A Little Piece of Heaven

Sunlight streaming through maple leaves. Walking through struggles with sweet friends. Crying tears of joy after hanging up the phone, remembering God’s constant provision. When God called me back home for this season, I didn’t know what it would bring. I didn’t know the vastness of His blessings, and I suppose I still don’t. They never stop.

I think all too often we search for them- looking so hard to see the blessings, the extra’s. Sometimes I think they’re right under our noses though. I say blessed is the person who knows the abundance of what they have without having to watch it disappear before they realize it. I can’t get over this blessed feeling, and I don’t think I want to.

Last night I went to London to watch the play called “She Has A Name”. It paints the dark, painful story of one girl, Number 18, caught in the cycle of sex trafficking. The playwright wrote an introduction in the program, and one line hit me- “we are all just a degree away from being one of these characters” And how true? Change one small detail about my life, and that could be me. It could be my sister out there, your daughter, your son so confused that he gets himself sucked into that world.

I was asked a question last night about what I’ll be doing when I go back into missions. It is quite likely that I will find myself talking with these girls, loving them back to life, showing them how valuable they are. It’s a dangerous situation- and I was asked if it scares me. I thought about it a bit and probably gave an answer that was a bit confusing.

Yes. It scares me. I’m getting out of my comfort zone, going into an environment that should not exist. I’ll be telling girls about the Father’s love for them, when they only “love” they’ve ever experienced is something they need to earn, and will be beaten if they don’t do a good enough job. It’s dangerous, and yeah, it scares me. But what scares me more? The fact that I’ll be out there? Or the fact that if I don’t go- they won’t know my God? It scares me to think they could die without knowing real love, without knowing that someone out there is trustworthy and has made them with a specific purpose. It scares me more not to go.¬†

You know, it’s not just a human trafficking issue. It’s not this whole worldly thing where the problem is so monumental that it’s impossible to tackle. It’s really quite simple. The answer came in two simple commandments: Love God, and love others. Loving displays itself in so many ways, and I believe when you begin to love someone the way God does, you get a little piece of heaven. If that means extending a hand, writing a card, sending one extra invitation or hoping on a plane- do it. Whatever facet you have to love, use it. It’s the greatest thing you could ever do. And, biblically, the most important.

Again, I am so thankful for this season. It has stretched me, rocked me, refined me and amazed me. I have made new friends, I have sparked up old friendships, and seen so many sides of grief. I have never laughed more, cried more, or read my Bible more then in the past 12 months. And I can say that it has been incredible. Maybe not always enjoyable- but worth it.

Take a page out of your notebook and fill it with the blessings in your life. Write out what you’ve learned, about yourself, your Father, your journey and the people He puts on your path. Look at the whole thing and tell me it’s not worth it. I don’t think that’s possible.

With Strength that’s not my own, Sam

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21 and feeling fine…

Yes. Today is my birthday, and so far, it’s been pretty.. ordinary. What’s that? No, I don’t feel older. I certainly don’t act older, just have a visit at our dinner table and you’ll see. But besides all that, I do feel very happy. Very.. blessed. Because of all the ordinary things, yes. Receiving a full 20 years of health, adventure and wisdom. Because of the explorations I’ve been on, through this earth, through His book, and through my heart. But most of all, I’m feeling blessed because of all of you.

I spent the majority of my day with one of the world’s cutest 3 year olds, who would run up to me every 5 minutes, give me a hug, and yell “Happy Birfday Samamfa!!” It was great. And during his down time, I got to dig into one of my beautiful gifts, Donald Miller’s newest read, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years. SO. GOOD. I got through 135 pages, and I’m feeling good. Basically he’s writing a story about stories. The idea sounds beyond boring, but every page, I catch myself agreeing, underlining, being in awe of God and His awesomeness. One of the best quotes comes when Don is talking about the way an author feels when they are creating a plot, and He likens the experience to when God was writing our stories. He says ” If I have a hope, it’s that God sat over the dark nothing and wrote you and me, specifically, into the story, and put us in with the sunset and the rainstorm as though to say, Enjoy your place in my story. The beauty of it means you matter, and you can create within it even as I have created you.

How beautiful is that? I messaged my mom, the wonderful one who purchased this gift, and said “I love Michael Bubl√® because he sings to my heart. I love Donald Miller because he writes to my heart.” If I could write a book, it’d be a mix between the two of those, and that might be scary.

I don’t have much else to say today, which is surprising. I just wanted to say thanks, I guess. Thank you to all the wonderful people who make my life worth living. To the ones that encourage me to grow, to learn, to give, and to just be. Thank you to God for the adventure that I get to call my life, whether it’s far away in a different country, or here, where I find myself right now. Thank you to the ones who expect more from me, and the friends who know when I need to let everything out, and listen, so gracefully.

Last night I experienced another one of those overwhelming moments. After God delivered big time with a night I desperately (unknowingly) needed, I sat in my car and just thought about Him, about where He’s taken me, and where exactly He’s leading me. I thanked Him for His sacrifices, reminding myself of what He gave up, because of the things I choose to NOT give up for Him. Guilt, thankfulness, nervousness and excitement rushed over my faint little heart, and I let it happen. And that, my friends, is the ramblings of this 21 year old heart.

Thanks to each one of you who influences me in one way or another. From near or far, you have made 20 worth it. I look forward to exploring 21 with you, adding a few new experiences and mental notes to my heart. Let’s do this together.

With (beautiful) Strength that is not my own, Sam