Dust, Redeemed

I believe in a God of little things.

Of big things, too, but also an orchestrator of little things–the kind I overlook on a daily basis, but occasionally catch a glimpse of.

Sunday morning as I got ready for church, I listened to Gungor’s “Beautiful Things.” It had been a while since I listened to it, and I realized we hadn’t sung it in church for a while either.

When I arrived at church that morning, there was “Beautiful Things” on the set list.

A little thing, and just the one I needed.

Not only is it a gorgeous song, it’s one that holds a lot of meaning. Last spring we had a worship service in our building before all the construction had been completed. As literal dust caked the soles of our shoes and hung in the air, we sang the words “You make beautiful things out of the dust,” laced with our hopes for the ways we’d see God work there. It was a glorious, goose bump and tear-inducing moment.

And this week, as we sang it again, I looked around at the nicely painted walls, the finished floor, the rows of people who likely didn’t even know the church existed those months ago, and it was a goose bump and tear-inducing moment again. It has been so exciting to be part of the church as we take up residence in our new building, figuring out who we are as a church and what it means for our community and how we use this gift of space.

We have physically seen God make beautiful things out of dust.

While “Beautiful Things” is certainly fitting for my church, it also feels fitting on a personal level at the start of a new year. Every year brings with it some “dust”—some unexpecteds that we’d rather do without. 2013 didn’t have as many as some of my other years, but it still had them.

It also had moments of seeing how God can use the dust of years gone by to do something amazing.

Even beautiful.

So that’s what I’m looking forward to this year: the ways that God redeems dust and turns it into good things.

Maybe it’ll be more of a dust-accumulating year than a dust-redeeming one, but I’m hoping I’ll know enough to pay attention. It may not always be in big ways or ones that I see right away, or there may be dust that is only and ever that—dust—but there is possibility.

I believe in a God who redeems dust.

Til next time…

~Brianna!~

p.s. How have you seen God redeem dust?

Jumbled Thoughts of A Recent College Graduate: The View From Here

Sitting right here, in this very moment, I type on a borrowed laptop. I’m in the middle of day 2 of not working, since I am currently employed only part time. Taking into account the sum of my possessions and the amount in my bank accounts, minus the amount I owe in loans taken out to cover the cost of my education, and I estimate my monetary value in the negative twenty thousands. Ish.  About a month ago I graduated from college and moved out of my shared apartment and into my parent’s house all in the same week. Since then, I have gone on a trip to England and Scotland, resulting in my falling in love with cities I may never see again. Considering my tendency to get attached deeply and quickly, this does not sit well with me.

Only recently have I come to the realization that as much as I crave stability, I fear boredom. Boredom with my job, boredom with my living situation, boredom in my faith. Finding joy in the little things has been something I have classically succeeded at, or at least recognized the importance of, if nothing else. The dangerous thing about travel though is the risk that, upon returning home, nothing can quite compare to the glitter of where I’ve been. Having only gotten glimpses of the places I traveled to, they are still shiny, new, and alluring, while this city that I have lived in my entire life now seems dull in comparison. If I let myself, I could to see this as a gift; an opportunity to rediscover what it is that makes this city that will most likely be my own for the indefinite future such a wonderful place to be. Hopefully I’ll soon be there, but maybe not right now.

On another front, many of the friends that I typically hang out with when I’m in the vicinity of my parent’s house have already or will soon be going a myriad of ways for the summer months. My posse has shrunk to less than half its normal size. I like my friends; I do not like this.

Living with my parents means seeing much more of my married siblings and their children. While I love them madly, this is not always easy for me. Their marriedness, their parenthood, only seem to only accentuate my singleness. The picture wall in my parent’s den has 3 frames: one holds my sister, her husband, and their 2 beautiful blue-eyed girls. Next to their photo live my brother, his wife, and their joyful, dimpled son. And next to them, I hold a spot of my own; my face at least twice as large as any of the others in the photos, as I attempt to fill the frame on my own.

Right now, at this very moment, with my view from right here, nothing seems settled or clear. Locationally, I know where I am: a coffee shop in Kentwood, MI, just a few miles from home. Other than that though, I’m not really sure where I am. Wherever it is, I’m not sure I like it here very much. I find myself, for the umpteenth time in months, realizing that I don’t have a firm grasp on what’s going on in pretty much any facet of my life. Though I’ve discovered that most people don’t have things together nearly as much as they may appear on the outside, this knowledge does very little to calm the unsettledness that lurks on the edges of my thoughts.

As they have many times before, the lyrics of Gungor’s song “This is Not the End” seem fitting…

And you know you’ll be alright
Oh and you know you’ll be alright
This is not the end
This is not the end of us

There is always more to be written.

Til next time…

~Brianna!~

Not the End

Typically I’ve avoided posting the full lyrics to songs, but in this case, I think it’s important. There is beautiful, hopeful truth in these words.

This is Not the End–Gungor

This is not the end
This is not the end of this
We will open our eyes wide, wider

This is not our last
This is not our last breath
We will open our mouths wide, wider

And you know you’ll be alright
Oh and you know you’ll be alright

This is not the end
This is not the end of us
We will shine like the stars bright, brighter

As a reader, sometimes I can’t help but think of my life as a book. It would have neatly divided chapters, a well-thought out plot, characters that can easily be categorized as “good” or “bad” and who come and go in the course of the story. And, as with all books, there is an ending, maybe happy or sad or somewhere in between, that wraps things up. Or leaves them frustratingly open-ended, as the case may be.

My life is not like that. At least, not right now.

Granted, there are some characters that have been in my story that I don’t think will be making return appearances, whether because of distance, dislike, or simply being in new phases of life. That’s okay. Normal, even, for people to come into our lives and to leave it at some point.

There are other characters that have been around for a while, and I think will continue to be on pages for the foreseeable future. Whether it’s every day, every few months, or every few years, I have a sense that our paths will keep crossing. And that’s okay too.

This is where my struggle comes in though: plot. Twists and turns, good and bad, that may leave me laughing or crying or both. These plot points involve characters that will continue to be in my life at least for the next little bit, so it is difficult for me to remember…

There is more to be written.

This is not the end.

This is not the end of this.

“This is Not the End” is not only a beautiful song, it is a helpful reminder. Whether in a time of joy or one of despair, there are more words to be spoken, more steps to be taken, more life to be lived. And I find myself pondering again the thought of redemption, and the beauty and the gift of hope. The idea that despair, sadness, darkness does not have to be the final word.

I’ve written about redemption before, but I just can’t seem to help doing it again. In Albert Wolters’ book Creation Regained he writes “Nothing in the world ought to be despaired of. Hope is grounded in the constant availability and the insistent presence of the good creation, even in those situations in which it is being terribly violated.” There is reason for hope of brighter, better things, because even in the messy brokenness of the world, there is also good, beauty, and light. Even though I may not be able to see it or feel it at every single moment, redemption may be lurking around the corner, just out of sight.

Or it might not be.

That’s the thing though…hope for it remains. Because this is not the end. There are more words to be added…

Til next time…

~Brianna!~

p.s. Previous thoughts on redemption… https://awritespot.wordpress.com/2011/06/14/lurking-redemption/