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this season in grand rapids has taught and challenged me and been a real refining experience in a lot of spiritual ways–especially in prayer and reading scripture. starting over from scratch with (very) little social calendar gave me the opportunity to really dedicate myself to these disciplines of digging into the Word each day and trying to pray through everything and find solace in these rather than in the world. it’s given me a great foundation that i know will continue to strengthen and support me throughout my life. and these are just two of the areas where i have changed in leaps and bounds from where i was just seven months ago.

it’s funny because i thought God was pulling me up here for a job and for community. so i came. i listened and i followed. but i soon realized that what i was actually getting were quite different things because neither were at all what i’d expected. both were good and have taught me things, but i think the greater success comes in what i didn’t realize i needed: more of God. even though i didn’t get what i bargained for, He has totally outstripped my expectations because my relationship with him and my roots in Him have grown. yes, they’ve totally wobbled and shaken in times of despair and “what did you bring me here for?!” but they’ve held strong and i think that’s what matters most.

it’s interesting looking at what i think i need and what God shows me i need. i know that all too often i go to God with all these things i want to work on, which are all worthwhile endeavors (a job that will draw me closer to God, friends that will draw me closer to God, etc) but then i realize that there’s something even deeper and more longlasting and more vital than those temporary connections and that’s just me and God, period. those other things come and go. but my heart with God is what lasts and what matters most. those other things are great and can definitely hlep tether me to Him, but what happens when they rip away as all things of this earth do, when they seem hopeless or lost? these disciplines have become the new tethers in more beautiful and fulfilling ways than i’d ever imagined. i’ve seen Him prove that to me: prevailing and sustaining and providing in the midst of my homesickness and stress and worry and disappointment and loneliness. and here i am. still standing, still staking the tethers, one day at a time.

“If the LORD doesn’t build the house, the builders are working for nothing.” – Psalm 127:1