I love this picture.
(Yes, I took it, no, it's not from today, and no, it's not edited at all.)
I especially love it because it just reminds me of today. It reminds me of how I can have a day that's going along just fine, nothing really spectacular happens, but at the end of it, I'm filled with this inexplicable joy, anyway. Which is doubly inexplicable today since it's the Monday after the Daylight Savings Time change and the Monday after Spring Break. But still: joy.
First, my 10:00 tutoring got moved to Wednesday, so I went to the post office. I had two packages waiting; one was the new Bible I ordered for myself (as I've been borrowing one from Elizabeth since October and I just now had the money to get one) and it was there several days before it was supposed to be, But there was also the three things I ordered Taylor for his birthday. I was so excited that it got here that it wasn't until I got back to my room and opened and inspected everything that I realized one of the items was damaged. The customer service people were so nice and a new item, one I actually like even better than the one I originally ordered (they had to send me something different because the original item is now out of stock), will be here by the end of the week because they also gave me free expedited shipping (and a $10 credit to my account). Yay nice people!
Not long after all that, I went to grab lunch, and then Taylor called. I got to spend more than an hour on the phone with that friend of mine that was simply beautiful. We talked about a lot of different things, so many that I couldn't recap them all here even if I wanted to. One really humbling part was when I said something about how God has changed my perspective on my story, and Taylor responded, "That could be the title of your book." I just sort of chuckled it off, but at the next pause in conversation, I asked him if he really thought I could write a book one day, and he replied, "Yep. You sure have a lot to say." So matter-of-factly.
The realization that someone thinks I'm worth listening to (a realization I seem to have over and over and over again) made me think of this old post of mine. The very first sentence of it reads "I feel like no one hears me." That post is the writing of a very broken little girl who was just desperate to feel like she mattered to someone, anyone, that someone saw her, that she wasn't invisible, that someone wanted her around. That was me, just 20 months ago. I just wanted to feel like I was important to someone.
What I realize now is that God heard me all along. The whole time I was begging for Matt to be that someone for me, a person he could never be, I neglected to realize that the Lord was listening all along. And it was when I realized that His attention is the only one I ever need that my life started to change. I'm finally learning how to rely on my friends for support without replacing God with them, which is, quite frankly, what I did with Brennan in the beginning, even though my intentions were the exact opposite, but I also have done it with a lot of other people in my past. And still He waited, waited for me to recognize Him, waited for me to admit to my brokenness, waited for me to swallow my pride and admit that I need Him..
And I'm noticing that the more I trust that God hears me, the more it feels like my friends hear me, too. When I trust that God is right by my side, I don't feel alone, whether or not my friends are around, because sometimes it's good for me to just be by myself. I feel like I'm finally starting to...get it. At least maybe a little. Like maybe a lesson is finally sticking. Like maybe I'm really right where God wants me to be mentally, emotionally, and spiritually so that He can mold me more finely and use me to affect more people.
Friendships like the one I have with Taylor are God's redemption in action. It's amazing how something as simple as hearing Taylor say he considers me his little sister can show me God's love for me, but it did and does. He and several others are so loyal and faithful to let me know that I am always wanted, that I am always loved, that I am accepted just as I am. I mean it when I say people like Taylor, Bruno, Caitie, and Kyla show me Christ every day just by the way they love me.
God is so good to give me these reminders that He sees and hears me exactly when I need them most. Because of that, because of Him, I really don't remember the last time I felt truly alone. In 1 year and 8 months, I went from a girl who felt invisible to the world to a girl who feels constantly touched by love. And for a girl who spent the great majority of her life wondering if she would every truly matter to anyone besides Matt and her mother, that is a most blissful feeling.
Tonight, I pray that you rest assured of the fact that you are under the loving care of a God who knows your thoughts before you think them, a Father who hears your every cry. Your prayers are not lost at the ceiling. He hears you, He grieves your pain with you, and He is working to bring you to the best possible future you can have as long as you trust Him to get you there, because trust me when I tell you that you can't do this alone. He has already fought and won the battle for you, a battle only He could win, because He knows you are worth it. That right there should be proof by itself:
You are heard.