Tuesday, June 22, 2010

the more i know, the less i understand

I hope you are all enjoying your summer! It is hot and humid here - but we get to go to the pool most days which is nice. The summer schedule is a bit crazier than during the school year here. As Bigs, we plans more activities with the Littles and have less time off each day. That has been a bit challenging for me these past few weeks. I realized how much I need alone time to really be still and process things and re-energize. I have felt pretty good for the most part, but I also feel like I've just been going with the flow of everything and haven't stopped much to really know what is going on deeper inside. I also feel like I am becoming a little too comfortable where I am, and now is the time to be challenged.

Just some rambling about what I've been thinking about the past few days...

I've been praying for discernment lately. I have so many questions about the way things should be - especially relationships. I want to find the balance that brings the most glory to God. I know we are called to live in community and have interdependent relationships. I don't know exactly what that looks like. I have seen myself become too dependent in relationships, and then also isolate myself and not allow people in. I want to find a healthy balance. As I am learning that only the Lord can satisfy all the desires in my heart, I am wrestling to understand where my relationships with people fit into all of this. Jesus prays that we would be one as He and the Father are one. So what does that mean for us?

I'm wrestling with what my relationships with other Bigs and Littles should look like. Its easy to want to look at the relationships other Bigs have with the Littles and think mine should look like theirs. But we are all different and have different personalities. I know I long for depth, however I want to meet people where they are. I know I can sometimes intimidate or overwhelm people with my depth, and so I think I have held that back more now. I really want to surrender who I am to Christ and allow Him to show me how to be all I am and use the gifts He has given me for His glory. I think it is more of a moment by moment dependence on Him than knowing exactly what it looks like and going for that. Every relationship is different, and situations are different. There are no formulas, these are relationships. I think there is this mystery to relationships. I think it adds to the beauty of them, but it can also be hard. They take patience, forgiveness, communication and listening. I love listening to other people, asking questions and hearing their hearts. I also feel so loved when people ask me good questions and really are interested in what I have to say. To be loved is to be known...

I had an evaluation last week with the LeadTime directors, intern and one of our house directors. We talked about areas I can grow and what some of my strengths are. It was an encouraging time and I felt known and loved as they affirmed who I am and challenged me in different areas. One ways I was challenged was to offer my heart more and my perspective. I wrestle with this a lot. Sometimes I feel like my heart is too much to handle and don't want to offer it in fear it will be rejected or overwhelm people. I feel deeply and can be very passionate about things. I don't always like to feel that way or show it because its so deep - which means I am capable of hurting deeply as well. I want to be all the Lord created me to be, and I know that involves my depth and what people have described as an extra big heart. I don't know what to do with it most of the time. It's easier sometimes to not allow myself to care so deeply, but I don't want what's easy - I just want what will draw me closer to the Lord. I also want to be closer to other people, too. I say that, but when it comes to being vulnerable and sharing my heart, I often choose the safe route of being quiet and simply thinking about things before I take action. Love is a risk. I want to love well. C.S. Lewis says, "To love at all is to be vulnerable." I think that's true. I pray that Love will teach me how to love like He did - His vulnerability exposed on the cross, the depth of His love, the intensity of the pain He experienced so we could know Him. That is the only motivation to truly love even in the face of the heartache. Love is hard. I don't understand it a lot. Lord, teach me how to love. Amen.

Thanks for your prayers and encouragement. I pray you would know more of His love today!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

beautiful the mess we are

The title of this blog entry is from a song my mom sent me called "Better Than a Hallelujah" by Amy Grant. And since I feel like I am a beautiful mess all the time, I love the lyrics. :) But I have found so much freedom in being that mess - its been so sweet.

My break home was perfect! I saw more people in Austin than I was planning on or could have hoped for. I saw a friend on the drive down and drive back. I felt like I was able to spend good quality time with my closest friends & my family. The entire time was filled with my favorite things in Austin - live music on a beautiful night, Kerbey Lane breakfast, kayaking on Town Lake right by the downtown skyline, some good ol' tex-mex at Chuy's, good time driving down the Mopac, worshipping our Creator with the body at Austin Stone and HCBCnw, and I got to visit T Bar M camp in New Braunfels!!! It was a week where I constantly was blessed to proclaim the gospel & the faithfulness of the Lord. I was so encouraged by everyone. I ran into people everywhere who said they were praying for me. I laughed, I cried, I partied! :) I had one night alone where God decided to bring healing into areas of my life that have held me captive since I was little. It was beautiful and painful, but so so sweet and continues to orchestrate freedom in my life. The last night I witnessed an amazing lightening storm. Then I came back to Missouri and spent the first couple days longing for Austin and missing home. Seeing everything and everyone reminded me of how dear it all is to my heart. But I know the Lord has me here. :)

I don't know if break was perfect or if God has really changed my heart and set me free to enjoy who He is in each moment. I definitely think the latter. :) I feel like my eyes have been opened to things they missed before - and I love it! Being back here at Shelterwood has been great! I have had some incredible conversations with Bigs & Littles. I have laughed so much, and been so encouraged. And I have cried, and my heart has broken. But through the highs & lows, I know the Lord is near. I know He will provide. I know His love never fails and His grace is sufficient. I am free because of what Christ has done for me, and so I can rest. I always loved Matthew 11:28-30 where Jesus invites us to come to Him and find rest. I always longed to experience that but I didn't understand. I think I do a bit now.

This place is hard. Each day you see the brokenness of our world, as you can everywhere, but yet Christ is holding it all in His hands. And so He provides the grace to find joy in the midst of sorrow and comfort in the midst of pain, and somehow for reasons I cannot comprehend, He reveals Himself to me and allows me to offer Him to others. His love for me is ridiculous - and that same love is available for each of us. Oh how He loves us! There is nothing greater than that. Everything comes down to love. And Christ is love.

We have a Little leaving tomorrow. She was one I got pretty close to, but I also realized a month ago that she isn't mine to hold - she belongs to the Lord. And I have great confidence in Him and what He has planned for her, and she is pretty strong. Good-byes are still hard though. When I came back from break, we had a new girl here. She is younger than most of the girls here, which has been a challenge, but I have enjoyed time with her and we were able to have some good conversations already. Another new girl is coming on Thursday, so change is always happening. I know a lot of us are tired. But I also know that God is the ever-lasting God and provides new strength to rise on wings like eagles! I pray we come to know Him more through all that we experience here.

Thank you for your constant prayers, love & support. I cannot tell you thanks enough for all the ways you encourage me. Please continue to pray for everyone here as Littles come & go - that we would remain focused on Christ and trust Him in all we do. I pray that you are walking in the freedom we have in Christ and never forget the you are dearly loved!