To the Daughters

Last time I wrote to the dads. Now I think it is time to talk to the daughters.

I know that for some of you, reading the last post I wrote was hard. Some of you cried a bit. Maybe more than a bit. And some of you didn’t, but you felt that heart twinge. Some of you have become hard, maybe, and “don’t care anymore”. Some of you, maybe, realized how blessed you are.

To all of you, there are a few things you need to know; especially after reading that last post.

The first thing I’d like to remind you of is that God is your Father if you are in Christ.

β€œI will be a Father to you,
And you shall be My sons and daughters,
Says the Lord Almighty.”

2 Corinthians 6:18

Earthly fathers, no matter how wonderful, won’t be perfect. They won’t know what you need always, they won’t understand youalways, they won’t do the right thing always, they won’t always love you right, they won’t always know what to do, won’t always be able protect you.

Some dad hurt is inevitable. Don’t look at me, or some other girl, and think, if only I had her dad, everything would be great. ’tisn’t true.

But God is the perfect Father. He fills in those places that our earthly fathers don’t–and so much more.

And I get it–sometimes it’s hard to see. Sometimes we just want our dads to be all that. Sometimes it doesn’t seem like God is a good Father. But, ladies, we must not always rely on our feelings. We must trust God. We must ask Him to help us trust. He will, you know.

Remember that God is your Father.

I know it’s tempting, but you cannot blame your own sin on your father’s lack of attention or the pain he has caused. We are each responsible for our own sin before God–he for his, you for yours. For those whose dads have not been there, or have wounded you deeply–you are at a disadvantage, in a way, and it would be pointless to deny it. And yet, those of you who know Christ have a huge advantage, one that can overcome even the worst situations. It still hurts, absolutely, and that pain will probably never totally leave. But in Christ we have the power to be free from and resist sin. And if you have sinned (and who hasn’t?), confess it as yours. Don’t blame him.

Don’t excuse your sin based on your dad’s actions. Remember the power you have in Christ.

Some of you–all of you?–have hurts from your dad. Some of you have horribly deep hurts, ones I really can’t imagine fully. However, blessed as I am, I do understand a small corner of what it is like. I have been hurt as well–often unintentionally, but it is hard nonetheless.

And I have learned that forgiveness is not just words. And it is NOT easy. Some things–small, very small comparatively–have taken hours of prayer and constant choice for months to forgive, and even still there are times when it’s a choice.

But it is a choice you must make; or be destroyed inside.

Do not harbor bitterness.

Realize that God took your father’s sin so seriously that Jesus had to die to pay for it.

It is not your job to make your father pay. Holding on to the wrongs done to you will only hurt you more. You–we–must let go, must let God take care of them. And ask Him to bring healing. He will.

Forgive your father.

This next one may be a little hard to swallow, because we want to be loved how we want to be loved. Some of you may have great dads who do all sorts of things for you and take good care of you, and yet they don’t praise you and speak lovingly to you. And you really, really wish they would. I understand that.

But it is SO important that we recognize their love in whatever form it comes. Don’t wait for it to be perfectly exactly how you want it to be. Because guess what? It may never happen. And even if it did, you may be so bitter by then that you won’t even care. So be on the look out for ways your father loves you, even the tiniest things–and be grateful.

Accept and value your dad’s attempts at loving you.

And, finally, probably the hardest one. Especially for those of you who have been wounded terribly.

Love him anyway.

I know. I know. *sighs* The only way I would dare say such a thing to some of you is because Jesus does it–and if He is in you, it IS possible. And if you allow Him to work it in your heart, you will be blessed and he will be blessed and the world will be, too, even if they don’t know it.

For some of you, the only way you can love him is to pray for him. And that’s okay. But do it. You never can tell what God may do.

For the rest of you–find out what HE likes, the way HE receives love, and do that. Show him you love him and value him and need him.

Love and respect your father anyway.

And… that’s it.

Other than to say–well, there isn’t really anything to say. But my heart hurts for you, and I wish I could hug you and make it all better.

All I can do, though, is point you to your heavenly Father. And… *smiles* that is Something.

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To the Dads

Esther has grown up quite a bit since this picture–she’s two now. But she still loves being with her Papa.

Now she is talking and talking and talking. There’s a funny thing she does, though. When Papa gets home, and she’s with him, she keeps repeating a little phrase. Over and over, she says, “Papa! Talk to you!”

