Thursday, August 5, 2010

Consume me like a fire...I just want something beautiful

So after almost 3 weeks of sulking and being angry with God, I have finally finished really processing my summer. It was tough to see what good came out of it because I was so angry about the bad things and about being at home that I completely forgot all the good that went on. So here is my very last blog that talks about what I learned, how it has changed me, and where I am going now.

I had the absolute best summer of my life. If I had the choice to be surrounded by that exact group of people, I would take it hands down. I love each and every one of my teammates with a rare passion. No matter how much we got on each other's nerves, we were family. I learned something different from each person and each lesson I learned was vital to my walk and my growth in Christ. I learned that I'm not weird because I have piercings and tattoos. I learned that I'm not any less of a Christian because I cuss and have an occasional drink. I learned to love myself and the Lord with out fear and with out boundaries. I learned patience and most of all I learned to have all out faith.

Looking back through the videos and pictures reminds me of the lives we changed and how our own lives changed. I get teary eyed because there is something so sacred and so special about the bond that all of us had and I miss that. I felt more at home in Africa than I ever have anywhere or with anyone. For a while i thought that it was just Africa that gave me that feeling but as I look back I think it was a lot more about the people I was with that where I was. The love we generated made the mud huts, the bunk beds, and the tents a home. We were home because we were all together in His name and for His purpose. I found my something beautiful- it was living among my brothers and sisters and sharing our lives together.

Right before I left I wrote about how the Lord had told me that this summer was going to be about faith. I was ready to take it head on, I just expected it to be easy. I thought He meant that I was going to have to rely on Him when I was homesick or trust Him while I was waking up at 6am every morning. I know now that I was completely wrong and in thinking that, I was in sin. I thought that because I had been a "good" servant to the Lord that I was entitled to have everything go according to plan. He rocked my world. To be quite frank, He pissed me off. I was mad at Him for a long time. I was mad because my trip wasn't just hard, it was almost impossible.

I haven't been on speaking terms with God since I got back (and by that I mean I was allowed to speak to and complain to Him, but He was not allowed to say anything in return. Most of you have experienced this fun game with me). This is the second summer where I felt like He had taken everything I loved the most away from me. From boyfriends and friends to Africa and family- He was putting a wrench in all of that and I was not happy about it. So I sulked for about a week, complained to Him a lot, and through all this I was continuously reminded that I am out of college and should probably try and get back into the real world. That was difficult because after I had made the decision to stay in Africa, I had to turn down all of the job opportunities I had back in the states. I did that 3 days before I got sick. So I returned to the US with no hope of a job and having to live in my parents house. A couple of days later, I knew that was not where I needed to be and started exploring my options.

I have never thought of myself as a people pleaser, but after really having to examine myself the past few weeks and I realized that i was trying to make a decision based on what everyone else wanted me to do. A friend asked me last week what I would do if there was absolutely nothing holding me back (meaning parents, money, friends). I couldn't answer him because I was trying to make this decision based on other's happiness, not my own. That scared me. So I sat down and tried to figure that out. I went deep and really asked the Lord what he wanted from me and what I really wanted from me. The Lord wants me to spread His love with every person I come into contact with. I figured it out fairly quickly but the next step was hard. I looked at the people and things in my life currently and had to decide if they were going to help or hurt me. I found a lot of things and people in my life that had to go. All of these things were the things I was so mad about the Lord taking away from me- all I had to do was submit to Him and let those things fade out. That was hard and it still is because, again, some of the things that I had to let go of were things and people that were closest to my heart and I loved them, but they were not adding anything positive to my life and they were not allowing me to get where I needed to go in my walk with Christ.

So this is normal. Everyone gets angry with God and loses a bit of faith and we all have those cliche sayings to share with each other, but honestly those never help. The truth is the only thing that can help us is just to keep going. When things go down the drain, its okay to get mad and feel alone because we all know that it won't be long before the Lord sweeps us of our feet again and laughs with us about how silly we have been.

So where does this leave me? Well it leaves me with 2 of my dearest friends in Jackson, Mississippi. I could not be happier or more delighted in how the Lord worked this summer in shaping my heart for His glory.