Monday, March 31, 2014

Growing in a Process of Love and Grace.

     I never imagined my story to look like this. Never imagined I'd be here in this moment and all the ones before this. Never thought I would be finding so much love in my heart. Never thought I'd be sharing Jesus in a bookstore in the middle of the Business section. Never thought I'd be leading and sharing Jesus' love with youth. Never thought that I'd be laying on my bedroom floor, my eyes tired, my body tired, my heart heavy, yet so overjoyed. And yet this is where I find myself when things become to heavy to carry. Face down on my bedroom floor. I seem to find rest in this place. Things just seem to get real down here. Things seem to open up, things seem to become lighter. And I imagine that Jesus is laying right beside me, His arm around my shoulders, His tears echoing mine, comforting, understanding, loving.

      And right now I should probably be sleeping. But I can't. Too much is going on in my mind. Too many thoughts. Too many emotions. Too many things. So much Jesus, so much Magnificent, and I just need to climb up in His lap, process through the past couple weeks, and rest my weary bones.

      Jesus must have a "Mary Poppins" bag of grace for me. Sometimes I wonder if He ever wants to knock me upside the head, or shake my shoulders until I can focus straight and see that He is revealing things, that He is working and He has and will continue to prepare me for the work that is to be done in and for His Kingdom.

       Honestly I don't feel like I do enough. I don't feel like I'm qualified to do the work He is calling me to do. I constantly question myself and my heart. Am I doing this for the right reasons? Am I doing this for Jesus? You see, this past weekend I "lead" a youth retreat… and I use the term "lead" extremely lightly, because I didn't do much leading… He did. But I knew there would be battles stepping into that role. because I'm young. Many times it felt like people didn't respect or didn't trust me to do what I was called to do, just for that reason. Because I am young. And I kept going back to the verse in 1 Timothy 4:12 "Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers, in speech, in life, in love, in faith, and in purity." It made me lean on Him more, it made me realize that I'm an imperfect person called by a perfect Man.

and He reveled many things to me.

        I can get frustrated sometimes and forget in my emotions what He is calling me to. And He showed me this weekend that when I let go of the thoughts of others and cling to His thoughts and His nudging. Great things will follow.

This past weekend I got to work with amazing women, who made me laugh, cry, who prayed over me, encouraged me, and helped me see that my life is worth wasting for the Gospel. I got to meet and love on some amazing young women. I got to see many walk through struggles and come out the other side clinging to His robe. I got to hear testimonies of heart's healed, I got to see walls crumble and the enemy defeated. And that, in the end, triumph's over all my frustrating moments, over all my unqualified thoughts, over everything.

        I also got to see what goodbye feels like again, some of them I will never see again. And I realized that my big goodbye is drawing ever so close, and it's scary, and yet He is magnificent and sometimes it takes snot pouring from my nose, tears drenching my cheeks and being pulled into a room full of woman, them laying hands on me to confirm my calling even further.

      That even if I think I can't. I am wrong. It says in the Bible that God rescues and uses the dirty and the messy and the imperfect. It's all in His grace, the same grace that told David- the little harp playing boy, "You're Mine." to David the murderer adulterer "You're Mine." to Moses the unqualified, stuttering murderer, "You're Mine." to Paul who was also a murderer. He called all of them to Him. Throughout the Bible God calls the messy. The people who when called find excuses, just like me. And He's showing me that yeah, maybe I'm a mess, but I have something to offer.

And He's showing me through these past couple weeks that I am called to Him, called to be His hands and feet to His people, to His children.

       That there are these "little ones" every place. That they are coming, gathering with dirty faces and hurting hearts. That they maybe looking to me and not sure where to go or where else to look. And it's my job to teach them. to teach the people around me to stand firm. to Teach them to cling to Him. To teach them that it is okay to fail, and how to lean on Him to stand back up again. to point them to Jesus. Nothing gives me more joy in that. Nothing gave me more joy these past couple weeks than being with these youth and seeing the way that Jesus moves in them. lives in them, and loves them. Because at the end of the day, Faith is a funny thing. It just turns up when you don't really expect it.

      And I'm realizing that the fairytale I imagined is vastly different in the arms of my Jesus. That I don't have to know everything in order to live a brave and beautiful life. I just need to lean on Him.

That His plans are far greater and His calling on my life is far bigger.

     That I got to experience glimpses into Heaven these past couple weeks, fall in love with strangers, To see that Love is not simply something we feel, it's something that surrounds us, and nothing could ever compare to the love that has surrounded me.

       He is calling me, everyday to be Jesus, He is asking me to sacrifice and let go of things I am holding onto. And I'm realizing, slowly, that it's starting to not feel like a sacrifice, it's starting to feel like love.

   And I think I am just going to curl up with my dog and rest in that love.

A love that takes me anywhere...

Finding Rest,

 HIS and yours,


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Ripped Quilts and Broken Joy.

"There's no such thing as a painless lesson. They just don't exist. Sacrifices are necessary. You can't gain anything without losing something first, although if you can endure that pain and walk away from it, you'll find that you now have a heart strong enough to over come any obstacle"     -Edward Elric.

