Gordon-Conwell Blog

Imagine | Seminary Student Blogger

April 29, 2014

Kate Hightower

No light have I alone
It’s darkness that I tread
No hope to ever change that
Now that my Christ is dead.

For everyone heard the stories

Isaiah was never wrong
He told us that he’d suffer
He didn’t say how long.

But death has overcome him
I watched him breathe his last
And down came a thunderous storm of sorts—
Earth’s grief that He had passed.


Imagine our tear-streaked faces
Imagine how we fell-the-floor
When we lifted our eyes to see
Him simply cross through the door

The holes were in his hands
The edges even scabbed!
He didn’t have long to stay
But He told us of His plans

It was after that heaven took Him
The mission was complete
His instructions to us were simple
Tell everyone you meet.

We couldn’t help but tell them
Of wonders did this story tell
Of the Death-Master, Messiah-Jesus
Who for Love through darkness fell. 

Kate Hightower is writing to you from the middle of her Master of Divinity and Master of Arts in Christian Thought pursuit at Gordon-Conwell—Jacksonville, where she is also a Byington Scholar. She’s an avid Bob Dylan fan, and can always be counted upon for decadent French cooking. And she’s madly in love with her giant, brilliant golden retriever, Stella.

 

Tags: Author: Kate Hightower , current students , student blogger

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Spring Morning | Seminary Student Blogger

April 03, 2014

Kate Hightower

Thy glory fills the morning
Awake with spring’s gentle glow
Thy handiwork stirs around me
The birds sounding their know

Thy hands art strong and skillful
What detail they define
How I forget my life among it
That fault is ever mine

Thou promised thine presence beside me
As thou went into the sky
How often I forget this
When everything goes awry

So this morning I reachest to thee
I surrender my day anew
I sound this know around me
Thine love stands ever-true

The world will knowest how thou rescued
Me from my own darkest pit
My life a breathing testament
To thou and thine priceless gift 

Kate Hightower is writing to you from the middle of her Master of Divinity and Master of Arts in Christian Thought pursuit at Gordon-Conwell—Jacksonville, where she is also a Byington Scholar. She’s an avid Bob Dylan fan, and can always be counted upon for decadent French cooking. And she’s madly in love with her giant, brilliant golden retriever, Stella.

 

Tags: Author: Kate Hightower , current students , student blogger

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A Revelation | Seminary Student Blogger

March 11, 2014

Kate Hightower

I stood in the storm abounding
My eyes feeble in my head
I couldn’t see for miles
My lungs exhaled my dread.

But on a cloud I saw You
Light shattering the dark
My reach seemed weak and lonely
Weren’t the spark inside my heart.

Reaching for You helps me
Reminds me when You first chose me.
It ceases every question
Of the way You’d have me be.

And time and time again,
Those seven stars You relent
To free Your hand to find me
No time at all You spent.

So tonight I wait to see You
I watch the cloud that will bare You hence.
I reach my hands above me.
For Your love
So vast…

…Immense. 

Kate Hightower is writing to you from the middle of her Master of Divinity and Master of Arts in Christian Thought pursuit at Gordon-Conwell—Jacksonville, where she is also a Byington Scholar. She’s an avid Bob Dylan fan, and can always be counted upon for decadent French cooking. And she’s madly in love with her giant, brilliant golden retriever, Stella.

 

Tags: Author: Kate Hightower , spiritually vital , student blogger

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A Divine Elbow Moment | Seminary Student Blogger

February 13, 2014

Kate Hightower

I don’t know that I will forget the first time she crossed the length of my doorway as she passed through the hall. Aside from being an exquisitely beautiful woman, her presence radiated into my office for those few seconds as she went by. At the Jacksonville campus, we share our space with multiple ministries. She runs her own counseling practice, and she’s trying to get her dream non-profit off the ground. That non-profit wants to build a living space to rehabilitate victims of sex-trafficking. Florida is ranked third in the nation for the level of sex-trafficking that goes on, so it’s a real need, but a brave one. Especially because hardly anyone around here knows about it, even with the high ranking of prevalence.

