Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Airport People.

I have these boxes full of knickknacks, all very odd but none of them ends in themselves. My mind is like those boxes. A variety of trinkets, information, memories; many things I should just throw out but never do. And I have this deep seeded desire to take my brain out of my head, wash it in the bath, towel it dry, and then put it back in my head.

Because I think that maybe if I could wash my brain clean, I could wash away feelings along with memories, but unfortunately that is not how it works. No matter how much I wish it to be so. I can't remove my brain from my skull and I can't remove my heartache from my soul.

 Lately I've been living too much in my own head. Digging through thoughts and memories trying to find the right one to push me forward. But honestly it has just be drudging up the past and causing me to look past the people being placed in front of me. I've been knee deep in my own mess, I haven't even looked up to see that God is standing knee deep with me. 

Yet then there's the moment… the moment I look up, and I feel Him all around. I feel His sturdy arms grasp me and lift me up out of the muck and into His arms; with just a word, a single phrase, spoken by a person in an airport on a plane. 

I have this love-hate relationship with airports. They take me away from the people I love and yet they tend to always bring me back to them. And I love the way you can get to know a single person on an airplane, sharing stories and life, but never sharing names. You can learn a lot about a person on an airplane, about life and hopes and dreams and faith. You just have to be wiling to open your eyes, your mouth, and your ears. 

My eyes were shut and my headphones were in. I was thinking, deeply thinking, digging through things in my mind, trying to decide what my next step would be, when he tapped me on the arm. I open my eyes took out a headphone and said "Yeah?" he looked at me confused and said "sorry it was an accident." His brown hair was spiked up in the front, his dark brown eyes looked at me gently, scanning my face. I couldn't decide if I should just turn and look out the window or say something else.

"So you live here or just visiting." he spoke words that would begin a long conversation. 

We talked about life and jobs and relationships. It's interesting how easy it is to talk to someone you know you may never see again. The heart kind of beats faster knowing that these personal things, these passionate things being shared with a complete stranger are safe. I'll never see him again and we never asked for each other's names. 

He was at least 30, with his salt and pepper hair. He worked in investment and was coming to Iowa on a one day "pain in the ass" business trip, as he put it. He wasn't married, just to his job. He traveled about five, six times a year to look into companies. He talked for a while and I just listened. He was interesting and smart. Most of what he said about investments I couldn't really understand. He talked about life in Philadelphia and such. And it was nice to listen to someone else, beside my own thoughts. 

Then he asked about me. 

I told him honestly I have no idea what I'm doing with my life. I talked about doubting what I felt I should be doing with what everyone around me believes. I talked to him about nursing and Africa and my deep passion to serve God and help others. How I feel like I just want to do what's right and love on everyone, but recently even that's becoming difficult. That lately it's felt like I'm all alone in the world and I don't know where to turn. That right now I'm just placing one foot in front of the others but most days I just want to stay in bed and hide from the world. 

I had nothing to lose, I let words fall onto the arm rest between us, spilling thoughts and ideas to a complete stranger. I had no idea where this trust in this random man had came from. And as the plane began to descend I felt a sense of peace, to have finally gotten so much off my chest and out of my head.

The man looked at me as the turbulence swayed the plane back and forth and smiled. "Can I say something without creeping you out?" he asked laughing. 

"Of course." I'd just spill my heart from my chest to this man, I was surprised he wasn't creeped out. 

"I think you know exactly what you need to do and where you need to go. Of course I don't know you at all. but we don't necessarily decide the weather, or the way the day is going to go, we only decide how we live within them. You have to decide how to live within the days you've been given." 

I kind of smiled as I felt the wheels of the plane touch the ground. "easier said than done." 

"Just because circumstance are ugly, doesn't mean there is no beauty in the midst. You just have to move your feet. Because if I can be bold, There is a radiance in you that this world needs."

I looked at him speechless as the people around us began to rise and grab their bags overhead. I couldn't say anything. He got up from his seat in 12E, grabbed is Ralph Lauren jacket and shook my hand, "It was very nice to meet you." and he was gone. 

I sat in 12F looking out the window of the plane, watching people's bags be tossed to and fro, until I was the last one there. I grabbed my bag from the overhead compartment replaying the man's words in my head.

How did a complete stranger know exactly what to say to reach in and start a spark in my heart?

When I reach deep down, pushing pass the heartache and climbing walls that have been built up with brick and mortar and crawling through the electric fence to the depths of my heart, I am beginning to see what this man saw. What Ruth saw so many months ago. Radiance. His radiance. That lately I've been pushing my faith and His radiant light down trying to decide where I should go instead of letting Him lead me. That my walls and fences have done a good job at keeping people out, but also keeping my faith bottled up inside of me. And God, using this random stranger has taken bolt cutters to that fence and a sledge hammer to that wall, and I am discovering that through this one moment, a stranger totally unknown to me had been awoken.

