my first mission trip (a confession)

it was one of the worst experiences i’ve ever had.

it’s one of those things i’ve looked back on and wondered why on earth it even happened.

i really can’t say what motivated me to do it… i had people encouraging me and supporting me, telling me it was something i should do (being a christian and all). so i did it. and everything seemed to go wrong for me…naturally. i came in last minute. getting my passport was a freakin’ nightmare. every step of the way i debated whether it was even a good idea. but everyone kept saying, “if it’s meant to be, it’ll work out! have faith!”

so, somehow i ended up on that plane, headed out of the country with a group of people i didn’t know. i was terrified. i felt like didn’t belong there. i was easily overlooked, which didn’t matter, because i really didn’t care to bring attention to myself.  the whole time there i kept asking myself, why am i here?  i was eager to serve, eager to help, eager to find some purpose…but instead, i was fearful, timid and waaay out of my comfort zone. i silently excused myself from dinner one night to go cry in the bathroom. everyone else seemed normal. they knew what they were doing there. they were personable and charismatic. but not me. i didn’t know how, and didn’t really care to be. here i was, lonely and depressed…and i kicked myself for it. how dare i be so selfish amidst all this? my focus needed to be on others, not myself. i was seeing people hopeful in the midst of their circumstances… but that didn’t lessen my pain any. i was still hurting, still healing.

i arrived home, parting ways with a group of people i still really didn’t know. and i was glad it was over.

back then,  i was an absolute emotional mess. if i wasn’t busy building or cleaning or sleeping or working, i was left to my own thoughts. the trip couldn’t mask all my issues…maybe i thought i could leave them all behind and magically become this new person because of the experience. but i didn’t. the only things it succeeded in doing was heighten my insecurities, and show me that i still had a long way to go…and i didn’t really like that.

not much has changed.

i’d like to think i’ve matured a bit, but i still drive myself crazy. i’ve got journals full of my thoughts and emotions, and i’ve reached a point where i’ve got nothing left. i’m just saying the same things over and over. i’ve gotten tired of sitting on my own and rehashing feelings, so i try and keep busy. i feel guilty if i’m just lounging around. no matter what i’m doing, i feel like i could be doing something more.

i know what He says. i know what i’ve learned.i know i can’t hide for long. i know it will all catch up with me. i have this ball of anticipation inside of me that i’m trying to squelch…

i’m tired. all i know is that i’m tired.

no good to be alone

from tea parties to hang-gliding. from antique shopping to learning the dance steps to high school musical 2. from card games to launching water balloons at the unsuspecting. from jane austen to homemade music videos.  from tears to laughter. from fear to trust. from loneliness to discovering true friendship.

i have been blessed.

i hope they know who they are. if only they knew how much i love and cherish them. they are priceless…this is coming from one who knows what it’s like to live without them. my friends.

we had been isolated growing up. cut off from our families, eventually pulled out of school to stay at home under the watch of a dominating and abusive man. any friend i had managed to get couldn’t last…there was always something wrong with them. ethnicity, denomination, family…it didn’t matter. i was never allowed to go anywhere, and they were never allowed in the house if they did come over. eventually, i gave up, and so did everyone else…they couldn’t understand. besides, christians were supposed to be hated. being friendless and alone meant you were doing something right. at least, that’s what we were led to believe.

what i’ve discovered is the beauty of God’s truth and design. we can’t walk this road alone. i thought i could do it. i really couldn’t imagine that anyone would even care…but God showed me otherwise.  He showed me His love through people. people who had no agenda, who weren’t looking for what they could get out of me…they wanted to help. they wanted to love. they weren’t trying to fix me, but God has used them to help remold me.

i’ve learned so much from them these last few years. how to live, how to love, how to trust. i value my time with them. i almost never want this season of life to end…

when our worlds collided, when your sky crashed into mine

when your shades of earth colored my world and your sun lit up my sky

oh, what a difference, what a difference you made

as color suddenly burst out from my gray

when our worlds collided…

sara

treasure your friendships.

heartstrings

the body of Christ is a beautiful and mysterious thing. it’s His bride-to-be, His “hands and feet” here on earth. what has amazed me most is the spiritual connection we all have as His members of His body; it’s something i really haven’t been able to comprehend. there are times when i can’t explain the heaviness on my heart for another, especially when it’s someone i can’t even claim to know personally…and yet the call to intercede is so powerful. in the past, i’ve tried to over-analyze it and drew many wrong conclusions as a result; but in the end, i quit trying to understand and just submitted to the Spirit’s movement in my heart.

we are all tied by unseen strings, a network of hearts tied to One…linked together by His love (1 john 4:11-12). we represent Him on earth as His children, as a family. we encourage, we discipline, we restore, we provide…we love. we love our brothers and sisters in Christ. our lives are all connected, united. we function together no matter where we are on this earth.

it wounds me when others try and divide with denominations and ethnicity and social status and personal struggles. humans are so ridiculous. with God, there is no partiality (romans 2:11), and His word is clear and convicting, “If someone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen.” (1 john 4:20, nasb)

if we do not love our brothers and sisters in Christ, we don’t love God.  i have known and seen the love of God through His people, and am thankful for those who are members His body. in other cases, i have to remember that God is the judge of the heart, and my task is to obey Him.

there have been times when all i can say is the name of the one i’m praying for over and over again. i’ve had to let go of that desire to know. i can’t know, but God knows. i trust.

i value this relationship. i treasure my connection with Him. with my family, seen and unseen.

sara

love.