A Letter For The Broken Spirit

A Letter For The Broken Spirit

Promised Joy Is Coming For You.

Dear Broken Spirit,

I have been where you are.

You are hurting so deep, that you might even feel hopeless. Or you might feel that you may not ever be the same because there is no way that the shattered pieces of your heart will ever be pulled back together. And yes, we’ve all heard the ever cliché saying “This too shall pass.”

But guess what? As cliché as the saying is, it’s true.

This certain painful season in your life will pass. And not just because people keep on telling you that it will, but because your Heavenly Father has, in fact, promised that it will.

In the year of 2016, I walked through one of the biggest storms in my life. It was as if my soul had been torn apart, and thrown to the ground, shattering into a million pieces. I thought I would never recover. Until I fully relied on God, realizing that I could not do this on my own, and He lovingly placed a few verses into my path.

And not just verses, but promises.

So I am here to tell you, from my own experience, that God always fulfills His promises. In His own timing, of course. And yes, healing does take time. But the Lord promises to be near to the broken spirit (Psalms 34:18), and so He shall be. In fact, He has promised to make something new, something beautiful, out of this pain that you are feeling.

“I will not cause pain without allowing something new to be born” -Isaiah 66:9

And what I have learned from this verse personally, is that yes, God might take us down a different route in our lives than which we had planned for ourselves. But thank Him for this, my friend! You did not see this season of brokenness coming.

But guess what? God did.

Nothing surprises Him. He already sees the new and beautiful blessings that are going to take place of this situation. God blessed me with beautiful, unforeseen gifts that could only be born out of the pain that I went through. He is going to do the same thing for you, precious soul. You only need to trust Him. Fix your eyes on Him, not looking back at what has caused you grief.

“Forget the former things of the past! See, I am doing a new thing! …I am making a way in the wilderness, and streams in the wasteland” –Isaiah 43:18-19

Have peace in the fact that He already sees the bigger picture and has already gone before you to prepare you for the next step in healing. How amazing is that? I know that this dark and stormy night is causing your heart torment and weariness.

But as God said in Psalms 34:18, He has already promised to be with you in every step of the way. And let me be the one to tell you, that soon, joy will once again fill your heart. Something beautiful, stunning, will be born from this suffering. Just you wait. Your Father will restore you, loved one. You are His, and He is working in your favor.

Keep going, and do not look back. He will not let you fall.

With love,

Your sister in Christ

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What It’s Like Being A Christian At A Liberal University

The constant struggle of trying to dissolve the clichés and long-held assumptions towards religion.

Upon attending a liberal university, I started to understand the mindset many people have towards religion. Simply because I hold religious beliefs, I am often considered illogical, overly-optimistic and ignorant.

I’ve sat through biology lectures that teach students that some people have a greater propensity to "fall for religion" simply because of their genetic composition. I’ve heard my philosophy professor emphasize how "spirit" does not exist and that humans are just breathing machines with no soul or purpose.

I’ve listened to my art teacher imply that only those who want to live in fantasy believe in a god because they’ll do anything to help them sleep at night.

Being a Christian at a liberal campus can be difficult because of how people view Christians and what they associate with religion.

It’s hard to explain that the beliefs I hold did not come from force-fed religious jargon in my childhood. It’s hard to share that I believe in a God who practices love, acceptance and second chances and who does not, in fact, hate the gays. It’s hard to stand for a belief that has been tainted by uptight religious undertones and obligatory customs.

The God I believe in went to the church and ridiculed the priests for their strict laws and fixed judgments. The gospel I live by depicts a man who befriended the criminals and prostitutes; who demanded mercy to be given to the adulterous when death was her sentence. The religion I follow is meant for the broken, the imperfect and the lost, in order to give them the chance to become people greater than themselves.

When you take away the voices that misrepresent Christianity, you will see that its final message is for everyone to demonstrate love, patience, and compassion in everything they do. Whether you choose to believe my story or not, it’s important to understand what Christianity stands for--the same goes for every viewpoint out there.

When attending a university with a diverse array of belief systems, it’s important to remain open-minded and strive to understand the intricacies of different cultures and contrasting morals. It’s imperative to look past the stereotypes and assumptions held toward certain beliefs. Only through taking time to understand one another and different perspectives, can harmonious living and discourse be obtained.

Being a Christian at a liberal university can be challenging at times, but when you meet people that are truly willing to listen and present their beliefs to you, it can fuel genuine and enlightening conversation.

Being on this campus has not only allowed me to collaborate with like-minded believers but also to engage in authentic relationships with people that hold different perspectives than my own. College is a time for learning and absorbing everything we can. It is within this community that we can do just that, simply by listening to one another.

Cover Image Credit: Priscilla Du Preez

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Thank You, InterVarsity, For Being The Best Part Of College Yet

"For where two or three are are gathered in my name, there am I among them" — Matthew 18:20

When I came to college, I knew that my faith was important to me, and I really wanted to be a part of a Christian organization. However, I had no idea how to find one or where to start. It turned out that instead of searching for and finding it on my own, InterVarsity, a large Christian organization at James Madison, found me. Here's how I became involved, and why it's the best thing that has happened to me since I've started my journey as a college student.

On my first week of college, (also known as FROG week) I heard through the grapevine about this weird event called the "watermelon bash." I wasn't sure if I wanted to go, as I hadn’t been off campus yet, and I didn’t know any upperclassmen that were involved in InterVarsity. At the last minute, some friends from my hall convinced me to tag along with them. So, I crammed into a car with a bunch of strangers (probably not the best judgment on my part, but it turned out okay) and off we went.

When we arrived, there was an overwhelming sea of people in the backyard of a house. It was a whirlwind; so many people introduced themselves to me, and I probably gave my phone number to at least 4 different small group leaders. And on top of that, it was dark outside, so I can hardly recognize most people that I met at that event. Nonetheless, I decided that Intervarsity, without a doubt, was where I wanted to be.

So, after that whirlwind event, I attended large group on a Friday night, where I fought for good seats and worshiped the Lord with my brand new lifelong friends. It was there that I signed up to be part of small group.

One day, I received a phone call from a number I had never seen before, and despite the fact that I almost never answer phone calls from people that aren't in my contacts, I decided to pick up.

"Hi Dakotah, this is BryAnna and Hannah, we're your small group leaders!"

And just like that, I became part of a group of girls that I now know will be lifelong friends, and for the next four years (and hopefully beyond our graduation day) we will spend time growing our friendships and supporting each others' relationships with Christ. What a great decision it was to answer that phone call.

Since then, our small group has experienced everything from tunneling, paint twister, and a weekend retreat with no phone service and lots of flannel, to receiving undeniable signs from God, and we have supported each other through everything that college life has thrown at us.

I am so thankful for InterVarsity, as it has given me amazing friends, beautiful memories, and the opportunity to take responsibility for my faith in God. I can't wait to see how God will continue to bless me through this organization during my time as a JMU student.

Cover Image Credit: Greyson Joralemon on unsplash

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