It has been quite an interesting year so far even though we are only 5 months in. When I first started this year, I had high hopes. I was looking forward to starting university in September after taking a gap year. I was working and looking forward to travelling to Nashville, which was only a couple of months away.
At the start of the year I wrote a prayer over 2020, asking God what He wanted to do in my life. I prayed over this country and our politicians in power. I prayed for my friends and family who were struggling or finding this time hard. I thanked the Lord for my life, how blessed I am to have Him as my firm foundation that He can build the rest of my life on, and what adventures I would be experiencing this year. My mum set me a challenge to have 4 words for this year, mine were: new, excitement, patience and purpose.
On the 9th of March I planned on going to Nashville for almost 3 weeks with my friend. We were going to stay with my Uncle and Aunt in USA and I was so so excited to go to the music city. We were all set to go, I was all packed (even though I packed way too much) the excitement was uncontrollable. The only part I was nervous about was the airport. I had never been on an airplane by myself before. I prayed to God for it to go smoothly and protect me and Rebecca on our journey. We left our parents at the check in and we were off on our own…
We made it to Nashville Tennessee where we were met by a huge cheer form my uncle and Grandad. They proceeded to take us to Chick Fill A, which have to say was amazing even if I was half asleep.
The first week we spent getting used to the land. We saw some classic American towns such as Franklin, which had really cute boutique shops and tried traditional southern food, which I must admit ate way too much. In the second week we planned to go to Nashville city and see the surrounding cities and places a bit further out. However, as the week progressed things started to get worse around the world with Covid-19. Countries were going into lockdown and over the weekend Trump announced the closure of boarders to anyone form Europe including Britain. Panic started to kick in. We weren’t sure whether we would get stuck in Nashville so decided on the Sunday to change our flight to Monday at 8pm (the boarders were due to close at midnight). We now had 36 hours to do as much as we could. Straight after booking our flights we went to Downtown Nashville where we had BBQ, I had the classic southern ribs which were amazing.
After, we experienced the Honky Tonk which was full of live music playing from every bar, we went to a bar which had lights all over the ceiling and live music playing. Later, we shopped till we dropped taking advantage of the US prices. Monday morning we went into Franklin, where we had our final meal together at an old pharmacy converted into a restaurant. Monday evening we said goodbye to our family and left Nashville arriving Tuesday morning. It had been only a week since leaving the UK. We looked a bit bedraggled I must say. 🙂
Coming back from my trip so much earlier than planned really took its toll on me. I had this overwhelming sense of disappointment as I had worked so hard to get there and was looking forward to to trying this new adventure. Don’t get me wrong it was the right thing to do and the Lord provided a seat for me, Rebecca and my Grandparents on the last plane out of Nashville before the boarders closed. I thank Him every day for that. However, I still had this disappointment and frustration. I prayed about this and realised the Lord had other plans for me during this isolation…
Even though my plans changed dramatically in March the Lord showed me something way more important than a trip. It was the joy and fulfilment that is found within His word. The bible is the word of life and even though we are going through uncertain times I’ve found security, truth, comfort, peace, joy and encouragement through the amazing anointed words of the Bible.
I found this fulfilment through many different ways of exploring the Bible. One of the things that has been really useful is my little book of prayer. I have been writing prayers from my life to God. It is a way I talk and thank Him. This book is very personal to me. It is between me and God. I think it has caused me to have a evermore intimate relationship with Him. This has been a really useful tool to talk to God and to keep focused of Him. It also allows me to track my prayers. Within my little book of prayers I also put scriptures that have touched me and made me think. Another, resource that has enabled me to dig deeper into the Bible is doing Bible studies. The two I have done recently is Genesis by Max Lacado and Raised Together by Gloria Furman which is on the book of Colossians. Bible studies are an amazing way to learn about the Bible. They give a structured element and ask questions that affect your life. Along with the Bible studies, I have also been reading. God has a way of always bringing out His goodness from the things we walk through, and one of these were the books I bought in Nashville. I bought 2 books whilst I was there. 100 days of Brave by Annie F Downs and God’s wisdom and Promises by Jack Countryman. These books have helped me to dig into the word and have taught me what the Bible says in different situations. I can see how God is working in every situation even when we can’t see Him.
In His word we find humility and rejoice because Jesus Christ the lamb of God died the worst of deaths for us, imperfect sinners who turned our backs on God, so we could have a relationship with Him. How amazing! What undeniable love that God would bestow his grace to us through Jesus Christ and His sacrifice.
So everyday we can thank our Saviour for His willing sacrifice and God’s grace so we can have this holy relationship with the King of Kings and call Him Father. Life can be hard, why rejoice in these times? This is the time where we stand firm, build each other up and praise God for His everlasting love and joy for us. We can rejoice today because the King of Kings is with us every step of the way.
So even though this is a fear filled climate with uncertainty, loss, loneliness and brokenness, we find joy and peace as we come to God both through prayer and His word. We have the opportunity to delve deeper and discover new treasures though the bible. We forever hold in our hearts that Jesus is Lord of all things and is our living hope. We don’t need to worry because God has it all.
I pray that you would all find this encouraging, to keep going even though our plans don’t go the way we think in these uncertain times. Dig deeper and hold onto your Bible because it is the truth and the hope we need in this time. Meditate on His word, let it penetrate your soul. Spend time in His presence. We sometimes forget in the noise that our Lord can hear us and cares for our worries, no matter what they might be, we can come to Him. He is the accessible God! So just stop and breathe, come humbly to the Lord, and find joy with Him.
Below are some scriptures that have resonated with me throughout this past month. I pray you would read them and feel blessed and revived by the word of God.
- “God has not given us a spirit of fear but of power and love and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7
- “May you be filled with joy.” Colossians 1:11
- “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the Earth so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9
Songs of the month:
King of Kings by Hlllsong Worship– powerful song proclaiming the glory of God and what he has done for us.
Worthy One by Nashville life Music– this so is full of joy and praise to the one and only God. So get up and dance!
Shepherd by Local Sound– this is a peaceful song talking about resting in God and coming to him. Perfect song to journal too.
Promises by Maverick City Music– this song talks about God’s promises and praising him no matter what we face. Listen to the words and praise Him where ever you are.
- 100 Days of Brave by Annie F. Downs– this book is 100 days of a Scripture and encouraging words. It challenges you to be brave in your everyday life.
- God’s wisdom and promises by Jack Countryman – this book is full of scripture of God’s promises and wisdom. They are split into chapter and topics so whatever you are feeling you can find something in this book for you. Really useful tool to help navigate through God’s word.