I recently spent a month running around Europe, and this trip couldn’t have come at a better time. Right before leaving, I decided to quit everything. Yep, I had the chance to literally drop everything – I quit my job, was on summer break from school and evaluated areas of my life that weren’t necessarily healthy or good for my mental and emotional state, and let go.
I am a firm believer in change. It is so important that we step out of our ordinary, our comfort zones, and the things that we know. I’m going to be honest though, I don’t love change. For obvious reasons, like the fact that it is super uncomfortable and adjusting to change feels like it takes forever. That being said, I understand it’s value and place growth above comfort. So for me, getting out of my current environment for a month, and spending time with family was much needed. I would like to note that leaving your situation or environment is not always the answer, because change is something that must take place mentally, emotionally and or spiritually, but dang, sometimes leaving everything behind for a while is really effective…. until you come back.
So there I was, in England, Ireland and Paris. I had a lot of time to reflect on what the past 6 months had been for me: the good, the bad and the ugly. I had a chance to seek God with a grateful heart for prayers that He had answered. I had a chance to seek God for my future, uncertain for me, but fully known by Him, and to seek Him in my present and just sit in His presence, appreciating His goodness.
England is beautiful, and I could easily see myself living in London one day. Churches in that country are like Starbucks to the U.S… there’s one on every corner. They’re so old, hold so much history, and are beautifully kept, unlike those in Ireland. See the churches and abbeys in Ireland were beautiful, hundreds of years ago, but there was a time where England attempted to invade, destroying the churches and killing the monks. (Through learning about all of this, I also learned that my family in Ireland is royalty… no big deal).
The churches and abbeys were left in ruins, and were never restored. I couldn’t tell you how many we visited, and with every one, the same emotions ran through me. You see, these were the places that God spoke to me the loudest. I walked in through what used to be the front entrance, to a roofless, windowless, doorless abbey. Where there used to be a floor, was now lush green grass and wildflowers. I took a few steps and sat down. God spoke to me in that moment. He reminded me that the things that were meant to destroy you, He takes and makes beautiful again. I looked at the walls of this building, made of crumbling stone, and looked at them as the cracks in my heart, filled in with new growth, with seeds of hope, purpose, love and beauty.
The thing is, no matter how much destruction has taken place in your life, no matter how broken or ‘unfixable’ we feel, how forgotten or abandoned we feel, how irrelevant we feel, there is a God who is planting seeds in the cracks that were created in the destruction, and when watered by His word, His love and His overwhelming peace, the seeds in those cracks, those dry bones come to life.
I’ve seen God’s construction on the destruction on my life for years, and it almost feels wrong to say that He restores, because He doesn’t restore your heart or life to it’s original state, to the way it was before, because when God works in your life, believe me, you will never come out the same as you once were. When God works in your life, He changes you, He lays a foundation of love and grace, and builds you back up stronger than before. Knowing that helps me welcome change in my own life, because I know that when change happens in my life, i’m not going through change alone. God is always planting, always building, always doing a new thing, and that to me is so beautiful. Yes, change itself is uncomfortable, but what brings me comfort is knowing the author of my life. Knowing the one who is changing me for the better.