This hymn has been one of my favorites ever since we sang it at Church for the first time a few months ago. It got pushed to the back of my head for a while, but in these past few weeks it’s become “my” hymn… that happens a lot – I’ll like a hymn, and then God will send something my way and use that hymn to keep my focus on Him.
It’s been like that with Be Still, My Soul. The two nights before my graduation party were discouragingly hard for me because of a struggle I was having with my sin. Sin that had a lot to do with not trusting God. Then it all seemed to crash down on Friday night when we found out that some of our like-minded friends weren’t actually going to be able to make it to my graduation party. I wanted them to come so badly – though I’ll admit it was mostly for my sake, so I wouldn’t feel so alone in my convictions.
But let me back up.
Thursday night was the end of the year youth group banquet.
We hadn’t really been at Oasis all year, but decided that since I was graduating and since we’d been involved with the Well Groups we should go.
Thursday morning had been filled with the usual: Irish dance, lunch at the C’s, quilting, and ensemble. Then we loaded up in the C’s car – 1 me, 3 Hs, 3 Cs, and drove to the Church… singing most of the way. There wasn’t a whole lot of setup to do, so we watched the W boys for a while then tramped downstairs to get changed. While we were doing each other’s hair Hannah pulled “The Passion of Jesus Christ: 50 Reasons why Jesus Came to Die,” by John Piper off of a bookshelf and we read a few excerpts from that. Once we were all ready, we headed upstairs… where we were delighted to find that the young men had really taken “formal” seriously this year and looked super sharp in suits…
I won’t go into detail super much from now on… but the rest of the night was hard for me. Dinner was delicious Indian food, but I hated how our conversations were mostly trivial. “Worship” was especially hard, because a., I didn’t know any of the songs, and b., I knew there were deeper, more Christ-exalting, musically beautiful songs we could be singing. In the midst of this the struggle with my sin continued. Let me just say this: my heart wasn’t where it was supposed to be and I was having a hard time getting it to where it should have been.
The night eventually ended, after multiple charges from Isaac and Mr. W – both of which were fabulous and challenging – and drove straight into my heart. After farewells and pictures I helped clean up and we went home.
Friday morning I barely ate any breakfast because I hadn’t slept very long or very well the night before. I was hungry all through Church – yet was more focused on God than I had been the previous evening when I had a full stomach. Still, my heart wasn’t in the right place. We ate lunch at Ibn after Church – I had Fattoush and falafel. We ate with Joel, Cait, and a couple from Australia that was staying with us. This couple is truly amazing. He’s in his 80s. They’d just been to the Holy Land and Jordan… and during their stay I got a glimpse of what it would be like to have grandparents who had a deep and lengthy spiritual legacy. I truly enjoyed their fellowship.
Volleyball was splendid – physically – and somewhat emotionally as well – my focus was on the ball, not other things. I practiced overhand before everyone got there and then we had some small games, which meant everyone had to be really active! We came home shortly after dark and worked in the kitchen preparing for my graduation party.
The night ended with me collapsed on the bathroom floor, begging for God to help me get rid of my sin that had been plaguing me all day long. Nothing changed then, but He began working…
The first part of Saturday morning was filled with final preparations. Soon people started coming. I’ll admit, it’s hard for me to be really conversational… but somehow God got me through the day. At one point, though, I felt like the stifled disagreement with what I was doing was getting too heavy… but just at that moment the Neals walked in the door. Faith ran to me and I gave her a big long hug, then carried her around for a while. Daddy and I both spoke about the how’s and why’s and what’s of what I’m doing, and then there was a little more time to talk to people. After most people left, I was holding little Joy Evangeline and talking with Mrs. Neal when Mr. Neal came up. I can’t remember everything he said, just the basic outline: he was encouraging me in what I was doing, challenging me to not lose heart, and reminding me of God’s plan and preparation.
Amy and I had been singing “Be Still, My Soul,” earlier that day and I was realizing what exactly it was I was trying to do in the previous few days: I was not leaving “to thy God to order and provide,” but was trying to take things into my own hands.
But boy has it been amazing these past two days – and even this past week as I now look back on it. It was hard, but He showed me His faithfulness and hasn’t stopped showing it.
“Through every change, He faithful will remain…”
His faithfulness brings tears to my eyes. I can’t stop thinking about how unworthy of it I am – how unfaithful I am, yet He remains faithful.
I put up a timeline of pictures for my graduation, and as I looked at it again last night I thought of how He could’ve taken me home the day before my third birthday – or any time between then and now. Sometimes I wish He’d take me right now. I want to be with Him so badly.
But that’s not His plan right now.
I’m excited to see what is…
This has been a bit of a jumbled whirlwind post… I don’t know if I quite communicated what I wanted to, but I wanted to share it and get it out there. I wish I didn’t have to be so vague, but I don’t feel the need to explain in detail my sin – just how God has dealt with it and taught me so much out of it.
Before you do anything else, stop and meditate on His faithfulness – it is so worth it.