She rarely says it to anyone else. I am amazed at how her little girl need to talk to her papa is showing up in that little phrase. Sure, she doesn’t really have anything “important” to say yet–she just rattles on about dogs or horses or whatever. But he listens, and she talks, and all’s right with her little world. If for some reason he gets distracted, she once again says, “Papa! Talk to you!”

I want to talk to you dads, and those who will be dads someday. I don’t think you get it, quite. I don’t think you understand HOW IMPORTANT YOU ARE. How much what you do or don’t do affects your daughters.

I’m not talking about big things right now. I’m not talking about things like, “don’t beat them” or “don’t abandon them” or “don’t abuse them” or “supply all their physical needs”. Those are important, of course, and there are tragic amounts (even one would be tragic.) of dads that don’t even do those. But for those who do those–that isn’t all we need.

It’s the little things. Only a few things, really.

I have talked to girls who are crying, inside or outside.

Do you know why they are crying? Not because of boys, not really. Yeah, they have boy hurts. Lots of them. But that’s not the real, underlying hurt.

The real hurt is the Daddy hurt. The, “Carissa, my dad has NEVER told me I’m beautiful” hurt. Sure, many other guys have told her that. But not her dad. And it is just NOT the same. And that wound runs deep.

I know. It doesn’t make sense. Why should a few words make such a difference? Isn’t she being overly dramatic?

I don’t know why it makes such a difference, but it does. Unless you really want your girl to go searching for some random young fellow to tell her that she’s beautiful (and then abuse that beauty), you probably should think about this.

If you’ve never told your daughter that she is beautiful and pretty, please do. And please really mean it. Don’t compare her to some fake super model. See her beauty for what it is,Β “flaws” and all, and appreciate it. I’m talking about her face. Her eyes. And her inner beauty.

Maybe you do tell your daughter she’s beautiful, and maybe she doesn’t seem to care. Let me tell you right now: SHE DOES. She does care. So much more than you know. Don’t stop.

Dads, please tell your girls they are beautiful.

And then there’s hugs. Our culture is so messed up that sometimes dads are afraid to hug their girls once their bodies are womanly. Please, don’t be. I know it can be awkward, especially if you were raised in a family that wasn’t “huggy”. But we need dad hugs. We just do. If you don’t want to do full hugs, at least side hugs. At least put your arm around her shoulders. SOMETHING. Even non-huggy girls need some kind of appropriate fatherly physical affection. Even if they don’t seem to care. They do. They really, really do.

Please hug your girls.

Protection. Girls need kind, caring protection. We want it. I know, I know. We’ve been saying for a long time that we don’t need it, don’t want it, can handle ourselves.

But it isn’t true. They may seem to hate you for it, and they may even say they do. But they don’t. Even when I have been most upset about my father’s protection, underneath I have been so grateful. There is something so special about knowing that your dad will stand up for you, will do what he can to make sure you are safe. There’s something about knowing that he won’t let guys mess with you. It helps. We need it. We need to be protected and fought for and wanted. You have no idea…

Please protect your girls.

And, finally, please be safe to talk to. Your girls still want to talk to you, even if they aren’t as bold as 2 year old Esther with her, “Papa! Talk to you!”. πŸ˜‰

But sometimes you scare us. Sometimes we think our hearts aren’t safe with you. Sometimes we think that you won’t care. Sometimes we think you’ll think we’re silly. Sometimes we think you won’t try to understand, that you’ll just start in with a “cure” or with condemnation. Sometimes we are wrong. But sometimes we think those things because of our past experiences. I don’t know your circumstances, but I want to encourage you to do whatever you can to open the lines of communication. Let your girls know that you love them and want to hear what is going on in their lives. Listen even if it doesn’t seem important. The important stuff, the things we really want to say, will come with time. After you listen to the random stuff.

Please listen to and talk to your girls.

And… that’s really it. (Besides praying for them and leading them in God’s ways.)

It’s not really complicated. Just hard, sometimes. But SO worth it. Those things that I just said may make all the difference for your daughter. And they might make all the difference for you.

Lately…

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We went to a park near the water…

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And saw a Great Blue Heron…

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…catch a fish.

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We also saw a Seagull.

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And one of the little boys caught a baby catfish–with their hands!

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We played “Pickleball” at church… The above picture is my friend Rachel and I. πŸ™‚

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We lost. πŸ˜› But we had fun!

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Cheryl and Hannah versed Elisa and Hannah.

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We had bright lights, and I got to be in a skit.

