For anyone I haven't blabbed to yet, I had a date on Sunday night! Miracle of all miracles, it was with someone I actually wanted to go with. Now, if I were a frequent dater this wouldn't be a big deal. But - and I can't believe I'm putting this on the world wide web - I haven't been on such a date in four years. That's right, kids - four. long. years. This is of course the most exciting news at present. Even more exciting news would be date #2, but that isn't in existence yet. Stay tuned.
On a totally different topic, I have been very encouraged lately to see tiny buds of change opening for my church. We have been beaten and bruised for the past few years, and it seems that there is finally some redemption playing itself out in those broken areas. I went to a women's seminar this weekend entitled "Becoming a People of Safety and Strength" that was eye-opening and heart-breaking and defeating and encouraging all together. She talked of speaking truth into people's lives, reminding each other that we have everything we need for life and godliness. Not turning a blind eye to the sin we see in those we love, but not trying to fix it either. Believing in the Holy Spirit at work in them to sustain and strengthen and ultimately glorify. It was beautiful. It made me want people in my business, which is something that I haven't consistently and intentionally had since college. But in college it felt somewhat contrived and, even if it was not the intention, for the purpose of fixing. Either someone trying to fix me, or me trying to fix someone else. It always comes back to one point: I don't know how to love people. I stink at it. But I pray that God continues to teach me how, all the while giving me patience and helping me be content in knowing that I will still be learning until I am gone.
Another thing that she mentioned in the seminar was being in the Word. Something else that hasn't been a part of my life for the past two years. And I would venture to say that is true for a large portion of our congregation. The counselor who did the seminar is similar to me in that she is very realistic and not very emotional. At one point she talked about how she would read the Word and not feel anything, but she trusted that in some mysterious way God was working those words down deep into her soul, even if she didn't understand it or feel any sort of emotion. It resounded with me in that moment, and suddenly I remembered all those times in college sitting in front of an open Bible, wanting so badly to gain something or feel something, but really wanting to curse at God and ask him why he made me such an unfeeling person. Many times I have prayed for tears, or any sign of emotion, and have come up empty-handed. I felt like nothing was happening in me, a leader within my campus ministry, trying to disciple a girl who should have been discipling me. Shame, guilt, fear, hopelessness. And that is what I still feel when I sit in front of an open Bible. But I want to trust and know that God is working out His Word in me. It will not be quick or easy, and it certainly won't be pretty, but I want it. I need it. I'm just so glad to see a small shoot of desire, and am so, so thankful for Hope.