Monday, January 27, 2014

a soul's debrief

It's been a whirlwind of a time, here lately, and here, well that can be said of life Stateside and abroad, beneath the Mexican sun. And the words have been guarded and stowing themselves away, putting as much distance as possible between me and my guilty typing fingers.

And albeit, part of that was my all-but refusal to waste a single minute when my feet touched the cold, left-over snow-covered ground.

And oh, it was beautiful.

I don't tend to lose myself in the joy of the holidays.

I'll be honest sometimes my eyes have snubbed the red cheerful cups at Starbucks, this time of year. But when I got to Chicago and attempted at getting comfortable with my head on my backpack and my feet hanging over the obnoxious bar in the middle; I found myself joyful. Joyful that my eyes fell upon Christmas lights in an almost vacant airport and joyful that my 4 AM cold, trembling hands could gather around a red Starbucks cup. Joyful that after four months of distance I would soon be reunited with the ones that I love. The ones that for years have been mine to love.

The days were packed with mother/daughter dates, mini-reunions, nights by the fire and filled to the brim of reveling in Christmas. Which for years has been something my heart has avoided doing, but this Christmas was different.

And I wholeheartedly agree with Donald Miller when he says sometimes you have to leave places and things behind for awhile, to come back to them with a new-found love. Part of me chalks up this experience to that truth and the other well, I think and I know in my heart of hearts I was spent. That four months had come and gone and I had forgotten what it was like to be home.

So God filled me up.

Christmas Eve 2013 will be something cherished for years to come. Seven chairs around the table, plates brimming over, joy twinkling in every eye, drops of sarcasm and overbearing laughter. It was beautiful. I still refuse to let go of the feeling. It was that beautiful.

Fast-forward to all of the crazed mishaps with the airlines. Cancelled flight, lack of notification, 2 am phone call, lost bag. And well four days later than I was supposed to, I made the trek back running to my gate, arriving with two bags instead of three.

And here I am.

My heart is full again and this time with more of the ones that I love. The ones that for this year have been mine to love. These first few weeks have passed by quickly and I have been resettling into what it means to live in Morelia, Mexico. Resettling into doing something that I was made to do, something that I love to do.

My students welcomed me back with big bear hugs, sighs of relief and shouts of glee and I was reminded that yes, even though it's difficult to make so many transitions between here and there, home and home, it is all worth it. I was reminded that God still needs me here.

Bible Study and Youth Group have been growing and more of my students are showing up on Monday and Friday nights. It's a beautiful thing to see the hearts of my students tendering towards the idea that they are here for a reason bigger than themselves, to see them begin to tender to the fact that God loves them.

This past Friday, I was given yet another opportunity to share in youth group and this time I felt an undeniable sense of comfort that is usually incredibly absent. This time my eyes looked up from my pages and fell upon students that have captured my heart. I was able to speak above a whisper and relay to their hearts that life is a race worth running. And that when we start running, we'll never look back at what was, we will run with joy awaiting what will be.

In quiet moments like these, I question why He chose me.

People tell me 'oh you are so brave for moving to that dangerous country, oh you are so giving to work for nothing.'

But when the light dims and I sit with my Maker, the truth comes out.

I'm not the brave one, He is.

I'm not the giver, He is.

This life isn't even mine to live, but somehow even when there was but a mere glimpse of who I was to be, He delighted in me enough to bless me with a burden for a foreign country.

I am blessed and there are times when I have to fight back tears at the reality of how blessed I am, at the thought of how far He has brought me and at the beautiful truth that He isn't done with me yet.

With that being said, 2014, your word is fearless. 

Fearless, because I have learned that striving to live for God is far better than settling.