You know those moments in life that take your breath away? No not the ones like you see in the movies. The real moments. The times when you are so blown away by Gods grace, love, and mercy. It is also in those moments when you hit a low point and just feel like the walls are coming crashing down. Walls. Big fat brick walls. Sometimes I think we put up unnecessary walls all in good faith that we are protecting ourselves from being hurt. But sometimes. Those walls become a wedge from being wholly committed into something, into relationships, into community. In our Christian walk we have to take our walls down, put others before ourselves, and be completely vulnerable. Even if it means we get a few bruises along the way.
This week was a hard week. As many of you already know- I grew up in a 24/7 ministry home. Which means a fun night out was visiting someone at the hospital while dad prayed with them (while secretly I went to get a free soda pop out of the deal) or spending weekends at the church making photo copies or stacking chairs. I am pretty sure I have enough “community service hours” to cover the requirements of all the students at South Kitsap High School. We all know I am pretty skilled at these things. I wouldn’t trade that for anything. It has taught me so much about service but also about just being genuine and putting others before yourself…or well MYself. ;)
This week I was so challenged in so many different areas. Let’s just say I am so excited this week has finally come to an end. The beginning started out great! My birthday- I was awoken to the greatest gifts of a couple throw pillows and a sweet bracelet from Porsche. She even made me a chocolate cake with the number 20 on it. I am so thankful for her she really makes this place feel like home so much more! I was soaked with water and a ground nut sauce…it was war. We spent the day travelling around the city, getting some local juice, and then out to dinner at a Chinese restaurant called Fang Fang. Sweet and sour chicken for my birthday dinner. So worth it.
As I sat around the table at dinner and people shared their life experiences with me I felt totally blessed. Being the youngest Mzungu around the table is such an honor- I loved looking around and hearing about life and just different opportunities God has given me to be a blessing to others.
We had a combination of mis-communications, lack of planning, and unforeseen bumps in the road this week. The car breaking down and smashing 13 people into a 8 passenger van. It was an adventure to say the least. Even down to the gas station giving us too much fuel and causing a delay in the days events. Not to mention it is so HOT here right now. As I am writing this I am sitting on my bed in shorts and a tank top with the fan blasted and my water that has been in the freezer over night. There is no escape.
I was listening to a sermon by Francis Chan about joy and I was challenged by some of his words.
Do you live with joy? Is that what you are known for?
Philippians 4 talks about rejoicing in the Lord and begins with the women of the church who are fighting and Paul is telling them get a long because there are more important things to be thinking about. The small things that are distracting you from what you are meant to be focusing on. I want to be completely focused on Christ. It is easy to get into a routine and to start pointing fingers or getting upset with all the little details in ministry. God is so gracious to give us relationships with other believers to show us these things and to bring to light all the things that frustrate us. I think yesterday was the most challenging due to the close of a long week. I am so thankful for the challenges and the struggles (only now looking back at them) because they have taught me so much about myself. I want my walls to come down and I want to be back to being open and vulnerable with my faith. I want to be so bold and have courage like David when he Battled Goliath. At the same time I want to have gentleness and confidence like Esther. I want to be challenged like Ruth. I want to be moldable. That is my prayer.
I am a word girl. I really enjoy taken words a part and looking at the true meaning of something. I like to explain things and talk through what I am going through. That is probably why I enjoy the time I get to sit down and write a blog. My word for this blog and for this season I am going through is genuine:
possessing the claimed or attributed character, quality, or origin; not counterfeit; authentic; real.
I think my favorite part of the definition is that is adds the opposite word in there. Counterfeit. What a great descriptive word. Our faith should not be a fake version of what scripture has called us to do. I want to be genuine. That’s how I want people to know my name by.
§ Bona fide (Good faith)
1 Peter 1:6-9English Standard Version (ESV)
“In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory”
Though I have not seen Him, I love him. I want to be found at the end of a week such as this one we just endured singing praises and giving all the glory to God.