Over the last year or so my planning, to-do list, overthinking mind has been seriously challenged. First, COVID-19. It’s no secret it did damage to a lot of people’s plans and goals. The world felt as though it just stopped. There was so much uncertainty. It was hard to decipher what was true and what was just being fed to us. For someone just trying to figure out the adult world and find my place, it definitely has presented its challenges on so many levels. Then, trying to plan a wedding in the middle of the pandemic. My fiancé and I had made the decision early on to not let it put a hold on our future together and would continue on planning as normal. We’d have the day we waited for and deserve and it’d be exactly how we wanted. We had actually initially planned on getting married in the summer of 2020, after talking we decided to save more and bump it a year before COVID was even a thing. I’m so glad we did now because who knows what would’ve happened. We also hope to buy a house instead of rent an apartment and throw money at something that essentially gets us nowhere. But we’re gonna have to jump through countless hoops just to get a mortgage. Not to mention I’m still putting myself through school while working as much as my schedule allows. And facing the end of my current form of financial aid. After this semester I lose it which basically covers all tuition, for the most part. So I have no idea on how I’m going to pay for the next two years of school.
Now I know this sounds like a laundry list of money issues that anybody can have. I have no doubt there’s people worse off. I count myself very lucky that I’m as fortunate as I am.
My outlook has sort of been it’s not great circumstances but it could be so much worse.
I’ve had school basically payed for up to this point. I’ve only had to take out one single loan. Which is a miracle to some and an aspect I feel blessed for. We’ve saved money while paying off our wedding as we go. Getting exactly what we want but keeping a modest budget. We’ve built up credit and put money away so we’ve got a decent shot at buying a home.
All of this to say one simple thing. It’s been a rough year for a lot of people. It’s easy to get discouraged and want to just throw in the towel. I’m about to hit the big moment that could set the scene for my future. My financial aid ends, we finish paying for a wedding, and hopefully buy a house. All within a few months. It’s like a financial climax in our story. It’s scary more days than not. All the what if’s and worst case scenarios creep into my mind constantly. I’m worried about how we’ll make ends meet and enter a marriage with the odds stacked against us.
Then I’m reminded that it’s in Gods control. He will provide to us what we’re meant to have. He will help us succeed. Obviously, if we’re not supposed to have it or it’s not in the cards for us God will take it away and still provide.
I’m part of a college/young adult ministry at my church and we meet every Tuesday during our semesters. It’s an amazing community that really loves God and wants to be there for each other.
We’ve been going through a series called Attitude of Graditude. With a whole host of unknowns in my life currently it’s hard to look at the good of what’s going on or be grateful for all I have. I’ve been so caught up in what could go wrong instead of focusing on what has went right to get us here. Last Tuesday, one of the interns talked about an attitude of gratitude toward the cross. Of course, as Christians we are thankful Jesus came to earth to die for us on the cross because that’s our door to heaven. But he talked of a deeper meaning.
We watched a clip of the depiction of Jesus’ crucifixion. I’ve seen similar videos before but that video, that night hit harder than ever before. I was sick to my stomach and it was hard to force myself to watch. Just to see what he went through for you and me. Even in all of this I’m juggling right now my problems seem so minuscule compared to that one video.
I wanted to tell myself your problems are nothing compared to what Jesus went through. The excruciating pain and suffering to pay for my sins. To cover the cost of my sins and allow me to return home with God one day. To allow me to see my loved ones that left this earth to soon. I then realized these problems may be small in the grand scheme of things but Jesus does care. His coming to die on that cross and die a criminals death shows me that he did it not because he had to but because he wanted to. He chose to sacrifice himself. He chose us. He cares. He cared enough to put himself on that cross. So he’s gotta care about all my problems even the little ones that seem irrelevant.
The speaker challenged us to really think about that video, what the cross means to us. My mind immediately went to town on what it means to me and pulled me in a million different directions. It’s hard to narrow it down. However, after almost a week of digesting all the feelings I finally found it.
The cross, to me, boils down to one single word. Comfort. I know no matter what I’ll be taken care of. I know that no matter the circumstance God will provide. I know that no matter what he will be there because he paid for my sins when he didn’t have to. He already has proven his dedication of taking care of us. I know that no matter what I can give it to God and he will give me a better life than I even deserve. The cross takes away my stress and anxiety about plans that don’t go right. It’s the comfort that I can be absolutely and fully myself and he’ll still love me. It’s the comfort that I can do all things I set my mind to with him. Its that one day I’ll meet him at the gates of heaven and not have to experience anymore pain, sadness, hatred, or suffering. Its the fact that he died on the cross for me, someone who deserves to suffer on a criminals cross. It’s that I never have to worry about anything for my whole life. Nothing. Not how I’ll pay for school. Not how or if we’ll buy a house. Not the wedding. Not COVID-19. Not politics and government. Not my career. Not finances. Nothing.
It’s not an easy concept for me to accept. I like to be independent and in control. My aunt even referred to it as living in my box and wanting everything to fit just perfect. Then if anything doesn’t fit in my box I struggle with that. But if this last year has taught me anything it’s that even when plans don’t follow my agenda (or fit in the box) I’m still taken care of.
I just recently have gotten invited to be part of the national honor society of collegiate scholars which opens up a huge door for more scholarships and less out of school debt. We’re chipping away at wedding stuff with only a handful of things to go and money still put away. And lastly, a house is still up in the air until we can see if we can even get a mortgage but we’ve got somewhere to stay until we get it figured out. We won’t be out on the street.
All of what I just listed is still up in the air and surrounded by unknowns. However, it’s better than it was even weeks ago. And I have faith that it’ll continue to work itself out just as it always has and get better. Even if this is it, the extent of our “luck streak” I know God will provide.
Over the last 6 months or so I have experienced mind-boggling peace, which is a foreign feeling to me. In all aspects of my life. I’ve had the reassurance that no matter what we will be just fine. Worst case scenario or exactly how we pictured. I’ve been able to let go. Sit back. And truly enjoy this time in my life I’ll never get back. Or in regards to the wedding nothing I’ll be able to experience again. I pray for anything and everything that troubles me everyday. I pray that God would take away whatever I’m dealing with and do his thing. That he takes away my worry, stress, and anxiety. And I’m here today to say he honors that and then I thank him for what he took and what he turned it into. My fiancé and I are about to jump feet first into the deep end. However, I have the comfort of knowing we will be just fine. God promises that. My goal is to show gratitude in all circumstances from here on out. It may not be how we planned or a clean road to get where we end up, but the only thing that matters is we lean on God, that cross, and each other. Through all circumstances.
This is the talk about the cross and I highly recommend listening to. It’ll convict you in ways you never imagined.
Take comfort in knowing God is there through all and for all.