Tears don’t help

ONE YEAR

Full. Refreshed. New. Astounded. Challenged. Lost.  Broken. Healed. Surrendered. Encouraged. Worn down. Commissioned. Loved. Blessed. Homesick. Lost. Amazed. Taught. Immersed in grace. Surrounded. Overwhelmed. Rested. Prepared. Found.

I could go on. I’m going to try and summarize this part of my journey, the short 5 1/2 months. I was unsuccessful in doing this when I returned last June, which you can read about here. In church we’re learning about the importance of reflection, both personally and collectively. The thing about reflection though, is that sometimes you find things you don’t want to.  I’ve done it, and my goal is to learn from it. So here’s my reflection, my look back to a year ago today, and everything that’s happened in-between.

January through June rocked me. It stripped me of so many things I thought I was, and filled me with love, dreams and knowledge. I met friends that I’ll never forget, friends I’ll never know better, and friends I’ve never missed more. I learned to love community- even living with 17 other girls in a 2 bedroom flat. I was pushed, uncomfortable, alone, challenged, humbled and ever so gently lifted back up and taught to walk on my own feet. God went from being distant and quiet, to so near it was both beautifully comforting and alarmingly bold. I went from snow to ocean to mountain ranges. I changed from a broken child, to a still broken woman, but yet filled and fixed in so many ways. My lectures were like doors being thrust open- revealing God in new and powerful ways. And my friendships? They loved me back to life. Friend is easily interchanged with family. My friendships- they, by God’s power and leading, changed me the most. Never in my life have I been so free in my relationships; to have them know every regret, every secret, every desire, every dream and to be loved completely. It healed my heart. (understatement of the year) To instantly, at a moment’s notice, run to our Father together in prayer. To know that I’m not alone in my passions brings me so much peace and joy.

The tears don’t help. They don’t solve, sooth or cure a hurting heart. I’m not going to lie, I wasted a lot of time wishing I was back here. Sadly, now I’m caught doing the same wasting, wishing, dreaming, wanting to be in another place. I will never.ever.forget my time at YWAM RTO. I waited a year to get there, and it blew me away. Every expectation was  knocked out by day 3, and the surprises never stopped.

I want a reunion. I want us all to go back to our flats, back to the Strand. I want to sleep on the hardwood floor on outreach in Cairns Baptist. I want to host free sausage sizzles with that amazing BBQ sauce. I want to watch Peter rock out the salvation message, or watch Ben carry a 30kg pack up 2500 feet of untamed mountain. I want to sit around the campfire in Hidden Valley, roasting disgusting fruit flavoured marshmallows, and go mud sliding in the fields. I want to go on day long hikes with my team to prepare for a hike that no human can adequately prepare for. I want to sit front and centre with Gill in worship, praising our God. I want to be yelled at by Mark Parker, laughed at by Kevin Norris, and prophesied at by Ryan Booker. A part  of me even wants to scrape my knees falling off a skateboard at YouthStreet.

I miss the sun. I miss Castle Hill- the satisfaction in continuously beating my personal best, and enjoying some of the worlds best quiet times looking over the city of Townsville. I miss tea dates with Laurie at Castle Town, sweat moustaches compliments of Emma, cheese parties with Ben and Roger (sans wine ). I miss Australian sarcasm (never thought I’d say that). I miss getting in trouble from Nomes for being barefoot, and racing to the deck for morning tea. I miss Sunday funday, gelato on the Strand, dodgy guys calling us from their utes. (ok, maybe I don’t miss that, but it’s a memory nonetheless) I miss hanging out in our outside kitchen in the middle of Cyclone Yasi, Mal sleeping on the tile floor to keep cool-or just leaving our room for the left side due to Fanny and Emma’s synchronized snoring. I miss our temperamental showers and long lines after morning workouts, apples and peanut butter (???), hearing Aleksi talking to Lucy (his dog) on Skype in the cafe. I miss Tillman’s interpretive dance to Halo for morning devotions, small group discussions and prayer. I miss Asta’s intense facial expressions, and hearing Chello sing his heart out while rocking the dish washer. I miss hearing Ben give a champion’s speech on graduation day, and hearing Katie, when the guys are telling her she’s beautiful, yell out “Ya I am!!”. I miss Shey’s beautiful and strong leadership in worship, Abbie’s incessant laughter, Ben’s ridiculous attempt at dreads, and Joanne yelling “Je-SUS!”

