to be fully known.
Happy (almost) May my dear friends!
Yesterday marked a HUGE day in the lives of so many of my friends. They walked the stage at TWU's commencement ceremonies and officially earned their bachelor degrees. What a day!
Amidst all of the excitement, let me tell you that I felt ALL the feels. Even sitting here now on this cozy Sunday morning, I feel the ends of those sentiments still radiating over the day. I watched as some of my closest companions completed this four year chapter of their lives. I cried (a lot, haha), felt God's glorious presence as an arena of a thousand people sang to "10,000 Reasons" together and then felt the excitement/stressfulness/chaos of the post-ceremony meet-ups.
Part of me felt a tinge of sadness - had I done my four years of uni, this would have been my class. Another part of me felt pure happiness that I had yet another year at this amazing institution. As I looked on yesterday, I sat back and really started to wonder, "how is it that we had (or still have) the opportunity to attend this institution" and furthermore I asked myself what it was that really encapsulated the last four years, despite not yet graduating.
During my time in Mexico I started reading (for probably the 6th time) "The Meaning of Marriage" by Timothy Keller. Don't read into this too far (like seriously don't). I've been wanting to read it for so so many reasons. One segment really stuck out to me in the way relationships happen and is ultimately what I feel so deeply about my time at TWU. It reads:
"to be loved but not known is comforting but superficial. To be known and not loved is our GREATEST fear. But to be fully known and truly loved is, well, a lot like being loved by God. It is what we need more than anything. It liberates us from pretence, humbles us out of our righteousness, and fortifies us for any difficulty life can throw at us".
OH WOW. Obviously this applies to relationships - romantic or not. Beyond those types of relationships though, this serves us so well and is truly the essence of how God has worked and moved in my life since coming to TWU. These words from Keller also align with what God speaks to us in 1 Corinthians 13 (yah yah, I know, it's the "love" verse). Let me explain: this divine love from God provides us with both that very thing (love) but also the gift of being known. The verse from Corinthians that Paul writes says this: "Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known." We grow, we mature, God calls us into His love and into the love of others and we become KNOWN. That's what I am really hitting home at here.
At TWU I am known. I am NOT known for the car I drive, the things I do (although often we associate each other that way), the place I live, the way I curl my hair, and the list goes on. I am KNOWN deeply and FULLY by my Father because of the LOVE He has shown me. I am known deeply and fully by my closest companions because THROUGH love they get to know me. By loving me, I trust them, and by trusting them I freely let them into my life. I'm not just talking about knowing me as Katie, but knowing me as the quirky daughter of Christ that I am. Knowing me and my faults, knowing me and my tendencies, my habits (good or bad), and most importantly knowing my past. Knowing my mistakes, the painful things I've gone through, the experiences that the Father has brought me through (sometimes freely sometimes begrudgingly), and knowing me as a broken, yet redeemed follower of the Lord.
A while back in Ottawa, there was a night when my four roommates and I shared our testimonies. While I write about being known and loving that feeling, I had truthfully never shared some of the deepest parts of my life with many people, let alone the people I was living with. I was nervous - if they knew all of these things about me, they would judge me, right? I was proved SO wrong. My best friend Keara reminded me that "when you share with me, it makes me love you even more because you are trusting me with your heart. You're trusting me with the very thoughts in your head and the tears you have shed and we get to see the way the Father has and still is shaping you and your life and your heart".
It was in that moment that God called me into freedom, and it was then that I first felt known by someone other than Jesus. They knew my scars, the silly things I had done in my first and second years, the people I had hurt or the ones who had hurt me, the anxieties that were still stressing me out. It was intimate and so so beautiful. I won't lie - it's risky business exposing your heart to someone. Maybe you've experienced that yourself and felt the sting of the risk. In my mind though, the risk is SO worth it. That might be easier said than done and simple to say from a place when my heart feels full and not broken, but regardless, know that the risk will always be worth it because we have a loving Father who knows when we choose to risk and follows our every step along that journey.
So, that's what I felt when I emerged from commencement yesterday. Despite only having a few minutes with each person, and that was often the case with many friends over the semester, it's the intimate moments of long walks and chats and spending time giving up of our hearts to one another that make me feel known, make me feel even more loved by the Father and make me feel safe.
Just a couple photos from yesterday's post-ceremony celebrations.
Thanks for reading today my friends. I hope your Sunday is filled with rest (and sunshine hopefully!).