You Turned My Darkness Into Dawn

I’ve been thinking a lot about the kind of girl I was in high school lately.

To be completely honest, I don’t like that girl. At all.

She was loud and rude and incredibly mean. Desperate to be “cool” and to fit in. She couldn’t understand why nobody wanted to hang out with her, and she hung out with people that maybe weren’t so nice either. But she didn’t drink! She didn’t smoke! She was a straight-A, 4.0 student, a model of what a non-rebelling teenage is!

I look back on high school now and I understand a lot more about life. Some of it is just because I have a little more life under my belt, but two years isn’t really the biggest gap. Mostly, I look back and understand because of Jesus.

I recommitted my life to Christ when I was sixteen, and maybe I’ll write more about that later, but that was a really pivotal moment for me. But still, that nasty girl who was just bitter and angry still existed. And she didn’t realize the kind of person she was, so she didn’t want to change. She knew she wasn’t perfect, but she didn’t realize how deeply flawed and broken she was.

When I moved to Louisiana for college, I started going to church for the first time in my life, and I actually developed a relationship with Jesus. And that’s when I started to change (Praise. The. Lord.) All of my bad hard edges got softer. I’m still sassy, but I’m kinder. I’m still feisty and hard-headed, but I’m willing to admit my mistakes and give. I am comfortable with who I am, and I like who I am. I don’t want to be like all of my peers, because I was not designed to be like them. I pick my friends carefully, so I won’t get dragged down to that place again. I kind of feel like the Grinch, like my heart grew two sizes that day. I definitely don’t want to go back.

And ya know, that’s what Jesus offers all of us. He offers to turn our darkness, whatever it may be, into dawn. To bring that nasty stuff out into the gentle light of the morning, and to fix it. Being on the other side of that, it’s so dang sweet what He does for us. It’s amazing the kind of transformation a person can have in such a short amount of time when Jesus goes to work.

So yeah. I’ve been thinking about high school me a lot lately, and when I do, I’ve been thanking God for the amazing Cameron-flip He’s done in the last two years, because I was a real fixer upper. I pray that He’ll keep changing and molding me into a person that is more like Christ and less like a person. And I go out into that dawn, birds chirping and pollen covering my car, ready to face the day and the changes ahead.

Sticky Note Gospel

Last week was rough. Actually, this entire semester has been rough. I’m in a bunch of weed-out courses. When I was scheduling last semester, my adviser wouldn’t let me take any more than my 16 hours because, as she said, “this is a bad schedule, but it’s the best you can do.”

So it’s hard. I feel like crying a lot because of stress. My grades are good considering the classes I’m in (I have all A’s and B’s), but they’re hard to maintain, and some of them still aren’t really where I want them to be to have final cushioning.

On top of all of that, I’m working 7 hours a week with one of the most inconsiderate, rudest teachers I’ve ever met. She tells kids she hates them, that she hates working at their school. She teaches me basic algebra and just points at me and then the kid I’m supposed to help. Doing that twice a week just kind of gets to you.

But, on my way to differential equations last week (definitely one of my hardest classes), while I was walking up the stairs, I saw something bright orange in the window in the stairwell. It was such a weird place for anything to be that I stopped to look at it. I honestly almost broke down in tears right there. I saw a little sticky note, with some messy scrawl on it in a verse I had never read before in Isaiah.

“When you pass through waters, I will be with you. When you walk through fire, you will not be burned, nor will the flame burn you. For I am The Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.”

Isaiah 43:2

You know those moments where you’re just so down you don’t know what to do? I had been in one of those. And an unassuming little sticky note in an odd place was the thing that pulled me back up.

This semester is like my fire. It’s one of the many things I’m gonna face on my way to being an engineer. But when I walk through this fire, I’m not alone. No, I don’t have to take on so much school and work stress on my own. God isn’t only watching me walk through, He’s walking through them with me. He’s fighting these battles for me!

And yeah, I knew all of this before I saw the sticky note. But I realized when I saw it that that wasn’t how I had been living my life. I had been trying to do it all on my own, and I’ll never be able to do that. When things get hard, I need to run to Jesus. Cling to the cross.

I don’t have all the answers to life. I also don’t know how to take the Laplace Transform of sin(wt). (Okay, maybe that one I know, because it’s in my chart.) But I don’t need answers. I just need to remember the Guy who has them has my back, if I’ll ask Him.

Brown Thing

This is the story of brown thing. Brown thing is my mom’s favorite blanket, a quilt made my my great-grandmother and her sisters.

My granny told us not to use brown thing, that it was for decoration only. Obviously we didn’t listen, and just like she told us it would, brown thing ripped and tore, and I’m now in the long process of patching up brown thing with old t-shirts and my poor sewing skills.

And isn’t that kind of how our relationship with God works? We take His sweet grace and we rip it, and ourselves, to shreds. We have holes so big they could be jumped through, because we fall into sin’s trap. We think our grace is too speckled to possibly cover us, that there’s no way God could love, let alone save, us now. We’ve certainly just messed up all of our chances.

Praise the Lord that He doesn’t think the same way our broken little minds do.

God takes us, full of holes, ripped into pieces with all the stuffing falling out, and He so lovingly and gloriously stitches us back up to be as good as new, all because of the sweet grace Jesus provided on the cross. There’s no mismatched fabric or uneven stitching when He’s through with us. We will never run through His grace because He is always so patiently waiting to fix it.

He’s patiently waiting to fix us.

All we have to do is ask. And that’s the best news of all. When we’ve stretched ourselves too thin, when we’re at the end of ourselves, God is calling to us to just let Him fix us.

So, friend, will you?