Nostalgia rips through me. Belgian memories circle about in my brain and my heart does hurt a little. But I'm so different than I was then. I am not running anymore. I'm done searching. The fruitless pangs of uninhibited sorrow are over for me now.
I've been at school for a couple of months now. It feels longer than it's really been and I just know that I'm at home. I'm steady. I am happy. I have friends on every side. Such a far cry from my life in Belgium!
There are so many adjustments I've had to make. Luckily, over the summer, I had plenty of time to readjust to living in America and to grieve over my broken family. The mourning continues, but it's different now. It's no longer hopeless.
Friends, when I was in Europe, I was essentially a dead woman. My heart was so numb to everything and I was desperately alone. There was so much I couldn't bear and so I simply did not. I was crashing into a pit straight on, and there was nothing to hold me back. I tried to read my Bible and I maybe had bits of spiritual feelings here and there, but it did not count for anything. I was dull and dim. Desperately more dank than the dirt that my boots wedged between the Belgian cobblestone.
But I have come alive.
My school, Covenant College, has a motto. In all things, Christ Preeminent. The beauty of that is that it's not an empty phrase.
Covenant threw me headlong into the Word. Chapel three days a week, encouragement to attend church, godly people at every turn, and professors who emanate the Gospel in every aspect. I don't know quite when it happened, but I was convicted. I knew, almost immediately, that I didn't have what these people had, and I was stunned.
My head was stuffed with Christian knowledge and I had always called myself one, but I wasn't. I just wasn't.
The thought makes me hurt, but now it also makes me laugh for joy. Because, readers, the Lord softened my heart, and so swiftly. If it weren't for all the pain, or better yet, anguish that I have experienced, I don't think I would have realized the depth of his blessings and the vastness of my need for Him.
God is jealous for me. He weeps for me. He rejoices with me. He gives me so many new blessings daily, so much so that I can't even document them all.
My heart, though still scarred and often sorrowful, is whole. I love my God and can't imagine why I ran from His great love for so long. Now I crave to read His Word and there's a song on my tongue to praise Him. And none of this is my doing! He pursued me hotly and convicted me.
And then he made me to feel his grace poured onto my head like a waterfall.
I want nothing more than to talk about Him to everyone. He is my strong salvation and stole me from a sort of death. I am fully alive and I can only attribute it to Christ, for my own attempts had all failed.
I thank God for my circumstances, I thank Him for my time in Europe, no matter how painful, and I thank Him for my school. I thank Him for my friends, for my mother, and for my brother. I thank Him for sweet family and for professors that want to know me and who care for me, and I thank Him for simple mercies like the desire to write again.
Wretch that I am, the Lord wants me. What greater hope can there be? How can I not sing for joy?
"Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices;
my flesh also dwells secure.
For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol,
or let your holy one see corruption.
You make known to me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of joy;
ar your right hand are pleasures forevermore."
And so I smile at my sweet friend next to me and she smiles back. She goes back to her studying and I know that I should do the same. Yes, I even thank God for midterms.