Breathe In

by Meeshee (Nov 12, 2016)

Today marks six months and twelve days living in my MoveIn patch, my new home.

I still haven’t gotten used to the street lights streaking through my windows, the sirens screeching through the air at all hours, or the concrete substitute for nature. I’m not sure I ever will. Part of me will always be perched along the stream at the back of our farm, or four-wheeling through the fields, not caring about who was around to see or hear me (because no-one was).

But, here I am living in the city, and I’m still figuring out what that looks like for me. So far, it means trying to bring that small town community feeling to our city-dwelling neighbors. It means breathing in the fresh air by taking a walk out in our ‘urban forest’, which we’re lucky enough to live right beside. Most of all, living here means being intentional about spreading the love of Jesus to anyone and everyone that we have opportunity to.

But now, as I’m looking at my life,  I don’t feel like I have a lot to say. I decided to start blogging as a way to keep in touch and up to date with family and friends, near and far. I want to share what’s going on for me, and especially encouragements of how God is working in my life. I also know that not every week is exciting, or full of encouragement, but let me share off a few things from the past week that stood out to me.

On Tuesday, we met for our weekly prayer meeting which Zack (one of our new, male team-mates) graciously led and hosted. We started off with announcements, as we normally do, but then moved into what I would describe as mini stations. Around the room, Zack had a number of bristol boards with a heading on each. They said something like, ‘Scripture to share’, ‘Challenges’ and ‘Confessions’, and we were encouraged to be vulnerable, and really connect with ourselves, our intentions, and with God. For myself, it was a really amazing opportunity for reflection as I thought about how I’ve been living my life here for the past six months. I remembered the challenges and inspirations I’ve experienced, and I thought about how I responded to the situations and opportunities I was presented with. I remembered my failures and numerous mistakes, and I gave them up to God. I sat in silence and listened to what words He had in store for me, and He did not disappoint. He led to to Psalm 51…

…For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is ever before me…

…Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and renew a right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from your presence,
and take not your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and uphold me with a willing spirit….

What an amazing God we have! I came into the meeting feeling disappointed with myself, knowing I’ve not met my own expectations. I felt like I’ve been letting down others, myself and God. But God, our good good Father, knows our hearts, what we need, and He forgives us for our mistakes. He accepts us, even in our most broken states, even when we don’t accept ourselves, and He welcomes us with open arms! One of my favorite parts of this passage is, “Restore to me the joy of your salvation.” It doesn’t say ‘the knowledge’, ‘the peace’ or ‘the relief’ of our salvation, but the joy. When we realize what it means to be saved and to belong to the family of Christ, we can’t help but be joyful!

The rest of the week was mostly made up of late night studying, midterms, and doing puzzles on my couch. Isn’t it funny, though, how a single passage can stay with you, when it really hits you deep, and put a different spin on your entire outlook? Reading this Psalm honestly changed my entire week, and was a blessing and encouragement for my life. No matter what is going on, whether it be falling back into a sin I thought I had conquered, feeling hopeless/lost/depressed, or being overwhelmed by the state of US politics, I know that God can make me, even me, clean again. That’s what I cling to.

And it doesn’t end here. The Psalm continues…

Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
and sinners will return to you…

…my tongue will sing aloud of your righteousness.
O Lord, open my lips,
and my mouth will declare your praise…

This proclamation of salvation, it is our joy, and it can be others as well! Our story of redemption, and of God’s working in our lives, it’s our gift from God to share with others. We are living testaments to the goodness and power of our God, and if God works through us, “…sinners will return to [Him].” Praise be to God.

I want to be someone whose tongue sings of His righteousness, and when my mouth is open, it is declaring His praise. I want to breathe in all He is, and breathe out all He is.

So, if you’re reading this, I hope you know that I am encouraged by how God is working in my life. No, it’s not always easy being here, away from my family and the wide-open spaces I grew up with. No, I’m not always rejoicing or skipping down the halls, and some days I really want to throw in the towel, lie in bed and just stay in my grumpy state forever. But even on those days, and especially on those days, our good Father is there to pick us up, brush us off, and give us back our joy. Breathe in, breathe out, and trust in Him.