I’ve been contemplating what to write for quite some time, but have not truly found the right words. Even now I’m just typing as things come, erasing, and then typing again. So much has happened since my last post, and yet not much at the same time.
When I say “so much has happened”, I think that mostly has been the inner workings of my heart. I’ve wrestled with a multitude of emotions and internal conflicts as I’ve researched and prepared for the next two months in Guatemala. Excitement and Fear have been dancing together, and I can’t distinguish who’s who anymore.
I’m excited for the newness of this adventure. The new experiences I’ll have, new people I’ll meet, and new culture I’ll learn. I’m fearful of the unknown that accompanies this newness, and the challenges that are certain to ensue.
I’m excited to meet the kids, and see how I fit into this massive family. I’m afraid of the possibilities of not feeling like I have a place.
I’m excited for the transformation that is sure to come in my life, and people around me. I’m afraid of the difficult conversations I will have, and the idea that I may not be able to help all of the children in their journey to healing.
I’m excited to try the coffee and food! I’m afraid that the food will make me sick or I’ll get a parasite.
I’m excited to learn Spanish. I’m afraid that the language will be a barrier in relationships, and hinder me from loving those people well (or even receiving love).
These are but a few of the thoughts and feelings swirling around the ballroom that is my heart.
I know that my fears are valid and natural for someone in my position to an extent, but my flesh nature has a nasty habit of wanting to wallow in them. It wants to let the fear wash over me in waves, as doubt pulls me under.
But God, in His mercy has not allowed me to drown. When fear has started to grip me, I’m reminded of how the Lord has provided time after time, and that it is His Sovereign Will that I am going to Guatemala, because this is not a path I would have chosen for myself. I have had to choose trusting the Lord over trusting myself, and applying Philippians 4:6-7.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God,which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Did you catch the key notes there?
- Pray. Like really pray. Not just a quick “Help!” and then going back into your fearful state… but raw, unscripted, genuine, on-your-face-I-can’t-do-this-alone kind of prayer.
- Petition. Which to me insinuates an active and constant approach to the throne of God to change your heart, and do it with…
- THANKFULNESS. Thankfulness is one of the Christian’s greatest weapons, and is so under-rated (in my opinion). It destroys pride, as with each bit of thankfulness, the Thanker is taking a humble posture and giving all of the glory to the Lord, and also in some ways acknowledges His control over our lives. This is the part that I often leave out, and I think it leaves room for a lot of bitterness in my prayers.
- Present your requests to God. I think of presenting an offering to a king, and the humble posture required in doing so… which reinforces the attitude that thankfulness should already be instilling in me.
And the result is peace. Not the relaxing kind a glass of wine gives, but a supernatural one that guards your heart and mind in Christ Jesus. Dang. That’s the kind of peace that I want.
I’m not trying to get on a soap box here, and I’ll be the first to tell you I do not belong there. I’m no expert in the art of prayer or taking a stand against looming fears. There have been times where I’ve prayed earnestly and with thankfulness, and felt the Lord’s peace seep in and diffuse my fear. There have also been times that I’ve taken the above steps and didn’t feel any better. There have been other times where I’ve been overwhelmed, and needed a friend to speak truth into it all. It’s not an exact science, but I know that in all of those times God never abandoned me. I’ve been learning to trust Him, even when I didn’t feel Him, and I’m thankful for this time of struggle and wrestling.
SIDE NOTE: If I’ve seemed a little off the past few weeks in my discussions about this new journey, it’s most likely this struggle. I’ve been wrestling with how to talk about the excitement aspect I’ve felt without letting fear hurl itself into the spotlight and take center stage. (Isn’t it funny how in the midst of an abundance of positivity, negativity can poison it all with a few drops?) People often ask me, “How are you feeling about Guatemala?”, and my face scrunches up into a “grile” (A mix between a grimace and smile, which is as ugly as the name “grile” is… see photo below) and I say, “So good!” (unconvincingly I’m sure) with an awkward silence to follow…. because, how else do I explain this muddy mess of emotions?!? All that to say…. I’m sorry for all of the griles I’ve put you folks through, and have appreciated your patience as I’ve attempted to explain something I myself am struggling to wrap my brain around.
Outside of this internal conflict, life has just been very full. I’ve moved all of my belongings from Springfield to KC, got my Bachelor’s degree notarized and legalized to use outside of the U.S., finished an 11-hour certification for Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, met with missionaries and travelers with lots of experience, and have also spent many hours saying goodbye to my loved ones in both cities.
Thank you to each person who has carved out time to help me move, listen to me pour out my heart, and loved me oh so well. If I didn’t get to say goodbye to you…. I’m sorry! In hindsight I wish that I could have managed my time a smidge better the last two months.
Two days folks. Two days and I’m on a plane to Guatemala. Holy Heck. It’s getting real.
I’ll see y’all in September… and until then keep an eye out for new posts here!!