I got all that information second-hand, naturally. I know that when most people are in this position, they’d probably introduce themselves. Me? I’m shyer than I look. Instead, I passed by her office for the next few months when her door was open. The cow-skin rug didn’t surprise me. I figured she was bold, knowing what she did and wanted to do. This was in addition to the fact that she was one of those rare tall people who walked with perfect posture, showing no signs of being the rest of us tall weirdoes who simply want to blend in with the rest of humanity.

One day, I had this feeling that I was getting a little ridiculous about putting off meeting her. Clearly, there was something about her that I needed to know. Long-story short, that Divine Elbow in my ribs was starting to wear out the skin underneath it. I finally knocked on her door. But because I had built it up to the point of crazy, I probably couldn’t recount what was said in our conversation if you asked. Somehow, we began meeting for Bible study. Due to some messy church experiences, I had grown cynical and weary about women in church leadership, so words will not adequately describe the gravity of me continuing to walk into her office for the next few weeks without blinking. How we had honest, real conversations about my calling and what seminary was doing to my insides. How when she said things about God and my spiritual life, I actually believed her.

The weeks to come brought healing on multiple levels through our relationship. Healing in places for me that I assumed would just stay broken as part of my past. She was an easy ask to fulfill the two-year Mentored Ministry mentor requirement for my M.Div. To my surprise, she was actually excited and honored that I would ask her. She read the entire Mentored Ministry manual, cover to cover, all 80 pages. And it was only the beginning. She has now become an example, an inspiration, and the most exquisite and perfectly tailored Spiritual Mom I could have ever asked for.

I couldn’t ever have told you that God would bless me with all of that just for taking a step and tapping my hand to a door that day. I never understood what people meant when they talked about how God sometimes really does “bless” us through our obedience. I took one step, knocked three times and it utterly changed the trajectory of my life.

We really do worship such a tremendous God. The immensity of healing being in his very “wings” has never been more alive to me than now. I never would have guessed that this was what I needed to get back on track, or even come alive...

…but he knows me so much better. 

Kate Hightower is writing to you from the middle of her Master of Divinity and Master of Arts in Christian Thought pursuit at Gordon-Conwell—Jacksonville, where she is also a Byington Scholar. She’s an avid Bob Dylan fan, and can always be counted upon for decadent French cooking. And she’s madly in love with her giant, brilliant golden retriever, Stella.

 

Tags: Author: Kate Hightower , spiritually vital , student blogger

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Target Practice | Seminary Student Blogger

December 10, 2013

Kate Hightower

We had 25 people at my parents’ house for Thanksgiving. Seventeen of my Kentucky relatives converged on Ocala, Florida, and packed the place with the bustle of the holidays that I know too well. Rich southern drawls echoed the halls of my childhood, guitar jam sessions on the porch, and food for days stretched the extent of the weekend. One night, after a day of the merriment, I was laying in my bed, almost asleep, when my eyes fell on my longbow hanging on the wall beside my bed. My mind started to race with the glisten of fascination that had been lying dormant for so many years. I love archery. Before I went off to college, I spent hours in a hunting shop that housed a full-blown archery range and tore their targets to pieces.

I never hunted anything. For me, the gold was never in the kill, but in the art of the process. Archery always seemed really straightforward to me. But it wasn’t until I really got into it, that I discovered that it’s a pretty complex and takes a boat-load of practice to master. The primal, earthy wonder of it seemed even deeper than that. So the next day, I decided to wake my longbow from its slumber and see if I could put words to it.

My family spends the day after Thanksgiving as far away from the Black Friday melee as humanly possible. We do some fishing. We make sugar cane syrup. The men go hunting. I slipped off on my own for a little while and set up my target. The early morning quiet was a welcome to my ringing ears as the only noise seemed to be far off-voices and the dew’s soft brush against my boots. I laced up my finger guards and set an arrow to the string on my longbow. I pulled back slowly and took aim. I was pleased to feel the muscle memory spill through my arms as I took my first shot. The seductive pang of the string sent the arrow soaring smoothly through the air and thwacked just off center on my target.

