majestic.

wilderness, part 2.

So let me explain a little more about this Wilderness Retreat. It was the definition of last minute. I had wanted to do a retreat with the team members from the retreat group I work with on campus and had mentioned something to our campus minister. He suggested we go on this Wilderness Retreat that was already being held by Catholic Relief Services and Campus Ministers in the city. In two weeks. So I told the team, and by the literal grace of God was able to get the majority of them to be able to go to this retreat. I was really looking forward to it because we are a retreat team that puts on retreats for others. So this was going to be a chance for us to be retreatants and reflect and grow. Finally.

Great. Cool. Got everything I needed.

Our campus minister asked me if I would mind doing a reflection while at the retreat. Of course I agreed. I love being a part of a retreat, any way I can, even if it is something as small as reading a little reflection.

So we get there. This morning. At the butt-crack of dawn. Coffee in hand, ready to explore the “wilderness,” in our charter bus, mind you. Okay, so we’re there. We are about to get off the bus, and the adult leader goes “Where is Claire?” So I raise my hand, and he says great, he wants to talk to me in a minute. Okay, cool, he is going to tell me about the little reflection I will be reading. Then a sister comes up to me (still on the bus) and says “Oh, you’re Claire, right? They said a Claire was on the team.” That was the first time I heard my name and the words “the team” in the same sentence. But I figured she was just generalizing. No biggie.

We get off the bus, and the adult leader calls the team to gather around him. And I did that weird shuffle where you stand not exactly with the group, but close enough to hear if they need you. Yeah, they needed me. He called out for me again, “Where is Claire?” I’m here. I joined the circle. He then proceeded to saying that I was to be partnered with another team leader and we would be group facilitators. For the whole retreat. And on top of that, the boy facilitator would lead the hike, and I would lead the spiritual reflection and discussion!!!!! PAUSE.

He wanted me to lead the spiritual discussion and reflection for #1 a retreat I was supposed to be attending, not presenting #2 a retreat I have spent ZERO time prepping for or growing with the other team members #3 a retreat where i have spent no time growing in the theme and message #4 a retreat who’s theme is about the environment and taking care of the earth (AKA I DO NOT RECYCLE AND THAT’S BASICALLY ALL I KNOW ABOUT PROTECTING THE EARTH). Resume.

So I am a team leader for a retreat I know nothing about, cool. Got it. Moving on. At least I don’t have to lead the path or trail. Cause, let’s be real, the only path I know is the one to Free People at the mall. We start on our trail, and before you know it, our guy guide, is literally no where to be found. Gone. Soo. There’s that. So now I’m basically alone in my struggle up a mountain with a group of campus ministers that I’ve literally never met and am supposed to lead in spiritual reflection. Thankfully, and I do mean thankfully, there was multiple ways to climb the mountain. So, it wasn’t so do or die. Thankfully, everyone did and no one died. Celebrating the small victories.

When we got up there. When I got up there, (half my group was waiting on me…oops) I was really taken aback. There was so much to take in. Seriously. It was so vast. And I was struck by how majestic is all was. How royal everything was. How this land was His kingdom. How all of the trees, stone, grass, cactus, birds, all of creation, knew HIs name. Being at the top, there was so much wind! There was nothing to block it, I mean, your on top of a huge mountain! But the wind. Even the wind knows His name. And knows His voice. He can calm the wind with a whisper.

Because He is the King.

The King of Kings. The Lord of Lords. And He sees me. He saw me. On the top of the mountain. The mountain He created. That is a part of His endless kingdom. A kingdom He invites me to be a part of. A kingdom He asks me share with everyone I meet. The skies echoed His glory and the mountains stood firm in His majesty.

You Go Before Me

**originally written at 6:54pm in Chuy’s Mexican Restaurant**

Well. Happy New Year. 19 days later….Sorry. I’ve been kinda busy. I say kinda because I haven’t been that busy. But there have been spurts of business (busy-ness; not business as in a corporation). But it’s been good.

So we’re starting a new year. I’m not big on resolutions. But I do predictions. So hopefully I’ll share those larter. There are so many things I want to share about my thoughts on this year.

1. This is a year of restoration.

2. This is a HUGE year for me.

3. This is the year I graduate.

4. This is the year I turn 21!

I’m excited to unpack these and share and grow as they happen.