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I cut up onions, garlic, peppers and mushrooms…

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…sauteed them in coconut and olive oil…

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..put them with eggs and swiss cheese, and–yum!!

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I got a pretty little Bible for the trip! (my other Bible is really heavy… it weighs more than 2 pounds where this one weighs a half pound or so.)

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I helped paint the new walls at Pregnancy Solutions in North Port!! It’s really coming along nicely. πŸ™‚

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Just an old picture of Josiah and I going off on our “expedition” to apply for passports…

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And, yesterday, the PASSPORTS CAME!! πŸ˜€ They came super fast–in 10 days.

I Don’t Believe in God.

Not really, not wholly.

Sure, I’m smart enough to know there has to be a God. I figured that out one day when I realized that you couldn’t keep going back forever; eventually something would have had to start all this, and that Something had to be eternal, and that Eternal Something must be a Someone, and that Eternal Someone had to be God.

But I’m realizing lately that I don’t really believe. Not all the way to my toes. Not all the way down to the bottom of my heart.

I’m not willing to accept that God is God. That His name is I AM. Not I will be, or I might be, or sometimes I am. Just I AM that I AM.

That He is more terrible, more awesome, more dreadful, more just, more wrathful than I could ever imagine.

Or even that He is more merciful, more gracious, more compassionate, or more loving than I could possibly fathom.

I don’t really want an extreme God.

I sort of want a tame god. The saying about Aslan not being a tame lion is cute and all, but are you sure He wasn’t tame? Maybe really He was… maybe His claws weren’t really sharp.

I talk about God a lot. I pray to Him. I read about Him.

But when it’s dark and I am alone with Him, and I think about Him being REAL and WILD and FIERCE and LOVING–I don’t think I really believe it, quite. I think I’m too scared. It makes me uncomfortable.

Because if He’s really real–If He’s really not a tame God–if He really is more power and grace and light than I can ever hope to fully fathom–then I am nothing. Nothing. Just a dirty, crumpled, miniscule bit of humanity.

And it’s really true. He really does exist, He really is wild, and I really am nothing.

And yet He really does LOVE me.

I don’t understand…

It doesn’t make sense. And I don’t really believe it, not fully.

But I’m starting to.

Lord, I believe–please help my unbelief.

One Year Ago…

J127 (19)

… I went to the Tampa airport and landed at the Buffalo Airport for Generations of Virtue’s new program, called J127. In between I wrote a lot of random things in my journal.

“Here I am–‘the date’ has arrived… I’m currently waiting to board (A novel experience [because normally we’re late and have to go right on the plane]) at my gate, C31. Mama and the five youngest left… they brought me here. It’s weird leaving them… or having them leave me, except I am leaving. Whatever. It’s confusing. πŸ˜› No complications yet, except my chopsticks ‘went off’. The lady felt my bun and said something about, ‘I knew this would happen today–someone with chopsticks!’ haha.

. . .I just saw someone that looked like they were from India… I have a special connection with people from there ’cause of Rebeka. πŸ™‚ There’s a lady with a sort of cowboy hat on, hehe. The blue shirted TSA people are scary looking. πŸ˜› I can see a SW plane ahead to the left a bit…

Do you know what’s strange? I should feel alone, but I don’t. I guess that’s what comes of having Jesus with and in you…

. . . There are huge windows here. I love windows…

For all my being nervous before, I’m pretty calm. God again. πŸ™‚

. . . I wonder how my room will be–how many roommates, and what sort of beds and furnishings. I expect it’ll be fairly plain, but I’m still interested.

Boy this is weird… just over a month ago it ’twas just a neat idea. Now there’s no turning back. Wonder how this will go…

This life of faith stuff is fun. And scary. And… kinda… easy? ‘Cause… I mean… it’s God. And He’s really awesome. Sooo… having faith He’ll come through isn’t real hard.

Life is so interesting. I like seeing people who look interested in it… sadly not many folks do. But a few.

I wonder where all these people are going… there’s always tons of things to wonder about people–but even more at airports, I think.

. . . Two new people came and sat down in front of me. One lady smiled–first ’twas fake, but it got real ’cause mine was. I like getting people to smile. πŸ™‚

I counted nine people using devices and five not. I couldn’t see the rest. The new ladies aren’t so it’s 9-7 now. Some of the folks that were aren’t now, though. Which, good for them. (pardon me while I check mine.)

. . . So many straight faces around. Goodness people, stop taking this so serious! ‘we’re gonna fly in th’ air!’ [Tim Hawkins quote] πŸ˜€ I won’t get lonely with a journal, hehe.

