An "Accidental" Sanctuary

My family’s home is two hours away from where I go to school. Some people dread long car rides like that, especially when alone. I on the other hand, don’t mind so much. I usually create the perfect “road trip” Spotify playlist so I can jam out to tunes the whole way. I download a few podcasts or an audiobook in case I get tired of music. It has also basically become a tradition for me to fill up with gas and get a Starbucks doubleshot before I hit the road. I have long car rides down to a science. I think that’s why I view those long, lonely car rides as a sanctuary of sorts, because I accidentally created the perfect space where I can be my most vulnerable, with myself and with God.

You see, I’m not really good at admitting when something is bothering me. I like to think of myself as a “go with the flow” type of person, and I like that about myself don’t get me wrong. But there are definitely times when I go with the flow too much, to the point where I don’t admit to the people around me when I’m sad, angry, or just having a bad day. I usually try to sweep it under the rug with “Oh it's not a big deal!” or “It’s whatever.” When in reality, it actually is a bigger deal than I want it to be. So, on those long car rides, where I have nowhere to go, and it’s just me and my thoughts -- I pretty much let it rip. I blast music through my speakers and just let my thoughts go.

Sometimes I talk to God, other times I yell to God. Sometimes I sing so loud my voice cracks, and I don’t even care because it’s just me and the Lord. Other times I just listen and let the song and it’s truth wash over me, taking away any anxiety or worry I’m feeling away, even if it is only for those 3 precious minutes. Other times there is no music or sound at all, and I just listen.

It’s funny because you think just sitting in a car for two hours wouldn’t be that tiring, but there are sometimes where I leave my car feeling more tired than when I entered it. And that's because it’s where I feel free to wrestle and lament with God. But I also often leave my car feeling more peaceful than when I entered because, thankfully, God's Love always wins.

Now, I’m not trying to say that you should let your troubles and emotions bottle up inside you until you get alone time so you can work them all out then. That’s something I’m actively trying to be better at not doing. What I am trying to say is, if you don’t have that place where you can be open and honest about your feelings with God, find one. Because to me a sanctuary isn’t supposed to be the place where all my problems are solved and my worries suddenly disappear, in fact, for me it’s usually where I face my problems and worries head on. A sanctuary to me is a place I can just “be”:

Be real
Be sad
Be scared
Be confused
Be angry
Be joyful
Be peaceful

And I am thankful that I have more than one “sanctuary”. Sometimes it’s my car, or it’s the far right pew section of Orchard Hill Church on Sunday mornings, or it’s in Lang Hall on a Thursday night, or the one song I needed to hear come through my headphones while I’m walking to class, or it’s a little Bible camp by the South Skunk River. I have more than one sanctuary because, to me, a sanctuary isn’t just a physical place, it’s anywhere that God meets me where I am.

I pray that you can find that place where you let God see you as you are, and you can just be at peace in his presence.

You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you. My whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water. I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and glory. Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you." 
Psalm 63:1-3

Andee Brekke
UNI Junior

andee pic


What's Happening?

  • SANCTUARY // T O M O R R O W, Thurs, October 19 at 8pm // Lang Hall // After midterm week and a series about lamenting, come to space that is created for you to be, listen, respond, dance, sing, cry, shriek, pray, and do whatever you need to do.
  • BACKYARD BASIC // T H I S  Friday, October 20 from 6-10pm. // 330 Oregon Rd. // You guys. Let's enjoy this fall weather together with a bonfire, yard games, free food, and musical worship! ALL are welcome.
  • MEXICAN FIESTA // Sunday, October 23 after 10:45 service // Orchard Hill Church // Free food. Free friends. Come join us!
  • FALL BASH // N E X T, Thurs, October 26 from 8-10pm // Lutheran Student Center, on the corner of University and College // A night of laughter, food, fun, costume contests, a bonfire, and more! Please bring a food donation of canned veggies, canned meat, peanut butter, or Dole fruit cups. **Do not go to Lang Hall next Thursday!
  • STRANGER THINGS 2 WATCH PARTY // Friday, October 27 from 9pm - 2am // Orchard Hill Church // This. Is. Going. To. Be. Epic. Bring a friend and join us for this spooky evening premiere!!
  • *NEW* SUNDAYS WITH STUDENT MINISTRY // Sunday, October 30 (the last Sunday of every month!)  // Come hangout with Sara Rockow and Kristina McBurney on Sundays between the 9am and 10:45am services outside the Larsen Chapel at Nazareth Lutheran Church. And yes, coffee and donuts will be provided.
  • SPRING BREAK // Want an incredible opportunity to serve, learn about Jesus, and travel? Consider a Spring Break mission trip to Des Moines, Haiti, or Jamaica. See contact information on graphic below to learn more!

 (Click on any of the graphics below for more details!)

Sanctuary 2017 slide

Backyard BASIC

Free College Age Lunch Mexican Fiesta

fall bash 01

Stranger Things promo 1

Sundays with Student Ministry

College Age Spring Break 2018

Get in touch

Location & Time

We meet on the campus of the University of Northern Iowa in Lang Hall at 8pm when school is in session. Click here for location & directions.


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