God is absolutely, magnificently awe-inspiring. And life is and I think will constantly be a funny sort-a-thing. Just when I think I've got it all figured out, just when I finally begin to plan something, get excited about something, and feel like I know what direction I'm heading in. the paths change, the signs change, the wind blows the other way, north is suddenly south, and east is west, and I feel so lost. and it is so easy to lose my way, to lose direction. And God's constantly hunkering down next to me, saying "look, listen, I am your center, I am your guide. I am that star. Look for me, follow me, and I will guide you home."

And I haven't been writing as much as I used to. It seems now-a-days everyone has a blog and everyone has something to say. And I've been thinking more and more maybe it's time to just hang it all up, call it quits. Put the cap on the pen, push away the crumpled papers, and walk away. I never intended to write for people to read, or for people to follow. I just wanted to write. I write to discover me. to remove the chaos in my brain, the clutter of words, which flow so freely onto paper and make so much more sense to me in ink, rather than in thought.

Maybe I'm not a writer after all. No one ever sat me down and said "Cameron, you're a writer, that's what you are and that's what you will be." They said I was writing material, but never a writer. And I think that as I've been meditating on HIM more and revisiting my life through journals from years past I think it started to become a theme. People constantly telling me what kind of material I have and what kind I don't. "You're teaching material, but you're horrible at being in front of people." "You're writing material, but it's just too raw, too chunky." "You're missionary material, but you hate to fly and you're too shy." "You're marriage material, but definitely don't fit in the 'dateable' category." blah blah blah blah blah… It goes on and on and I'm left clutching onto so many different fabrics, so many different materials, wondering what it all even means.

And a lot of times it seems like I spend too much time stitching up my heart after I've opened it up once again, then stitching up all this "material" I have clutched so tightly in my hands. And it scares me to death to think that one day I might look back at my life and realized that I lived it painfully ordinary. That instead of looking to my north star, to my Jesus, I spent too much time staring down at a mismatched quilt, wondering what it meant.

It wasn't until this last week that I unclenched my hands from all that material, let it fall from my lap and walked forward.

This past week I returned to a place I was in 9 years ago, a place where I first received my calling to spend my life serving God. And I was able to see what I am made of. What HE has made me for.

I got to spend time with amazing young women. Who brought me so much joy, who made me laugh and cry. Who helped me to grow and learn that God has called me to people, no matter where I am at. That my joy in that moment was made complete with these girls, talking and listening to their hearts. These young women are world changers, and I am and have been so blessed to be a small part of their lives this year. No words can express the huge amount of love I've harbored in my heart for each one of them. I hold them close, which makes this joy so hard, which makes this joy feel so broken. because I know for the moment I am here, but moments are fleeting and when God's voice beckons me away, I must go.

But in these moments of broken joy I see that tattered, ripped quilt down at my feet. And Jesus is throwing a robe around my shoulders, That I keep asking Him why I risk losing so much love. Loving this way can be risky and yet… great love is risky. That constantly we are told to take love and use it to gain things, for an advantage. But Love is not for gain, love is for losing. That to be a leader, I must be a servant. That to gain, I must lose. To toss my love across the seas, across oceans of heart and tidal waves of hands. That I must live radical in the now, with what I have. because living radical isn't about the place I live but it's about how I love. That I will not be waiting until the next time I'm on an airplane to risk love. I do it now. To these girls, to my other co- leaders, to my co-workers, to my family, to my friends, to every person I come in contact with.

Because God's love never allows dust to settle in my heart!

I must risk my life. Because ultimately I know I will be totally secure in Jesus. In whatever He is calling me towards, in the now, in the moments, and in the ones to come. That if this service and sacrifice will make Jesus look big, if it will fulfill Jesus' purposes, if it will communicate Jesus to the people around me and to the world. Than I will be all for it.

And it's hard and it's horrible when your heart is somewhere your body is not, but Jesus is calling me to Him now, my heart in His hands, teaching me, listening to me, crying with me, cradling with me, talking to me, reminding me that He is the ultimate love giver. That all the materials people tried to sew onto me do not define me. That His plan and purpose is awesome and where I am now is where I am suppose to be. To wait on Him.

So here I am, standing in the midst of a tattered, ripped quilt and wrapping myself tighter into His robes. He is cradling my broken joy close in His arms, And I'm ready. I'm ready to risk it. to be a servant, to lose, to have my life wrecked beyond recognition.

Here I am. Not unsteady, but a little unsure. Not impatient, but unmoving. Not hiding. Waiting.

Dancing in Joy and Tattered Quilts,

 HIS and yours,


Wednesday, March 5, 2014

The Chaos Inside...