I set another arrow and took aim. It was then in the seconds before I’d release the string that I discovered it: the magic of this sport that touched me so deeply.

Balancing your grip on the bow and the pull of the string is a lot to ask of your arms, so taking aim can’t be a long process or you’ll sacrifice the accuracy of the shot. In that moment when the string is back, there are still so many things that could go wrong. One last-second pull on the bow upon release could destroy the aim you worked so hard for. Any subtle motion, or quick glance elsewhere could make you lose your line of sight and send the arrow off course. For success, you must ask your entire body to focus in silence and stillness. There’s an unspeakable vulnerability here, one that, through a few stormy years of my life, shelved something I loved because it asked for just that.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve stood in the middle of my life, even at its most chaotic points, and cried out to God with little hope that He’d answer. I almost grew defensive with the idea that I would need to make any steps toward Him. That He could actually bother to ask me to do something in order to get to Him, like read His word or pray. My aim didn’t go any further than the length of my own nose. I wanted God to satisfy what I needed for what I wanted without surrendering myself to Him or His will at all. And since I knew He could do it, I’d get mad when He didn’t. He wasn’t my target. I was my target. And it was pulling me further and further away from Him.

It wasn’t long before He took me down. The next thing I knew, I was flat on my face before His transcendence. That transcendence only furthered by the glory of what it means to have Him as my focus. Because it’s in that moment, when the arrow is set and the string is back, it’s not MY strength or the soundness of MY aim that I’m leaning into.
It’s His. And He never misses.

Kate Hightower is writing to you from the middle of her Master of Divinity and Master of Arts in Christian Thought pursuit at Gordon-Conwell—Jacksonville, where she is also a Byington Scholar. She’s an avid Bob Dylan fan, and can always be counted upon for decadent French cooking. And she’s madly in love with her giant, brilliant golden retriever, Stella.

Tags: Author: Kate Hightower , current students , student blogger

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Your Voice | Seminary Student Blogger

November 07, 2013

Kate Hightower

Struck hard
Lost
In the pitch of night
No room
For a breath
Too close
For fright

Just constant
Motion
To no where in sight
Alone and angry
My purposes run dry

A confession, a surrender
A gasp, a sigh

Stars blister the night
Making dazzled way
For beaming moonlight
The grip to relent

Strength surge to my limbs
Curl into a dance
A symphony calls further
Shatters my trance

And
Then
Your
Voice

“Arise,” say Your eyes.
“Come forth here and stay.”

A gasp, a surrender,
A declaration of tearful reply:

“You are the God who sees.”
And I bathe free in Your delight.

Kate Hightower is writing to you from the middle of her Master of Divinity and Master of Arts in Christian Thought pursuit at Gordon-Conwell—Jacksonville, where she is also a Byington Scholar. She’s an avid Bob Dylan fan, and can always be counted upon for decadent French cooking. And she’s madly in love with her giant, brilliant golden retriever, Stella.

Tags: Author: Kate Hightower , spiritually vital , student blogger

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A Goodly Day | Seminary Student Blogger

October 08, 2013

Kate Hightower

I am ever in a sea of darkness
Death is always close at hand
And I’ve only lived to serve it,
It’s wish been my demand.
But still Thy whisper entices
My King on High bethroned.
No more my own devices
Now only Thine I know.

Today Thy glory shines.
Today enshrined in Thy state
Thy Mission of Love accomplished
Now we’re only left to wait.

Three days hence you set your promise
In three days the blood washed clean
We praise Thy victory forever
And from death
At last
I’m free.

No more my shroud of darkness
I am now bathed in Thy light.
To Thee my all and always
My One
My Lord
My Christ.

Kate Hightower is writing to you from the middle of her Master of Divinity and Master of Arts in Christian Thought pursuit at Gordon-Conwell—Jacksonville, where she is also a Byington Scholar. She’s an avid Bob Dylan fan, and can always be counted upon for decadent French cooking. And she’s madly in love with her giant, brilliant golden retriever, Stella.

 

 

 

Tags: Author: Kate Hightower , spiritually vital , student blogger , thoughtfully evangelical

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For the Love of a Father | Seminary Student Blogger

September 12, 2013

Kate Hightower

This past Sunday, I took a trip across the Intracoastal to one of my favorite spots on the planet. There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t wish I still lived in Atlantic Beach, and the season’s turn to fall makes the nostalgia all the worse. But this particular day, I took the trip for a very different reason than “I wanted to feel at home.”

You see, one of my favorite things about Atlantic Beach is that it’s the best of both worlds: lush, loamy trees and greenery stand only a few short steps away from endless ocean. I have a little nook that gives me a view of both. Both can be counted upon to kindly remind me how small I really am.

It’s always an appropriate posture to be in before the God who is bigger than time. But that day, it was especially so. I took up space on the corner of the deck of the place I used to live and took a deep, full breath of the morning. I needed Him to know I was there, open and willing to listen. I needed Him to know I was ready to be small again. Clearly after the weekend, I had forgotten Who was in charge of this deal and He had been quick to remind me.

It came unexpectedly, despite the fact that I can look back through the past few weeks and see where I had been ignoring His leanings on things that would come up and pushing Him to the side of an extremely busy schedule. It truly is amazing how naïve we can be when he finally shuts us down to get our attention. It’s almost like we shrug our shoulders—“What? What are You so mad about? I have no idea where this is coming from.”

Call it bricks. Call it lightening. Whatever it was, it nailed me in the middle of one of our back, less populated hallways here on campus as I was in route to class. Suddenly, He was there. His presence was so tangible that I actually stopped walking completely. It was with divine clarity that the situation at hand was thrust before my eyes. Everything stopped.

You’ve been ignoring Me. You’ve been ignoring this. And here are all the ways that it is hurting you. You will stop.

I can’t describe what it was like to face what He wanted to show me. It was ugly. The details aren’t important to my point. My point is I denied Him. I got busy, I got complacent, and I took Him out of the picture because I didn’t like what He said. I committed the ultimate no-no: I “relied on my own understanding.” And the Sunday afterward, I gave it to Him straight:

I’m soooooo sorry.

I’ve been a believer a long time. I’ve heard things and know things about God’s discipline of His children. I’ve heard us try to understand it and make it easier for non-believers and new believers to swallow. The fact is we do them a great disservice in this. God’s discipline is sometimes bone crushing, and that fact is something we’re often shy about.

But His Word is quick to bring us back to reality. If you scour the texts on “discipline,” it’s almost overwhelming how many times it’s brought up. Now, it’s nice to know we aren’t alone in our experience of God finally taking us to task on something. But they’re quick to tell us not to ignore it. They’re also quick to tell us something far more powerful.

It’s from His love. He disciplines from His immense and immeasurable love for us.

Solomon says we’d be stupid to ignore His correction. I’ll tell you we’d be stupid to ignore the leanings that lead to a correction.

I thought about all of this as I sat and stretched my gaze into the horizon. They say His affection for us stretches more than the depth and expanse of the ocean. I was trying to swallow that unfathomable truth…

It’s just...so...much.

Kate Hightower is writing to you from the middle of her Master of Divinity and Master of Arts in Christian Thought pursuit at Gordon-Conwell—Jacksonville, where she is also a Byington Scholar. She’s an avid Bob Dylan fan, and can always be counted upon for decadent French cooking. And she’s madly in love with her giant, brilliant golden retriever, Stella.

Tags: Author: Kate Hightower , current students , student blogger , thoughtfully evangelical

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Among Us | Seminary Student Blogger

April 02, 2013

Kate Hightower 

We watched Thee here among us
Tender hands and thunderous eyes
Healed our every darkness
Which brought Thee to demise.

Thou spotless lamb among us
No wrong committed thus
We watched Thee hang and die there
So lost upon the cross.

