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Note from Team LO: We are SO excited to bring you this month’s post from our LO sister member, Mahala Bradburn! If you want to be a part of this incredible community, you can join today and your your first week FREE! Find out more about this online sisterhood HERE. Now, enjoy today’s post from Mahala 🙂 

Dear Jesus,

I miss you, old friend.

When was the last time I called to catch up? March? January? It’s been far too long. Things have been crazy here in Nampa. I don’t know if you’ve heard or not, but there’s like a massive pandemic shutting down the entire world right now. Crazy, right? That’s what I thought. What’s worse, basically our whole spring volleyball season at Idaho State University got cancelled because of the virus. Can you believe that? It’s like the worst thing that could ever happen to me. How do people expect me to go about my life as if everything is fine when the thing I love the most has been taken away from me? On top of that, all my friends moved home while I was still in Pocatello (well, except for a handful, some of which couldn’t have cared less whether I was there or not). So not only do I no longer have volleyball, but I’m also utterly and completely alone. Let’s just say, the spring was not fun. With summer in my sights, I embarked on a sunny journey towards high hopes and new adventures… But that didn’t last long, as COVID only got worse, and the separation from my people was even more glaring than before. Sounds pretty awful I know, right? Oh well, I’ll get through it or something like that.

Oh shoot, it’s time for dinner. I feel bad, but I need to go eat. I’ll try to talk soon. Until next time.

Mahala

P.S. Oh, how are you? Sorry, I forgot to ask.

If your quiet time with Jesus was summed up in a letter, would yours write something like this? I know mine would, and I’m guilty.

No matter to what degree your world has been affected by COVID, we have all become bitter one way or another. It’s easy to be bitter when life isn’t going the way you want it to. I should probably have the word bitter tattooed in big letters on my forehead at this point. But there’s only so far bitter will take us. And even if we decide to journey with it for only a little while, it won’t take us in a good direction. In bitterness, we are moody. In bitterness, we are withdrawn. In bitterness, our hearts are hardened. Yet in bitterness, we desperately seek for someone to empathize with us; we crave connection. Does a moody, withdrawn, hard-hearted person achieve connection? It seems like a stupid question. So why do we tell ourselves the answer is yes? And then continue on the path to our destruction and wonder why we’re obliterated… We are going in the opposite direction of what we’re longing to achieve and wondering why we’re not getting any closer.

Friend, get off the train. Don’t wait for the next stop, flat out jump out the window. Bitterness is not the answer. Take it from someone who’s tried it the last four months. If it’s not COVID, it’s your relationship. If only he was cuter/smarter/taller, then we’d have the perfect relationship. If it’s not your relationship, it’s your job. I work my butt off (dare I say, harder than everyone else) and still go without recognition, promotion, or affirmation. There is always something to be bitter about.

Let’s live to a higher standard. Let’s be set apart as God has called us to be.

“Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, SET APART as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work.” 2 Timothy 2:21 (ESV)

Instead of being bitter, let’s surrender and let God be enough. Before this pandemic, if anyone were to come up to me and ask where my identity laid, I would’ve said in Jesus. I wouldn’t have admitted to having any idols in my life. As COVID wrecked everything I spent my time doing and poured my heart into, I realized I was left with nothing. At the end of the day, I was no one if I wasn’t a volleyball player, a student, a friend. This is not true. But it’s what I had grown to believe, and it took a worldwide pandemic to get me to open my eyes and realize it. How sad.

But the truth is, I am still a volleyball player, a student, a friend, and everything else even if those things no longer occupy a majority of my time each day. But most of all, I am a child of God. And most importantly, that was my true identity the whole time I was trying to find it in all those other things. While those worldly titles serve a purpose today but could be gone tomorrow or at any time, my identity as a Daughter of God never changes. It is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Just as Jesus is (Hebrews 13:8). What a hope we have in an ever-changing, unpredictable world!

As God speaks to me often through music, I can’t help but think of the lyrics to Branan Murphy’s song, “Enough:”

Reminiscing, missing how You captivate me

Lately, I’ve been wondering if I can make it…

Cause I think we lost who we are

In the times that we rise, the times that we fall…

When did You stop being enough for me?

When did You stop being enough?

Is Jesus enough for you? If not, what are you going to do about it? We’re in this together. After all, Jesus + nothing = everything (always).

Write Him a letter. He’d love to hear from you.

Mahala Bradburn is one of thousands of members of Sadie’s app, LO sister, and a student athlete at Idaho state university. She hopes to be a secondary math teacher along with a mental health counselor in the future. She loves to write, create, and help those around her have a happier life. She believes we all need some light in the darkness.

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Mahala Bradburn

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