I had no intentions of writing today. Actually, this is the last thing I should be doing. My list keeps growing as my hours tick away, but leave it to Jesus to draw me into His heart in this ridiculous time. I can’t even begin to explain to you the state of my heart in this moment, but I will try because if I don’t, you and I will miss out on this time, and I don’t want that. So I’ll start with the obvious, and move on. I have no plan for this post so it could get messy, but bare with me.
First off, I am extremely excited. I have been gearing up for this for officially 8 months, but deep in my heart for much longer. I am going to another place where God is moving, where He is meeting with people as they step out of their ordinary and up to a calling that has been placed on each on of us who call ourselves followers of Christ- to know Him, and to share our hearts with other people. I am excited to meet new people, people who will challenge, encourage, strengthen and teach me. I am excited to have some serious responsibility placed on me, no matter how heavy the load gets. I am excited to feel the warmth of the Hawaiian sun, to explore new places that scream beauty and creativity and I am excited to say a million “aloha’s” after all these goodbyes. I am excited to fly, and I’m excited to land. I am excited.
Along with excited, I am raw and sad. To avoid this would be a lie, it would be dishonest, and I’d be painting a picture that isn’t real. I have cried more tears in this past week than in my whole life combined, I am sure. My heart keeps racing back to Psalm 56:8 “You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.” He sees it all. I remember what my mum said to me the last time I left and it was hard, “Be thankful you have a hard time saying goodbye. It’s proof that God has blessed you with people who hold you close. Be thankful.” And thankful I am, but still sad. And yet, God has blessed me with people who meet me in my tears, friends who are also struggling with saying goodbye, family that is selfless and puts their wants aside and let’s me pursue my dreams. I’ve been blessed immensely by a man who perhaps cannot see the bigger picture right now, but is trusting Jesus to lead, speak and bless. I am sad because goodbyes are hard. Being physically present with the people you love cannot be replaced by Skype, Facebook or letters, but I will remain thankful for each of those things because for now it’s all I’ve got.
So, when I left for Australia, my blog was a baby. I had only a few posts on it, and my only intention for having it was to keep people updated and informed on what was going on in my life in Australia. I had no idea it’d grow to what it is now, nor the fact that I’d learn to love writing so much. It’s become a release for me, one in which I learn more about myself and Jesus, and you get a glimpse into this crazy complicated heart. When I left in January 2011, I wrote a post on the 5th of January, and lo and behold, today is the 5th of January as well. Thank you God. Anywho. I left a quote from Donald Miller, a man version of me, and I could cry thinking about the things I’ve learned and experienced in the past 2 years since I quoted him. Here it is:
“And so my prayer is that your story will have involved some leaving and some coming home, some summer and some winter, some roses blooming out like children in a play. My hope is your story will be about changing, about getting something beautiful born inside of you, about learning to love a woman or a man, about learning to love a child, about moving yourself around water, around mountains, around friends, about learning to love others more than we love ourselves, about learning oneness as a way of understanding God. We get one story, you and I, and one story alone. God has established the elements, the setting and the climax and the resolution. It would be a crime not to venture out, wouldn’t it?
It might be time for you to go. It might be time to change, to shine out.
I want to repeat one word for you:
Roll the word around on your tongue for a bit. It is a beautiful word, isn’t it? So strong and forceful, the way you have always wanted to be. And you will not be alone. You have never been alone. Don’t worry. Everything will still be here when you get back. It is you who will have changed.”
If I could write you a list of the things I’ve learned in my life, you’d either give up reading or fall asleep trying, because God has been gracious enough to let me endure struggles and trials in order to refine and teach me. This is the part where I turn to you. Take a look back, even if it’s just the past month, 3 months, 6 months, or heck- go on to your whole life. What has the theme of your life been? What has God been trying to teach you? Are you learning, growing, sharing? God is beautiful. I can’t say it enough- I can’t wait until the day I see Him face to face. This life has been given to you for many wonderful reasons- but the main one is to glorify Him. In all humility, I can look back and say I have been trying to do just that. Yes, many times I fail, but His mercies remain.
With Strength that is not my own, Sam