Passion 2017 brought Christine Caine, Louie Giglio, John Piper, Beth Moore, Levi Lusko, Francis Chan, Kathrine and Jay Wolf, Hillsong United, Crowder, and many more to Atlanta, Georgia for a whirlwind experience. With over 55,000 college students and leaders gathered under the Georgia Dome, God’s presence was palpable. (For more info on passion, visit their site.)

If you know me well, you know I’m the most awkward person ever- a semi-outgoing introvert. I long desperately to be able to speak without second guessing every word I say. I like meeting people, but I’m horrible with small talk. In groups I quietly take everything in. One on one I can speak up and get to know someone, but stick me in a room with thousands of people, I am self-conscious city.

Because of this Passion 2017 was a huge challenge for me. I bought my ticket early and friends ended up not being able to join me.  That left me alone. Going to a huge conference. Alone. Did I mention I’d be alone?

I was so proud of myself for Uber Pooling to the Dome and meeting some awesome girls the first night. I sat with them during Christine Caine’s message (which was 1.put down now 2. start right now 3. look up now). Every time I found a new seat and met new people without being awkward. Success!

Each session the speakers dove straight into the word. As usual, I found a common theme weaving through the messages. With God we can have hope and endurance even through uncertain or painful circumstances. In this life we will have trials. We can embrace our pain and see each unique situation or struggle as a blessing. In each struggle, if we allow God to mold us and teach us, we become more like him and bring Him glory in the process. (To hear the sessions for yourself you can get the all access digital download here.

I didn’t have to wait long to put this new knowledge into practice. It’s almost as if I serve an all-knowing God that knew how to prepare me for what lay ahead of me. (And well, you know… I do.)

I won’t go into details, but within five hours of leaving Passion 2017 I was given two disappointing pieces of news. I felt like the carpet had been ripped out from under my feet. But the funny thing was and is… I’m okay. Neither situation was handled in what I would consider to be a respectful way, but I’m fine. I will be okay and I am currently okay.

Then I came home to find my In the Wait Bible study had arrived.  This year might not be going how I had thought, but as it says in Proverbs 16:9, “A man’s heart plans his way, but the LORD determines his steps.

God knows my every need, my heart’s desires, and my future. “He who began a good work in me will carry it on until the day of completion in Christ.” (Philippians 1:6) This year has a lot in store. A lot of growing closer to God, taking this walk day by day. A lot of prayer and expectation. 

My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness. I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly trust in Jesus’ name. 

“My Hope is Built on Nothing Less” by Edward Mote, 1797-1874

God’s got this. And I’m excited to be with Him. 

My anthem for 2017: