community brew linkup // 01

coffeedate-01 The internet can be a scary place, filled with sarcasm and negativity and incorrect info at the very least, and total moral depravity at the worst. Sometimes, the internet is too overwhelming.

And other times, the internet is a wonderful tool for fostering community, meeting new people and encouraging one an another. Today is one of those times.

When Rachel of Oh Simple Thoughts tagged me in a post on Instagram about participating in a blog linkup, I was so excited. Rachel is a breath of fresh air in my feed that sometimes feels dominated by too-perfect breakfast tables and color coordinated kids and spur-of-the-moment road trips to the Rockies. I'll admit it, I'm also guilty of the Instagram Perfection Plague (which I just made up and might trademark, haha!) I've always wondered about people who meet friends on the internet and then turn them into real life friends. And I'm learning more and more that Instagram is an incredible platform for doing just that. So Rachel dreamed up this "coffee date" idea, and I love it. A group of women, bloggers, Christians who are sharing their heart and where they're at today on the blog. You can head here to see the rest of the participants. It was such a joy reading their posts.

Rachel asked in her post, "How are you friend? Are you weary? Are you barely stumbling along? Are you filled with joy and rejoicing in the Lord? Are you overwhelmed?"

My answer to her would be yes, yes, yes, yes. I am weary. I am barely stumbling along. I am filled with joy and rejoicing in the Lord. I am overwhelmed.

I am brokenhearted and so grateful. I am crushed in spirit and yet so invigorated by the approaching Easter season.

Yesterday, my friend Jen's husband was shot and killed in Indianapolis while out for his morning run/walk, most likely praying, as was his custom. Jen and Nathan were married less than a year. Jen is 8 months pregnant with their first child, a daughter they have named Cecelia. He was on his usual route, in their neighborhood, when he was targeted, potentially mugged and killed. There is simply no making sense of a tragedy like this. There is no wrapping one's mind around it. It is truly unfathomable. I have experienced death too soon, when a high school classmate passed away of leukemia at just 23 years old, but I have never experienced true evil, such violence, up close and personally. It's another thing altogether. It's world-rocking.

And yet, it's incredible the way it draws us closer to faith. I have always been afraid of dying. My mom, a super wise and devout lady, has always said she can't wait for Jesus to come back. Hearing her say that made me want to scream. He can't come back until I get married, have a family, pursue my dreams! He can't come back until I see the world, start a foundation, reach my goals! He can't come back until I've made my life what I think it should be, and have lived to see my children and grandchildren! I was petrified of dying.

But more and more, and especially in the last day, I too am yearning for the day that Jesus returns. I am realizing that this world is not where we belong. It is not home. I no longer want to get too comfortable here. I want to live my days, whatever their number, fulfill the plans God has for me, and then go to my REAL home, my eternal home, Heaven. So I'm grateful. I'm filled with joy and rejoicing in a  Lord who has prepared such a way for us. I am overwhelmed with sorrow and confusion and anger and heartbreak, but I am so invigorated by the promise of salvation, by the approaching Easter Sunday where we can celebrate Jesus' resurrection and the resurrection of all the faithful departed.

I keep finding myself drawn back to this beautiful Bible verse, which I'd never heard or seen until yesterday:

I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you. -Isaiah 46:4

He has made you. He will carry you when your legs are too weak to stand on. He will sustain you when you have nothing left. And He will rescue you when you feel like giving up. What a mighty God we serve.