Back to this summer with God...
By Wednesday of that first week of WMI, I was fairly certain that I should just go home. There was no way I would be able to be a missionary; I didn't have any of what it takes to serve in another country. And I was far too broken inside to be of any use to anyone anywhere. However as the week went on and we spent the weekend in Philadelphia, I started to meet God.
If you're at all familiar with the Gospels and the book of Acts (if not you should be!) then this will make sense to you in your head but perhaps not in your heart. But basically I started to ask myself these questions of who is Jesus? What does He offer us? How does He work? Where does He work and with whom? Really basic questions with simple answers but each answer also has a deeper meaning that I was maybe familiar with but really didn't have a good grasp of what they truly meant. I really realized this summer that there is absolutely nothing written in Scripture that doesn't have significance--it is our job to find it and to seek the answers from our God.
But back to the questions...
Jesus is of course the Son of God, our Savior and Redeemer, our Father and Friend! But these are His names which carry meaning that require meditation from us to understand. What I learned, Jesus is grace and He is love and He is truth and He is faithfulness and He is right. I "knew" all of these things but it is a totally different thing to hold these true in your mind but not in your heart. I'm going to be completely honest and say that for many years now I have denied His love and grace and truth and faithfulness and righteousness. How can you be a believer without accepting these things? Well perhaps you can't be a true follower of Jesus. I'm not going to debate that at present but it's food for thought I suppose.
As I talked with friends and fellow missionaries-to-be about my current thoughts and trials of faith, one dear friend said to seek truth in the only place you will actually find truth. Not in talking to people but in talking to our Lord and reading His Word. The Bible, that is where you will always find truth so if His will is what you're seeking, doubtless that's where you'll find your answer. How true and helpful those words were which provided a turning point in my journey of healing, restoration, and finding a true relationship with Christ. I found myself reading Scripture and praying about every little thing every day. And she was right, there was no lack of finding truth from Him. This was also the start of a beautiful friendship for this girl and I; I have been so blessed to have her in my life. She is the sort who will walk with you no matter where you find yourself! So wonderful!
Okay, so if I am a follower of Christ and have accepted Him as my Lord then it's time now to give my whole self up to Him and to absorb all that He is into my very being. Ahhhh! That means losing myself in Him and accepting gifts that are not able to be returned. He gives me grace and love freely and expects nothing in return except relationship with Him. It was time for me to accept this incredible grace and love. Let me tell you, it is a lot easier said than done but this has been one of the most incredible parts of my journey with Jesus. Just meditating on His love and grace brings tears of joy to my eyes! If you aren't familiar with the hymn "The Love of God" then you should be that too. It has the most incredible description of His love ever!
Where does Jesus work? In us, through us, around us, in and through others, right here where we are. A major thing that I really began to grasp was that Jesus really does meet us right where we are no matter where that is. In our anguish and grief, in our rebelliousness, in our depression, in our joy, in our roles in society, in our sometimes less than reputable actions, even in our complete brokenness. He understands it all and is walking right next to us if He's not carrying us. He is inescapable. But guess what, He loves us too much to let us stay in those dark places. He wants to draw us into the light of His kingdom, surrounded by His love. It's there we just have to take the step into it, He will not force on us. Haha, "just" may not be the right word cause those steps have certainly been the most challenging in my life.
In learning these things, I realized that no matter where I was in life, He would still use me, use my story despite all it holds for His glory to build His kingdom. No matter how insignificant I felt or how unworthy or unable I was of anything, if I learned to depend on Him to be all of me then nothing I would do would be of me but of Him. Let Him be my resiliency, my heart and soul, my strength and courage, my love and grace and purpose.