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A Night Light in the Car

Displaying FullSizeRender.jpgThis picture from Timehop flashed across my phone screen this morning and I remembered.

I remembered how it felt to leave my home, my family, my friends, my church and move four hours away from everything familiar to me.

I remembered walking into a big University feeling so small.

The dorm was full of chatty girls, giddier than ever to be out of the house and free to do whatever they wanted to. I remember feeling surrounded by people, yet so alone.

I dreaded the weekends.
I didn’t want to go to parties and I didn’t have a big group of friends I was used to having at home. Plus, I lived in a tiny New Mexican town called Portales where there’s nothing to do except watch cows. (Kidding. Sort of.) I would always pray: “Pleeease God. Will you bring me some people to hang out with this weekend?”

This picture was taken on a Friday night– and where was I?

In my car.
With a night light.
And my journal.
BALLING in the parking lot.

This particular night, I was DONE with this being uncomfortable crap.
I missed home. I felt so alone. I needed to lose it, but you can’t lose it in front of your new roommate that you just barely met. There’s not a ton of privacy in the dorms, so I grabbed my night light off the wall and went to my car and started yelling.

“God, I am so miserable. I’m alone. I feel like the biggest baby in the universe because I suck at change SO much. AND! Here I am on  a Friday night, by myself, in my CAR crying like a baby. I feel absolutely ridiculous. I am aching for some comfort and I need you so bad. I cannot stand this.”

As I fell apart, He met me in my loneliness, in my car, with my night light illuminating the pages of my tear-stained journal. I never experienced the company and friendship of God like I did this night and many other nights that followed. (Don’t worry, I eventually stopped spending Friday nights in my car.)

He became my company when I had little. He satisfied my longing for friendship when I was lonely. He filled my heart with the joy of His presence when I was so homesick. It’s incredible how some of the most genuine encounters with God come out of times where you just want to crawl out of your skin and be somewhere else–be someone else. In our deepest desperation, He is faithful to be all that we need and so much more.

I look back on those first few weeks of my freshman year of college and I laugh because I feel so pathetic for completely falling apart. But, the most beautiful thing I experienced that year was knowing that God went with me wherever I went. I never knew how close He could get until I needed and craved His nearness with all that I was. I think this was the perfect way to start out life on my own–totally desperate and pathetic. I was ridiculously needy and dependent on God’s word and spending time with Him. This rough beginning allowed me to see that my walk with God was so much more intimate when I had no other choice but to need Him.

This was a sweet reminder to see today and remember that it’s a beautiful thing to be totally dependent on God; even if the reason for desperation is downright ridiculous or if it’s 100% legitimate. Although these times can feel like the lowest of the lows, I’ve learned that complete dependency often leads to the greatest moments of intimacy.

P.S.
** Weeks later I eventually made some great friends and they kept me from hanging out in my car on Friday nights and made me do fun things.
It was great.
Thank you friends! I miss you!*

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4 thoughts on “A Night Light in the Car

  1. What a beautiful testimony of God’s faithfulness during those often difficult, early college years. I know that many young people have had the very same experience and will be blessed by this beautiful post! Keep on writing!

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  2. Beautiful writing, Kaitlin! The lonely season is a hard one. How great to know that Jesus longs to be our best friend and will allow the loniness so we can experience His fulfilling presence. Sounds like that is exactly what happened to you 😉

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  3. Great piece! I had a (actually many but this specific one) lonely Friday night. I sat on the grass underneath my parent’s driveway light and taught myself how to wolf whistle. This skill helped me “call” my kids out of the woods, got their attention in crowds, and helps me get a crowd to stop talking.

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