Last Tuesday night myself and two handfuls of ladies closed our workbooks on a 10-week summer Bible study – To Live Is Christ. As every study I’ve ever done has gone, God took me down roads I did not expect, could not have planned, and would never trade. We followed the life of Paul through his young life, to his life as a zealous Pharisee, to his unforgettable encounter with Christ on the road to Damascus, and onto his life in Christ and his glorifying death. I remember thinking as I was finishing up the last two days of work 1) I don’t want it to end, 2) Jesus, don’t let me be the same person I was before, and 3) He is worth it all.

As I close those pages and place them on a shelf, I am certain that my journey in His Word is truly only just beginning, that in true Jesus fashion, He will not leave anyone – including me – the same after being in His presence, and that yes, indeed, He is worth everything. There are many prayers I have prayed over the years, many verses of scriptures that I have highlighted and underlined and begged God to make a reality in my life, but this one – “For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain” – captures all of them.

When faced with the sting of harsh realities – For me to live is Christ.

When handed the joys of a new day with the people I love – For me to live is Christ.

When trials and sorrows are coming down on me like an unwelcome storm – For me to live is Christ.

When blessings and glorious experiences are flowing freely like an unstoppable waterfall – For me to live is Christ, and yet still, to die and be with Him is even better.

As I exhale after this 10-week journey with women I have come to love with my whole heart, I feel very much like I have returned from some amazing missions trip. Exhilarated. Excited. Energized. Exhausted. Passion aflame. Desiring more. Yet, finding myself crawling into DAD’s safe arms for some comfort, quiet, and rest. I about jumped into another big thing, when DAD held onto my arm and said, “Peace, be still.” With a grateful heart, I accepted His will and sat down with Him and a friend or two with coffee, a full heart, and some prayers. Ahh, living is so Christ! In Him, life is full of Truth, Beauty, Peace, Joy, Patience, Kindness, Grace, Gentleness, Self-Control, Goodness, Faithfulness, and Love. It is pure and holy and right. No one and nothing in all the world offers me life like You do; it’s always been You, Jesus.