"Oh to Grace how great a debtor
daily I'm constrained to be.
Let thy goodness, like a fetter
bind my wandering heart to Thee!"

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Oh Nostalgia...

So tonight, I find myself sitting alone at a Starbucks next to my apartment. Just me, my computer, some Spurgeon books, and a drink. I can't help but enjoy and bask in the extreme sense of nostalgia that is consuming me right now. This...THIS is how this all started in the first place. This is how this blog came about. Sitting here right now represents my humble beginnings of being a college student in 2008...sitting out for a season from basketball due to the transfer rules. I had just moved to the University of Florida and away from my comfortable circles full of professing christians and FCA events to boast my piety. There I was, radically changed and transformed, from my wicked heart within, into a new creature that the Lord had awakened out of pride and self-righteousness and unto His perfect, imputed righteousness. There I was, no basketball to lean on (I practiced but couldn't compete or travel with the team). My nights were simple: grab your notebook Sue...here's a pen and a Bible and your A.W. Pink book. Go. And I would be at Starbucks until they shut it down at 12am (oh the beauty of a college town ha) 4 or 5 nights out of the week. Why not? My team was out of town most of the time, and when they weren't my teammates (also my roommates) just lovingly shook their heads when I would come home at such late hours with my backpack of theological goods glued to my back. The Lord had me so wrapped up in His word and Himself I couldn't fathom doing anything else with my time.

I would write for hours. Then come home and translate some of it into a blog post. I didn't know it at the time, but wow, I would have cherished that time a lot more had I known it wouldn't last forever. Who hasn't longed for the joy of their salvation to return and to be so in tuned with what the Lord was teaching them that they were deemed an absolute bore by the world? ha. Seriously though. The memories are like a sweet taste on my tongue. They are like a lingering aroma of something delicious being cooked in the Kitchen. Oh may they never ever fade away. My words are failing me at this point because I don't have the right ones to accurately describe these dear times that the Lord used to mold and shape me. But the beauty is, I don't have to. Any brother or sister of mine reading this right now knows exactly what I am describing, because we have all been there. Some still are. Some will be there again soon. The paradoxical time of being in darkness yet light. Wrestling with weakness and sin, yet glorying in repentance and newness of life. Oh what a gift it is from the Lord.

It's crazy because looking back I know that had I been doing anything else with my time, I would have been disobeying the Lord. Man, His draw was so strong. And thinking about what all He prepared me for as a result of this time, is quite incredible. I was experiencing a couple of situations of extreme sanctification in which the Lord had turned up the fires on my comfort levels and my idolatry of certain things (basketball was one) and also just my dependence on my family and other people. So there I was...just me and the Lord. Such a time of uncertainty for me should have been frightening, but I found myself basking in the presence of Him. Every night I would rush out of the apartment so I could take that ice cold glass of water to my dry, thirsty throat.

This went on for a while. But it didn't go on forever. The pace picked up. The schedule got busy. The callings changed. The distractions ran its course (Praise the Lord for the gift of repentance). So it has always been a struggle of mine: this longing for the times of when my life consisted of that backpack and that pen and raggedy notebook and Jeff Noblit sermon on my ipod. Where did they go? Am I less of a Christian because they have faded?

It is times like these that I am so grateful for the preaching that has come into my life, especially the last few years, that has shifted my sometimes southern baptist moralistic traditions to the scriptures. They have pointed me OUTSIDE of myself and my emotions, actions, and devotions, and instead upward to the Lord. God is not served by human hands. May my subjectivity not be the basis of how I feel, for my stance with the Lord remains objective: I am His. If I was saved by grace, what makes me think it is anything other than grace that keeps me? May I find joy and rest in the promises God has made and the gifts He has given me: the church family and the believing husband-to-be and the sacraments of the Word, Communion, and Baptism which are all PROMISES of God's faithfulness to me, not another opportunity for me to prove my commitment to Him. (I contrast this rest with the "what are you doing for Jesus" rat race).

It is not my intent to say in any way that we should not be committed to spending time with the Lord. Never. I am more stressing the different seasons the Lord brings us through and our proper responses to them. The chief end of mankind is to glorify the Lord and enjoy Him forever. The ways in which we bring Him glory will not always look the same, but they WILL always involve obedience to Him and what He is calling.

You see...had He not called me here, to this lonely table (only 2,500 miles east) 3 years ago with my pen and my Bible, I wouldn't have been prepared for when the busy schedule came and the new callings emerged. It filled me up and gave me the foundation to stand on when the circumstances changed and there I was standing on the battlefield and my teammates were asking me tough questions about homosexuality and the chains of sin.

Praise be to God.

So while I started off this post with the intent to just ramble and reminisce, I think there are some conclusions to be drawn. The Lord brings seasons of different things in and out of our lives. We all can relate. The times when we are pouring with delight in the Lord and His word. The times when we are crawling through the Spiritual desert and begging the Lord to show His face again. Or the times, perhaps most frightening, when we are just nonchalant and distant. The time in which the Lord takes me away from everything and draws me unto Himself, I am certain, will always be the most coveted times for me. They seem to come at times like these (Lane is out of town for the next 8 days) when my time is freed up from my normal routine. I pray that the Lord would continue to draw me in during these times and that I wouldn't waste them on silly distractions which I am SO guilty of doing.

I used to laugh at the ladies that said: "Single ladies, cherish your time of being single, you can never get it back! Take advantage of the preparation time you have, for there is a lot you can do while single that you cannot do as a married woman." I thought, surely that is just something someone would say who WASN'T experiencing the periodic frustrations of being without the love of a man. But haha, I am laughing a little bit right now because I am finding a lot of truth in their statement. Even though I am not married yet, I am in a serious relationship in which marriage is right around the corner. I already barely have any alone time as it is and I don't even share my house with anyone yet! But you see, if we do not take advantage of the time in which the Lord has set apart for just Himself, will we be properly equipped for what is to come? I can only imagine what the joyous and exciting next phase of my life will bring, but I know it will be different. Glorifying the Lord as a wife and a mother looks a lot different than as a basketball player or as a single woman in general. No matter what season I am in, may I never stop spending time with the Lord so he may teach me and mold me and prepare me for these things. May I take heed to my own nostalgic ramblings. Otherwise, I will certainly crash and burn. For it is written: “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:4)


Victoria said...

Amen Sue! Wise musings there. You should add a follow button-it makes it easier to find your blog-and to know when you have written something.

Carrie said...

So well said. Wow. Love you, girl.

forchristilive said...


forchristilive said...

First of all I would like to say that I love to hear about the drawing of the Spirit of God. I too have experienced the calling of God, so sovereignly has God touched my heart and mind. I was entrenched in sin and did not know it, until one glorious day did I lift my hands in worship to the Father and immediately weight fell from my back. I love hearing about his irresistable grace. Not many people can attest to the presence of God in thier lives and overflow with this passion. I know that people are introverted and extroverted, but this affection should drive even an introvert. I was speaking with a friend today and we were talking about this. If I were to ask a born again introvert why they were being so quiet I am sure they would quickly reply, "oh..I was thinking of the cross of Christ and how mercy and wrath met perfectly and I was lost in the beauty of it all." Oh how the cross of Christ is all we have!! Nothing in my hands I bring, simply to the cross I cling. I agree with the relationship thing, I too am a man getting close to marriage, and it seems that the worries of the world seem to try to come in and choke the word and prove it unfruitful. [Mark 4:19] I see though that God reveals himself through your significant other. My zeal for her affection must reflect the zeal God has for my affection. My desire to be with my girlfriend all of the time must reflect His desire to be in fellowship with me. My selfless (at times) servant leadership is exactly what Christ did for the church. His love has existed before there was life in the community of the Trinity for eternity, therefore making it un-influenced! WoW! I am just rambling like you have done Sue! Thank you for allowing me to just say something for a minute, I feel relieved to share about our Lord today! Thank you!

Susan said...

Amen, brother! Thank you for sharing! It was a blessing to read.