Today has been a lot like a lot of days I had last summer –I woke up slow, drank my coffee in no hurry, caught up on a handful of podcasts I love. I’ve had time to clean the bathroom, do all of my laundry, and make a batch of oatmeal scones. Later, I’ll meet some friends for coffee. I’ve had more than enough time to do all the things I needed to, and quite a few things I wanted.

Today has felt so similar –down to the hum of the AC unit in my window, the uninterrupted time to think, the mid-morning light in my room, the wondering if I’ll be able to fill an entire day this way. But circumstantially, it couldn’t be more different. Last summer I had one wide-open day after another because I’d resigned from my job prior to my wedding –which I then called off. Those unstructured days were terrifying to my shaken heart. I was lonely and afraid of the silence and completely overwhelmed by all of the things undone. Today, I have the day off from a job that I love. I talked to my sweet boyfriend before he went to work this morning, and again at lunchtime. I’ve found that I’m not afraid of the silence or lack of structure anymore.

Some days I wonder if maybe I shouldn’t think about last summer so much anymore. It’s been a year, isn’t it time to move on? But today, I never want to be so far removed from that season that God’s sovereignty, provision and kindness to me don’t make me weep.

Psalm 18:19 says, “He brought me out into a broad place; he rescued me, because he delighted in me.” He rescued me. From sin and death, but also from grief and from fear and from a very difficult situation of my own choosing. He set my feet upon a rock and brought me to good work and restored the parts of me that were so broken. He taught me to delight in His word and has shown me more of love in the last year than I’d learned in the previous twenty four combined.

He rescued me, and I never want to stop talking about it.

I’m absolutely sure that only in a world where God is both sovereign + kind could I find myself sitting on a park bench listening to my ex-wedding photographer preach the Gospel into the wreckage of my cancelled wedding and fallen-apart plans. “The only thing I have to offer you that’s actually going to help is Jesus,” is what she said.

More than I needed affirmation of my decision or advice for moving forward with my broken life, I needed to be reminded of the Gospel’s good news, of my right standing before the Father because of Jesus, of our eternal it is well assurance

This sent me into a season of uncovering a deeper, dearer understanding of this good news, a strengthened conviction that the Gospel does indeed change everything. Yes, the Gospel is good news for my eternal salvation –but also, it is good news for my heartbreak, my insecurity, my relationships, my work-life balance, my people. When I know I already have everything I need in Jesus, I can love people from a place of abundance instead of lack. When I believe I’m already safe,  I don’t have to respond in fear or self-preservation. When I remember that it ends with eternal glory, I can see hard circumstances as the light, momentary afflictions God says they are.

Much like my dear photographer turned friend, the best I have to offer is always Jesus.  More than a friend uncertain needs my advice on her next steps, a friend caught in sin needs practical steps for change, or a friend grieving needs to be reminded of the good to come from it –each needs to hear again the glory of the Gospel, to be reminded of her forgiven state before the Father because of Christ, to be invited once more to place her confidence in our Resurrected King.

I believe more than ever that perhaps our greatest act of friendship is to turn one another’s eyes again toward Jesus, to preach the Gospel into the painful, uncertain and unspectacular circumstances of life, to hold together to this confidence that is ours in Christ. That this good news eternal is also good news for now. That the more we understand the height and depth and breadth of this gospel, and that it changes everything, the more we’ll walk around believing it’s the best we’ve got –and may that compel us to give it away.

The world can wait.” As I stumbled across the words they felt familiar, like something I could settle into. A year ago, I would’ve laughed at them, believing that nothing could wait and nothing could stop me. I lived like everything was urgent. Last January found me exhausted, over-committed and unable to shake a bad case of bronchitis because I’d spent fourteen days coughing my heart out while carrying on with my too-busy schedule as usual. I didn’t know how to rest, how to say no, how to maintain any sort of healthy balance for my soul or my very sick lungs.

That winter, something started to shift. I started reading Shauna Niequist’s Present over Perfect, and this concept of slowing down, saying no, starting over started changing everything. I realized that for so long I’d been placing my worth in the hustle, in how much I could get done and how often I could say yes, in trying to earn what Jesus has already won for me. I was tired and sick and sad. I missed writing and stillness and people and slow mornings. I didn’t want to live like that anymore.

A year later, I’m in the very same week with the very same bad case of bronchitis –which the doctor insists is just a very strange coincidence. But thankfully, this time I’m also a very different person. In the space and stillness of the last year, I watched God remake my life. I feel more like myself, more aware of my limits and of God’s presence, more invested in things that matter to me. More sitting across the table from people I love. More writing and stillness and baking scones. More laughing and crying and telling the truth. More time to think and breathe and know God’s word. I’m learning to rest when I’m tired, stop when I’m sick, say no when I have nothing left to give. I’m learning also that the world turns just fine when I step away, that it’s not all up to me, that I’ve never been the one holding it all together.

The change has been profound, but definitely not always pretty. With learning to rest  comes learning to turn down good things, to disappoint people, to cut what you just don’t have margin for –no matter how much you wish you did. A year of feeling each day’s finite-ness, of sometimes choosing laundry + meal prep over going out, and at points, of scheduling rest right into my calendar. A year of finding some pretty scary things in the stillness, but also of finding God to be more than capable and never afraid or surprised or expecting me to handle it on my own.

If you’re feeling frantic and fragile and too tired and not enough, I believe there’s a better way. I believe that God can rebuild your life on the truth of His love and sufficiency and sovereignty. That it isn’t too late, and that there’s rest to be found.

That the world can wait.