. . . (Lady next to me just told someone to pray and leave it in God’s hands.)

They are calling my flight!!

Actually they were calling my flight to board. And I’m on! πŸ˜€ I’m one seat over from a guy with a black shirt that says, ‘Got Dirt?’ Haha, thought papa would like that. πŸ™‚

I’m in a cloud! Wheee! πŸ˜€ It’s really white. I wonder if blizzards look that way. I am in front of the wing, almost in front–only three rows back.

3:43Β  Flying almost an hour now. πŸ™‚ I’m excited. As usual, once my hand is to the plow and there’s no turning back, nervousness has subsided and excitement come in. πŸ™‚

The view out the window is so fascinating. It changes really often and it’s always cool.

. . . Man, clouds are so cool!! πŸ˜€ And I’m really random. Ahem.

4:15 I must seem ADD. I keep switching what I’m doing… reading, writing, looking out the window, taking pictures–repeat. Oh well. My row mate is doing the same thing, except he’s reading a big thick manual, doing his laptop, and ‘sleeping’, haha.

. . .Whoa, city! There’s an x! Actually 3! I wonder what spot they mark. So I thought the windows got dusty–upon closer examination, it’s ice crystals! Coolness. Literally. πŸ˜€

5:29–I am here, at the Buffalo airport! The plane landed at 5:03. I have my bags and now I’m waiting for them to come…

. . . Why on earth do the baggage claims make a horrible alarm noise and flash red?! I always feel like I’ve done something wrong. πŸ˜› #randomthingsatairports #twitter #RebekaFry

(say! a green shirt! The lady smiled when I looked up, except it was the ‘you-are-weird-and-caught-me-looking’ smile.)

10:45 pm- Well, I’m here! Supper got late (past 9) but it was yummy–chicken, potatoes, carrots and onions, corn, salad, tomato and basil and cheese salad, bread… think that’s all. The people here are friendly. I have 2 roommates–Victoria’s 19 and Amanda’s 21. I am tired. πŸ˜› The Mission is pretty epic–definitely a big old house. It smells cool. The sunset and view on the way was splendid!

And thus our adventure began. This post would be much longer than it already is if I told you everything that happened in those nine weeks… If you’re really curious, you can go here to see more of the in-between.

Mostly, I got to know these people: (And yes, I even got to know myself better, haha.) And God.

J127 (353)

I guess I’ll just quote from the end of my J127 journal to sum it all up…

“It was quite the experience. I don’t think I’ve ever learned that much in 9 weeks, nor have I had that many different experiences.

I thought I would get homesick and miss my family lots, but I really didn’t. I think I just really focused on where I was and what I was doing, for once in my life. πŸ™‚ Plus the Mission is awesome and I came to love it very soon, and the people are wonderful and we became a family very fast. And I really do love them too.

I think I succeeded pretty well at taking it like I hoped to… there’s always room for improvement, but I think I was pointed in the right direction. I could’ve done better at being open with my team, but I did better than I might have.

I’ve definitely grown a lot, though it’s hard to see…

I’m still not really… sure what it all means, what I’m supposed to do now… I mean there are things to apply where I am now, like some of the worship leading stuff in BL and such, but otherwise… I guess I just need to wait and listen to God on that. He’s perfectly capable of guiding me, as this trip has shown so well.

I feel such a responsibility to do something with it all–though, I guess I’ve got to remember that it’s a lot about being, too. More even than the doing. That’s really the important part.

Relational. haha… so true though. [In reference to a sort of inside joke]

Oh, I do miss them all… I am very excited to see my family too though.

. . . I think one of the main things [I learned] is to live in LOVE, not fear.”

I feel like I ought to say something deep about it all… but it’s the sort of thing that’s too broad and too deep to concisely explain its impact. So I guess I’ll just have to keep thinking about it. Maybe eventually I’ll be able to explain it a little better.

Anyway. I’m excited for the new batch of J127 students… I’m sure they’ll have a wonderful time as well. Though I expect it’ll be quite different than ours was, haha. For instance they probably won’t eat tons of spicy Ramen and they probably won’t end up coloring their hair purple and they probably won’t end up having inside jokes involving sheep and scourging. πŸ˜‰ But they’ll have their own crazy experiences and weird inside jokes… πŸ™‚

Dreams, Singleness, and Holiness.

