Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Friday, June 8, 2007

A Word Of Explanation...or something...

This will be difficult.

Since February, I have been planning to make a great leap and embark on one of the biggest adventures of my life - two months in Swaziland. God has been incredibly faithful in providing the means for me to go, and I have been overwhelmed by the support I have received from family and friends. Before actually leaving the country for our African destination, our team goes through a week of training camp at the AIM training compound in Georgia. Night 3 of training camp, my world falls apart.

Through a number of painful circumstances and prayers, God says something along the lines of 'your number one mission is not to save the world, or go to Swaziland, or whatever else you have been preparing for. your number one mission is to trust Jesus and be obedient to that calling, and now is not your time to go to Swaziland.'

What else can I do? Where do I go from here? I am back in Birmingham, more confused than ever about who I am, who God is, why all this has happened. I am full of fear and sadness and guilt and feelings of failure. My strongest impulse is to isolate. What will people think? What does this mean for me? What am I doing here? Am I crazy? Is this all just a big mistake? What is true? Why am I still afraid? All of this is a mystery to me.

In some moments I am at peace knowing God is a god of redemption and power, not discord. Most of the time I just want to crawl out of my skin and disappear.

Now, as I'm unpacking my suitcases and washing red Georgia dirt from my clothes and reading birthday cards meant for July and notes of encouragement for the mission field, I feel like a grieving person cleaning out the house of someone who has just died.

Here is what I am sure of:
1. I am creation. Because of Jesus, God looks at me and sees no flaw.
2. God is sovereign.
3. God is the God of the oppressed in Birmingham AND in Swaziland. There is God's work to be done everywhere.

I apologize for my candidness here, but if we cannot be honest with one another in the body, then where can we truly be who we are? And now I invite your honesty. Feel free to ask questions or speak truth to me.

"I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten..."-Joel 2:25

Sunday, June 3, 2007

On the Brink

The other night when I was watching the national spelling bee with my family, one of the spellers said that he fights off nervousness by metaphorically picking the wings off of the butterflies in his stomach. It sounds like something I would do...am trying to do.

In about eight hours I will leave the comfort of my home, and in four more the comfort of my family. I will adopt a new family of about 15 people. I'm thrilled and anxious out of my mind. I feel like I've been waiting for this day since I was born, but for some reason there's a little tiny voice saying "Turn back now! Egypt is so safe!"

I was born to take this step. I know this is right. God has brought me here.

It would have been so different if I had been at this juncture a year ago; I am not who I was. I cannot think of a better place to be springing from than the place I am right now in my spiritual, emotional, and intellectual understanding. It is for these same reasons that I am so hesitant to go. I will miss the things which have brought me to this place; the past nine months, and especially the past four weeks or so, have been incredibly formative for me. I'm finally free. And I no longer have anything to run away from like I would have a year ago, only people and places I am sad to leave.

My even-keel since of peace is periodically disrupted by thirty second epidosdes of sheer panic. What in the name of all that is holy am I about to do?! Two months!

Only two months - they'll be gone before I know it, and I will return a different human being.

God, ground my spirit in holy community, binding us all together in perfect love. I have not been given a spirit of fear. If you say go, we will go. Jesus, you are the reason why.