Happy Easter! Our Lord is risen!

So this week, I’m just going to love on my family a bit.

I love my family. I really do. So much so, in fact, that I just spent the last week living in the same room with my mother and sister, who visited over my sister’s spring break. I’ve heard that living in close quarters with someone can really tell you a lot about your relationship. It’s true. My family has always been pretty close, but this week cemented the deal.

I guess I haven’t had much free time to think about the past week, but now that I have a chance to reflect, I realize what an amazing time I had with my family. Although it’s true we did a lot of touristy things (more touristy things than I’ve done since moving up here), the majority of the week was spent living out my daily routine. Mom and Stephanie stalked me all week, coming to classes with me and staying up with me late into the night as I studied in the dining hall with friends. My family got to meet my friends at school, and vice versa. Mom got a chance to talk to just about everyone I encounter in my weekly routine: from my language teachers, to Cabot’s wonderful dining staff, to the shuttle drivers who take such good care of me on a daily basis. Not surprisingly, the week sped past. It’s now been two days since Mom and Stephanie returned home, and I miss them.

This week, I realized how amazingly God has blessed me with family. When my mother and sister met my friends, I realized that this meeting was really just between two subsets of my larger Family. Ever since I was young, God blessed me with great relationships with my biological family, which made leaving home incredibly difficult. I didn’t know what to expect when I was left alone that first day of freshman fall in my single room, with no roommates or friends to speak of on campus. What a far cry from what my mother witnessed last week! Since coming to college, God has blessed me with close friends who have really encouraged me both through my rough transition to college and now in my joyful walk with Christ. I wholeheartedly believe that this was no accident. After her trip, my mother—who always “says it like it is”—could not stop raving to me about how wonderful my friends were and what an awesome answer they were to her prayers. Turns out, she’s been praying for my family here on campus for a while. And it also turns out that God provides.

Recently, God’s provision has been so apparent in my life. Although I can’t see everything He’s doing, I can definitely see that He is working not only in my life but also in the lives of people around me. Whether it’s making it through a tough week, or hearing of a friend coming to faith, or experiencing relationships getting healed from the inside out, these past two weeks have been especially filled with joyful reports of God’s blessing. Yet I still seem to go through ups and downs, where in one moment it seems like I’m full of His Joy and then in another I’m walking through the valley of the shadow of death.

One possible hypothetical explanation could be that my problems are cyclical in nature. Sometimes, life just gets me down, but then God makes my problems go away, and voila! Life is grand.

But I’m not sure that explanation is correct. Sure, some times may be harder than others. But if I’ve learned anything in the past two years, it’s that God’s faithfulness is never up for debate. The thing is, God’s always faithful. The Scriptures tell me that He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. But I’m also called to trust in His goodness, to know that He will never let me fall through the cracks. God is working, even when I can’t feel Him. His agenda and His work are not contingent on my ability to comprehend His Hand.

I’m currently reading through the Psalms, and I read two verses in Psalm 63 that jumped out at me.

Because you are my help,
I sing in the shadow of your wings.
My soul clings to you;
your right hand upholds me.
Psalm 63:7-8

This imagery of singing in God’s protection has been such a meaningful one to me in the past years. To know that I can run to God my Father no matter what my emotional state is, to know that I never need to explain myself in order to gain His acceptance, to know and experience His Peace that surpasses all understanding—now that’s awesome. Furthermore, this amazing action verb ‘cling’ just shows me the ardent passion I should have for my Lord. In celebration of Easter, I remember and thank God for the sacrifice and resurrection of Jesus Christ. If for the resurrection story alone, it would be enough incentive for my soul to cling to God forever. As it stands, however, God didn’t stop there. He sent His Holy Spirit, the Comforter, to live within me and to guide me. Wow.

And as much as I should cling to God as a child clings to her father and protector, it is so encouraging to know that my relationship with God is not dependent on my own merits. Because if it were only up to me to see how well I could ‘cling’ to God, we would have major problems. But verse 8 of Psalm 63 tells me that God’s hand upholds me. I’m not in this alone. In fact, the God of the universe loves me enough to care about the things I care about and to carry me through every brokenness, disappointment, and trial of this life.

God really is so good. And because of what He’s done, I’m part of His Family. Now that’s a reason to celebrate.