Here’s the deal. It’s 3 in the morning. I’ve been writing for almost three hours now and all of my stuff just got deleted. So I’m gonna cut the fluff and summarize the sweet thing that happened today in as few words as possible. Ya dig?

Recently, through participating in a 5th grade talent show in support of my good friend’s sister, I’ve had the privilege of reconnecting with a rad family I haven’t spent time with in a few years. The middle brother is my age–we’ve known each other since high school–and his youngest sister is 11 and her vocal ability is unreal let me tell ya. Jamming with the two of them was awesome in itself, but Jesus (as usual) decided it would be sweet to take it to a whole other level.

In the time I’ve gotten to spend with them lately due to rehearsals, Mary, my friend’s mom, has taken a lot of time to ask me about my life and how I’ve been and the whole bit. This led to me giving her my whole “health, Sacramento, and Jesus doin stuff” spiel. She responded with a ton of encouragement. She truly is the most cheerful woman I’ve ever met and I really look up to her. Her daughter heard a lot of this talk and told me that she prays for me every night now (which is a heart-melter in itself).

Today, in killing time before the talent show, the family and I went down the street to McDonalds to get out of the sun. While there, Mary pulled me aside and shared with me the most encouraging thing I think I’ve ever heard. She told me her daughter really wants to keep in touch with me when I move and after I left the other night had said, “I really like the way Hannah talks about Jesus. It’s like she just got coffee with Him.”

I cried immediately when Mary told me this. I mean immediately. And I don’t really cry. I have a long list of family members, friends, and ex-boyfriends who will confirm this. My eyes instantaneously blurred up with tears.

Here’s why. I think in this time of serious hardship I’ve fallen more in love with Jesus than I ever have in my life. I see Him in this mess. And I want other people to see Him in it too. If it weren’t for what He’s done in me, I would be deep in depression and self-pity. I got a sweet taste of that in December when I decided to lean on my own brain to get through.

And now that I’m a mere 4 months into re-giving my trust to Him and re-surrendering my plans and hopes and ideas to Him, he’s constantly blasting me with encouragement.

A girl heard my story and saw Jesus. That is all I could ever ask for–that’s all I want this to be. A story of Jesus’ radical love amidst chaos and pain. I want Him to be the thing that stands out to people. None of this is me. I’ve done nothing but let Jesus do stuff and I haven’t even been great at that all the time. Anything and everything good in this is Jesus.

Here’s this because it just popped into my head:

“But this beautiful treasure is contained in us—cracked pots made of earth and clay—so that the transcendent character of this power will be clearly seen as coming from God and not from us. We are cracked and chipped from our afflictions on all sides, but we are not crushed by them. We are bewildered at times, but we do not give in to despair. We are persecuted, but we have not been abandoned. We have been knocked down, but we are not destroyed.” (2 Corinthians 4:7-9)

This pumps me up so much. It’s like that freaking Braveheart scene in my head but the Bible. And here I am at 3:45 getting all worked up. I’m not gonna sleep. It’s okay. Anyway.

That’s it as usual. God is freaky good even though things are freaky difficult. I asked Him to keep the encouragement coming and He hasn’t stopped. And he keeps on surprising me the way He uses unexpected people in my life.

Before I left today, Mary grabbed my hands and looked me in the eyes and told me she would always be here for me if I ever needed anything. “Seriously, use me,” she said, “I don’t think it’s a coincidence we got this chance to reconnect.”

I don’t think so either. Jesus is much too sneaky for that.

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