Gulf Coast Getaway is an event for college students from different campuses around the U.S to get together. It is located in Panama City Beach, Florida. Throughout the weekend the students are immersed in the word of God and find that focus on Jesus that we all strive to maintain throughout our lives.
I have only been to this event twice, this being my second year and this year was definitely a different experience than last year. First of all, last year I don't entirely remember...I try not to because it was a painful time. But I do remember the overall feeling of last year compared to this year's trip.
This year was healing and eye-opening. There is something about being surrounded by God's beauty, people you love and singing that really puts a person in a great mood. All though this trip was healing I found myself challenged by the messages that were taught and really having to look at myself in a way I haven't for along time. Some where along the way I have lost my focus. The whole weekend was about Jesus. Focusing on Jesus. Not being distracted by phones or technology or drama...this is something I am not good at now. Randy Harris said in one of his teaching this weekend that the biggest detriment to our relationship with Jesus, more importantly our salvation, are the distractions in this world. He challenged everyone to be present. Think about what is happening now, in this moment.
Being present is something I have not wanted to do. I am always looking toward the future hoping for something better, for things to get better. Whether that would be a better relationship, a better opportunity or a better outlook.
I now realize that I need to get back. I need to refocus my eyes. I need to be present even if it is painful. I can't make my problems go away by using other things that just numb me. I am excited to get started on focusing on God and my relationship with him. And I am excited to start thinking better about myself and working on who God needs me to be so that I can do His kingdom work.
That is why we are all here.
This past weekend I decided to get a tattoo. I have been wanting another one for the longest time. But I had trouble thinking of something that would commemorate everything that has molded me into who I am today. I wanted the tattoo to be something that reminded me of Jeremy and something that reminded me that God is always near.
This is what I ended up getting.
These words speak volumes to what I want to remember on a daily basis. These are lyrics to Jeremy and I's favorite song. This song was sang on the day of his funeral. Deeperstill led it. Every time I look at the tattoo I remember the feelings I felt when I was standing in the church hands lifted, sobbing, praying and scared to death all at once. I remember thinking,
"God I feel You."
"You are here."
"You always will be."
"I don't know how we will all survive this but I will be still and know you are God."
I had never felt God that close than I had in that moment. I ache for that feeling of His arms around me, His presence surrounding me, His love renewing me. My tattoo is a reminder of that.
The weekend was great! Shared by great friends and new memories being formed at every turn and of course hilarious pictures! Some of which I want to share with you now, so ENJOY! :)
Such a blessed weekend...