And I have to say that He is pushing me to become a better woman than the one I have been. 

To be a woman who doesn't shut herself off and hide from the world. but a woman who recklessly loves Jesus, no matter the cost, a woman who will continue to love people even through her broken heart. a woman who chooses others above herself. a woman who travels the world, who lives on mere whimsy and faith. a woman who isn't defined by anyone or anything but Jesus, and His life inside of her.

I don't know where you are these days, what's broken down and what's beautiful in this season of your life. I don't know if this is a season of happiness or one of sadness. But I'm learning that neither last forever. There will, I'm sure be something that invades this current loveliness. That's how life is. It won't always be happy, but it won't always be sad either. If everywhere you look these days, it's wintery desolate, and lonely, believe in the spring. It always comes, even though someday it's nearly impossible to imagine, ground frozen, trees bare and spiky. New life will spring from this same ground. This season will end, and something entirely new will follow it. 

God has a plan in all and I hope I never stop discovering new things about Him and experiencing new ways of hearing and seeing Him. Right now I'm still struggling, but I think that a life chasing after Jesus will always be a struggle, because there will always be the enemy raging battles against us. 

And right now I feel I am in the hard, beautiful middle of faith. And it's exactly where I'm supposed to be.

HIS and yours,


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Lost Faith…

I've realized there is something incredibly honest about trees in the winter, how they're experts at letting things go. And maybe, just maybe I could really learn something from the trees.

But truth is I am doubtful in a way that would make Thomas cringe. And I am unfaithful to the point where Peter would look away from me and shake his head. I've heard myself speaking things I swore I knew belong to me, but now here I stand questioning them once again.

And right now all I have are shaky hands and one foot on either side of a fence I am too afraid to tear down.

As I pick up the wrappers of chocolate and sour candy that I've been consuming for the past week, I can't help but honestly say this is not what I thought my life would look like at any given moment.

I would have thought I'd be working a job I love or that I would be back in Africa by now. But I'm sitting in my bedroom, surrounded by sour patch kids wrappers wondering how God has ever seen me fit for ministry. Truthfully I don't really want to leave my house or shower, no not just because of heartache, but because honestly I have no idea where to go or what to do. I don't want to run into people to receive the "oh you're hurting look, let me offer you advice and a cookie." I don't want to have to put on a mask of everything is good. Everything is not good. Everything has not been good for a long time.

Gosh, I'm hurting everyday… what makes this hurt any different. Why because it's visible, because it's on this side of the ocean. because it has to do with what every American Dream is about. because it's not about the little girl I fell in love with in Tanzania, but about something I never actually had planned for.  I just want to understand… where were these people when I returned home months ago broken and bruised. And how do you explain that to people… how do you show people you're not bitter but just still hurting. how do I explain that I haven't lost faith in Jesus, but in myself. How do I explain that my life is nowhere near what I thought it would be and I am not okay with it. I'm dissatisfied and trying to figure out what to do with that.

How do I stop saying I am fine and be totally honest… face-to-face. So many people want to talk, but honestly I just don't know what to say… and I don't want to talk. I want to go… move… do something, anything. But honestly the hope I had in who I was is a pretty dim light right now.

I have very little confidence, very little motivation, very little drive. It could have to do with unnatural amount of bags of chocolate and sour candy I've consumed. It could be that right now I'm feeling lost and unsure about what to do next. I just feel so naive. so dumb. just so stupid. Just so many unknown variables in this equation of my life and people keep saying you're strong and independent and confident. But I'm not. I'm not.

I have never felt so weak.

And honestly I've been spending most hours of my days looking at pictures of Hollo and Justin and Suzanne and Caren. Of Tanzania, of Kenya, of Uganda. Looking back to the place my heart is and maybe it's why I feel so much pain… because my heart has never fully been here and I have no words for people around me who want to know why I hurt so much. That I have no job, no income, and I feel like I just lost my best friend. Maybe it's that fact that deep down in my soul I know God is doing something but I just can't find enough faith in myself to even wash my hair.

I know where my truth lies. In Him.

I know where my confidence lies. In Him.

I know where my hope lies. In Him.

I know where my faith lies. In Him.

My soul is thirsty for Him in this dry and weary land.

I'm all out of candy and tears. I'm just trying to move forward one painful step at a time.

