It’s been a week now since I last hugged my teammates goodbye in the Manila airport and embarked on the newest adventure. It’s crazy how fast seasons come and go. For three whole months I did life with fourteen other women by my side. I shared a tiny room with three other gal pals (no storage space & two bunks), I ate each meal around a table with sisters, I woke to the sunrise by the ocean each morning coffee and bible in hand, and I was continually with someone day in and out. I laughed deep belly laughs on the kitchen floor, swam in the warm ocean until muscles ached, worshipped Abba into the late hours of the night, and prayed some pretty bold prayers alongside my sisters. I was poured into, encouraged, felt insanely loved and seen by so many.
I’ve been praying how to best put into words everything sweet Jesus taught me in this time. It’s crazy how I have gone from living with fourteen other girls every single second of the day to being completely on my own in Manila.
For me, this past season taught me more than anything the kind of Christ centered community I want to cultivate in seasons to come. I learned that community is something you have to choose into. You can live side by side with someone for three whole months and by the end of it still be considered only acquaintances. You have to learn to be intentional and choose into one another. So often we get flustered when we meet someone who doesn’t exactly “click” with our personality. We decide that we want to stick to our normal routine, to put others in a box, put ourselves in a box, heck put Christ in a box. Yet I know that Christ has formed each of us and called us into a deep, raw, authentic love that goes beyond surface level. When we pray for God to break those boxes, He will. There is something so unique, so intriguing, so fascinating about every single human being on this earth. Something that the Father sees in each person, something that I pray to have eyes to see in each person I encounter as well.
You can walk through seasons of life while picking and choosing when to let Christ in. Or you can let Christ be the very center and core of your life. You have a choice. God is not absent, He is ever present and very much alive. He is inviting you, calling you into deeper fellowship with not only Him but those around you.
When you choose into community, choose into intentionality, and choose into joy, Abba will produce some mighty fruit within you for the Kingdom. He will bless you with a love that fills your very being to the brim. A hope that surely will only bubble over into praise! Hardships will come, arguments will arise, things will be spoken that hurt, but I can promise you that if you keep Christ at the very center of all these you’ll understand love has already won every battle. You can shed light on the darkness, you can do everything from the aim of love, and you can glorify Christ.
My heart can’t express how grateful I am for each person I encountered in Tacloban. How grateful I am for sisters who met me where I was and loved me hard. How grateful I am for a Father who shows me grace in the wildest ways, who speaks to me with words as sweet as honey, who never fails to be my everything.
I have to be completely vulnerable with you all. This last week has been really hard. Going from raw community to no one consistently around has been hard. The enemy has been coming at me seemingly nonstop ya’ll. I’ve been battling with comparison and feelings of inadequacy. I’ve also been dealing with physical sickness for over a week now. My heart is aching over missing my family in the U.S. I have already wondered if it’d be best for me to buy a plane ticket back to the states and hand my role over to someone more “qualified.”
I’ve hit the ground a few times already, but each time it ends with me on my knees just surrendering. I’ve never been able to do anything on my own, and if I’ve tried – it’s failed. I feel frustrated, worn out, discouraged, lonely, and so inadequate. I very much know that this first week has been pivotal in my walk. I know that the enemy has seen this season change as a prime opportunity to come and devour. It won’t happen though, no matter how weak I am feeling.
In all the chaos, in all the unknown, in all the doubt, Jesus meets me. Each time I cry out, He says “Be still child.” I’m choosing to keep a heart posture of gratitude, I’m choosing to take this time to press so deeply into my Heavenly Father. I’m choosing to praise before my breakthrough!
[ Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving. – Colossians 2:6-7 ]
To each sister I made over these three months, you know who you are and I love you deeply. To each person God let me meet in Tacloban either old or very young, Christ has a sweet purpose for you. To those who have followed my journey from afar through the photos, videos, blogs, texts, calls, whatever it may be, thank you. Thank you for still loving me even though I haven’t physically seen you in a good bit.
He fights my every battle. He is faithful. He is God over all.