Tuesday, June 2, 2015

A couple years, 7 ministries, and a continent later.

The most common question I am asked since returning to the states is "So, is it hard to go between cultures?" Most of the time I answer "You have no idea." But what I'm really thinking about is the people I have worked for and what I saw.....
The last few years of traveling and working for various Bible teachers, pastors, missionaries, and ministries have taught me one truth: People in these positions have a LOT of unique hardships that are rarely seen. And a lot of issues that their position brings with it. Things rarely talked about. Rarely understood by anyone who isn't in a similar place. Rarely dealt with. And they spend years feeling shame and the need to hide it. But how do I explain that to people here? How do I make it come to light? And what can I do about it, anyway? How do I handle the passion I've developed to see refreshment, wholeness, hope, and healing brought to people in these places?

Add to that that I've been going through a season of really struggling with my life. The last years, what I've been doing, where I am heading. I've been overwhelmed with all of it. I've often felt like I've simply wandered and floundered around the globe and when long-term missions or the ministries in Texas didn't work out like I'd hoped, I became convinced it was due to my short-comings. That I am just not good enough for anything but making coffee. During this last trip to Africa, I found myself having a bit of a freak-out. Single, in my 30s, more than broke, no plans after the trip, nowhere to go, nobody to go "home" to in any of my places. I was depressed. 
Until a friend helped me look at things from the outside. 

One day over coffee, she suggested that I think about what my passions are. What do I really want? What has God wired into me? And what's stopping me? So I thought. And I realized that I could help those in unique positions. That perhaps the very reason for the experiences I've had the last few years may be to see the need that needs to be met. To experience a taste of what it's like to be in difficult positions, and to know what it feels like. And then to get trained to help. 
So I decided to return home after Africa, scratch everything, and begin all over again. Make every decision based on what I love and know I can do and be, rather than on what is easiest, fastest, or other people's opinion.  It's been lonely, scary and exhausting figuring everything out. But it's also been kind of exciting. I've decided to go back to school. The best way for me to help others is to spend a few years getting equipped and trained.  For the next season of life, I will be studying and working hard to get a degree in Behavioral Sciences and Psychology. I'll add a class in Pastoral Counseling and then see where the Lord takes it. 

I also decided to do some of the things I've always loved but believed didn't matter. 
I recently picked up my guitar again. I've marked MJC's theatre tryouts on my calendar. And since I was 3, I've wanted to dance. I was told my whole life that I should stick to my music because I was overweight. But no more. In September I will be slipping my feet into ballet slippers for the very first time. 

It's never too late. And your passions are put there for a reason. What have you always felt strongly about? What have you always longed to do? Learn? Experience? Don't let age, opinions, or easy ways out define your decisions. God designed you with certain passions unique to you for a reason. Go. Do it. Be scared. 
But sign up for it anyway. 

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