At times I have felt that the transition home from YWAM sucked the joy out of my life and the dreams that I have for the future. It seemed like all I had worked so hard for came crashing down around me.
During some recent reflection time with God, the picture He showed me lit a spark of hope and excitement even though the uncertainty is still very real.
The picture I saw was of me, sitting like a pouting child, on top of a collapsed little building with the walls and debris covering the foundation. I wasn’t noticing the stability and strength of the foundation but instead the mess and destruction of the stuff that had been built on top.
Gently the Lord spoke to me, “I want to expand, remodel and design new things with you. Let’s clear away this mess and start dreaming about what I see in your future! There wasn’t enough room before…”
Where I am now isn’t any different from where I was even a few weeks ago, but with this renewed hope, we’ve begun clearing away the mess. The anticipation of new things is slowly replacing the dreariness of feeling lost.
It’s crazy to look back and realize that throughout the four years of living down in Belize, I only wrote three blog posts. I can’t even imagine trying to express all of the life that was contained in those four years as it overwhelms me to think about all the joys and struggles it contained. Looking back, I almost wish I had some sort of journaling paparazzi following me around to document it all.
The abrupt transition back to Oregon has been a bit of a rollercoaster. I’ve been blessed with being around family, a car, new clothes and shoes, a phone, a place to stay, new friends and connecting with old friends, foods that I have missed and new opportunities. But even now as I go to explain the more challenging aspects I almost feel like I hit a brick wall and I took a break from writing this blog post for a while.
I feel like I’ve allowed the lies I’ve been battling to silence me.
No one understands what you are going through and who you are now. People are tired of hearing about your last four years. Culturally you don’t belong here. They don’t want to hear you talk about how hard this season is.
So I talk of surfacy stuff and don’t mention how much I just want a hug. Questions come about the future and I answer with vague thoughts instead of sharing how lost I feel. Watching movies and checking out is easier than navigating social moments and trying to balance being real and the fear of being too much. I’ve withdrawn.
But this isn’t who I want to be. So, I start here. It’s time to fight back fiercely against the lies. I will continue to say yes to those awkward social outings. I take it one moment at a time and trust that through it all, God’s grace and persistence can get through to me.
so this song has been on repeat the past few months as God has challenged me to dream big this year. after the initial excitement of this theme, the realization of the risk sank in. the fear of failure, disappointment and dashed hopes has held me back so often from pursuing various dreams.
this past week a particular dream was stirred up again and instead of coming against closed doors, I’ve been met with encouragement and hope. a spark was lit. as the days have progressed I have taken baby steps forward, and I can hardly contain the passion and excitement that this has brought.
my heart feels more alive each step I take.
the reality is that this is much bigger than I would have ever imagined. I guess that means that I get a front row seat to see how God will move the potential obstacles.
I can’t wait.
1 John 3:18
Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.
as I was reading 1 John yesterday, this verse seemed to jump out at me. I felt pulled back to it this morning and it made me wonder how well I have been living this out.
truth doesn’t always keep the peace or make the other person feel good, but communicated in a loving way is what they need. actions don’t always fit in my schedule or my desires but it highlights the depths of my heart.
with all that is happening in the world, I see the desperate need for this love that moves and speaks life. imagine the impact it would make if we chose to make this our daily goal.
it’s a choice…not just an emotion.
love well today.
as a group this morning, staff and students alike, we were challenged to write out a poem of sorts. with the sun beating down and a slight breeze to keep it cool, the words flowed easily. here is a glimpse of the cry of my heart…
like the wind across my face, Lord, I want to feel you. overwhelm me with your presence to demolish my doubts and fears. help me get out of my own way as I seek you.
you alone are to be praised! nothing I have done matters if not for you Father. even as I fail, you are there with grace and love. turn my eyes again to you.
I can’t fathom the depth of your love for me…take me deeper still into the greatest treasure hunt with no boundaries. how amazing that you God would love even me. you are so good.
strip away more of me to display more of who you are. I want to exalt you alone with my heart and my life. blessed be your name!
nothing matters aside from your glory…I lay my life down to lift you high!
thirty four days. i can barely hold my excitement in. get me talking about Belize, my YWAM family or the ministry that lies ahead and my heart starts gushing. this adventure has been my dream for the past two years. it’s hard to believe it is actually happening.
thirty four days. not a lot of time left and so much to do. pressures of to do lists and feeling responsible to my work and customers weigh me down. time is spent packing up my life here in boxes and letting go of the stuff filling my space.
