Did you know a week is 168 hours? I googled it. Yes, 168 hours. If you think about it, 168 hours doesn’t seem that long. If you take sleeping/ eating/ and other personal necessities into account, then you really don’t have that much time… now, break it down and think of how many seconds that is… 604,800 (thank you Google, yet again). Taking this number into account with the knowledge that God can change your life in just one second, I now understand how He can change my life so much in 168 hours.
172 hours ago, I was just waking up from 4 hours of sleep to groggily drag my feet to the airport with Christina, Emily and Bethany. The previous week had been one of hardship, difficulty and bizarre events, which lead me to believe that I was in for something awesome. We were St Louis bound but ultimately headed for Carbondale, Illinois for the Summer Church Conference at Vine Church. I went last year, and you might remember, but it was last year at the Summer Conference where I felt like God told me to rescind my acceptance to the Masters program at SPU. Needless to say, I was a bit worried with what God was going to say this time, but I was ready… or so I thought. I walked off the plane with my travel buddies Julie and Emily and where we were slapped by the heat and punched by the humidity… to put it delicately. We met up with some other friends, had some authentic Midwest barbecue and then were Carbondale bound or bust. Julie, Melanie and I stayed with Emily H. I am still so grateful for her wonderful gift of hospitality and her willingness to open up her home to complete strangers. Thanks so much again, Emily, I know we all are so thankful for your kindness!
Okay, so now to the nitty-gritty. It’s hard to precisely express everything God did to me during the conference, but there are two things I know now more than ever.
Bullet Point #1: At the end of the day, regardless of what has happened, God is good. No exceptions… seriously. It seems like a “no duh” bullet point, but I don’t think I ever grasped the depth of such a simple truth… when I say no exceptions, I mean no exceptions. Even when things are a bid Job-shaded, He’s so good and even offers hope.
Bullet Point #2: God ALWAYS provides. I have always struggled with grasping God providing at all times, but this yet again is true. Always. While in the midst of eating my rice and orange chicken at the conference, I was asked a question that shook me to my core. Regardless of what the real question was, I heard God ask me “Jess, are you willing to give up everything? Give up everything and follow Me wherever that may be?” I initially answered repeatedly absolutely not. Me? Why ask me to give up everything? After good prayer and a lot of worship, I have decided to look at it from the standpoint of God asked me. He picked me… and that’s awesome. Whether I am in the same place for the next 80 years or living half way across the world, God will give me everything I need. He picked me.
Okay to confess, I never finished my earlier blog. It has been in my drafts since June… I was actually going to write a fresh blog, but thought this was good to share. In other news, I am now approaching our fall retreat. I find it terrifying and thrilling all at the same time. Well, now to write something new. I promise I will try not to stay so far away this time.