Monday, August 20, 2012

New Beginnings

I have had a really hard time coming back to Tulsa.

It finally hit me that I was not on vacation from Orlando Summer Project, that was my vacation from college. God needs to use me on this campus and He has not called me to another foreign land because I am needed in this land one more year.

I suddenly realized I was in this land when I drove by my university to move into my house, I almost cried while driving because I was so desperate to run back and be in the safe arms of project friends. I also had a really hard time when I arrived at church on Sunday because I kept thinking about Grace in Orlando. The Lord did a great work in my heart by showing me why I fell in love with First Presbyterian in the first place. The worship and the sermon were so convicting and humbling.

I keep needing to remind myself that God is the one to call me into different lands. There should be no permanent place to rest my head on this earth, but that means God cares enough to not make my life mundane and boring! Sure there will be ups and downs, but those are more exciting than doing the same thing over and over again. Yes, it is comforting and comfortable, but I also think of those comfortable times and I always regret the things I was not able to do. Looking back on ups and downs reminds me of what I have come from, what I need to battle with, and that God is real.

Summer project was full of ups and downs, so looking ahead I thought "Great, comfort and bland life here I come!" I didn't desire TU, I didn't desire my classes or my classmates at all.

But God made every moment today beautiful. I saw old friends in every class and saw a few new faces (hard part of being a senior, not seeing so many freshman!) I got to school a little too early so I decided to start reading the bible on my phone in 90 days! I have plenty of slow moments, so why not fill those with God's word? It might not work, but I am determined today! When I thought I wouldn't have a lunch buddy, a friend who studied abroad last semester also brought her lunch so we sat and talked for a few hours! Then had coffee with two girls randomly, and also had a dinner buddy that popped up out of nowhere! I have a night class and not quite enough time to run home to get dinner, so God put Daisha in my path and we went and talked about the coming semester. I realized that people think Sherlock Holmes was a real person (seriously, watched a documentary about how people hypothesize what his childhood was like, what?!) spoilers, he is fictional!

God answers prayers I don't even lift up but I need. I needed to see God's desire on this campus and I want to do what He desires me to do on the campus. I don't want to sit on the sidelines this next year and regret not having ups and downs and settling for comfortable. I want to be challenged and proclaim the news of God above all else!

Today in senior seminar I had what I am calling a "Steve Douglas" moment. We went around class saying what we want to do after graduation. Everyone voiced grad school of some sort and I said "probably join staff with Campus Crusade for Christ" I didn't use the name Cru because I wanted my professors to know my intent and the others around me. I want to be part of Christ's plan, not my own.

Senior Year, here I come!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Time to Say Goodbye

While it has been a week since I have left project, I still don't feel ready to say goodbye.

About 2 weeks before I left Orlando I started listening to one of my favorite songs "Time to Say Goodbye" I listen to Katherine Jennings usually but I do enjoy Sarah Brighman and Andrea Bocelli. Yet this time I listened to it, I knew that this goodbye from project would be one of the most difficult ones.

How could I say goodbye to people I have been vulnerable with, in community with, been honest with, laughed the hardest with, cried the hardest with, had the most fun with? I have never experienced such roller-coasters of emotions, faith, relationships, personal growth all in such a short span of time. How could I drop that all and just go back to life? It was not, and is not easy to do.

 I am not saying "Boo, I have to go back to boring unemotional friendships" but rather II am having to challenge those dark thoughts and think "How can I bring this back to my relationships at home? How can I continue this in my relationship with the Lord?" It is me struggling with loving this project so much and also trying to find that joy in my life beyond project.

Our project director during debriefing showed a trailer for Once Upon a Time the TV show (which I love and adore!) and he made a great connection: Project is fairytale land. We won't be able to go back to life and have set times to be super vulnerable to people, to be trained every week to evangelize, to be super honest and open with housemates. It won't happen all in a week to be sure. Now this doesn't mean that I can't do these things in smaller portions, but fairytale land had to end and I must go into the real world.

God has called us to experience these pieces of heaven in order to encourage us to go out into the world to tell others what this piece of heaven was like and to also point others to the real heaven and salvation they can experience with Christ.

When thinking about this blog and the song I decided to look up the translation (because most of the song is in Italian, the only English is "Time to Say Goodbye" how beautiful that songs can still speak to us through other languages!) and here is the translation:

When I'm alone I dream of the horizon and words fail me.
There is no light in a room where there is no sun
and there is no sun if you're not here with me, with me.
From every window unfurls my heart the heart that you have won.
Into me you've poured the light,
the light that you found by the side of the road.

Time to say goodbye.
Places that I've never seen or experienced with you.
Now I shall, I'll sail with you upon ships across the seas,
seas that exist no more,
it's time to say goodbye.

When you're far away I dream of the horizon and words fail me.
And of course I know that you're with me, with me.
You, my moon, you are with me.
My sun, you're here with me with me, with me, with me.

Time to say goodbye.
Places that I've never seen or experienced with you.
Now I shall, I'll sail with you upon ships across the seas,
seas that exist no more,

I'll revive them with you.
I'll go with you upon ships across the seas,
seas that exist no more,
I'll revive them with you.
I'll go with you.

You and me.

 Now I am no officianado of translations and interpretations, but I see this song in two lights. 1) Two people have left each other and are not going to see lift the same way. 2) Two people are about to depart, but they decide they can't go through life without the other. I read again and again this translations and I have to lean towards my second choice. This may be due to me reading this translation and realizing this is me and God. I will go unknown places with him, the world is dark when I am not seeing His light. I cannot say goodbye, because I need Him so desperately. I am not whole without Him. He and I are going to walk life together.

But Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or turn back from following you; for where you go, I will go, and where you lodge, I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God. 17 Where you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. Thus may the Lord do to me, and worse, if anything but death parts you and me.” (Ruth 1: 16-17)

I love the part of the verse "where you go, I will go" because I desire that so much! I want to go where God leads me to go, because right now in life I want to forge my own path and lead God there.

Not only must I say goodbye to my project friends, I must also say goodbye to my flesh, my sins that keep me from running to God. I must decrease so that God can increase in my life. But this is not a bad thing. Like the song says, when I am feeling alone and pitying myself I don't see God's light and I hate that. I would rather give myself to him than live life in a dark room with no light to be seen. 

With some of the project people this may be goodbye until heaven (I really hope not!) but maybe God will gift me with seeing them again and remembering this little bit of heaven he gifted to me though I am so undeserving of it!