Upside-Down Kingdom: Strength

"...when I am weak, then I am strong." 2 Corinthians 12:10.

That's soda.
This summer has been difficult. I've seen my family a grand total of 12 days, and have found myself more often alone than with people. Unfortunately, my roommate is hardly around, so it has been more like I am living by myself or house sitting than anything else. I've had my cat attacks, my near car crashes, my heat waves with broken A/C, and multiple times of breaking down and crying.

Recently I've worried that I'm becoming depressed. I remember all too clearly the period in high school when I cried every night, when I forgot what it was to be joyful. That was a time when I also felt extremely alone, due to my best friend finding a new best friend. I floundered around, socially lost. But God provided. For some reason, I sought community in my church and youth groups. As often as five nights a week I was driving to church, going to two different youth groups, helping out at another, and playing the violin for worship on the weekends. One honest conversation with my friend enabled me to recognize the lies I had bought into, and God freed me of the chains that had bound me to sadness and rejection all those months.

A good friend accepts you
for your ugly Snapchat faces.
It would be a lie to say that God has not provided for me this summer as well. My church community, though I still feel like a young outsider, is welcoming, and I am slowly getting to know more of that amazing group. The brief time each week spent at my internship is always rewarding and encouraging. My friends Anna and Elaine have been my surrogate sisters, welcoming me into their respective "homes" as well as coming to my apartment and bringing life there. I've had spontaneous visits and get-togethers, as well chance meetings that only could have been God-sends. I know as difficult as it has been, and as hard as I've worked to keep myself busy and in community, God has blessed me this

But rather than just getting by in my weakness, I find that I am growing stronger. In the time to myself I am able to do a Bible study, to process my La Vida trip and the past year at college, and to keep a slightly consistent blog! And I have come to realize that I need to rely on God, not on other relationships. So many times I have cried out to him asking him why I feel so alone, and again and again he reminds me, "I am with you always" (Matthew 28:20). I am having to practice thanksgiving and contentment, seeking God first, and dwelling on what is good, instead of on what I think my summer should have been like.

 Only through trials and difficult times can God work on us to mold us more and more into the image of Christ. So take heart-- we do not suffer in vain.


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