Glory from the Gloom

It had been a rainy day. A dreary day. The kind of rain that just lingers for long hours, falling from a heavy, dense and gloomy sky. Late afternoon came, although nothing but the clock would tell you that, the sun masked by layer on layer of murky clouds.

The rain slowed to a mist, a few drops here and there, the clouds glided away to the next town, and shy rays of light started to break through. A glorious, bright and clear rainbow cut through the clouds like an effervescent path to glory. And on the other side of the sky, if you swiveled your eyes around 180 degrees, there it was.  

A masterpiece was on display. It wasn't framed behind glass with ropes holding back pushy crowds. It wasn't locked up in a museum's special exhibit. It was spread across the sky, and I was sitting in the middle of the parking lot on wet asphalt to watch it. 




Glorious. Radiant. Breathtaking. Not even those words contain it or come close. Those colors don't have names. That sunset couldn't be captured in a photo. The immensity doesn't translate through a screen.  

That type of beauty could only come after the rain, after all the rain had fallen from the sky and all the darkness had consumed the day, after the clouds had hung heavy and full of the weight of the rain, the storm.

It was worth it. A million stormy days in a row would be worth it to see the sky light up like that, to see every second bring a new burst of gold, new streak of pink, new shadow of purple. I couldn't look away. I was mesmerized, captivated. I was in awe that such beauty came on such a gray day.  

Then bursting forth, in glorious day... Amen to that.

Glory comes after gloom. Beauty comes from brokenness. Light comes after loss.  

The storms, the rain, the hurt, the darkness, those aren't the end of the story. Hold on, hold tight, wait it out. Wait for the masterpiece that will blow you away. Wait for the next scene, the one you can't quite imagine or foresee. Wait on the Lord and know He is the author of a story of glory in your life.

Endurance and Perseverance.

With endurance and perseverance we must wait for God to make clear what he wants to say through us.

-Brennan Manning

I keep reading that over and over, wondering where to even start. There's so much goodness in that little quote. Brennan, you have quite a way with words, sir. I'm going to attempt to write an entire blog post on my thoughts on your one little powerful sentence there, and it won't be half as pretty or half as true. Here I go anyway.

In this season of my life, it has become very common for people to ask me what I want to do with my life. What job I'm really looking for, where I want to live, what it is that I really want to do, etc. I've graduated college, I've done everything expected of me up to this point, and now people want to know what I'm going to do with my education and my life from here on out. They want to know what I'm going to do next, where I'm going to go next, what my life is going to say next.

Every time someone asks me that question, I answer with my usual set response (that usually goes something along the lines of, "I really want to work with nonprofits and do something along the lines of social media/communications."), but that's rarely what I really want to say.

What I'm thinking when that question is asked to me (probably for the 3rd time that day and the 23rd time that week) is, "I really want to follow wherever the Spirit leads me. I really want to trust Him to provide in all things. I really want to humbly and wholeheartedly serve where He calls me. I want to glorify Him in all that I do, whether big and exciting or small and mundane. I want to stop being obsessed with job hunting and become more obsessed with Jesus following. I want to ignore everything the world is telling me and cling to everything my Lord is telling me. I want to shut out all the voices around me telling me I need a full-time job with benefits and a place of my own and credit cards and a separate savings account for my next car and a husband (what? you don't have a boyfriend? oh sweetie, I was married with a baby at your age!) and everything figured out. I want to be ready and willing to go where He sends me. I want to spend my energy and my time and my resources chasing after the heart and the will of my Creator and my Savior." 

Nobody would know what to do with me if I honestly said that in response to their question. But that's the reality of my heart. 

I just finished reading Kisses from Katie, an incredible story of one girl (who is about my age) and her total devotion to the Spirit's calling to move to Uganda, love people like Jesus did, adopt 13 girls into her family and serve hundreds more every day. With every page, I could feel my heart swell with such an appreciation for her obedience and such a desire for humble and trusting submission to the Lord like that. I was encouraged by her story. Challenged by it even more so. She gave up all normalcy, all convenience, all comfort to say yes to Him. That matters so much more than finding a "real job" and a husband before my next birthday, like come on.

If you haven't read her book, go read it. And afterward, I would encourage you to just sit and listen to the Lord and be still at His feet. I've been trying to really be quiet and listen lately, and while I don't know all the answers and what my next steps are yet, I know that the Lord is working in my heart and my spirit to prepare me for what's next.

With endurance and perseverance we must wait for God to make clear what he wants to say through us.

I don't know where He's leading. I don't know what's next. (If everyone could kind of just stop asking me that, I'd greatly appreciate it. Ask me about my favorite color or something, I'd love to talk about that for a change. I'm just kidding. Not really. Moving on.) I know that I'm striving to wait on the Lord. I know that takes endurance and it takes perseverance. I'm not sitting idly waiting for perfect opportunities to fall into my lap, but I'm also not frantic and stressed out about it. I know His timing is perfect and I just need to wait on Him. He will make it clear what he wants to say through me and do through me, and how he wants me to glorify him with all that I have, and He's showing me how to do that now exactly where I am.

This song has been on repeat lately (shout out to HOPE for rocking it out in worship last week!), and it's so good. Listen to it and try NOT to dance. I don't think it can be done. But seriously, it's good. And it's so stinkin' relevant that I'm pretty sure they wrote it just for me.

I'm chasing You, I'm so in love. Captivated, I just can't get enough. I'll spend my days running after Your heart, Your heart, Your heart. 

Amen. I'm chasing You, Abba. With endurance and perseverance, I'm running after Your heart. Lead me. Send me. Call me. 

If that's to a great job with benefits, I'll go. If that's to a third world country to serve, I'll go. If that's across the country, I'll go. If it's staying in my parents' house and working at the same jobs I have now, I'll keep going. Let my days be filled with less of this world, less of me, and so very much more of all that You are.