All that being said, there is one major truth and idea I am starting the year with and holding onto:

“you go before me”

I’ve heard this said before. Many many many many times. In church. In songs. In scripture. But it hasn’t meant anything to me yet. Until now.

Like I shared, this is the year I graduate. From college. 2015. Can we take a moment to F R E A K  O U T ! ! ! ! I cannot believe this is real life. Seriously, Insane. But as graduation approaches, so does real life. And that is scary. I am looking at graduate programs and I am blown away. For a couple of reasons:

1. Social Work is awesome.

2. God is even more awesome.

3. I am absolutely doing what I am supposed to be doing.

4.  Grad school is expen$$ive

But amidst all this, I am excited for the new journey and next step. But Classic Claire, I am super worried. a) How will I pick one? b) How will I get in? c) How will I pay for one? d) Where will I live? e) What if I pick the wrong one? AHHH!

One of my top favorite programs is also suppperrr expensive. My parents told me that if I wanted to go there, I would have to get a huge scholarship. 70%. That’s crazy for me to think about. But as soon as my parents said that, I literally said: “Okay, God. You heard that. Challenge accepted. That’s your obstacle to overcome.” -Ballsy, right? And in that moment “You go before me” had never been so relevant.

He goes before me.

He makes the path. He is gonna pave my way to Grad school. I mean, obviously, I will work hard. But He is going to put that in me. The ability to work hard.He is going to get me there. He is the God of the impossible. And when I think of that. It makes me want to apply to the schools that seem impossible. Why not? Why stand in the way of God’s greatness? He goes before me. He prepares the way. He prepares me. He prepares my heart.

I have had so many tangible experiences lately where I step back and say, “Wow, God. You have literally been training me for this.” He is preparing me….

And that blows my mind! That God is timeless. That God is my future. That God is my present. That He is with me. That He will never leave me. (Deuteronomy 31:8) That God is preparing an amazing Grad school experience for me. That God is preparing and amazing husband for me. That is preparing and amazing future for me (Jeremiah 29:11). And even further, that God is preparing a place in Heaven for me (John 14:2-3). Because He thinks I am worth it. Because He loves me. So much so that he would go before me.That He will fight my battles. That He would prepare me.

All the struggles I have yet to face, God has already walked thru them.

Can we just talk about how infinite that is?

Sometimes I don’t know how to process what He tells me.

That is so personal. When He says “I’ve been there,” it’s because He literally has. Because He walked through it before me. He goes before me. As I enter this season of changes and new adventures, I am trusting that God goes before me.

God, thank you for blowing my mind. You’re magnificent.

be kingdom.

I have never really understood when people talked about the Kingdom of God here on Earth. To me, I have always kept them separate. To me, the Kingdom of God was in Heaven, and we are here on Earth. Black and white. Matter of fact. I mean, I understand that we are called to live God’s will out on Earth, but I didn’t really understand that being the kingdom. For me, the Kingdom of God would come when He came.

I get it now. Or at least, I am starting to get it.

I am starting to understand that we are called to live in the kind of love, forgiveness, mercy, compassion and absolute adoration that is experienced in Heaven, here on Earth. We are called to be a representation of that Kingdom. We are called to go forth and spread that Kingdom to others.

I think it took me understanding true worship to understand this call to Be Kingdom. In experiences of worship, there is nothing else I want to do other than sit at the feet of Jesus and tell Him how wonderful He is. It is in those times, that I am overflowing with His love and peace. But I can’t leave that love and peace in that moment of worship. I have to bring it with me outside of the church. I have to spread that love. So that others might feel the overwhelming presence of Christ.

I am in so inspired to spread God’s kingdom. I am so inspired to activate the Kingdom of God on Earth. And in the same breath, I am so challenged. It has not been easy. It will not be easy. But God gives an uncomprehendable energy. He gives a peace that surpasses understanding. I am being called to live a life of kingdom. To be in sync with the Angels and Saints in Heaven that can do nothing else but sing of God’s great glory. And that’s what I want to do. I want to be such a representation of kingdom, that people want to join in with me. Because it was what our hearts were made to do. Last year, I found a new love and appreciation for worship. God totally broke the mold I had constructed. I want Him to keep breaking it.

I want to Be Kingdom.