Pieces of Hope

Hey friends, what’s good?! My name is Anna Rose Corell, and I’ll be a senior in a few weeks (what!). Three years ago I found Wesley on Instagram before my freshman year started, and even as I scrolled through their account, the Holy Spirit whispered to me that this was good. That this place, and these people, were good. Here we are three years later, and it’s been a little better than good, I’d have to say. But I will add—I never imagined a global pandemic in the mix. That’s not something I added to my list of “best ways to conclude my SMU experience.”

We’ve been in this for a while now. We’re in this strange phase of the pandemic where we’re not as phased by things changing anymore, because they have almost every day for five months. At this point, we’re kind of used to wearing masks and being disappointed as yet another event, program, conference, class, or experience takes a forced field trip to Zoom University.

I don’t know about you, but I’m tired. I’m weary at the thought of another day in the unknown, let alone an entire school year. I’m tired of waiting for information, tired of being disappointed, and tired of having to manage my expectations like it’s my day job (that of which I don’t have right now, thanks to ‘Rona). It seems like every time I think things will feel a little more “normal” once school starts, I’m reminded that everything I’ve known up to this point will be flipped upside down. Although it’s my senior year, I’m in the same boat as the freshmen in a lot of ways. We are all walking into new territory here.

Whenever I get an official email from a professor, the university, or an organization, I kind of chuckle to myself. “Oh great, another piece of the 1,000,000 piece puzzle called 2020. Another fragment of information that’s clear enough to remind me nothing is normal, but vague enough to avoid telling me what I can expect.” I was getting into my car last weekend when one of these emails rolled in from a professor. He asked my class how we wanted to approach the virtual learning situation. I filled out his attached survey, sighed, and turned on my July 2020 playlist.

I go through phases with worship songs where I’ll listen to one nonstop, and then I’ll be so sick of it that I won’t want to listen to it for ten years (I’ll let you know when “King of My Heart” comes back in the queue… my sophomore year kind of burnt that one out). Currently, it’s “Pieces” by Bethel Music and Stephany Gretzinger. It played in my car last weekend as I rode yet another wave of grief and change, and it’s been playing ever since.

For whatever reason, it no longer feels appropriate to start my day without hearing this song at least 10 times. I mean that quite literally—I tell Alexa to get this song blasting before my feet touch the ground. It seems silly, I know, but here’s the thing.

In a world when we don’t know what will happen in the next month, let alone the next day, I need—​ with a capital N—to hear the truth. In a world where our information comes in bits and pieces, where the boards and deans and presidents of all kinds release updated plans in two sentence increments, I need to be reminded that there is more. I need to know that God is more than all of this, and that He promises more too.

He does not give himself to us in pieces. He’s not hiding himself from us or trying to play a twisted game of hide and seek. Especially in a season where many of us are broken down and weary, He wants us to know that we have access to Him around the clock. We are His children every single morning we wake up and every single night we go to sleep, pandemic or not. He leaves a wake of love and devotion everywhere He goes, especially as He’s chasing us—which is 24/7/365, by the way. Those are some big waves.

No matter what information we have about the fall, here’s what we do know right now: God loves us. Dearly. And we get all of Him, right this very second, if we’re willing to look to Him. If we’re brave enough to look to His bright, beautiful face and ask for strength, peace, guidance—whatever we need—He will not disappoint us. He hears His childrens’ cries, and He will never leave us hanging. We get His whole heart and all of His promises right now—not someday, not bit by bit in a vague email, not once things are “normal.” We don’t have to wait for a leader to make an announcement or a scientist to find a vaccine. He’s not withholding any information about His feelings for us today, and He won’t do that tomorrow, either. It’s up to us to look to Him. To seek Him out and lift our voices to the One who always hears us and will never give us a fragment of hope. Instead, He gives us the Cross.

As your friend, I want to step beside you and encourage you, wherever you are, however you’re doing:

Things are hard. Things are messy and unknown and sad and frustrating and all of the things. Life and school this fall will be so different than we had once hoped. We are not through this yet. And as we link arms (metaphorically, of course) and bravely walk into the battle that is Fall 2020, we don’t have to muster up the strength to do it on our own. We don’t have to wait for hope, because our Father paid a high price to make sure that we would each have that today. And not just a piece of it. We have it all—we have His whole heart. We have all the hope we could ever need, because we have His son, who came to save you and to save me. And I don’t know about you, but I can handle another day when I remember that.

I hope this song becomes something special for you, and I hope that you are reminded how much God loves you and would do anything for you to know it. If you need anything at all—a pep talk, a listening ear, a corny joke (I’m from Iowa, I can’t help it)—please, please, please reach out! I’d love to do life with you. We’re in this together.

“Pieces” // Bethel Music & Stephany Gretzinger

-Anna Rose

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