Words. They are so powerful, so permanent. Nouns and verbs and adjectives strung together that do so much more than just make grammatically correct sentences.Words make art. And while they can be lyrical or literary, I really value the loving ones.
For the last few years, I’ve held on to any note or letter that someone writes me to remember all of the people that care for and value me somehow, who took a few minutes to throw a few special words my way. As I pulled out the expanding Five-Star Spiral where I glue them all to add a couple more lying about, I stumbled upon a longer one tucked in the manila divider. In a classic, carelessly perfect script was a letter from one of my best friends, Lizzy, the September after we had worked together at camp in 2012.
After that summer of community and joy rooted in Christ, I had a 24-hour stress breakdown within the first three weeks of returning to school, and this letter arrived shortly afterward. Two years later, as senior year draws nearer and those same anxious feelings of over-commitment begin to simmer in my gut, Lizzy’s words are providing renewed affirmation of how I ought to live, particularly when I am at school — not in the suffocating confinement of achievement and people-pleasing, but in the freedom, confidence, and peace of the life Jesus already provides. It was such a good reminder for me that I wanted to share parts of it here. Perhaps it offers some encouragement for you, too. Thanks, Lizzy. Your words did, and still do, mean more than you know.
I’m so thankful for a friend to be writing to right now. I’m really in a state of praise for a moment to just be restful and not feeling the busy-ness that has had me so worked up lately. I don’t want to flaunt that, though, I know you might easily be in a place of stress with a laundry list of things to get done. You’re good at it though Jessica, you are good at using your time in the best way, so don’t fear that. My heart for you is just wanting you to feel at peace no matter how crazy your surroundings are…
We have an omnipresent God who can be your refuge. PRAISE! There is a truth that the Lord has been teaching me for a while now: that he is in everything at all times, waiting for me to call on him. I guess it’s so elementary, but really understanding that God’s presence doesn’t change from the times I wake up and have quiet time to the middle of the day when I’m trying to find a spare second to do homework, edit photos, and shove a bite of food in my mouth. Even in the latter, I shouldn’t have to worry about how God can “fit” into my day, because he’s there, doing the whole routine with me! and you!…
I just want you to know how much you are loved and that I look forward to doing life with you for a long time…Keep serving and loving and doing all the great things you’re doing that are so pleasing to Him.