Sometimes I feel like there are things that are worth opening back up the tumblr world for. This is (obviously) one of those times.
Two weeks ago I was in Atlanta with some of my favorite sisters in Christ from both Bosnia and America. It did my heart well to be around such beautiful and encouraging souls. One of our many adventures was to the local Bosnian restaurant in Atlanta (because when our Bosnian friends are in America, they have to eat Bosnian!)
After we finished our meal, I sat back in my seat looking at my surroundings and taking it all in. This is what I saw: Three tables of friends just sitting around and enjoying each other’s company. You see, they had finished their meals a long time ago. But now, now they all sat together sipping on their coffee and simply enjoying each other’s company.
As a wishful smile came across my face, all I could think about was how much I missed that part of Bosnian culture, and how in America we do not value people in the same way. We most often view time like this as being “unproductive” or “lazy.” Why have we (including myself) let ourselves be convinced that spending time investing in others is a waste of time? It might in fact be one of the best things we can do for both ourselves and others.
Think about it, when is the last time you intentionally made time to go meet up with a friend or two, enjoy each other’s company, and discuss life - no phones, no computers, no distractions - just enjoying life and time with another person?
It is one of the most simple, yet most beautiful gifts in life. Give it a try.
I have spent the last few months going back and forth about whether or not I wanted to start writing again. I have had so many things on my mind and heart- encouragement, struggles, lessons. My summer alone could fill a book! But for some reason or another, I have kept my online mouth shut.
But I need to make a plea. One last encouragement. One more urging.
And that would be….
GO!!! Whether it is in Georgia, in the U.S., or across the world. Just go!
Eight days ago one of my girls stated, “Missions is where you belong. It’s where I see you. It’s where you’re comfortable.” WHOA, what? Missions comfortable?? I then proceeded to tell her about my first missions experience overseas in Bosnia. I knew no one on my team, nothing about the culture, none of the language, nothing. I was thrown what felt like 908453748 miles outside of my comfort zone.
But I would not trade that summer for anything in world. I was challenged more than I ever had been before. I learned more about myself and about God and about the Gospel in those six weeks than my 20 years before that combined. And I grew immensely in those six weeks- how to live in Kingdom community, what it really looks like to trust God, how to study the Word, how to share my testimony, how to do discipleship, and so, so much more.
A few days ago I was reading Josh Irby’s blog post: Finding Your Discomfort (http://joshirby.com/2013/09/18/finding-your-discomfort-zone/). In it he says:
What if I told you there is a place where:
Growth is abundant,
Skills are developed,
Weaknesses are exposed,
Character is strengthened,
Life is transformed.
Would you want to go there?
At some point or another you will be faced with an opportunity on how to spend your summer, how to spend your vacation, etc. And I strongly encourage you to take at least one of those and invest in the Kingdom. Whether it’s for two weeks, two months, or a year. Go, just go! Your life will be forever changed.
Don’t know where to start? If your church or organization doesn’t offer mission opportunities check out Summer Projects with CRU. They have opportunities for high school students, college students, and adult internships both here and abroad.
Put yourself in someone else’s shoes. That’s what we are always told. But in reality, we often can’t do this until we are actually put in their shoes. And now, I have been on the other side. I have seen.
Let me rewind: At the beginning of this year, my boyfriend and I were discussing what was ahead for the semester. I was taking 18 hours, getting ready to graduate, taking all the graduation exams, doing an internship, and other ministry things. He works in the sports information department meaning in addition to his class load, his ministry work, and his family time, he would be consumed (almost every day) with baseball and softball games. We discussed having to be intentional with one another in both talking and making time. We jokingly said, “If we can just make it through this semester, we will be able to make it through anything!”
(Seriously, one day I am going to learn to quit saying things like that!) Little did we know what was ahead for our summers! He is doing a 10 week internship as a youth minister in Macon, GA. And I will be in Sarajevo, Bosnia for six of those weeks. Needless to say, the past semester prepared us for being intentional this summer.
