I came home with no idea what I would be doing next. Little did I know I was about to enter into one of the hardest times emotionally I have ever experienced. My mission trip, my traveling, it might be over for a couple months, but God still has me on a Journey.
I realized I haven't shared a lot about my feelings since being home. It is hard. Sometimes I can't even find words, and it becomes overwhelming to even try and explain. The Webster's Dictionary has no words that can begin to explain it. I Simply believe you have to experience it to know.
Yesterday I was sitting at work, and I was thinking about how hard it has been coming home. It has been really exhausting in so many ways, I have been internally freaking out, trying to look calm on the outside. I realized I wasn't allowing myself grace when I couldn't get the swing of things. I was gone for six months, I can't expect to click exactly where I left off. And frankly I don't want to! I am different now, but its weird in a lot of ways, it uncomfortable.
I am going to try and explain.
God intended for us to live in a beautiful word. Gods desire was for us to live in a world full of love, love for God, and love for each other. Sadly the reality is that this world is now a fallen world, nothing close to the beautiful place He had intended. But as I was traveling I would get a little taste of what the Kingdom could be like. I drew close to my Father, and felt His presence in all I did.
I will never forget sitting in a small dirty hut packed full of Turkish Gypsies. The laughter from the children, the joy I felt as I sat and drank tea with complete strangers. I don't remember worrying about anything, I was completely captivated in that moment. I drank their tea, and absorbed their presence. We couldn't understand each other but we could feel the love being spread throughout each of our hearts. As I walked away from that experience, I remember thinking that is EXACTLY what the Kingdom is all about!! I didn't care if my tea water was from the same river as their shower, bathroom, and washer. And they didn't care that they gave me their last dimes worth of shoe polish to show their gratitude for my visit. It was a moment that moved me, and transformed my heart. I could feel Gods presence the entire time. We receive freely, as we are to give freely. God provides, He delivers, and I just experienced that on a whole new level.
In the last couple months my priorites have changed. My heart became vulnerable, open, and fresh. My burdens became those of the people I encountered. And even now, as I am home I carry those burdens, I see those faces, I feel the pain.
God has blessed me in abundance, He has given me health, he has given me money, he has given me freedom, he has given me family and support. How can I be content working 8-5, spending money of frivolous things as another child dies from my lack of help? I know that God does not want me to sit on guilt, or conviction, BUT God does call me to reach out to the lost, to give drink to the thirsty.
When I came home someone told me what I was doing was "selfless" another "cool". I felt conviction while hearing those words, I wanted to take the compliment, but no no no, Im no super hero, I'm not radical, I am simply doing what God has called me to do. What God has called us all to do!
Before I left I had asked God "what is my purpose in life?" While in Turkey and Russia, and everyday since God has answered me. He has shown me my purpose, it's very simple, To love God, love my neighbor, and to serve Him, bringing the Kingdom to those who are lost and hopeless.
God has continued to touch my heart, it seems every day He catches me off Guard with something, but everyday He still is, will always be, and I know I can trust in Him. My relationship with my Mighty Father grows more every day. And I have enjoyed finding my identity in Christ, being refined, and transformed.
It has been hard to come home, and I have realized how much God changed my life. But I am learning to extend grace to myself, to know that I am not the same, and things will never be how they were. And that is OK, Its GOOD.
I was listening to the song blessed be your name and I was caught by the lines "He gives and takes away, He gives and takes away, but still I choose to say blessed be Your name."
He does He gives, and He takes away, He gives and He takes away. I see it everday in my own life. He gives, and He takes away, but His giving always seems more than what He takes, and I am always left a different person because of it. I will choose to say BLESSED BE YOUR NAME!