thirty four days. i put on my game face and start to take on the lists, the e-mails and the random errands that must be taken care of. i can not slow down.
the roller coaster ride has already begun. the thrill, anticipation and breathtaking twists and turns are fun to share with you. the joy i have in knowing that this is where God is leading me is priceless. like most journeys though, it has it’s ups and downs.
stepping out means saying goodbye. the excitement is much easier to share than the quiet moments of tearful realization of the people i will miss. i vividly remember the last time i left for Belize, my stomach and heart were so tied up in knots…eagerly anticipating the beautiful new season while feeling the sharp stings of moving away from the family and friends i love so deeply. the time i spent sitting in the airport after saying goodbye and before boarding the plane was excruciating. the tug of war over my heart was indescribable that day.
thirty four days. the tug of war game has already begun.
a combination of a massive amount of thinking and random tidbits have contributed to this random post. enjoy!
– i just downed a glass of freshly pressed apple juice and my taste buds are having a party.
– the crazy kid who decided to rob my Starbucks has been arrested…
– i tried out an all natural and yummy smelling deodorant and i’m LOVING it. of course i got one of the kid’s scents…lemonade. :o)
– this blog post by Carlos Whittaker reminded me where my heart thrives.
– i am donating more hair to locks of love this week! i’m excited for a new look and a fresh hairstyle. i’m one of those crazy kids who gets a haircut maybe once a year. either it makes it that much more special or i’m just lazy.
– i seriously did a happy dance when i found out our drive-thru got fixed at work. the sensor that dings when a car gets to the order box has been broken for about two months…meaning that someone has to stare at a monitor and say car when someone drives up…all. day. long. not having to do this anymore just feels like luxury.
– i have basically lived out of a bag the majority of the summer. between traveling and house-sitting, i’ll be thankful for my own space here soon.
last but not least, i’ve been fairly frustrated by how i’ve kinda checked out on life…pretty much in all aspects. things need to change and it starts right now. thankfully i can hold onto this truth…
Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
all the enthusiasm and gusto I have felt for writing has been pushed aside long enough. it seems to always go back to the constant battle of not doing what I want to do and instead doing things that I don’t want to do. oy.
a blog post about the changing of seasons in my heart over the past few weeks is in the works, but I wanted to share an awesome blog post I just read this morning.
one of my spectacular uncles gives a little insight and wisdom about what God has been teaching him through his running escapades. it resonated so much in my heart because in many ways I feel like I have hit a wall and instead of pushing on I have stepped aside and become a spectator. that is not where my heart is.
check out his post here and let him know if it challenged and encouraged your heart like it did for me! :)
we are all in this together. grab the hand next to you and remember that encouragement and love refuels like nothing else!
a couple of weekends ago I was able to attend a writer’s conference in Portland. one of the many amazing opportunities I had was to meet a blogger whose heart and writing has resonated so much with my own life. it was amazing to finally give her a hug and get to chat a little bit.
yesterday she wrote a beautiful post about balancing the vulnerability in writing with face to face relationships. I completely relate to this and loved hearing that I’m not alone.
go and catch a glimpse of her heart and I’m sure you will cherish her just as I have.
the ugliness in this world is not hard to find. broken people hurt others and create disasters.
but today I’m choosing to search for beauty.
today I ventured out to a place I thought I would never go.
six months ago my friend was murdered at dodge park. the darkness surrounding this tragedy tainted my visions of what this park looked like and i could only imagine a suffocating, eerily quiet heaviness encasing its entirety. I wasn’t ready to see it for myself until today.
now I sit at the water’s edge, overwhelmed by the crisp, clean air and my ears are filled with the rumble of two rivers colliding in front of me. this is a beautiful place. the moment I stepped out of the car I knew this was a place of peace…somewhere to go to get away from the chaos of life. as the sun made a rare appearance and warmed my face I realized that this is a place to be close to God.
I still don’t think I’ll ever be able to wrap my mind around what happened and my heart still hurts for all who knew and loved her. but thankfully there is beauty to be found.
I speak out words of love more frequently now, knowing the uncertainty of tomorrow. my compassion for others, including the most broken of them all, has grown immensely. forgiveness now has more meaning and depth through the struggle of justice in my heart. again I’m learning to trust that God never leaves our side and will work ALL things for good…even if we can’t see it.
i urge you to seek out the beauty of today and where you are. remember that none of this comes without wrestling and walking through the situations life has thrown at you. when it is time, don’t be afraid to venture into the dark places to discover the nuggets of gold.