It’s been a rough semester. It’s been a wonderful semester. As I look back on the past 14 weeks, both of these statements are equally true. I cannot separate them from one another.
I’ve experienced disappointment, confusion and frustration. I didn’t get accepted to Teach for America, my one concrete option for next year, and I don’t have much direction for life post-college. Leadership positions have drained me. I’m frustrated by some sin in my life and I’m realizing, yet again, just how broken I am. I find myself on a daily basis saying, “Come Lord Jesus, come.” My present struggles seem so daunting some days that I pray that Jesus would come back to earth and save me from myself.
I’ve had the privilege of discipling 3 amazing women and watching them take huge steps of faith including emceeing our weekly Cru meeting, leading a bible study and leading two sorority girls to accept Christ. I’ve prayed God’s will over a couple areas of my life and watched as He provided in some pretty cool ways. I’ve been blessed by some long-time friendships and also by some new ones. God has proved Himself faithful in me being a senior and starting to transition out of leadership positions. The newness of being a Christian has worn off, but the familiarity of walking with the Lord and knowing that despite my emotional ups and downs, He will be consistent has brought peace into a chaotic season of life. Even in the midst of weariness and exhaustion from finals, I know God wouldn’t forsake me; in fact He will give me strength in my weakness.
As my favorite mom-blogger says, life is both brutal and beautiful. While she has coined the term “brutiful,” this concept is not new. The balance of the brutal and the beautiful has its roots in the Gospel. Jesus Christ, the most beautiful of human beings, God in human form, took on flesh and died a brutal death so we, as the worst of sinners, the most brutal of human beings, could experience the beauty of life on earth and the promise of perfection in heaven. The brutal reality of my humanity, sin & indiscretions has been turned into beauty by trusting in Christ’s sacrifice. The contrast of these two truths is also significant. I can appreciate the grace of God better the more I see my sin. Just as I can see the beauty of life the more I understand how brutal it can be.
When I was trained to share the Gospel on Summer Project, a staff member emphasized the importance of making sure others knew the “bad news,” or in other words, the consequences of their depravity, before I could share the “good news,” that Jesus had already paid for their sin. The reasoning behind this is because the good news becomes better as we start to comprehend the bad news. On the flip side, the good news isn’t as poignant without the contrary being bad. If I’m not that bad of a sinner, Christ’s death on the cross loses its significance. I have to grasp the bad news, the brutality of life, in order to understand the good news, and see its beauty.
The same can be said about my semester. Without the bad stuff, the good wouldn’t seem so great. If I choose to ignore the brutal, the tough, the frustrating, confusing and disappointing, I also choose to ignore the beauty. So I choose both. I take the brutal so I can experience the beauty, knowing that God can and will redeem the brutal and make it beautiful.