My Name is Beloved

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Never in my life has my purpose been so clear.
Never have I walked so closely to the center of God’s will.
Never have I felt more capable of giving and displaying love.

And never have I experienced a period such intense and earth-shattering heartbreak.

What an intensely puzzling juxtaposition of emotions and circumstances: I am completely alive, but I have been set ablaze.

Yesterday I returned from a radio conference in Disney World called “Momentum”. It was three days of rejuvenation and renewed purpose. Every conversation I had reminded me that this crazy radio and music business world is where I’m meant to be. My 8-year aspirations, planted deep in my heart as a freshman in high school, continue to be re-affirmed by God. I’m made for this, meant to be here. I fit in with this crowd of creatives who are dedicated to communicating Christ through music and conversation.

When you’re doing what you were made for, everything else in your brain shuts off except that thing. It’s like tunnel vision; you buckle yourself into the driver’s seat and you fix your eyes on the road and you hit the gas. You let your talents and the vision of God blend together like pastels in the horizon.

I feel like a fire’s been re-lit inside me. I’m buzzing with excitement. I have a renewed sense of my purpose, my reason for living, and God’s plan for my life.

But this feeling didn’t start when I got on a plane to go to Momentum.

It started when I realized that my life was going to look nothing like I thought it would.

It started when I had to pick up the pieces of my other dreams. The ones that involved me marrying the man I love and planning our life together. You see, I wasn’t expecting to start my final semester of college without romantic love lighting the path into my sure-to-be incredible future. And it crushes me, daily, that I don’t get to love him like I used to.

But.

Let me show you what God has done.

When you lose someone you built your world around, a couple of things happen:
1) You cry. Really really hard.
2) You acknowledge very quickly that there’s no way you’re going to survive this alone.
3) You realize that you have a lot of love in your heart now to give.

I remember feeling like a zombie. Feeling numb. Like I had been in a car crash. My friend Sierra was my EMT. She drove an hour to sit and talk with me for hours upstairs in our cafeteria. She hashed through my confusing myriad of feelings with truth. She handed me tangible reminders, one after another, of her love and her belief in the work of Christ through me.

The most insane part? This kind of mind-blowing love and encouragement kept happening. Over and over again.

Woman after woman, believers of strength and dignity, started to come into my life, from near and far away. Countless text messages, letters, Facebook messages. Encouragement poured in like a tidal wave. I was drowning in love.

One of the first ways God blew my mind even while the wound was still pouring blood was the realization that agape love is far greater than any other love.

Agape love, the love of the Christian community for one another, is incomparable. When Christians actually love like Christians, the reality of the impossible love of Jesus is made evident. I’m a witness: Christ is real because His Church shows an inhuman, eternal love that is exclusively God’s.

Something else I realized during this time is that I am no longer the women I used to be, even a year ago.

Angela last year wouldn’t have been able to respond to tremendous pain with a supernatural joy.

Angela last year would have felt rejected and walked around town with her head down and her worst fears reaffirmed.

But Angela now is full. Full of a love that doesn’t depend on who is affirming me. My confidence, somewhere between last year and today, shifted from a basis on my performance (how well I was doing, how good I looked, and how many people liked me) to the constant and faithful love of my Heavenly Father, who shouts and screams His love to me from the skies.

I can stand tall in love because I know I am loved.

Simple as that.

I can walk around campus as proudly as I did before, because I am not. Without. Love.

I am not dating anyone. But I am more loved than I could ever imagine.

A couple days after my world as I knew it stopped spinning, I wrote this down, in the midst of a bustling cafeteria filled with people in the midst of their own tragedies and victories.

I wrote this:

“if this is the joy that comes with knowing Christ, it is surely supernatural.
my heart is full, even though it is broken.
my eyes are bright, even though they’re filled with tears.
my pain is evident but my cup overflows.
paradoxical, imperfect, sanctification,
I’ve come alive in dying.
Praise God for the process.
i am held, i am sustained, solely by the overflow
of a love beyond my wildest dreams”

So, Beloved sisters & brothers, rest in love. You are held.

Someday you’ll look back and understand the answer to your whys. But for now, glory in the fact that God loves you enough to cut you – only to make flowers grow from your wounds.

I’ve been encouraged by the words of T.B. LaBerge a lot during this time. My friend Sierra sent me this quote from him the other day:

“Remember you’re trying. You are moving mountains that have plagued you since you were young, and you’re trying so hard. KEEP FIGHTING; fight until you have won: fight until you have found your way home, until the sun comes back and your heart yearns to love the mornings again.”

Fix your eyes on the one who beckons you forward into the inexplicable unknown. His heart for you feels like buzzing with excitement because you’re exactly where you need to be.

I’ll end with these words from one of my favorite songwriters, Nichole Norderman.

“Do not ask the shadows, the light of the world knows your name.”

love,

angela

P.S. – I made a Spotify playlist. It’s called “The Pain & The Process”. These songs have encouraged my heart. Maybe they’ll encourage you too. {https://open.spotify.com/user/1232869348/playlist/5oGJbcvK5ZZFxi0lqm2bct}

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