Tuesday, January 24, 2012

That Feeling again...

When I was in the Philippines, I remember the first day I was actually in the slums staying with the sisters. I remember one of them giving me a little tour around the block and visually experiencing the absolute poverty surrounding me and just walking around with a constant stream of love-tears pouring down my face. How incredibly unsettling that where I grew up, we ate more than 3 meals a day, think of pillows as necessities and care where we got our clothes from and how we look...I remember walking back and just sitting in the chapel for an hour or so and sobbing so hard and feeling like the most spoiled brat in the whole world. I remember asking my Father, "Why me?...Why did you give me all of this and them barely anything?...What can I do Father? How can I do anything when this sadness is spread so widely?" I remember feeling so absolutely overwhelmed that in this world, people struggle daily to survive. I felt like I had never suffered anything. I even assured my Father that if this was His nudging me to be a nun, I would do it- do anything to improve the lives of His children there. But I felt so dumb, so unhelpful. But this was the massive seed planted that has grown to be the direction toward which I am driving my whole life. God let me have the smallest taste of the compassion He feels for His children and how much His heart throbs to see them suffer also.

I experienced this feeling again, the other night with Cameron. We watched a movie called "God Grew Tired of Us" a documentary of the Lost Boys of Sudan.  First of all, if you have not seen this movie, it will become a valuable hour of your life to watch it (I posted it on my FB). This movie was so heart wrenching and I had like a video-reel in my mind of highlights from Manila and Ethiopia. I was instantly streaming tears the moment they showed clips of the boys in Kenya and Eastern Africa.

How had I forgotten so easily the people that my heart had hurt so much for? It was so easy for me to sink back into life, even if i was going to school with missionary intentions, to not be doing even the least (or maybe most) to help them; prayer.

There is a gorgeous photo on my desktop of a little girl from El Olam orphanage that I spent time at in Ethiopia, and I am reminded when I open my computer, but how quickly I just open a new window for Facebook and forget about it!! How deeply I cared for all of those kids, and how quickly I can just get on with my life and become obsessed with wedding planning and my own agenda. In the big picture, I can say that helping others is my focus, my social work major etc. But on a daily basis? Not really...maybe over the course of a semester.

I was so rocked by that movie, I was so convicted of the way I live and the lack of intentionality. Sure, direction is important, but it is the daily battle that is crucial. Maybe I will never know how much my prayers will truly effect this little girl on my desktop or how much God will listen when I beg for mercy on the lives on the Lost Boys. BUT ISN'T THAT WHERE FAITH COMES IN?

"Oh, you of little faith!" I can hear Jesus say in an echo...

I am so grateful for experiencing that gut-wrenching feeling again. And it was so much more than that this time. AND I got to experience it with my beloved. God sewed us even tighter together that night, knowing, without even a word how deep we had just felt His love and compassion and how He had just placed His desires into our souls. A little mysterious taste of His will, but the biggest drive to keep pushing in that direction.

I guess my convictions were just so strong before and being at school and newly engaged, I haven't felt that in a while...and that long time, in itself, is a conviction ha. It is also an awakening to realize that we are not really suffering, maybe in our own little ways, but not nearly as close as some of our brothers and sisters. We are blessed beyond what we can conceive and it is with those blessings that we are called to labor in God's harvest and love and care for His children, wherever that may be.

Glorious and compassionate Father, 
Your eyes can see what no human can see. I thank you so much for the glimpse that you have given me, and Lord I beg for your strength and Spirit to keep that the first thing past my eyes, every day. Father, it is overwhelming to think of all of those who belong to You who are suffering immensely, but you are a loving God. You love Your children; so much that You sent Your own son to die so that one day we can all be with You in the presence of your glory. Father convict my heart of my selfishness and let me suffer for it Lord. I don't want to be that way! My desires are Your desires Lord, but I need You SO much to do anything about them. Thank you for letting Cameron feel what I feel. You are amazing God for connecting us in such intimate, unique ways. Show us the path You have made for us. We want to please You lord and make You proud. I love You God and praise You for all Your creation. I ask in faith, in the name of Jesus, that You would be with each of the children in the orphanage Lord to protect them and bring them comfort that You have a plan and that they have a purpose in this life. Let them be loved Lord. I lift up to You the Lost Boys and Girls of Sudan and all of their families. Father, send Your most Holy Spirit to reside in their souls and bring them comfort and advocacy. Thank you for their strong hearts and testimony and example of perseverance and endurance and righteousness. You are good God, so good. I love you. Amen. 