I miss being pushed. Here I’m challenged, but I’m not pushed. Never pushed to dig deeper, figure God out, pursue Him before my own desires. There’s only so much a girl can push herself to do, and I seem to be at full capacity. I need the push from an outside source, and for some reason, I’ve made myself believe that those sources can only be found thousands of kilometres away. As much as I’d love it, this isn’t home for me. It has everything that is good and beautiful and lovely to me, but my heart does not rest here. My coat doesn’t get hung up, and whether that’s out of laziness, or out of the urge to be somewhere else I’ve yet to discover.

I’ve learned. Heaps. About me. About you. About God. About life. About being stable, and about being detached. I’ve learned about my fears, which include loneliness, commitment, inadequacy and wasting my life. I’ve also learned that I’m nowhere near finished learning. I look back on the year and smile through tears. And oddly enough, I hope to say the same about this next year, whether I’m off galavanting through Australia, Hawaii or good old Canada.

My adventure does not depend on location- but on my willingness to act, live, love and serve.

With Strength that is not my own, Sam

Transitions, Changes, and a Look Back

“Our greatest fear should not be of failure but of succeeding at things in life that don’t really matter.”

                                                                                                      Francis Chan, Crazy Love

I was out this weekend with a bunch of friends, some of whom I haven’t seen since being back home. While out, the topic of transitions came up. He is facing transition from university back home, and I am facing transition from one home to another. Transitions are not always easy or clean cut, but life has slowly been getting back on track. I have found a job, I have started volunteering at the youth centre in town, and there’s talk of a car coming into my life! Things are starting to get exciting around here! And for once, I am able to look at transition in a beautiful light. Instead of a disconnect, a tearing apart, I see new opportunities, room for growth, freedom to shine the light.

This quote, by Francis Chan, it’s highlighted and underlined in my book. I read “Crazy Love” about 6 months before going to Australia, and never thought the line would make such an impact on me. But how true is it? I underlined it as a nice thought, something empowering, something to remember. But no matter how eloquently it’s put, the message is still the same. What you are doing today will be graded on a scale of some sort. What you do with your life has a certain amount of importance. And, while being in this beautifully frustrating time of transition, I’ve been thinking about this a lot. I’m at a point where any door is open, my options are limitless. I could work, I could go to school, I could go start something new in a new country, I could jump back into YWAM. So many options, all of which are good things to do. But, as always, I’m not content with just doing “good” things, I want to do exactly what good thing God wants me to do.

So, I searched, and still am searching. Constantly, God’s told me “just be”, be where you are, live where you live, get out of your comfort zone. And yesterday I went for a walk. My spiritual walk with God has turned into a literal walk, a time where I can just talk to Him, bring everything to Him, and just listen. Isaiah 41v1 really resonates with my soul, “Listen in silence before me, you lands beyond the sea.” I’ve felt the conviction before of asking for an answer, but not really listening for it, and don’t wish to experience it again. So I asked for the next step, I told Him I was ready to handle it, and He threw me a curve ball.

So, I’m not really at the spot where I’m ready to disclose what’s next, because I need to sort out a few details. I also have learned that as quickly as God can set you in one direction, He can spin you around and make you head straight for something else. And that’s where the quote from Francis Chan comes in. I want my life to be about doing something that matters, making a difference, even if it’s tiny, and I know God has big plans for me. It’s up to me to make sure that at the end of it all, I can look back and see that I made a difference, whether that’s here in Canada, or out somewhere else. But looking back on what He brought me through on YWAM, I know there’s still so much for me to learn. As a beautiful friend of mine said to me “Its like the journey isn’t finished yet, and this is the time in between.”  So, transition or not, this is the in between time. And I want to thank you all for making this in between time so meaningful. I appreciate hearing what’s on each and every heart, and it definitely makes me feel so loved and blessed to be here in this time.

Shine!

With Strength that is not my own, Sam