Obedience. What a hard word for me. As I think back on my childhood, I vividly remember the times I got in trouble- not because they were often, but because I got in trouble most of the time for not doing something. You see, obedience has always been something I have struggled with. I always thought it was because my parents raised me to be an independent person and come up with thoughts and ways to fix things on my own. But when I started to walk with the Lord in middle school I noticed some tension in the way I handled situations. I often felt bothered or angry when someone would tell me to do something that I didn’t want to do. It wasn’t that I was trying to be completely disrespectful; I just wanted to do things my own way because I thought I knew what was best for me.
As I continue to look at major moments in my life over the past few years, I can see the Lord trying to pry my white knuckles off of control. I started to see this trend when I was making the transition from high school to college. I thought the best thing I could do after college was move 14 hours away from home and start a new life in a small, southern town. Thank God for praying parents that were full of wisdom and helped me to understand that moving to another state for college was not what the Lord was calling me to. I was devastated at first, but I knew that moving wasn’t what the Lord was asking me to do. When I finally let go of the idea of moving to Mississippi and obeyed the Lord with staying in Virginia, I began to see his blessings even clearer in my life.
A few of these blessings included growing closer to my family. You see, I always loved my parents and appreciated them as people (they were cool people, but they were my parents. Hello!) In high school I spent time with my family, but I was involved in classes, extracurricular activities, and spent most of my free time with my church youth group. But after high school ended and all of my friends left for college, my parents were really the only constant people in my life. I grew to love my parents so much more. I’m getting teary-eyed thinking about how amazing they are as I type this right now. My mom is just the sweetest, sassy woman who knows how to do everything (it seems) and gives my sisters and me majority of her time, talent and energy every day. My dad is my best friend to put it simply. He has taught me how to do things on my own and always knows when something is wrong with me, even when I’m t rying not to show that something is wrong. He’s smart, that man! Every blessing has come from the Lord, and these two are top blessings for me. ‘Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” James 1:17
Another blessing was being able to have one more year at home with my sisters. Man! I would give my life for those two. Madison is my middle sister. She was my little sidekick for twelve years. Madison is the peacekeeper. She is quiet, yet loves well and really cares about her family and friends. Then the Lord blessed our family with the sassiest child I have ever met, Natalie. Natalie was born a year after my family lost a close relative and she was the sunshine that we needed at that time. Since then, she is the little girl that makes me laugh hard and loves me even when I’m selfish and not the best sister. I’ll cherish the times I had that year still at home with them. I wouldn’t trade anything for the nights we all laid in my room together talking or watching movies. Or the times we spend praying together when life got tough. God has taught me so much by watching the two of them grow. I’m so glad that he gave me those times just because I was obedient and didn’t go away to Mississippi. *Sidenote- I want to point out that it is not a bad thing to go away for college. But, I knew that moving away was an opportunity for me to be defiant and selfish. Two qualities I didn’t need to grow in, but what I did need to grow in at that time was obedience. Let’s be real- I always need to grow in that. But my college decision was a perfect time for the Lord to exemplify his power and control over my life; and a perfect time for Him to show me how he guides us when we are obedient.
I completed my first semester of college at a community college in my hometown, but got into a horrible car accident 5 days before my second semester. I ended up with torn ligaments in my shoulder, an AC separation, a concussion, whiplash and amnesia for the next 9 months. Therefore, what I remember about that time is limited and mostly based on what I have been told or have seen based on pictures. Yet, I know my faith grew during that time. Somehow, during those 9 months that I don’t remember, I decided to transfer to Christopher Newport University. I wish I could say I loved it there right from the start, but I would be lying to you. You see, I was homesick, I felt lonely and left out. But I prayed hard that the Lord would bless me with peace and friendships. He answered those prayers, and gave me so much more than I could have ever dreamed about.
I don’t know why I am surprised as I look back on those three years and think about how gracious the Lord was to me because that’s what He desires to give all of us that are walking with Him. Psalm 145:8-9 says, “The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. The Lord is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made.”
The most recent blessing I have seen was when I was obedient to God’s calling for my life after college. If you are close to me or know anything about me, you probably are aware that I studied Political Science in college and I have a strong passion for law. My senior year I did not go to Fall Retreat because I took my LSATs that same weekend. I spent most of my “free time” senior year studying books about Logic, Reading Comprehension, etc. so that I could do well on my LSATs. My dream was to attend University of Richmond’s Law School. In late-March I was accepted to that school as well as Charleston School of Law. But around that same time, I drove to ODU on a whim. I thought I was going to meet up with a friend, but she ended up having choir practice that night so I went to Cru’s ODU Bible Study: Gather. I enjoyed my night and left the campus not thinking much about the school or their Cru movement. As I got onto 64, the Lord said, “Lindsey, you should dedicate a year to Cru here.” I immediately thought, homeboy you are cray ! Didn’t He know I didn’t like living in Hampton Roads? Didn’t He know I wanted to be near my family again? Didn’t He know I wanted to go to law school… specifically my top choice that I had just been accepted into?
Yes, the Lord knew all of these things. He is all-knowing. And my desires were good desires, but for me to really grow He knew that I needed to dedicate a year (at least) of my life to working for Cru. It was not a super easy choice deep inside of my heart to reject my acceptances. You see acceptance has always been something I have strived for, but this time God said no. It was so hard. But He has been so gracious to me. He has loved me when it has been hard to love me. He knows that He gave me a passion for law and to become a lawyer, but a lawyer is not what Lindsey Allen’s identity is, even if it is what I become one day. Lindsey Allen’s identity is that she is a child of God. Sometimes He changes our plans, because His are so much greater for our lives. He had to wreck my plans because He knows sinful Lindsey is stubborn and wants to advance her own plans. But He just wants for me to grow more into the woman that He created me to be from the beginning of time.
Around this time of great transition and obedience growth, I was reading through Luke 5. If you’re not familiar with the story, this is when Jesus got into Simon’s boat so he could speak to the crowds of people that were surrounding Him. While Jesus spoke to the crowd, Simon washed his net. When Jesus was done, He said to Simon that he should put the net out into deep water. This was Simon’s response in Luke 5:5- “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.” What is it that the Lord is telling you to do? Maybe it’s not putting your freshly washed net back into the ocean’s deep water, but I am sure of this… He is calling you to something. Let Him lead you and speak to you. It is hard to give up control and to be obedient, but I promise it is worth it. My life will never be the same because of Jesus, and I am so thankful.
I hope this blesses you in some way. Xo-
Hey y’all! My name is Lindsey. I recently graduated Christopher Newport University and am now on staff as an intern at CNU and ODU. A few things about me: my favorite people to be with are my family and pup-Harrison, I love watching football (Go Pack Go!), Fall is my favorite season, coffee is my drink of choice and if I could pick one kind of food to eat for the rest of my life it
would be Mexican. *insert heart eyes emoji* I love meeting people and creating friendships with as many people as humanly possible so please introduce yourself to me if we get the chance to cross paths. Xoxo.