Friday, March 11, 2011

Coming back home after being in a place that my heart longs for and loves, is not an easy thing...

Coming back home, not knowing the next time I'm going to hold, play with, bandage up,cook with, and just live life with the kids I love, and laugh and talk with my dear friends there, is heart wrenching...

Coming back home without a peace about moving back there permanently, was enough to shake my confidence in God's plan for my life and make me question what was the point of going there in the first place...

I have wanted to update my blog for awhile, if nothing else, just to get my thoughts out there and try to process everything that I am feeling.
It's taken me this long because, although I'm ashamed to admit it, I was a little angry with God.
I was angry that He took me to a place where I was willing to commit my life to, but didn't give me a clear go ahead.
I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that me going wasn't in vain. God taught me more things during the 8 months I lived in Nigeria than I could have ever learned in 4 years of college, conferences, or books combined. I got to experience the real,harsh,heart-breaking,joyful,amazing realities of “missionary life”. I learned things that work, things that are necessary, I learned how similar people's needs and wants are no matter if you live in a hut in Africa or a condo in LA, things that I wouldn't want to repeat, the uselessness and wastefulness of talk instead of action, the very real nastiness of my flesh, the beauty of a humble, servant's heart, things that I am capable of, things that I need to pray that Christ work on in me...the list could go on.
Not to mention that the kids I fell in love with there will forever change me,urge me on, and have grown in me  a deep desire for caring (physically and spiritually) for the orphans, widows, and shown me the importance of training and teaching others to do the same.

I have worried so much and been so discouraged that I have made myself physically ill...
Worried that I am not living up to,whoever's,standards...worried that I am getting old and have not lived a purposeful life(in other's eyes)...worried that I have to go get a degree in able to do anything at all of use...worried that I won't ever find a guy who's passions and heart lines up with mine...worried that I am missing out on things I want to do...worried that I have no useful talents,gifts,or abilities...
The other night as I was driving and thinking about all of these things and how I felt like my life was such a waste, God kind of slapped me in the face.

It's NOT about doing things that look good in other people's eyes or living up to their standards(which, I would venture to say, look pretty different from the life that Jesus lived)
It's NOT about getting a degree, having a career, and living the “American dream”
It's NOT about what I have or haven't done, but what I'm being called to do right now
It's NOT about finding any man, but falling in love with the one who died so I could live
It's NOT about having talents and abilities that look good or that I can boast in
It's HIM. My life has no meaning without HIM. Anything I could do, no matter how great or noble, would be completely useless and wasted without HIM.
It suddenly became so clear that all of the confusion I have been feeling is because I had taken Him completely out of the equation. And suddenly, I knew peace. The first peace I have had since coming home. All I desire right now is to live my life for Him. If He wants me here right now, I will be content with that. If He wants me to go back to school, I will go. But I won't go because that's what the world expects of me.
The only thing I know for certain right now is that my passions are the same as far as wanting to live and minister in another country, and I feel like, unless God slams that door or leads me in another way, that is where I'm headed. Today I had a very encouraging conversation with a man that works with an organization that I am praying about going with, called, Serving His Children( ). I am very excited about their hearts and philosophy of ministry!
Wherever He has me, man am I a person ever in need of Christ and HIS life lived in me. What a despairing, sad, useless world without His hope,grace,and peace. I'm not just talking about unbelievers...I am a believer who will one day spend eternity in heaven, and believe that there is nothing I can do that will change that, but even with that confidence, I can (and do) waste my life here when it is spent living it for me and not in and through Him.

"Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal;but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven,where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also...Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink;nor about your body,what you will put on...For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness,and all these things shall be added to you." John 6:19-21,25,32-33

When I got back, I went rode trippin' and had some amazing times catching up with friends and family in Colorado and Arizona..
    I got to see the Gardner family, who I hadn't seen in them!

my dear friend Kelli let me stay with her and her husband for 
a week while we enjoyed Colorado
Arizona is so beautiful!
my aunt and uncles front yard 
my uncles in front of the potato chip company they started in Goodyear
..and of course i can't leave you without some pics of the kids at APOH!=)
'a place of hope' sent this in their newsletter for valentines day...
ugo, kose,chizoba,and joy


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