After a week and a half of being home, in what felt like a hell hole, God surprised me by blessing me with a visit from my sweet fiancé for a weekend.
To explain, since I had been home following my graduation, I had been living in awkward chaos. My house is consistently full to the brim with people living and working here, more than it’s ever been. People everywhere, my room piled high with boxes from moving home, and wedding planning that felt impossible. Attempting to clean out my old things, organize the new, and make centerpieces. And the weirdness of no choice to be alone on top of it all.
My solace was found in the Lord. Many days, I was incredibly teary-eyed since being home. There was always something overwhelming me, always something I cried with the Lord about. He proved Himself to be my one comfort as life felt like hell and I could look around and find no escape. He proved Himself to be my hiding place.
So, Alec came to visit. When he told me that the Wednesday before he came, I cried and cried. He came on a Friday, and at the close of the weekend, I cried more with the Lord over how richly He had blessed my heart by Alec coming to see me. We accomplished important wedding tasks and had refreshing time together, and it had been long since I had experienced joy like I did then.
And I pondered with the Lord how kind and gracious He is that He decided to prove His deep love for me through incredible blessing, instead of through suffering like I had been experiencing. And the Word speaks of both ways God demonstrates His love for us, neither being unordained by Him.
As an interlude, since I had been home, I’d been reading Psalm 33 and parts of Philippians every morning with the Lord. And those two are so about His faithfulness, it was impossible to not be drawn to my knees every time. Psalm 33 speaks of the earth being full of His steadfast love, His work being done in faithfulness, and how our hearts are glad in Him. And my heart didn’t feel glad. My heart was broken and overwhelmed, and I didn’t think He was enough.
And Philippians, exhorting me to work out my salvation with fear and trembling. And I have come to realize and know that working out my salvation looks like abiding. It looks like reading about God’s love and faithfulness in His Word, and believing Him when I seem to see little evidence of it. And I’ve come to see that working out my salvation means being loved.
So the day after Alec left, I had a meeting with a woman who is hand-lettering things for my wedding. My friend (and sister’s care-taker) had previously told me she would pay for this project, as it had to do with the centerpieces she was helping me make. The night before the meeting, I texted her to find out where she was at with all of that, and if she was was helping me stain the 18 wooden pieces for the tables. No response.
So the night before the meeting, and the morning of, I was staining wood by myself, feeling bitter and alone that she had never responded, and I had no idea if she was even going to be at the meeting. As I left, I got a text from her to say she was at the meeting spot and apologized for forgetting about the wood staining.
But that wasn’t enough for my heart. My 30 minute drive was filled with time hashing out my heart with the Lord, struggling with bitterness towards my friend and feeling a little abandoned. Upon arriving, God had been faithful to soften my heart and demonstrate the grace He loves to show.
To my surprise, the meeting was incredibly encouraging. The woman doing the lettering had brought so many samples of what my pieces would look like, and had put so much labor into them in less than a week from our last meeting, that I was speechless. In addition to loving everything I saw, before I could do anything, my friend handed her the first deposit of $100.
I was bewildered, and she said, “I told you I was going to pay for them, and I wouldn’t do that to you.” She even paid for my drink at Starbucks thereafter.
And as I drove home, I sat in grace. I was drenched in it. I couldn’t believe that God had again so richly blessed me through the reassurance of my heart regarding the project and the payment being totally taken care of, when I was the one anticipating having to show grace.
When I thought I had been left for long, God so deliberately and lovingly blessed me. When I was scared about the money for these pieces, God faithfully provided. When God saw bitterness in me, He cherished me.
And I’ve been blown away.
So, maybe there is real reason for God allowing me to experience suffering followed by rich blessing to see that the earth really is full of His love (Psalm 33:5). Maybe now I can understand a little better that working out my salvation isn’t a try-hard endeavor, but is being broken and believing God when He says He is faithful to this old heart that He fashioned (Psalm 33:15).
And maybe, these last two weeks being home, really is an ode to His wonderful grace.