But that's how this life is supposed to be, it's not suppose to be rainbows all the time… sometimes there are storms. and maybe I just don't want to be a Christian anymore.

because they think they always have an answer for something, a problem to solve, an idea to put into action, a understanding in confusion. And I don't. I honestly don't. And I don't want to be that anymore… I don't want to be a Christian anymore. I just want to believe and love Jesus and do my best to love the people around me.

I don't want to have an answer for everything, because I know I never will. I don't want to solve all the problems, because I know I can't.

I just want to put my hope in Jesus and have faith and know deep down He will lift me up. That He knows where my life is leading and I just need to throw away the candy wrappers, wash my oily hair, put on a jacket and head out the door. I just need to move. to go. to stop looking at pictures and trying to remember memories and to go and make more memories. To love boldly even when it hurts.

A friend once told me, "there is no such thing as wasted love." and I believe her, because the love Jesus has lavished on me is no waste at all, and my responsibility is to lavish His love upon others. Even when I feel like I'm doubting myself, even when I have no faith in me, He does; and that truly makes all the difference. 

And He's showing me that I need to learn from the trees. I need to let things go. I need to stop holding on so tightly and let Him carry me. It's a lesson I'm constantly being taught. That I need to let go of all I thought I would be and just find who I am in Him, and everything else will come to be in His timing.

Finding myself in Him,

HIS and yours,


Wednesday, November 6, 2013

From Over thinking to Going.

The rust-colored leaves smell of spices and earth as they crunch underneath my bare feet. There is a chilly breeze blowing through the dead-limbed trees. And for this early in the morning, I'm carrying far too much inside of me. And I need to remind myself to hold on. to slow down. and to breathe in. deep. and to let it out slow. To remember that some mornings I am going to wake up and not understand, not grasp ahold of the clutter of feelings rolling around inside of me. That some days it takes a cold walk on a chilly morning over crunchy colored leaves to let God take hold of me. 

I quit my job. I quit my job. And here I sit a week later sprawled across my bedroom floor wondering what is next. Wondering why I am here, Wondering why God has lead me to this place, to this moment, at this time. And I feel I've spent the first three or so years of my twenties in wonder. I realize that I'm not alone, I mean who in their twenties has life even figured out. That I tell teenage girls all the time that it's okay to be a mess sometimes, that it's okay to not be perfect and it's okay to not be okay, it's just means you're in the thick of living. But sometimes I am hindered by my own advice. Sometimes my advice sounds better spoken to others, rather than to myself. 

Ask anyone who knows me well, I tend to over think things too often. Especially now with all this time on my hands and the hours i've spent laying on my couch watching Netflix to try and block out my thoughts, over thinking has become kind of overwhelming. Over thinking jobs and nursing school and my family and kids in Africa and kids in Ogden and how do you tell someone how you really feel about them. How do you take everything you've ever known yourself to be and move forward into who you're suppose to become. 

And i'm finding that I don't want to be an idle woman. I don't want to be one of those women that puts her life on hold, too busy over thinking things, over analyzing moments instead of enjoying them. I don't want to spend the remainder of my twenties and thirties and the rest of my life wondering what's next. Wondering when I'll find the right job, wondering when I'll find the right words to explain my heart. Wondering when I will see those little faces again. I don't want to wonder my life away, I want to become somebody. To become the woman God has created me to be. 

To not sit idly by, even now with no job. I want to stop wasting my days with Netflix and romantic comedies. Trying to get lost in thoughts instead of lost in people. In the people He has placed in my life. To stop waiting for people to call me, to respond. But to keep reaching out even if it means coming back empty handed. I want to use my hands, my head and my heart for the good of others. 

Because this relationship with Jesus, this life I am living for Him and with Him is not something wild to tame but something wild to run with. 

To run recklessly and to love unconditionally. 

Jesus never said "Think and then go…" He simply said "Go." 

Where? I have no idea at the moment, but I need to crawl out from underneath my pillows and blankets, turn off the TV, take a shower, throw on some clothes other than my pajamas and do just that. Go. 

Go find someone to talk to.

Go find that job.

Go apply to nursing school.

Go tell him about my heart.

Go pray for that child.

Go find a way back to Africa.

Go all in His timing. I will Go. 

To stop sitting and wondering, but start going and wandering.

His hands are guiding my life in a beautiful way and I need to stop guarding my life and start giving it away. To stop being timid and speak. to stop dying and start living. Really living. 

That yes I carry a lot deep down inside of me. And I'm still trying to figure out what to do with it all. But sitting around waiting for life to happen just isn't going to cut it anymore. To constantly remind myself that yes, He is in control, even on the days that seem like they are spiraling out of control and I can't explain myself or anything else around me, that I don't need to over think a single thing, but to remember that God is in it, molding me, shaping me, changing me into the woman I am supposed to be.

Going in His Grace,

 HIS and yours,