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Oh hey 2012

Well i must say it has been a long long time since I have been on here. There have been many changes in my life since the last entry- changes of my heart, of my school, of my intention of attending a school, my relationship status (Cameron and I got engaged!) and changes in my relationship with the Lord.

I was recently convicted of writing again, even if no one ever sees it, just a record of the ways God has been moving in and around me. Having it all written and not just in my mind and soul makes it tangible, and sometimes breath taking to look back at what feels like "the beginning" and see all that He has done.

I feel like I owe it to Him to start from post-Ethiopia, pre-Franciscan...

So I was kind of a hermit this summer after Ethiopia, having gotten my world ROCKED and having learning so much then I think I will ever comprehend. Cameron, on the other hand, had had a scholarship for the previous 6 months or so to a school called Robert Morris University in Pittsburgh. The summer would end with a road trip across the country, first to visit my mission team in Wisconsin and Michigan, and then through Ohio to Pennsylvania. A few days before leaving, a guy we call Brother John cam over to talk with my family about Kevin's trip to Madrid. When he heard we were road tripping out to Pittsburgh and that I was undecided about school, he mentioned that Franciscan University of Steubenville was only a half hour away from Cameron's school and that we should just go check it out.

Taking his advice, and after countless memories traveling across the US, we stopped in early August at Franciscan. We wandered around campus and made it to the admissions office, hoping for a packet or folder of info about the school. I just so happened to end up in a meeting with the director of Admissions somehow (...all in the plan right Big Guy?), telling her about my recent travels and experiences. By the end of the meeting she said that the university would love to have me this fall (Fall 2011). She said that if I could get her my transcripts this week that she would admit me and find housing before the semester started in 2 weeks.

Honestly, I was not yet convinced that I would be attending there. I helped move Cameron in and we kept talking how insane it was and how amazing it would be if we both went to school 30 mins apart. I told my dad and he was pumped, and even called Kevin, who was in Europe and just so happened to be praying in front of Lourdes (considered a very holy and sacred place in the Catholic church). It was during the process of me getting accepted and finding housing in Ohio, I have no doubt that Kev's prayers were answered. The timing was so perfect, it became so clear that God had lined up the whole situation.

I flew home to San Diego, made some emails, packed and flew back out to Pittsburgh and moved in to on campus apartments, all within 2 weeks. Crazy...God crazy..

I went to school so fresh, so amazed at the path that I was on, so determined to learn and absorb the knowledge God wanted me to have. I ended up loving every single class last semester. I got to watch Cameron play football, which was amazing, but more importantly evangelize on the team. I've made some relationships with girls who I probably would've never found if God hadn't made me room with them ha. I've learned so much through a younger girl who went through so much struggle and finally ran back into the arms of Christ. I've learned to completely appreciate souther California weather. I appreciate the convenience of living close to family and friends. And more than EVER, I appreciate the gift of having Cameron so close, learning, struggling and adapting together and encouraging each other and being bound closer together by our Creator.

I have so much more to say, but for now, glory to God for getting me here. I am so excited for this next semester and this year!! I don't want it to be comfortable, I want to suffer and have fellowship with Christ and grow deeper into my faith and learn what it truly means to be a wife.

My God and Father in heaven,
Thank you God for the testimony you made and are making out of my life. It is amazing how you write straight with crooked lines. Teach me! I am so hungry for you! You have been so good to me, so full of generosity and blessing. Lord you have showered me with so much love. I pray that my mind would be open to knowledge and wisdom. Lord I have so much to learn and  I am craving it. I crave You. I crave intimacy with You God. I pray that every single day will be a new day and that every day Lord, that You would lead my day and that it would be glorifying to you. Humble me God. Humble me so that I may be in more awe of You. Help me to silence the world and not be distracted. I need you Lord. Thank you for sending your most holy Son to save us from hell. God you are so good and wonderful and all creation gives you praise. Thank you from the depths of my heart for Cameron John, for all of my family and friends. I love you Lord. I give my life to You. Amen.