The Father from above us
Was pleased to have Thee crushed
For me to breath eternal
And turn my accusers hushed.

Thou gracious Christ among us
Oh what joy when Thou rose
What glorious Death begotten
Defeat brought to Thy foes.

Hail Eternal King inside us
Breathing life into our bones
We’ll sing Thy song forever
No more our sorrow moans.

Kate Hightower is writing to you in the midst of her Master of Divinity pursuit at Gordon-Conwell—Jacksonville where she is also a Byington Scholar. She is a debilitatingly right-brained, born-in-the-wrong-century, introspective pseudo-nerd with passions that range anywhere from writing, to French cooking to Bob Dylan. These days she resides in Jacksonville with one mental foot in the GCTS Library downtown, and the other is beach-side with her Golden Retriever, Stella… the world's first dog superhero.

Tags: Author: Kate Hightower , biblically-grounded , spiritually vital , student blogger , thoughtfully evangelical

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Caught | Seminary Student Blogger

March 05, 2013

Kate Hightower

He knew she was coming. He had been waiting around the city for it.

He could see them, somewhere in the back of His mind’s eye. Dragging her from her bed, knocking down the faceless man who would pick up his clothes and run from the rage of all of the city’s religious leaders and the mob they gathered. She watched him escape in the midst of the chaos with nothing left but the silver he came with. The feigned intimacy of the night before shattered in a moment like the breaking of glass.

She would die for it.

They yelled this as they drug her through the city, screaming obscenities and brandishing the stones of the Holy Law that they knew so well but didn’t quite understand.

He understood, though. He was there when it was written.

They shoved her ahead of them as they went, kicking her body now heavy with waves of terror, shame and despair shooting through her veins. They picked her back up again, their fingers digging into her soft, feminine skin barely clothed from the sin that now marked her. The sin that dehumanized her to no higher than some kind of diseased animal. The stones pounded her, brutal with the hatred of the force that bore them. They laughed as she cried out in agony, her blood staining the stone’s surfaces.

They were getting closer. He could hear them now. Just as He knew, they were bringing her to Him.

“Teacher!” they cried. “This woman has been caught in adultery, in the very act. Now in the Law, Moses commanded us to stone such women; what then do You say?”

It was a test. One He wasn’t blind to. Suddenly, His body grew heavy with the weight of the Mission. They could not imagine an eternity away from Their beloved creation, no matter how twisted with darkness it had become. He bent and drew in the sand before Him. Only His death would save them now... from everything and from themselves all at once.

Breaking His reverie, the mob persisted in their questioning. She watched Him, trembling and bleeding, waiting for His answer.

He stood, frustrated with their lack of understanding. The weight of the balance of the universe crushing His shoulders. It wasn’t just her, the obvious indiscretion. It was all of them. But there was only one truth in the midst of it...

He never wanted to be without them.

“He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.”

His words carried over the scene, laden with His thoughts and with His purpose. He bent again to the words in the sand he had left.

They dropped her before them. She crouched low and covered her head, the sound of the stones falling aimlessly out of the hands behind her filled her ears, echoing in her chest.

They left her there and dispersed.

He stood and watched her for a moment, remembering well the expanse of the life still trembling in front of Him, and the hopelessness that led her to this point.

“Woman,” he said. “Where are they? Did no one condemn you?”

Her eyes met His and she shook her head. “No one, Lord.”

“I do not condemn you either,” He told her as He offered His hand that would soon be scarred with a nail that would save them all.

Kate Hightower is writing to you in the midst of her Master of Divinity pursuit at Gordon-Conwell—Jacksonville where she is also a Byington Scholar. She is a debilitatingly right-brained, born-in-the-wrong-century, introspective pseudo-nerd with passions that range anywhere from writing, to French cooking to Bob Dylan. These days she resides in Jacksonville with one mental foot in the GCTS Library downtown, and the other is beach-side with her Golden Retriever, Stella… the world's first dog superhero.

