Wednesday, December 11, 2013

All the time in the World.

You know when You begin to realize new things? When you suddenly learn something world-altering? When you experience that rush of new breath or hope and suddenly want to propel forward in it as quickly as possible? Or when you see something in yourself that needs work. Almost the exact same moment you see it, you desire to run at full force toward a solution of some kind.

But what if God has a completely different view on things?

At this point in my life, I'm not proficient in many forms of art. I have a very artistic brain and nature, but haven't learned to speak the language yet.  I tried on multiple occasions. I bought supplies and set out to master painting. Or drawing. Gritting my teeth and spending days determined to walk away having successfully figured things out.

I've also experienced several "awakenings" in which my eyes were opened drastically and suddenly to myself.  To my ugliness. At one point to my craziness. Unhealthy behavior in every way. And immediately, I surged straight forward with every single fiber of my being,
absolutely focused and set on fixing it. now.

In both of these, I fell flat on my face. Hard. Had the wind knocked out of me for quite a while. Left so exhausted that I actually got sick from it. And got up frustrated and agitated and instantly began running again. Sometimes it takes me a while to get things through my stubborn head.

I have always strongly fought bull-headed and stubbornly against "the process." I've always butted against taking time to learn, experience, heal, train, know things. I think in a way almost everybody does. I think in our nature, we don't like the thought of a slow process to "get there". I always want nothing more than to just figure it out so I can get to work accomplishing "it".

My friend Jessie has given me a new perspective. Well, she's tried several times. And I didn't listen.
But perhaps studying Advent has helped me to grasp this at last.....
Jesus actually delights in "process". He likes to watch every step of it. If we're open, if our eyes are looking, we can see that He loves it because it allows Him to walk alongside us in every step of the process. And He delights in the intimacy that can result from that. Because He delights in His kids and hanging out with them. And perhaps that's exactly why things take time.

If I saw unhealthiness in myself and was able to work it out in a day, I would miss the ways I learned who He is and experienced Him through the 5 years it took.

If I learned how to draw this weekend, I would miss the opportunity to sit with a pencil and Him and ask Him to begin showing me His artistic side as I begin the journey into learning.

If we let go of trying to be so put together and embrace the process-whatever that may be in this season for each of us-we can potentially be extremely and pleasantly romanced and delighted in by our King.
And that's worth all the time in the world.

Friday, December 6, 2013

When the end is the beginning.

This has undoubtedly been a unique, full, and quite an eventful year.  And not just for me. For most of you as well. I see a pattern of God doing some crazy things in 2013. Some years just seem to be like that, don't they? What has stood out to you this year? What has been the most difficult challenge? The most beautiful thing? A place you've seen Jesus at work and redemption happening? 

Two years ago sitting in an airport Starbucks, Miss Beth told me that by looking at my face she could see that whatever I had been walking through was finished. Wrapped up. And that God was about to take me on a new crazy ride. I would have never believed that by December of this year I'd be writing this from a Starbucks in downtown Houston. I never actually planned on Jesus answering so many of my prayers. But answer He did.  

I had learned and observed enough to know that I wasn't going to thrive if I tried to conform to the pressure to settle down into "normalcy." But living in normalcy was where I was.  So I asked Him to plant passion within me. I asked Him to use me and mold me into a world-changer. He responded by bringing me to Africa. I was shredded and ripped apart for good. I asked Him if I could live there. He didn't say "yes" but sent me. Again. Departing for Kenya on the exact day I had left for South Africa the year before. As I sat on that plane and settled in for a long 2 days of flying, I marveled at the fact that this was the second June 25th that I was heading halfway across the world. And yet I doubt He cares to freely give what I ask for.  Only humans!

When I got back, I knew it was time for some serious change. I knew somewhere deep down that everything about my life was going to be unique. I have been through too much and seen pain and need too deep. I have also experienced and witnessed the redemption and healing power of Jesus at a level that just won't let me return to a typical way of living. I didn't say anything at first, 
(probably out of a fear that nothing would change), but I began looking into what the future might contain. I began slowly getting rid of stuff. I began looking into options. And then He finally answered.  And quickly. I received the phone call and in two weeks I was in Houston. Working for an incredible organization. And I get to spend at least the next 9 months serving and ministering to others as I grow and learn more about who I am and what He may have for me.  

It's not easy. I am still needing to make friends.  It's simple. I'm used to being unhealthily busy. There's not very many familiar things here. That's scary. I have to live on raised support.  Talk about difficult! I desperately yearn for family of my own. Being single is strange, alienating, and bitterly painful. But in the pain I get to experience Jesus as a lover in a way so weird and different and intimate. And I'm learning to accept and appreciate that more while waiting on Him to bring me the one He's designed. 

Houston is beautiful. In a different way.  The skyline is breathtaking at times.  It's a huge city.
 (4th largest in the U.S.) This means there are many incredible churches, ministries, and opportunities. And as I moved here an incredible passion I've never experienced before settled into my bones. A passion for justice. A passion to abolish the hideousness and evilness of human trafficking. I found out about it, I learned about how bad it is, and I can't look away.  It runs through my veins constantly. And I'm strangely thankful to be in the NUMBER 1 U.S. city for traffickers to send people. Because this is it.  This is the next step.  The first page of the new chapter for me. The end of the year being just the beginning of something huge. 

How about you? What's been hard? What's been beautiful? How is Jesus at work in your story?