Now there’s an interesting combo for you, haha. They’re actually (mostly) separate thoughts, but I thought I’d just write them all on one post.

So, dreams.

I used to have lots of them. Mostly centered around marriage and children. But also other ones, like writing books, and traveling, and maybe being a missionary or something like that.

And you know what? I don’t really have any dreams anymore. They’re all either faded or surrendered.

*smiles slightly* Except one. One very precious, very audacious dream.

To know God more.

And whatever that looks like from day to day, that’s what I want. Wherever that leads me in the long run, that’s what I want.

I don’t know what my future holds. And that’s actually rather thrilling. I’m finding out step-by-step, knowing that God has gone before and prepared the way.

Singleness.

Much related to what I just wrote, but I wanted to explain a bit more. As you may have read in Other Things, I have loved and lost. On the surface, it seems like rather a tragic tale. Of woe and tragedy. (random quote I say in real life.)

But it really isn’t, at least not all the way. And I’ve come to greatly appreciate the gift I’ve been given.

Of singleness. Again.

Can’t say I wanted it back, especially not at first. It was amazing to know that someone wanted me.

But now–now I’m so glad I’m single.

It’s not that I’m bitter. I don’t hate men. Or marriage. I still may marry one day, who knows.

The thing I’m grateful for is that now I have a chance again to serve God right here. I have a chance to invest in my family. I have a chance to focus on the things of God in a way I didn’t before. I have a chance to get to know God more.

To all you girls who have also loved and lost: embrace this time. Don’t miss the beauty of it. Don’t miss the lessons. Don’t immediately jump to another guy–physically or emotionally. Learn to rely on God. Learn to LOVE Him with ALL your heart. Learn to be obsessed with Christ. Learn to forgive. Learn to surrender. Learn to follow God’s leading, not your heart’s. Give yourself time to heal.

And, finally, holiness.

Lately I’ve been seeing something that is bothering me so much: people who want (or at least say they want) to follow God–And yet, I hear their music, see what they do online, see their book and movie choices, the people they hang out with, and–I just don’t get it.

Seriously. HOW do we expect to become more like Christ if we are constantly consuming fleshly, sinful media?

I personally know that even with being very careful about what I take in, I still struggle in so many areas.

I can’t imagine that taking in whatever or purposefully taking in junk would help at ALL. πŸ˜›

So, um… if you really, truly want to follow and know God–if you really, truly want to become more like Him in holiness–you’re going to have to stop consuming all that junk, and start filling your mind with scripture, with (real) worship music, with godly conversation, with good books (I can suggest some!), with clean movies, and so on.

It is NOT that simply not doing or seeing “bad” things will make you holy or good. That’s not the point. Only God can do that. However, we do have a responsibility to stop taking in the bad stuff and start taking in the good.

Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. James 1:21

If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. 2Β Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. 3Β For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4Β When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.

5Β Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6Β Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience, 7Β in which you yourselves once walked when you lived in them. Colossians 3:1-7

I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. 17Β For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. Galatians 5:16-18

What you feed grows.

There. Now you know. πŸ˜€

My Life in Pictures

My life is quite varied, so these pictures will be as well. Enjoy the ride!

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We don’t have much for wrapping paper, so I usually make my own. This was for William’s 11th birthday. πŸ™‚

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Just because she’s the cutest…

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I made up a fish recipe! It turned out pretty yummy… lemon, fresh garlic, rosemary from the garden, salt, cayenne, olive oil, and whatever else I put on, haha.

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I was playing around with my camera at church and got this shot. I thought it was pretty cool. (It’s through the doors in the back of the sanctuary)

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So Cheryl found this recipe on Pintrest, for pumpkin pancakes. And I made them. And YUM!!!

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Seriously, they were so good I made them again the next day for lunch. πŸ˜€

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We got flowers for Emily’s 17th birthday! πŸ™‚

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Rose are so amazing…

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Bright lights has been going well! This was when they were making cards at our last meeting. I love how CREATIVE these girls are. It’s awesome. πŸ˜€

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Can you tell we’re excited about autumn?? Hannah and I put out the fall decor at Mann Tile.

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So, back in July, I was at that building there hearing about the vision for a Pregnancy Solutions location in North Port.

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And last Saturday (and the Saturday before) I was across the street, at the new location for Pregnancy Solutions! They are an awesome ministry, and we’re blessed to be able to help out!