 

Tags: Author: Kate Hightower , biblically-grounded , equipping leaders for the church and society , student blogger , thoughtfully evangelical

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A stunning re-telling of a beautiful story. The Holy wisdom and pure compassion of the Savior brought to life.
Mary Shelton 9:10AM 03/06/13

A State of Being: Unique | Seminary Student Blogger

February 12, 2013

Kate Hightower

I will never forget the first time I visited Greenwich Village in New York City. It’s got a ragged heartbeat that pounds beneath the street and vibrates up through your feet. Whispers of revolutions long-past carry through the breezes amongst the essence of fresh bread from that one bakery on Bleecker Street. Art was everywhere and in everyone I passed. At 21, I had never seen anything like it. Nor had I ever felt more at home. It was in one of the first few years that I really started to get into Bob Dylan that I was fortunate enough to visit the place that launched him into the world.

I love Bob Dylan.

He’s a restless, wandering genius. He’ll tell you that straight to your face, too. He’ll tell you there’s no one like him. He’ll tell you he was born in the wrong place, at the wrong time, and he is simply a traveling troubadour, fulfilling his destiny before God takes him.

I swallowed this notion whole at a ripe age of 21. So fast that I didn’t even have a chance to see what it was that I’d be digesting. It has been dormant for years, suppressed by methods of my own design. But now, thanks to God’s skillful hand, this notion is beginning to take root somewhere in my soul. It holds up a mirror to my face as it begins to spread throughout my blood stream, it beats wildly, stunning me into a silence I recognize as an old friend, and yet someone I fear with all of my existence. Like a place I could never seem to find, but where I should have been all along. Someone or someplace that was robbed from me early, and I kept trying to get back to.

We’re all just trying to get home, to the house of our Father and bring as many people with us as we can.

As for Bob Dylan, he affected me so much so, that I feel better about the world knowing that he’s out there somewhere doing his thing, still existing, and still fascinating the masses. He’s like a giant, purple ink stain on art history. Even though his music is an acquired taste for most, he still manages to make everybody think. He’s mysterious enough to really make you scratch your head and wonder what he’s up to.

At 21, God used the musings of a legendary musician to show me it’s cool if you’re a little bit different than what everyone thinks you should be. For me, it’s been a life-long battle to finally accept who I was and stop trying to be everyone else. Now, I’m finally starting to really understand what that means.

We should always be making people think. We should all always be a little bit different.

I may still be enamored with the Old Testament, but in the name YHWH, God wasn’t messing around with the details. He told Israel exactly who he was in that name, and therefore painting a glorious picture for us. God’s presence in the name YHWH carries beautifully throughout the rest of the Old Testament when suddenly in a flash of Divine brilliance, it’s incarnated into a Man. The God-Man walked the earth and did the unthinkable...
...he died
...and came back.
...for love.

The world, to this day, really doesn’t know what to do with that. The only thing they have to go on is us. And we, as his followers, are charged with the task of reflecting the weight of that unspeakable magnitude.

We’re all supposed to be a little bit different.

Kate Hightower is writing to you in the midst of her Master of Divinity pursuit at Gordon-Conwell—Jacksonville where she is also a Byington Scholar. She is a debilitatingly right-brained, born-in-the-wrong-century, introspective pseudo-nerd with passions that range anywhere from writing, to French cooking to Bob Dylan. These days she resides in Jacksonville with one mental foot in the GCTS Library downtown, and the other is beach-side with her Golden Retriever, Stella… the world's first dog superhero.

Tags: Author: Kate Hightower , student blogger , thoughtfully evangelical

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Wow! Well thought out, well said ( very well said ) great message. So proud of you. Love you
Scarlett2050@gmail.com 2:24PM 02/14/13

Thoughts on Growing Pains | Seminary Student Blogger

December 04, 2012

Kate Hightower

When I saw it on Hotpads.com, I couldn’t believe it. I knew it was a gamble trying to find something in Atlantic Beach, Florida. But sure enough, there it was. On the higher range of the budget my best friend Alyssa and I agreed was appropriate for two college kids, but within our budget none-the-less. It was a lone listing, nothing around it on the map of places I was searching frantically in after God dealt me a hand in Orlando that I almost couldn’t handle. I drove two hours north to see if it was real, to look at the inside to make sure I wasn’t dreaming. It was a beautiful little town home, tucked in about two miles north from the main drag in a community filled with mostly retirees and new families. The community property itself sat right on the ocean. I was stunned. It was as if He knew I would need a place to pace, to wrap my head around the unwelcome and unbidden storm that chased me there.

