But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.”
I’m sorry I seem to expect the stars out of you, when six months ago I would have felt the constellations forming my name with just your fingers wrapped around mine…
I’m taking down the streamers, throwing away the party hats, and uninviting all of my guests— Depression, self-pity, anger, and insecurity. I’m shutting down this party for good.
I’m ceasing this pity party.
When you’re your own enemy, taking down all of the things that slowly killed you can be hard.
For too long, my own mind has pushed happiness out of the way and invited guests that should’ve never knocked on my door in the first place. My heart uninvited God and my lips questioned His actions. My eyes stopped looking up. My body always sent me to bed, but only for a restless night so that my thoughts could drown me out with all of the reasons why I am so unworthy.
I’m welcoming change into this New Year. I’m comforting myself and I’m going to kick the part of me that resents myself the most, to the curb. This is the change I want. The change I need. The change so desperately yanking at my funeral dress, wondering when I’ll respond.
Because I have been given a choice.
To love and be loved, and to look depression straight in the eye and say “You don’t own me.” To gain happiness and friendship back in my life. To show this world that I’m more than what they think.
To break my own heart fluently. To lose the person that I’ve fallen in love with and the friends that I have also. To completely wreck every plan that God has for me and to let Satan win. I can let depression overcome me and wait for redemption.
The first choice is going to be hard. But it’s welcoming my name and waiting to take my hand so that we can dance. It’s going to lift me up and show me the stars, show me the beauty of this broken world.
My New Years Resolution is to honor that first choice and keep a promise to myself that I have always broken— To stop being fluent in breaking my own heart.
Get out your sundress and run- no, dance– in that field of forgiveness. Let the flowers get lost in your hair, embrace the warmth while it kisses your skin, and enjoy the grass brushing against your knees, girl. The only thing keeping you away from shouting freedom is yourself.
We so often hopelessly go through life, as if it is something worth mourning. Our thought process is hooked on the thought of the future holding all of our happiness, when in reality, the future is now.We don’t know how long this flimsy world will last and realization hasn’t yet set in that the world can not and will not provide happiness. Our memories are what we need to cling to. The bitter-sweet ones, the good ones, and the ones that may even upset us. But we need to patiently wait for the right places to form those memories in, so we can shape our lives into something beautiful. We waste this life on a train, looking only directly out the window at what we can see and longing to be there; when in reality, the view on the other side of the train is where the conductor wants us to go.He’s leading us to it, trying to take us out of the door on the side where a much more lovely place is alive and waiting for us. It’s so stunning, but we are afraid to move. We’re afraid to get out of our seats, out of fear of falling. But if only we knew the enchanting places we would stumble upon, if only we took the risk. So instead, we remain in misery, waiting to go out into a place that isn’t quite as wonderful as it seems. Take the challenge to get out of your seat and walk along the narrow path that leads to the door containing the things that we dream of, but haven’t turned into reality, out of fear of those steps. It doesn’t matter if your knees are shaking or if you stumble along the way. The stares of those people may start a revolution. Just go. Run and don’t stop.The train will be waiting, but you just have to trust it.
“Okay, after this video, I am going to ask you an important question. Has God called you to be a full-time missionary?”
One of the leaders of my mission team said on the last night in a small, beautiful country that was promising huge and terrifying commitments.
It was our goodbye ceremony, setting an end to the wonderful 8 days that we had been given to grow with our team and in our faith. I heard that question I had been debating and praying over for so long.
But the question wasn’t mine to answer.
It was God’s choice. His calling. I asked Him what I had to do. In February I felt called to part-time, but full-time? That was a question God hadn’t quite answered. I told Him to lead me to the row of chairs lined up in front of everyone, only if I was supposed to. “This is a serious commitment,” I thought. “And I only want to answer if the call is for me.”
