Many of you have commented on my abundance of coffee shop pictures over the last 5 months. I thought I’d finally get around to writing out the reason (besides the fact that yes, I love coffee) behind all of that. Most of you have probably heard the reason by now, but I don’t want to forget any minute of this journey, so I’m writing this as much for the curiosity of others as I am for myself. Since I can’t write short stories, I’m going to break it up into 3 parts over the next several days.
I’m sitting here ready to start writing what’s been on my heart the last month. I know where I want to start, yet I’m hung up on the title. It feels overused. And yet, I will leave it, because it describes perfectly my life the last 8 months. Actually, lets make that the last 4.5 years of my life. If you would have told my 18 year old self all that would happen in the 4 years ahead of me I probably wouldn’t have believed you. I’ve been in a reflecting mood over the last several weeks and trying to even begin to write what’s on my heart has been a work in progress. I’ve started and restarted this post countless times. I’ve written a page only to go back and delete the whole thing. If you are reading this, it means I finally pulled the trigger, stopped over thinking it and clicked publish.
You see, I find myself restless for adventure. I see it ahead on the horizon. Ready to find me at any moment. I have a bad case of wanderlust. I was born with a heart that is in a constant war between being thirsty to roam and explore the unknown and loving the comfortable, because I hate change. My life is a paradox, but the older I’ve gotten the more I see we weren’t meant to live a timid life. We were made for more. We are here for such a short time. I want to look back on my life and see that I went exactly where God wanted me. I don’t want to see a life spent in my comfort zone. I want to be the hands and feet of my Savior. I want to keep my eyes on Him, not caring if He asks me to take that step out onto the restless waves of life.
Over the last 4 years I have traveled to a distant country, journeyed thousands of miles across the states of my great country, seen beautiful mountains and rolling hills, and learned to see beauty in the simple. I’ve watched my sister get married and move away, learned many difficult lessons of trust. I’ve stared the sin of my pride in the face, I’ve dealt with depression, bitterness and great joy and lived through a broken heart.
Through it all God has shown himself to me in a great way.
He. Is. Enough. Period.
He alone is worthy of my trust.
The last 4 years have been filled with hardship, and refining. I’d be lying to say I went along compliantly. The truth is I went kicking and screaming most of the time. He had to strip away things I had put my identity in. Things that weren’t Him. He’s shown me the areas I struggle with.
Being vulnerable is one of them.
It’s hard. Oh so hard.
For a myriad of reasons.
It allows people to see behind what I would normally want them to see.
It allows people to have a hold over me. To exploit.
For me to be found wanting. For me to be wrong.
On the other hand, it’s a good thing. A very good thing.
It allows me to love and be loved. To live.
For me to let you see a sinful and messed up girl, saved by the grace of God.
Because, it’s not about me. It’s about Jesus.
When we don’t let ourselves become vulnerable, it becomes all about us. Our image. Not about Jesus.
A year ago I found myself in a valley. Things were going from bad to worse. I kept things would get better, yet month by month it seemed like it was getting harder. As I look back those were good months for me. I can see now, God was shaping me and molding me into what He wanted me to be for the next phase of my life. Fast forward to December of 2013. Things were still hard, I was starting to get it though. I was very unhappy with my job. I prayed over and over for a way out. I began to despise it. I still remember the week I had finally had it. I was done. So done. I felt like I was living weekend to weekend. Praying over and over for a way out.
I had made it to the weekend. It was Sunday morning and I was ready for church. That Sunday a guy from the college in my local town got up to give his testimony before he left for his home country of Indonesia. I don’t remember his testimony word for word, but I do remember that part that took hold of my attention. He spoke of how he had passed up a great opportunity back in Indonesia. He didn’t take it because he knew that wasn’t what God wanted for him. Everyone thought he was crazy. Instead he took a job he wasn’t happy with. One he to was starting to despise. He asked God over and over why was this what he had for him? God finally got a hold of his heart and he was able to come to a place of surrender. He told God that he would work there for the rest of his life if that’s where he wanted him, but God was going to have to give him the strength to make it through. Soon after that commitment a far greater opportunity came along. One that brought him to the states for studies. It was far greater than the first opportunity and he saw that if he hadn’t said no to the first one, he wouldn’t have been able to be in a place to say yes to the second. He spoke of how God provided over and over for him.
I sat there and listened to him with tears in my eyes. It was like he was talking directly to me. The next day it was back to work for me and I couldn’t get his testimony out of my head. I was almost in tears when I told God that if that’s where he wanted me for the rest of my life I would stay and work for His glory alone. I asked Him to give me strength because there was no way I could make it on my own. I began to depend on Him to make it through every hour. Over and over I had to surrender it over to Jesus.
Then something happened. Something beyond my wildest dreams. I didn’t see it coming, but God did.
……to be continued.