I can't really describe how full of joy and peace I am right now. It's crazy. Guys, God is SO good. I can't say that enough!! Last night Chanelle and I went to our very first small group meeting through Reality LA. Oh my goodness, my heart is so full. You never really realize how badly you need community and fellowship until you've gone a bit without it and then it just hits you like BAM. It is literally nourishing to the soul. One of the many things I was sad to leave from home was the BRV small group I went to over the summer. It was just so nice to have that community every week, to pray and to worship the Lord. I was worried I wouldn't find it out here. But I am looking forward to getting plugged into church and I am hopeful for a community.
On that note, small group last night was amazing. I literally felt like I was floating when we left. And it was all to do with the greatness of God. Just being in the presence of people who are just in love with the Lord and living their life to get closer to God--it's contagious. You can see it pouring out of people--you can see the thirst for knowledge, the challenge. You can feel it in the conversation. It's amazing. It's weird and freaking awesome all at the same time. Chanelle and I met these two girls and it was scary how much we all related--scary in that really amazing way, you know? Only God could have brought us together. Ah. I'm just in love with life right now.
I also realize this feeling is fleeting and that is why I am so grateful for the deep joy that is inside my heart. It is more than just a feeling. Some days here I feel great, some days I feel like a straight up loser. But throughout all those petty "feelings" God is my constant and THAT gives me deep joy. So I will celebrate this feeling of peace and happiness right now because I know not everyday will be like this but that's okay. It's more than that.
Last night small group was a sermon discussion. We are going through Ecclesiastes at church and it is absolutely fascinating. Solomon is one intriguing dude. And in talking about Ecclesiastes we looked at Genesis and our small group leader pointed out something in Genesis that I had never noticed before. After Adam and Eve eat the fruit from the Tree of Life and God calls them out on it and we read about what is known as the Fall, God does something AMAZING.
"The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. he must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever."
Our small group leader pointed out that most people take this verse as God being angry and punishing us. But what God was actually doing was showing us love beyond our comprehension. See, if we had been able to continue eating from the tree of life, we would forever be living in our sin. We would be immortal but forever chained to that sin, the fall that happened the minute Adam and Eve listened to the serpent and ate the fruit. God loves us so much he FREES us from that. He makes it so we can't eat from the tree of life and in that, there is hope. Redemption that later comes in Jesus Christ.
Of course, I'm not as eloquent as our small group leader was but this sent my mind REELING. I don't know about anyone else, but sometimes I doubt God's love for me. I think, "God, if you REALLY loved me, you wouldn't have let this happen or that or you would have given me this job, or this person in my life." But the world is fallen, it's messed up, it's not the way God intended it to be. Life. Isn't. Fair. But God still LOVES me....He gave me the chance to have eternal life. The most precious gift of all.
I'm just in awe. And I feel so foolish at the same time--how often do I let my relationship with Christ slip to the bottom of my priority list? How often do I turn to other things for comfort, for feelings of love? Everyday guys. And everyday God shows me incredible mercy. Grace.
It's powerful stuff. My mind is still reeling and I am just so excited to learn more about God, to read scripture with a new thirst and excitement. Anyway, that's where I am right now.
Today I started work. It is chaotic and crazy but it is what it is. That's restaurant business for you. I am just so thankful to be working and even more excited to start auditioning!!! And working on projects with Chanelle. Have you checked out Redeeming Sexuality yet? Hit up the facebook page we made! It's basically something we're starting as a means of encouraging those out there who are waiting until marriage to have sex, but also just a place where anyone can contribute ideas, conversation, challenges....just thoughts on today's view of sexuality and what the Bible says. It's really in the early stages but we're excited about it. All are welcome to contribute to the conversation, you don't have to be Christian or waiting to have sex or anything. It's basically an open forum but also definitely a place of encouragement for those of us who are waiting.
At the end of each blog post I am going to start listing things I am thankful for each day. Here we go.
Today I am thankful for:
Selfless and patient friends. Saw this exemplified in Chanelle today and pretty much every single day we've been here. I don't have a car yet and Chanelle willingly drives me to wherever I need to be, never complains about it and never throws it in my face. She also took my headshots tonight and was extremely patient when I decided to dance like Beyonce and didn't even make fun of me. I am so thankful for her!!!! I can only hope to be that good of a friend back, not only to her but to everyone I'm friends with.
Best. Thing. EVER! Don't know what I'd do without you babe. Yeah, I just called coffee babe. Don't hate!
Anyways, thanks to whoever is reading this. Love each and every one of you. Is that weird? I don't care!
Also thankful for this view from our room/apartment. Don't mind my mess in the corner. I'm planning on cleaning it up tonight. But seriously--look at that hill!! Gorgeous.