My heart was conflicted and I sat in my seat during the four minute long video and I gave myself excuses as of why I shouldn’t go up and do this. Excuses like your family won’t approve, or maybe you’re just in the midst of excitement from this week, and of course I was asking God if He was sure about using me.
Then, the leader asked again when the video ended.
“Are you called?”
God indeed led me, or you could say carried. I felt like He was lifting me up and guiding me to that seat as soon as the words came out of the man’s mouth.
I. Was. Terrified.
Then one of my excuses took a seat in the chair right next to me. Two other kids my age accompanied me in the row of chairs lined up before everyone else, which gave me a bit of comfort, and so did two other adults that had taken care of me during the time there.
I broke down before God. Not before the people staring at me, but before the King holding me. At first, I was stunned at what just happened, tears spilling out, no matter how collected I tried to appear. But then I broke and love started pouring, unceasingly.
I kept thinking of when Jesus sacrificed Himself for me and how this is my crucifixion for Him and how He must’ve felt. Terrified. He must`ve had a point in His life where He looked up and asked God, “Me? Are You sure?”. It was a sacrifice that was actually frightening for me to make, because I knew what I had committed to and a glimpse of what God was wanting to do in my life.
That moment was like when I found salvation.
God picked me up and led me before people to commit myself to Him.
Then, He showed me what He did and wanted to give me.
This time, it was about what I could give to Him.
They prayed with us and a girl in her twenties prayed with me. She only spoke Spanish, but I felt so connected to her through the Holy Spirit, even though I had never spoken a word to her. It got to the point where her shirt was my own personal tissue. In the moment, I couldn’t possibly have cared, though, because everything was tuned out, besides God.
They called everyone up and put the El Salvador flag on our shoulders, then started washing our feet. When they placed the flag over our shoulders, the man said “El Salvador means ‘My Savior’, so we’re sending you out in good hands.” It was the same girl that prayed with me that washed my feet, and I started to think “Really God? I just committed to serving You, yet You get someone to serve me? It doesn’t fit. I should be serving You.”
But then I realized this: God wants me to humble myself before Him and He definitely showed me that on this trip. Like the moment I got baptized in the Holy Spirit. In a sacred prayer tower that was constantly being prayed in, even during something like a volcanic eruption (yes, it happened), they asked id anyone had never experienced it before. I had been praying about it for months and wondered why it had never happened to me. When they asked, I got prideful and a bit humiliated. But I had to go up. God led me up there through ways I would’ve never expected.
God just wanted me to humble myself and to quit acting like I had it all figured out, when I didn’t. Again, I debated going up, but after I obeyed, God filled me with His Spirit. God showed me that I need to humble myself before Him and if He calls me to move, then I need to do so with eagerness.
Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. (James 4:10 NIV)
Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me. (John 12:26 NIV)
“God, I’m not ready. I’m not ready to leave these people and this place. You have woven my heart in theirs and You hid it deep in this volcano. Just a little bit longer.”
I said this on the way to the beach for our last day in El Salvador. I kept pleading, but I heard God whisper “Let go.”
“Let go? How? You have taken a piece of me away and just expect me to forget about it?” I whispered as tears hung off my eyes and isolation took place in the midst of twenty people.
I didn’t want to let go. I didn’t want these memories to fade and for someone else to take my place there. As selfish as it seems, I wanted these moments all for myself.
I heard God say “No, your heart will have pieces there, but I am not expecting you to forget. I want you to remember what I have done in your life here; the decisions you have made; the people you have met. I want you to keep these with you and remember them. Just don’t relent now. I’m going to bring you back to this small little place one day and introduce you to your heart again, but a better one. A better heart that will leave a bigger stamp here and that will give parts of itself to others. But for now, you have to go back home and share the new pieces of your heart that I have given you to America. They need you. So let go of these people that you are so attached to and give them time to grow. You’ll see them when it’s best and you’ll be able to notice the changes I have made in this world in such a short time through their hearts.”
