is everything falling apart?” In that moment, it became evident that the Lord was answering all of my questions. Why Charlotte? For this. Why now? Because I have called you.

Tonight, as I was driving home from work, I was mediating on the way the Lord has been faithful to me throughout this season of growth. He took a difficult, heart breaking season of despair and used it for His glory and for my good.

Because He is so rich in mercy, he allowed me to stumble upon the PRC website, and fill out a volunteer application with a shaking hand. Because he is abounding in love, he gave me Christ-centered community and fellowship with my co-workers. Because he is wonderful, He allowed me to lose everything I thought I ever wanted, to gain what He knew I truly needed. 

If you find yourself in a season of despair, my friend, hold onto the hope that the Lord is so faithful in the midst of our circumstances. It may feel like you’re alone, but the Lord has never left your side. When the clouds shift, and the sun comes out, you’ll be able to see His plan was mightier than you could ever imagine. Hold on tightly. Keep coming back to the cross. Jesus is the only constant we’ve got in this world.

“I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them.” Isaiah 42:16

Are You Tired of the Picture-Perfect Christian Walk?

“Our Christian culture tells us that we need to present the most perfect Christian life (achieving those “goals” as a good Christ follower)…but how opposite is that from how God alls his disciples to live or what God says a good Christ-follower looks like?”

This is a nugget of truth from a conversation I had with my younger sister. She is wise beyond her years, with a head full of kinky curls and a smile that can light up a room. Over the past year, we’ve learned to carefully cultivate a relationship that is balanced, no longer trying to make each other’s paths reflect our own.

And this morning, as I’m simultaneously scrolling through my Instagram and digging into Lauren Chandler’s Steadfast Love, her words resonate within my heart. I want the kind of faith that Lauren Chandler writes about: a gritty, raw Christianity that is reflected by utter dependance on Jesus who is rich with steadfast love and mercy. But so often, I find myself peer pressured from the Christian culture that appears on my social media, to publicly edit my faith. Use a filter to cover up the messy parts of the Christian walk, because no one wants to really see your struggles anyways.

In this day and age, it seems like so many young adult Christians want to publicly praise Jesus when life is good, taking the time to edit out the parts that are confusing and sticky. I find myself wanting to do this often: using an over-abundance of the praise hands emoji when something “good” happens in my life, and ceasing to use social media to talk about God when I’m in the midst of a trail. If you looked at my Instagram, it seems like every single aspect of my life is good, all the time. There’s this constant need to proclaim, “I’m a good Christian! No struggles here! God is good all the time.” 

And it’s true: God IS good. But what ever happened to proclaiming His glory in the midst of a season of wandering? Why are we so consumed with offering our perfect life on display, via YouTube, Instagram, or Facebook, that we forget to be authentic?

Paul, a prominent Biblical figure in the New Testament, practiced raw faith. He boasted in his weaknesses. “If I must talk about myself, I will do it about the things that show how weak I am” 1 Corinthians 11:30. 

Why are we so afraid to live life unfiltered? When did Christianity become a platform of pride instead of a humble position of worship?

These thoughts have been weighing on my mind and heart lately, and I want you to know that the Lord sees past your perfectly edited social media page. He sees your heart’s cry. He wants to know you, the real you, without a filter. I need that reminder sometimes, and I thought you might too today.

If you need a place to share your story-your real story, your heart apart from Instagram-please email me: katycolvin21@gmail.com.

My heart is heavy for our Millennial generation. It’s time to get back to the root of Biblical community, and start being honest with one another. If you’re feeling stuck in a difficult season, please let me pray for you. If you’re feeling alone, let me walk alongside you.

We don’t have to have it all together, all the time, in order for Jesus to love us. He is already so rich in mercy that he wants to scoop us into his arms and call us beloved. I want to stop hiding the parts of me that might be confusing or messy, and instead live a life that is committed to transparent faith, no matter what. Are you with me?

 

 

Finding Comfort in the Uncomfortable

It’s been a while since I’ve typed on this website. I’ve been slumped in a season of stillness, and I felt the Lord prodding me to just abide in His presence for a while, and resist the urge to publish my writing.

Here’s something you may not know about me, I don’t sit well. (Example: I can’t even get through an episode of The Bachelor without writing on my computer, checking my email, or writing a paper. And I absolutely LOVE the Bachelor).

You know how uncomfortable it is to have gum stuck on the bottom of your shoe? That’s how sticky I feel in seasons of stillness. I run from the idea of rest, and so often I find myself worshiping the idol of busy. It’s easy to get caught up in the whirlwinds of life. And if there’s anything I love, it’s being tangled in a project or adventure.

But about a month ago, I felt so weary and worn down. I found myself tangled in so many webs of commitment that I didn’t know how to be set free. My writing became stale, and I felt myself growing and stretching in ways that are difficult to put into words. So I felt a complete peace about leaving this forum for a while and prayed that God would give me the strength and energy to write once again.

That was really, excruciatingly hard for me, y’all. I do not like to take deep breaths, much less step away from my craft for five weeks. As I was driving in my car this morning on the way to a new job, all of a sudden I had complete clarity. I saw a light at the end of the tunnel, and words started to flow freely once again. I felt like running a marathon (which is surprising, considering I can’t walk up the stairs without being out of breath).

As soon as I stopped questioning WHY God was nudging me away from blogging, I was able to see with perfect clarity the condition of my own heart. Instead of finding contentment and satisfaction in my ability to compose pieces from my soul, I was dancing with the idol of Self. My writing had become an idol in my life, because I allowed it to take the place of my God. Even something good can breed sin.

It’s really difficult to pursue a creative industry where your success seems completely dependent on self. Writing is a craft, an art form, that can easily become a reflection of the composer instead of the Father. In this world driven by the digital marketplace, it can be extremely anxiety inducing to create a marketing strategy dependent on followers, stats, and likes. And I’ll admit, I was consumed by the idea of “branding” myself. When I was told publishers want to see that you have a digital following, it was hard for me to think of anything else.

But when I laid myself before the Lord, he revealed to me the ways my thirst for words had left me parched. It’s exhausting trying to do this life on my own. If there’s anything that following Jesus has taught me, it’s that its important be willing to chase Him with reckless abandon and put earphones in to block the chatter of everyone else.

I guess this as an explanation to you all, my wonderful followers and subscribers. Thank you for caring enough about my battered soul to read rambling pieces like this. Thank you for your words of encouragement, and empathy. If you’re a fellow writer struggling with the pressure of the industry, I completely understand. It’s a difficult path to pave. But true fulfillment in your craft comes when God is at the center.

I know I have a lot to learn, and I would never think that I “have it all together.” Please hear my heart, I am as broken as anyone. But with Jesus, he makes all my broken pieces whole again. Though my personal writing process was faulty, I know He will redeem it. Though I have been uncomfortable for five weeks, I know He ordained it. And He is inherently good, so it is well.

Maybe you’re wrestling with an uncomfortable season. If you are, please hold steadfast to the promises of Jesus. Let Him guide you and hide in the refuge of His arms. Let’s join hands and be uncomfortable together, pursuing the hope that He offers and resting in His shadow.