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We tiled both of their bathrooms… Hannah and I mainly just helped get up the old flooring. πŸ˜›

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One of the finished bathrooms! I need to get better pics sometime soon…

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This is pretty much my favorite thing about Florida. This is at Publix…

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I love the sky. It’s always different, always beautiful.

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Communion/Fellowship meal!! My favorite Sunday of the month. πŸ˜€

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If you ever need chairs set up, just ask Grace Bible Church. We’ve got servant’s hearts, and we’re fast too.

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At the business, we finally got a SIGN!! Yippee!

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Josiah finding the perfect music for filling out his application to Central America. πŸ˜‰ (Also, Esther. And Duckie.)

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So my purse broke last night at music lessons… and since it was just us girls, I asked if we could go look for a new one. This is what we came home with. πŸ˜€ Can you tell I have the trip on the brain?

Vell… there ya go. A glimpse into my life. πŸ™‚

Central America

I’ve always wanted to go on at least one short term mission trip. (Probably all those missionary stories we read as a family… Plus the fact that both my parents went on one. My dad to Indonesia, and my mom to Honduras. They both talk about them regularly, and they obviously affected them–and not only them, but us as well.)

Especially after my trip last year. I ended it with the attitude of, God, wherever you want me to go, that’s where I’ll go. Whatever you want me to do, that’s what I’ll do.

I was hoping to go on one next year–I filled out my passport application information and was planning to get it by the end of the year.

And then, suddenly, there was this opportunity. And my father was the one who suggested we go. And I had no reservations, no wondering if this is what we should do or not. I just knew. So we looked it up, printed out the forms, and started filling them out.

So, yesterday I sent in my application for going to Central America for two weeks in December. And within an hour, I got an email back saying I was accepted. I wasn’t expecting it to be that fast, haha.

Just 9 days after hearing about this trip, and I’m already accepted. (Now my brother and sister just need to hurry up and get accepted too!) I’m applying for my passport on Friday with my brother. It seems like it’s moving very quickly… and yet, it also seems like I’ve been planning this for a long time. Or, at least, God has.

People often say that their short term mission trip changed their life. What I haven’t heard before is that just thinking about the trip before you go changes your life.

This has definitely been true for me…

To be honest, the idea rather terrifies me. I have no idea what to expect, really, except that it will be hot (And I do. not. like. heat.), and that the people and culture will be different from what I am used to. Oh yes, and there are lots of insects (not that I really mind insects, just… diseases. Also cockroaches.)

It sounds really uncomfortable. Heat, bug bites, people who don’t speak my language, dirt, long days, sickness, the unknown, sharing my testimony (especially with a translator!)…

And I realize just how far I have to go.

Why am I thinking of that? Why am I not thinking of souls who need Christ, or ones who know Christ and need encouragement? Why am I not thinking of the chance to glorify God?

I do think of it, sometimes. But it’s a conscious effort. I can tell already that I’m not going to be a model missionary-for-two-weeks. I haven’t even gone and I’m already humbled.

I am memorizing James 2… My brethren, do not hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with partiality.Β For if there should come into your assembly a man with gold rings, in fine apparel, and there should also come in a poor man in filthy clothes, and you pay attention to the one wearing the fine clothes and say to him, β€œYou sit here in a good place,” and say to the poor man, β€œYou stand there,” or, β€œSit here at my footstool,” have you not shown partiality among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts?Listen, my beloved brethren: Has God not chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him?

Even before I knew about this trip, I was thinking about this a lot–how dare we hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with partiality?? It’s not ours! And He has particularly singled out the poor people!!

But now–thinking of going to people who are poor on a level I’ve never seen before–(suddenly I feel rich) I wonder how I will react. I think of the homeless people who were in front of our church when we came for Bright Lights–sure, I wasn’t mean, but I didn’t even say hi. I smiled, sort of. I wished they would go away. I reprimanded myself (or maybe that was the Holy Spirit.) and remembered that these are folks Jesus died for, and they need love and care just like me. But I didn’t do much about it, besides changing the way I was thinking.

Then there are the neighbors across the street–I don’t even know their names, much less the state of their souls. I don’t know who lives there and who is just visiting. Doesn’t seem very caring of me. Which is because it isn’t.

That’s just a few of the uncomfortable thoughts and humbling things I’ve learned about myself in this weekish of thinking about this trip. There’s still three months left–and then the actual trip.

I already knew I needed God; already knew I had a lot of room to grow… but now I see a whole new level.

Which is exciting. And a little scary. Which more or less describes life with God.

P.S. Should I start a blog for this trip or should I do it all here?