Deep Thoughts

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At the last Bright Lights meeting, we had a spontaneous time of sharing. It was wonderful. Some really cool thoughts and stories were shared and I am starting to think that I can learn more from them than they can learn from me.

One of the thoughts was from my friend Brianne. She talked about how God is teaching her that often the most beautiful things are found in the most dangerous, scary places. She told a story of how she was hiking with her mom, and they decided to chose the scarier looking path (complete with spiders) instead of the well traveled one… and how that led to some beautiful oak trees that made it all worth it.

I’ve been thinking about it a lot since… and it’s so true and so deep. Especially with love.

Love is terrifying. Might as well just say it. It’s hard. It hurts. It’s pretty much… impossible.

That is, without God.

We’ve been talking about God’s love over the past three meetings and… I think it’s finally starting to sink in. For me. I spent hours thinking and praying about it and I finally got to the point where I wept.

He asks that I humble myself–that I stand before Him with no excuses, nothing to hide behind–and admit my sin. To Him. Holy, Holy, Holy. Who cannot bear to look on sin.

That is a horrifying thing to do.

But when I did it, I found, once again, the most beautiful truth of all: He loves me anyway and has made a way; has paid my fine.

His love and my sin stood in such terrible contrast… I saw how unworthy I am and yet I KNEW, deeper than ever, that He loves me. Oh, what a life-changing truth.

And… my heart is being softened, again. I am remembering that I am Loved and because of that I am free to love others.

It hurts. It scares me.

But I am learning, like Brianne, that this path is worth it; that ultimately it leads to the greatest joy and beauty.

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Trip Video!

Since I’m probably never going to get around posting about all the stuff that happened on the trip, here’s the video I made to show at our church. It gives a pretty thorough over view of what we did. 🙂

Oh I Need Thee

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(This picture doesn’t really have anything to do with this blog post, but I like the memory so I put it on here. This was a house visit… we found out that this family goes to La Esperanza church. They’ve been Christians for about 3 years. She was telling us some hard stuff in their life from actions they made before they were Christians, and we were encouraging her.)

I’m finding that it’s rather difficult to write or talk about the trip. It’s the sort of thing with such deep and far reaching impact that words just don’t really… cut it. I’m still trying to figure out exactly how it impacted me, and where I’m to go from here. And yet, I sometimes find myself slipping back into being Americanized again…

One of the things that stood out to me upon returning was the fact that I didn’t see my need of God here the way I did there…

I started out the trip having been awake for 20 something hours straight, and for the rest of the trip I only got about 5-6 hours of sleep per night (on fairly thin mattresses on the floor with various other complications like lights, talking, warm weather, and scorpions.) And I’m the sort of person that gets tired easily and needs 7-9 hours. Not only that, but I was sick the whole trip–the first week I had a cold from home, and the second week I had some minor stomach trouble which made me more tired and weak. On top of all that, there was the meeting of many, many new people–on the team and during ministry to the local people. And then there was the spiritual aspect. And the being much more active than normal combined with the much higher elevation than Florida. And so on and so forth.

The first morning I was there, I remember thinking, I am going to need time with God in the mornings more than I need sleep if I’m going to be effective. So I got up earlier than I had to every morning and spent time praying, reading the Bible, and thinking.

When I got back to the US, I thought, I NEED SLEEP. Which, I did. But I forgot than I still needed God more than I needed sleep. I forgot that spending time with Him first thing was what kept me going on the trip. And so those first few days at home were quite hard.

December 20th, 2013

“Well, we are back in the states. It’s even harder and more overwhelming than I imagined… when we got to the Atlanta airport last night, I saw a stupid story about Duck Dynasty on TV and a headline about Obama, plus tons of lights and people and motion and words, and I felt sick. I seriously wanted to go back. Gracie and I joked that we’d go back once we’d had our warm showers, haha.

In the airport we all sang “O Holy Night” (first verse) one last time… that was cool. Most people thought we were crazy; a few videoed it and a few joined in. A couple people clapped at the end. It was weird, though… I mean, in C.A., people look at you funny, but it America it’s like they are mad at you for simply being happy and having fun together.”

~~

December 21st, 2013

“I am still having a really hard time adjusting. I feel so out of place and I don’t know what to do. I’m getting annoyed really easily and everything just seems so overwhelming, even the trip. . . I feel so different but not in a good way.

I need to remember to trust God for here and that He has work for me in the US too.

It’s so hard going on stuff like this because then you don’t feel at home anywhere… I guess it is to help us remember that heaven is our home.”

~~

December 22nd, 2013

I realized something this morning–in CA it was abundantly clear that I needed God. I was tired; I was sick; I was in a strange place; I was doing things for Him that were out of my comfort zone; and so forth.

Do I need Him less here? No. But it is far easier to ignore the need here. It’s much easier to just do normal things that don’t require His supernatural strength.

This is why morning devos are easier to skip here. There–I knew I needed it and got up early to make sure I had 30 min. to an hour.

Here–I haven’t really done it yet, though I’ve still done a bit.

So… today it begins. I need Him; almost more, here. Here, the demons are far less obvious. Watchfulness is so important.”

I’d like to say that after that I’ve never missed morning devotions… but that’s not true. I still struggle with it, but I am making progress.

I’ve also been settling into my role in ministry here in America again–there is plenty to do if you look and are willing.

AND… I have another opportunity to go to Central America in about 6 weeks. 😀 😀 😀 This is a shorter trip (one week) with a difference focus and much smaller team. I am looking forward to seeing what God does!