So what about those shoes?
When I left to head to Bosnia two years ago, I remember saying goodbye to my family and friends. Not a tear was shed. My heart was not even sad. And that was because I was so incredibly excited and ready to go where the Lord had called me. I knew without a doubt it was where I was supposed to be. And I was at complete peace.
This weekend, I got to be on the other side of that goodbye. I had to say goodbye to the one who has been called, who only showed excitement and readiness, and who did not shed a tear. And wow, is it a different side of the spectrum. Mainly, it’s hard. I now see and understand where my loved ones were that day, and I feel like it has prepared me more for my goodbyes this time around.
I am so proud of him and his obedience to the Lord’s call! I know these ten weeks will be life changing and full of learning. And I could not be more ready to leave for Bosnia! This summer is full of opportunities for and obedience to the Lord. And in the end every moment of it is for His glory and our good. I can speak for both of us- there is nothing we want more in our relationship than to be serving the Lord - even if it is difficult for us!
Goodbyes are hard. But they only last for a little while. Besides, what is ten weeks when you look at the whole picture? :)
Please keep both of us and our families in your prayers throughout the summer!
“When God created mankind, he made them in the likeness of God. He created them male and female and blessed them. And he named them “Mankind” when they were created.”
And that is when it all started. The differences. He created us differently. And this has been an ongoing learning process for the last three years for me. I have learned that as females:
-We respond to situations differently than males.
-We react differently than males.
-We process through things differently than males.
-We are more emotional than males.
-We understand things differently than males.
-Plus many, many more…
We are different!
But why does this matter? The topic has come up in conversation several times over the last week about it. But it has come up in a way that has made me begin to realize what has happened and how our views as women have changed.
Let me explain: If one is to cry, you are vulnerable. Show too much emotion, and you are simply being ridiculous. Let something affect you deeply, you’re taking it too seriously.
We have seen ourselves as women fall into believing the lie that emotions and tenderness show weakness. And that we cannot be seen as weak. We often even beat ourselves up for “being such a girl.” But we forget the beautiful picture created in Genesis 5! He created them- male and female! He created us differently. Both genders were created to reflect God’s image!
And when you look at the various aspects of each gender that reflect God, we see many of those differences. Females- you were created to be a tender, emotional, nurturing being. And there is nothing wrong with that! Do not believe that this is wrong. Do not let the world tell us that we need to be as solid as the men. We were not created just like them and that is how God wanted it! Or he would not have created them- male and female.
It’s a beautiful picture, and we must not lose sight of our purpose of glorifying Christ through every ounce of our being - yes, even our emotional being.
Now, this does not give us an excuse to let our emotions rule our lives and interactions. “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” If our emotions are not in line with Christ, then we are not letting the Spirit lead and control them.
Embrace being a female. You were created that way. You are in the image of God!
"Being tender and open in beautiful. As a woman, I feel continually shh’ed. Too sensitive. Too mushy. Too wishy washy. Blah blah. Don’t let someone steal your tenderness. Don’t allow the coldness and fear of others to tarnish your perfectly vulnerable beating heart. Nothing is more powerful than allowing yourself to be truly affected by things. Whether it’s a song, a stranger, a mountain, a rain drop, a tea kettle, an article, a sentence, a foot step, feel it all- look around you. All of this is for you. Take it and have gratitude. Give it and feel love."
I love the Lord, for he heard my voice;
he heard my cry for mercy.
Because he turned his ear to me,
I will call on him as long as I live.
The cords of death entangled me,
the anguish of the grave came over me;
I was overcome by distress and sorrow.
Then I called on the name of the Lord:
“Lord, save me!”
The Lord is gracious and righteous;
our God is full of compassion.
The Lord preserves the simple;
when I was brought low, he saved me.
Return to your rest, my soul,
for the Lord has been good to you.
For you, Lord, have delivered me from death,
my eyes from tears,
my feet from stumbling,
that I may walk before the Lord
in the land of the living.