I don’t know if you’ve ever seen it, but Atlantic Beach comes second only to the incomparable Paris in my book. It’s lush, loamy and green beyond the cool of the sand dunes and the immense stretch of ocean. But beyond that, there’s a deep richness abiding steadily there beneath the beat of the waves. This timeless quality of the atmosphere filled my journals and jarred me with creativity. I would go to sleep at night with my windows open, listening to the roar of the waves and breathing in the remnants of a nearby cookout mixed with the Jasmine vines in full bloom.

This house quickly became my home. The kind of home feeling that sticks to your ribs. It became that for a lot of 20-somethings around the area; given that I had recently discovered a long-dormant love for cooking, we could always be counted upon for a day at the beach, dinner and a midnight hang out around a fire pit in the back with laughter, wine and S’mores abounding. I wasn’t blind to the romance in it. There is no other way I would have preferred spending my mid-twenties. It was those nights that I felt, in full, the vitality of my youth pounding in my veins.

After three years, though, we had to move. God moved us both onward, closer to the seminary, closer to work. I obeyed with a burdened heart. So burdened that Alyssa, myself, and our friends would frequent the private beach access up there long after we left as if it wasn’t over. Savoring the memories. Like it was still ours.

It was. Until that one morning I decided to take my dog down to the beach for a walk, and the private beach access gate was closed and boasting a shiny, new lock system with a combination one couldn’t begin to take a guess at. It ended there. It had ended in a flash, like a brilliant shooting star that had broken the gluey darkness with monumental, momentary glory. I stood there, watching the ocean on the other side, surrounded in darkness once more.

I turned then, loaded Stella back in the car, and made the long drive back to the apartment.

I couldn’t deny God here. The whole, “closes a door, opens a window” cliché seemed appropriate after facing the locked gate. He can always be counted upon for many things, but in this moment it was a staunch reminder of two in particular. One: He truly is the great Provider. Sometimes there are beautiful, splendid blessings. Blessings that come exactly as you need them, when you need them most. For me, that little house was a refuge in those formative years of your early-to-mid-twenties. I needed a place, right then, where I could shake my fist, kick my feet, praise, extol, cry and adore Him as I grew and experienced my life. His presence was palpable in that place. But there was a time when it had to end, which led me to my final thought. He always keeps us moving to remind us we are constantly capable of more than we think. The closed gate was an open door to the rest of the possibility in my life that I am too tiny and insignificant to pretend to comprehend.

While the holidays are the hardest time to be away from the little beach bungalow, it is undeniable in me how true He is to what He says. How He promises He sticks with us. How I have true proof that no matter how far away He felt sometimes, He never, ever left.

And as for any lingering homesickness or anxiety about the future, His shoulders are broad. His arms are outstretched. His fingers counting the time to the next step in His plan when He can show me more of His wonders again.

Kate Hightower is writing to you in the midst of her Master of Divinity pursuit at Gordon-Conwell—Jacksonville where she is also a Byington Scholar. She is a debilitatingly right-brained, born-in-the-wrong-century, introspective pseudo-nerd with passions that range anywhere from writing, to French cooking to Bob Dylan. These days she resides in Jacksonville with one mental foot in the GCTS Library downtown, and the other is beach-side with her Golden Retriever, Stella… the world's first dog superhero.

Tags: Author: Kate Hightower , student blogger , thoughtfully evangelical

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COMMENTS

Beautifully written Very relatable
Mary Shelton 12:33PM 12/05/12

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