A Chapter or two

You, my dear friend, are reading the blog of a girl who just got accepted on staff in Kona, Hawaii. Doesn’t that add some spice to your evening? It did to mine, that’s for sure! For an email I was waiting weeks to receive, it sure did catch me by surprise, yet one that is completely welcome. I haven’t had too much time to dwell on the details, much less the reality of leaving home for 2 years as a missionary, but I’m sure it’ll hit me within the next week at some point.

As I’ve been trying to explain to people what I’ll be doing in Hawaii, I’ve had this overwhelming sense of peace. You know that feeling when you let out a big deep breath, and your body just relaxes? That’s what happens when I explain how each one of my talents and passions will be put to work. Yesterday I was talking to a sweet friend, and she recalled a season in her life similar to the one I’ve been in recently. A time of waiting, of expectancy, and a time of refinement. On one hand, we are so ready for God to refine us- to help us overcome our weaknesses, to build better character, to show us our faults so that we can work on them together. The outcome is glorious, but the process is painful. No one wants to be shown their weaknesses, no one wants to be reminded, again, of their faults. It’s a humbling process, and I am no where near finished, but it’s a journey that I have to choose every morning when I wake up.

Aside from being accepted on staff, life is continuously challenging me. I’m trying to find a balance between spending sweet time with God and improving my skill in photography. I’ve been so worried that I am “not good enough” at it that I’ve almost become to obsessed with it! Again, it’s a balancing act, but if I’m not using my gifts properly to serve God, what would be the reason for Him to give me that gift?

I also want to ask you to help me with something. When I was preparing for my DTS, I spent almost an entire year waiting. I spent a lot of time preparing, thinking about what it would be like, avoiding real life in order to avoid conflict- it was a very strategic year. These next 9 months could very easily turn into something very similar to that, and that’s the last thing I want. So my question for you- can you help me live here, be here, act here, while I can? I want to be that old lady who dies, and their grandkids say “Wow, grandma knew how to live.”, and I think I have that potential. I think we all do. But I want to do life with you, because it’s better that way. So please, get in my face, be consistent, persistent, annoying even, but make sure I live fully. We can do it together 🙂

After reading through this, I’ve just shrugged my shoulders. It’s not eloquent, and the topics don’t flow well, and if you want an apology, I can give you one. I think in the last month I’ve written 8 different drafts, and not posted any of them, because they don’t sound good, pretty, peaceful. I almost didn’t post this one, because its not my style. But I guess if I’m the one writing it, it is my style. Sporadic. Random. Jerky. Either way, it’s me. So thank you for reading. Thank you for commenting. ( I love each one, all 87 of them) Thank you for sharing your experiences with me, and for sticking with me through my roller coaster life. If that doesn’t get you a good reward in heaven, I don’t know what will.

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With Strength that is not my own, Sam

Just stop

I want you to show love

not offer sacrifices.

I want you to know me

more than I want burnt offerings.

Hosea 6. 6

I don’t know about you, but I’ve never given a burnt offering. Aside from laying something down at the cross in Hidden Valley with Mark Parker, I’ve never left anything at the cross that hurt to give away. But everyday that I’m alive, I try to out do myself. To give more then yesterday. To pray longer, more directly, with more intention. I strive to serve more, to smile more, to encourage more. I try harder not to gossip, I think of things to give away, I constantly ask Jesus “What more can I do?” And I’ve got it all wrong. So wrong.

It’s not about what I can do.

It’s about what He has already done for me.

God speaks perfectly in Hosea. He wants our love. He wants to know us. He wants us to rest in Him. He wants us to take all our stress, all our worries, our frustrations, anxieties, burdens and forget them all. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in doing. Doing more to make people happy, doing more to earn our forgiveness, or to say thanks perhaps. We want to be better people, ones who love more, give more, pray more, as if the person we were before is unloveable, unbearable, and an utter disgrace.

Disgraceful or not, we are loved. We are sought after by a God who love us fiercely. And what does He want from us? To do more? To be better? Sure, but those things come in time, and through relationship. Above all else, He wants us to know Him. Not to make a list of “to do’s”, or a list of “things I need to work on” in order to make us feel like we’ll never be good enough. No. He just wants us to know Him.

Why is this so hard to accept?

Why do we constantly need to be trying to earn His love? Why can’t we just accept it for the gift that it is? It’s almost as if we think that by doing more or being “better”, it gets us closer to Him. But how would it? We’re only looking at ourselves, our character traits, our accomplishments, our habits. In the pursuit of doing and being better, we take our eyes off of Jesus and avoid the one thing He truly wants: intimacy with Him.

If I could encourage you to do anything right now, it’d be to stop. Stop trying to make yourself a better person. Stop trying to do more for others. Take some time out to think about your relationship with Jesus. What does it look like? How does He influence you? Does He influence you? Do you find safety, comfort and shelter in Him? Can you be satisfied with just being with Him, rather then constantly doing things for Him?

Don’t get me wrong- I am all for serving our King. But I know how easy it is to let service for Him get in the way of relationship with Him. And what’s the point of all the service, if I don’t know the One I’m serving?

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With Strength that is not my own, Sam