      “There are a hundred things she has tried to chase away the things she won’t remember and that she can’t even let herself think about because that’s when the birds scream and the worms crawl and somewhere in her mind it’s always raining a slow and endless drizzle.
You will hear that she has left the country, that there was a gift she wanted you to have, but it is lost before it reaches you. Late one night the telephone will sing, and a voice that might be hers will say something that you cannot interpret before the connection crackles and is broken.”  
                                - Neil Gaiman
         How do you calm a storm, when it seems the waves have overtaken all. How do you swim through tides that grab hold of ankles and pull you undertow. How do you breathe the water out through your lungs without it burning in the process. How do you contain the chaos underneath, when above seems so calm? My thought exist much like the chaos below the oceans surface, seemingly quiet while and entire universe scurries about beneath the deep blue water. And sometimes I can't control it, sometimes I can't contain it. Sometimes they overwhelm me and I wonder how to express them to people without fear of being judge, or sounding crazy, or wondering if they will finally lose their idea of me and just see me, as I am, with no pretense. 

     And my heart aches and burns for good thoughts, for a clear mind; unadulterated. But lies sneak in, and sadness comes in waves and washes through like heavy tides, and anger seeps through cracks I thought were sealed tight with glue. And sometimes I just have to let go and say, I'm broken, in need of healing, in need of grace and I'm tired of trying to be this wonderful person, this ideal person, that I don't want to be indifferent, I just want to be honest.

    Honest in a way that says this past year has been one of the roughest I've ever experienced, that since coming home I've struggled constantly with losing sight of who Jesus is. Because all too often I don't see Him here, and it scares me and burdens me and makes me wonder where my eyes are looking, or if I'm looking at all. Since coming home I've ached with a deep unexplainable sadness, a longing for something more than what is and as I continue to cry out to God and search out my calling more and more, I'm seeing that I've spent years "at home" meeting people without ever knowing them and that hurts.

      And it hurts the way it does because I have so many words in my head, and there are too many ways to describe the way I feel. I keep crying out to God and asking Him where to start, where to go, and this year has been an echo of stillness. And I feel like I will never have this luxury of a dull ache. That I must suffer through the intricacies of feeling too much.

   Because I've seen too much, know too much, heard stories and fell in love with countries and people so so different from me, I've lost touch with who I am supposed to be here. That I have become a drifter, and as lonely as that can be sometimes, it is also remarkably freeing. That I am learning I never have to define myself in terms of anyone else, and yet when I'm here I find I do, I find that I forget too easily who God has called me to be and instead try to lean into what people are asking me to be. 
    I don't want to. I want to see Jesus here, but I feel clouded and weighed down. I have seen Jesus more clearly in the dirt and grime. But everyone here, in their facades, are scrubbed clean. I've seen Jesus in the people being hurt and mistreated, of the poor, the weak, the sick, the meek hearted and broken people. I have seen Jesus there more than I have in any church building here. In the sterile, clean, perfect environments we try so hard to keep as a "church."
       And I've never been so hurt and burnt by people and churches since coming home, the embrace that is talked about was an arms length pat on the head. The love and support that they flock to "new-comers" is disregarded to a lost and wandering single young woman, searching for her heart that has been lost to another country. It's hard to trust a church that proclaims to be Jesus, when Jesus is the last thing I've ever seen. 
        It's hard swimming through these oceans of thought, when I'm coming up to one of the biggest decisions in my life and God is pushing me and calling me forth and I crave for companionship, the way He created me for, for someone to grab my hand squeeze it tight and say "I love you, I support you 100 % and I will be here for you, while you're away and when you return." But I can't, because life happens and two years is a long time to ask for someone to wait, to love you when you're not around, and to lean in close and watch you go through your high and lows. It's to much to ask for… Isn't it? I don't know. 
        Maybe, just maybe, this is the sacrifice I kept feeling I was going to have to make. To look at my life and the people I love and have fallen in love with and ask them to not wait, to move on. Because who know's what could happen, and it scares the life out of me and keeps me questioning God. What about my family, what about my future, what about my relationships….

     And then I realize the problem…. I'm constantly using the word my, or mine… when in the end it's not mine… it's His, it and them and everything in between is His. It always has been and always will be. And I just keep testing my heart and listening to people who help me grow and teach me new ways of thinking. And Jesus keeps nudging me closer to that day where I don't have to wait any longer. He's leading me in this direction for a reason, He's putting these people in my life for a reason, no one, no thing is an accident and I just need to soak it all in, try and calm the ocean of my mind, ask Him to calm my storms and step out of the boat and enjoy the moments now. 
     This past year including these last couple months I've experience so many beautiful and strange things. I've been so joyful, and also super sad, I've learned about love and heartbreak, I've grown to understand my calling. I've seen the importance of my family, and the miraculous way God puts people in my life at the exact times I need them, even if it hurts. 
       It's been a roller coaster of a ride. But Life is kind of an uphill battle, like climbing a mountainside, some days I will have to go over rocks and messy foothills and other days will be a nice scenic hike, but no matter the way, eventually I will reach that top and see how far He has taken me.

        Until that day, I'll continue to attempt to live the way He has called me. To Love freely, with reckless abandonment, embracing those around me, whoever they may be, wherever I may be. I know He's got it all figured out, so I'm letting Him calm the chaos and take control of this worn out weathered storm. 

    Seeking Calm in the Storm,

   HIS and yours,