El Salvador has stolen my heart. I have fallen in love with not only the country, but the memories and people that it contains. My heart beats for the scars it left behind and the beauty it has added to my life. Blessed isn’t a great enough word to describe God’s works and the shaking of my heart. It swells inside of me and with every thought of this place, these memories, I feel it ready to burst.
But I have to let go for now.
This trip isn’t about the pictures, or the stories, or myself. It’s about how God led a group of people of different languages together as one to learn to love without communication, pray with connection, and breaking a language barrier. He showed us His love through laughs, the look in the eyes of children, prayer, music, rain, and each other. This trip may be nearing it’s end, but I’ll tell you this: The journey isn’t over. It’s just beginning. With new people, places, and stories. The thought of leaving these people whom with connections have been made is a scary thought and I’m not sure if I’m prepared for it. But the memories and feelings will never leave me, even if the people have to. Goodbyes are hard, and sometimes “hello’s” are even harder. This country has impacted me in so many ways and I don’t know if I can ever go back the same way that I was and I pray I don’t. I want compassion for this world and to journey it to say new hello’s and goodbye’s. God has given us a calling to do so, and even though it’s hard, I’ll see them again when eternity comes.
El Salvador has stolen my heart and I don’t want to take it back.
When you’re up in the sky, rain looks so beautifully disastrous, doesn’t it?
Appearing as if it’s throwing itself viciously onto the ones that go through it’s path. Of course any non-believer would think “How could God bring so much rain upon the ones He loves?”
No one from an outside view, in a much higher place than those beneath it, would voluntarily go through such an experience. What they don’t know, is that through these storms, an inner peace is present. As the rain falls, shelter can be provided, so you can watch it with joy, warm and blissful, and sometimes the right person will accompany you through it, making that comfort grow. You will soon realize that the storm can be enjoyable, and will actually help you in the long run, quenching your thirst and helping you grow. Some people pray for the storms you have, for they’d rather have storms than dehydrate in the drought, praying for something to make their world change. You see, God allows us to experience these wonderfully tragic things for a reason and He ALWAYS makes them something worth appreciating. Even at the end, He’ll provide a rainbow. He’s amazing at that; bringing the good out of what seems to be tragic, depending on how you look at it. The bitter-sweet things about storms is that it’s always different clouds providing them; never the same one. Some clouds are more beautiful than others, but you always end up seeing the beauty in the shapes of the clouds, watching them form as the rain progresses, and watching the colors change. Now you understand that when we put ourselves in a higher position than others, we don’t see the beauty that those that are below us do. So would that make us spiritually in a lower position, making ourselves equal with them in a way? Absolutely. So humble yourself as much as possible, so you, too, can embrace the beauty and see God’s purpose for these storms.
Your heart rests upon whatever it is that you find is consuming your thoughts late at night, saying “You can sleep in a few more minutes; meanwhile, just listen.”
And you listen, because that’s what you would rather be doing; listening to your brain ramble on and on about this dream. This dream that you wish to fulfill with certain people and amazing places, and no matter how much you think of how it won’t happen, you refuse to let it go. You could be having actual dreams, but instead you choose to see the same dream that you’ve dreamt so many times before.
It’s like the sky; no matter how much you look towards it and gaze upon it, it’s so out of reach. But listen when I say, that sky will come crashing into your life one day in the most beautiful and mysterious way. You won’t even notice until you look away from the clouds and find yourself consumed by the blue that you wanted to get lost in for so long.
The sky will be a sunset, a beautiful, beautiful sunset; and that sunset will be so much more than the blue you wished for. Your dreams were filled with one color, looking at only one possibility. But once you start looking at a broader amount of choices is when you will see so much more than you were looking for. God will bless you with so much more here than you ever wished for, as long as you get your head out of the clouds and realize that you have been dreaming of this reality all along. So listen to your heart at night when it asks you to stay and listen to your dreams for awhile, but allow yourself to have rest in your reality.