In The Reflection

In The Reflection

Surrounded by a multitude of forgettable people
Drew
Drew
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Drunken and intoxicated with a multitude of narcotics, he felt nothing and he was happy because he felt nothing. He was consumed by the feeling of numbness (or lack of feeling). Sinking deep into an old torn couch, he was surrounded by a multitude of forgettable people. This was, at this time, his daily nightlife. He defended, against his own conscience, this habit by claiming first, "The Creator made these plants (filled with harmful chemicals) for a reason; therefore he has the right to pleasure himself this gift." Second: he felt since this is a blessing, he therefore does not need to feel shame in the indulgence of it. Third: he thought this to be the true form of companionship, producing the best of memories. But he could not escape the God-given integrity instilled in him. He knew he was perverting the original purpose, he felt great shame, and he knew all these forgettables, he called friends, were there solely for the purpose of forgetting. He continued on his path, and learned the cultural ability to ignore his conscience. Yet, he could not ignore the pulling of the soul—conviction.

*******

He entered the waters, sure of his decision, though he was deeply encouraged to do so. All of his past clung to his body—his flesh—and covered him like dirt and mud. As the water level grew, as he got deeper and deeper into the pool, his past—his dirt and mud—was washing away. Finally, he came into the arms of a teacher and mentor. His conscience was clear and his heart was ready; he had never felt such anticipation before. Now waist deep in the pool, surrounded by countless peers, the teacher asked, “Why are you doing this?”

*******

He woke up. Thinking he was home, he felt a sensation of peace. He then turned his head to see two half naked bodies lying on the carpet floor, a young woman and a young man. He forgotten their names but at least remembered his location. Where else would he be on a Sunday morning? By now the feeling of peace had been pushed away. He stood up slowly from the couch and scanned the area only to find more bodies scattered across the room. Empty alcohol glasses, half eaten pizza slices, and the faint smell of marijuana filled the room and tables. There was even still an unfinished line of cocaine on the counter. Feeling a little disgusted in regards to the state of the room, he wanted to wash away the dirty night. Dizzy and still incredibly tired, almost tripping over passed out teenagers, he stumbled his way to the door. As he entered, he switched the light—too bright. He then switched it back off and cracked the door to let some light in. He washed his face with some warm water, then cold. Still looking down, he grabbed the towel off the rack. He looked up into the mirror while drying his face. His eyes met his eyes in the reflection. What happened then cannot be described by mere words but nevertheless…

*******

There was no answer at first. The teacher then asked again, “Drew, why are you this?” He looked down at the water and saw the mud and dirt—his past. He wanted so desperately to cover himself in the thickness. He wanted so feverishly to cling to it. But then, for a brief moment, he could see his reflection. It was smiling and calm, and on the shoulder was an unidentifiable hand, a fatherly hand. This small embrace was the final encouragement he needed. He turned to his mentor and answered, “I am doing this because I need to let go.”

*******

Staring into the reflection, his heart—no his soul stirred. Something moved inside him, urging the greatest feeling of conviction. All at once, his heart was storm and his mind, the crashing waves of the sea. Yet he did not feel guilt. He kept thinking he should feel shame, he should feel guilty but none of those emotions came. He broke down and sobbed in the sink. He knew he failed, he knew he rebelled, he knew all he had done had gone against everything he had been taught. By now, he was on his knees with tears crashing to the floor. Then a hand touched grabbed his shoulder. He looked up and no hand was seen in the reflection, but the feeling of conviction was gone. His heart and mind were stilled. But now what of his soul, since that was the part that was deeply affected in the first place?

*******

Everyone was quiet before, but after his answer, their hearts were moved and some broke into tears. The mentor smiled and commented, “Good answer,” The teacher then said, while slowly submerging the young man’s body, “I baptize you in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy spirit.”

Cover Image Credit: johnpavlovitz.com

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12 Bible Verses For Faith In Hard Times

Remind yourself that God is always with you.
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Lately, I have felt lost at what God wants for my life. Ever since I've come back to UWG everything has been horrible. It seems that I can't catch a break. I'm trying my best to focus on school, work, and extracurricular activities. But it's hard when I'm having issues with my apartment/roommates and knowing my family back home is struggling and needs many prayers. All, I keep thinking is maybe Carrollton isn't where I belong anymore. I've asked God if He can guide me in the right direction. Below, I have found Bible verses that have helped get me through these rough, past couple of weeks.

1. Isaiah 43:2

"When you go through deep waters, I will be with you."

2. Psalm 37:5

"Commit your way to the Lord. Trust in Him, and He will act."

3. Romans 8:18

"The pain that you've been feeling, can't compare to the joy that's coming."

4. Proverbs 31:25

"She is clothed in strength, and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future."

5. Joshua 1:9

"Be bold. Be brave. Be courageous."

6. Ecclesiastes 3:1

"There is a time for everything and a reason for every activity under the heavens."

7. Isaiah 41:10

"Don't be afraid, for I am with you. Don't be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand."

8. Isaiah 66:9

"I will not cause pain without allowing something new to be born, says the Lord."

9. Psalm 91:4

"He will cover you with His feathers, and under His wings, you will find refuge; His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart."

10. Psalm 62:1-2

"My soul finds rest in God alone, my salvation comes from Him, He alone is my rock and my salvation."

11. Philippians 4:13

"I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength."

12. Jeremiah 29:11

"For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

Cover Image Credit: pixabay.com

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9 Things I Learned At Passion 2019

God is awesome. Even four arenas full of awesome.

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For those who may not know, Passion is a Christian conference that seeks to bring together college students for "worship, prayer, justice and spiritual awakening". This year, the conference's attendance sold out four arenas - two in Georgia, one in Texas, and one in Washington D.C.

Passion is so massive for a reason: it offers Biblical teaching, community, support and service opportunities to a mass of college students searching for God's heart in such a crazy time in history. While I did not vet to attend the conference live, I did follow the live stream. Many of the things I learned at Passion I had heard before, but had not been ready to receive with my heart. God had begun softening my heart about a month before Christmas, and Passion came just in time to solidify that new spirit. Here are just a few of the little nuggets of truth that my heart received at Passion this year.

1. If God's not in it, I don't want it 

"If you're not in it, I don't want it." This was a lyric sung by Kari Jobe, and it just resonated with me, especially after all the beautiful reminders this weekend that God has both my own best interest at heart and the interest of all his people. Why would I want anything less than that? As Louie Giglio said, "There is an enemy that also has a plan for you", and I cannot afford to follow any road map but the one that God has laid out for me. (Philipians 4:8)

2. Worship and justice are on the same side of the coin 

I've always thought of spiritual concerns as mostly separate from political or socioeconomic issues, but God wants to see wrongs made right, but through His power. Passion always picks a platform to raise money for in the name of both worship and justice. This year, attendees raised money for the Deaf Bible Society in order to share the gospel with the deaf communities of multiple countries and give them Scripture in their heart language. We raised just under $450,000! College students with no money make for a "loaves and fishes" kind of awesomeness. As Lecrae said, or rapped on Night 2, "Being broke made me rich". (Isaiah 1:17)

3. Joy does not equal happiness, because joy is better than happiness 

Seeing four arenas full of young adults who are as hungry for Jesus as you are gives you a joy I cannot explain. I have an 18 hr course load, a job, and three huge projects this semester, but I am joyful beyond belief because I serve a God who loves me even when I fail miserably and sees me seeking his heart even when I don't feel seen by anyone else. How cool is that?! (James 1: 2-3)

4. An attitude of gratitude changes EVERYTHING!

I've decided to make "gratitude" my word for the year. I've spent a lot of time looking at what others have instead of what immense blessing God has laid right in front of me. I know I'm not the only one that struggles with this, and I just want to shout from the rooftops that thanking God daily will not only delight His heart, but yours too! Thanksgiving heals wounds, y'all! (Colossians 3:15)

5. When you let God remove something destructive from your life, you have to replace it with something better 

It's great to do a clean out of your heart and get rid of things you know will hurt you, but if when let that empty space sit unfilled by God, it will just get refilled by whatever was in there before. (2 Cor. 5:17)

6. Temporary solutions don't work for your heart; it needs a permanent fix 

The only thing that can put broken hearts back together is God's love. It sounds crazy and a little like an episode of Veggie Tales, but it's true. When you bring all your brokenness to Christ and ask Him to make it something beautiful, He shows up and shows out! (Psalm 147:3)

7. You run to who you trust 

Who do you go to when you're having the worst day of your life? Who is on speed dial in your phone? Who do you need in an emergency? Those are the people that you have placed your trust in? In the same way that we are careful who we place our trust in physically and emotionally, so should we only place our spiritual trust in Christ because He has already proven Himself to be our sole means of salvation. (Matthew 6:21)

8. Hope is the architect and faith is the builder 

This one might seem cheesy, but stick with me. Jesus became our architect when he offered us His plan of salvation. His death means that if we surrender to his design, we can have new life! But, we have to put our faith in Jesus daily in order for the structure to be built. Of course, we will all fail miserably sometimes and come very short of perfection, but God's grace is big enough to override all the messes we make.

9. Humans have incredibly short attention spans, but God knows that 

The world "Behold" is a lot in Scripture because God knows that it is difficult to get our attention! Thank goodness He has an abundance of patience with our stubborn hearts.

In short, Jesus is *literally* life, it's not about us, and love wins every time.

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