Y'all, today was SUCH a good day. Not even joking. It was incredible.
First off, today was a bearable day of pain, which means that not only was I able to make it to all of my classes, I was able to go from 8:00 am to 10:00 pm without stopping without crying or needing a nap.
Nothing too exciting happened in International Relations or World Religions, but I guess a good thing was that we spent all of IR discussing the Boston bombings (and praise Jesus, one guy is dead and the other is captured! Boston can start to heal and go back to their normal lives now), and we're finally past all 19 of the vocab quizzes in WR which meant I could actually enjoy that class without having to think.
But then my day started to get really awesome. Around 10:40, Alex showed up and took me to lunch! It was him finally "paying" me for all the documents I edited for his law school application. He took me to Zaxby's, which was delicious, but mostly it was just awesome to spend time with him again. I haven't seen him before today since September! We just spent an hour laughing and talking and debating before he had to get to work. I love that kid. He's one of few people in my life that I can debate things like gun control, abortion, and gay marriage with and enjoy myself 100% of the time. Rare thing for politics nerds. He's just so sweet. He opened doors for me, gave me huge hugs which he knows is something I always love, when we prayed before the meal he thanked God for me and our friendship, and before he left I said "I love you, kid" and he said "I love you too". :) I will never get tired of spending time with a guy as nice as him. I just wish I had gotten a picture with him. :( Guess that shows you what a good time we had; I was so busy enjoying myself I didn't even think about it until after he was gone!
Then, I did homework until it was time to go to Phonetics and Public Policy. Normal classes.
About 20 minutes after class, some of my church friends, Janelle and Don, came and picked me up to go to a church event tonight. They had their adorable little boys, Davis and Waylon, with them, and they took me to dinner on them before we went to church (the boys were going to their grandma's house). We went to...Zaxby's. I just had to laugh. Of course, when people are nice enough to buy me dinner, I don't make any complaints about where they take me, and I'd never complain about Zaxby's because it's delicious, but I laughed because before today, I hadn't been to Zaxby's in years and today I went twice.
This is where my day got the kind of amazing that is just beyond words. The event at church tonight was called "Waiting and Worshiping: Why Purity Matters". First off, to see so many college kids pick an event like this as the place to spend their Friday night is plain and simple awesome. But mainly, God did an awesome thing in my heart tonight and touched me in ways I never could have expected.
I felt myself drawn so much closer to His heart as I learned about the real foundation behind my belief about saving myself for marriage, and that helped secure my confidence in standing up for that belief when outside forces try to get me to change, especially people that I love. I feel like a made a new friend in the girl who led the girls' session. She taught me a lot and was real and funny and I loved it.
Standing in that sanctuary singing my heart out in praise of God gave me chills. There is NOTHING like the sound of dozens of people joining together to sing songs of worship. I know I sound like a giant Christian cliché, but seriously, it brought me back to Sanctuary. No one worrying about how we looked, or what we sounded like, or what other people would think about what we were doing, we were just comfortable and sang as only the body of Christ can. There is something so unbelievably powerful in something so simple. I even learned a new song, and part of the lyrics jumped out at me as something I'm crying to God so much that I took a picture of the lyrics on the screen so I wouldn't forget.
Give me faith to trust what You say, that You're good and Your love is great.
Little did I know how much those words would come into play later in the evening...
At the end of the night, after the group session, there was time for people to pray or talk to the leaders or do whatever they needed to do. Scott and Jonni, the guest musicians,
were up singing "Break Every Chain", and I just sat there in my seat talking to God. Then, I felt this arm wrap around my shoulders. I'd been sitting with Jenn, my friend Justin's girlfriend, all night, so when I felt that, I almost immediately reached back and put my arm around her shoulders, as well. We sat there until the song was over, just forehead to forehead. I was singing the words to the song at first, as much for me as for her, but I could tell she was crying, so I asked her if there was something I could pray about for her.
This was when things got really interesting. Instead, she looked up at me, shook her head and said she was fine, and started talking about how much she was hurting over the fact that I am hurting. How she didn't know how I do what I do or how I manage to be so sure of who God is in all of this. And then God blessed me by dropping yet another opportunity to share my heart with people into my lap, and so I got to tell her just some of the things that I've learned as I've walked through this struggle. How I know that I can only survive this because of God. How I see how much God has blessed me through my life story. How I know that He has walked with me every step of the way. I was honestly somewhat shocked at first - I could hardly believe that this girl that I had really only spoken to in passing or small chat at Small Group was so torn up about my suffering - but the words just seemed to pour out of me. Needless to say, I was in tears by the end of that conversation, too.
And as I sat here tonight, preparing for this post and reflecting on everything that happened tonight but especially my conversation with Jenn, I almost teared up again just thinking about how blessed I am to have found a church family like this. These aren't just the people I go to church and Small Group with; these are my family. They are people who knew absolutely nothing about me, yet took me in, loved me anyway, and have walked with me every day since. People like them are such a huge part of the reason I am able to walk through this trial in one piece; they are my Aaron and Hur when I feel like Moses. It already makes my heart ache thinking about being separated from them for close to 4 months, but just like family, I know they'll be right there waiting for me when I return in August.
I don't know what else to say other than the fact that this was one of the best and most powerful worship experiences of my entire life, second only to the night I got baptized at Sanctuary. There aren't words for that.