seasons

looking ahead to the ultimate prize.

2nd year is in full swing now. UCLA, Union Rescue Mission, classes, clients, homework, assignments. getting used to this way of being, and thinking, and organizing. adjusting to and soaking in new feelings and new thoughts, new worries, and just trying to take everything in. left my CII community at the end of July, amongst a midst of mixed emotions and a heavy heart, knowing this was best for me, but wanting to drag it out as long as i possibly could.

the restoration and renewal is here though, poking its tentative head out of the cover of leaves, peeking at the sun, winking at me. months of thinking, brainstorming, desiring, planning, praying, and worrying turned into a wonderful night of community on Saturday, as people of all ages and life stages gathered to talk and hear about fost-adoption and God’s heart for being missional in this way. i am blown away, still, by the presence of the Spirit moving through that room and in the hearts of those in attendance. And as i sat up there, moderating the panel discussion, my heart felt so at peace, like this is where i want to be and this is what i want to do – equipping and mobilizing others to serve the Kingdom and chase His Dream.

someday i’m going to go overseas and serve, i cannot deny that, but for now my heart and my passion is here. for the first time in a long time, the wrestling and frustration in my heart has settled, as i find myself in the midst of a company of believers who are intent on doing the same work that i am. for me, then, this doctoral degree is just fluff and icing layered over that which i am already a part of.

to be working and dreaming alongside partners who feel very much the same way i feel, and yearn for the same things that i yearn for… this is doing the ultimate work of what i was designed for.

in the struggle of learning to remain congruent inside and out, to be seen as i see myself, to realize the wonderful-ness of Someone who loves me regardless of who i am and where i come from, and how dark and dreary i am, but pours out His grace, and that there are things to dream of, to look ahead to… i’m overwhelmed with it all.

but i love the thought. i am Beloved.

FALL is here. waiting for the leaves to change, the night air to grow crisper, Starbucks red cups to emerge, and more dreams to dream.

hope

i’m slowly attempting to crawl out of the cave that i unintentionally, and gradually, wandered into. caring for others is so hard, and i often question why He gifted me in this way, to carry the burdens of others, to walk with them in their pain, and to hold them in their intense emotions, when i’m not strong enough to hold on. i wish i could just sit behind a computer and stare at a screen all day… to lead a “normal” life and be able to talk about work like a “normal” person. i know that wouldn’t be me though  – that wouldn’t be me living life to the fullest that He has called me to be, and that wouldn’t be enough for me.

the vicarious trauma has been difficult, tempered by the anxiety of being in school, with more and more seemlingly amount of work and responsibility being directed my way – from coursework to presentations, to reading to lit review, to researching for dissertation, to studying for exams and reflecting on my work, to writing and rewriting intakes, to administering personality tests and writing up assessment reports, to just being present and attending in lectures. i struggle with finding people who will understand, and i know no one fully will, because this is primarily my experience. i find comfort and support in my colleages and cohort friends who are each experiencing this in their own ways.

and then there are my friends – my people – who offer what they can. and i am fiercely grateful for it. i know that many of them would have no idea of the ways i’ve been feeling unless i open up, take a risk to put myself out there and tell them, even if they shouldn’t ask me first. it fights against every fiber of who i am, to be brave and put myself out there, and trust that they will listen, that they will empathize, that they will validate. not all of them get it. in fact, very few of them do. but what i can’t do is isolate myself, curl up into a little ball underneath my covers, and hide from the world.

her face is still burned into my memory. the tears streaming down her young face, with her mouth drawn into a thin line and her head held up high, and her declaration that despite all she and her children are currently experiencing while being homeless, she is grateful. she holds onto a sliver of faith, knowing full well that faith will not necessarily bring her stability or housing or her family the next day, but that at least she has a roof over her head and a little boy and girl who mean everything to her. this keeps her going on.

i’ve been crying all week as i’ve thought about her and the sense of helplessness she exudes, and how i wish i could help her. stop those tears. i know it’s her own process to find a way through all of it, but i wish she could seek help, find comfort, support, and a way out. i wish…

and i know i’m not adequate, and i don’t have the answers. in the midst of all this, we must cling to hope – both she and I, because otherwise there would be nothing else left to live for.

.to be continued.

 

risk

risk. trust. taking a risk in trusting. trusting Him.

this summer has definitely pulled me into places where I’ve had to trust Him. where I’ve been stretched. where I’ve worried and been anxious, and done things that are way out of my comfort zone. reached out and met people and had intimate connections with, and later wonder what all that was about. registered for fall courses and wondered how I’m going to manage it all. going forward with church and community, pushing myself all in, even when that means I’m over-stimulated and just want to run away.
and my mind constantly wonders. I’m constantly wondering about the past, wondering about choices I’d made and how the outcomes could be different with different choices… very Sliding Doors-esque… and then needing to reprimand myself, ask the Lord for mercies, and re-focus my mind on something other than the mere temptation of thoughts, dreams, fantasies, fleshly desires.
the need for connection is a drug that I get high off of; whereas others feel the rush from drugs, speed, gambling, illegal activities, etc., my rush comes from genuine intimacy with others, and what takes place in that sacred space between myself and another, where smiles are exchanged and laughter dances across from me to him and i realize we both just get it. and then I wonder, will I ever experience that connection again? coming off of it, i feel depressed and melancholy and sad, and I can’t stop thinking about what happened and didn’t happen, all at the same time.

this summer, He’s been teaching me to take risks. so i’ve taken small ones. and He’s responded with His perfect timing. I hate waiting, but I’m realizing it’s something I must do. Instead of trying to control outcomes with my own choices that seem okay and successful in the beginning but then flounder and dry out after awhile, things seem to fall perfectly into place, like dominoes, when His timing is involved.

and i feel like the present is crackling more and more with the vibrant possibility of something. Something that will happen soon. Not quite sure yet what that something is, but the possibility is there. I’ve realized that our God is a BIG God, and when I focus too much on my wants and my needs, my anxieties and worries, my questions and doubts, that I am essentially reducing God down to this little person who is only in it for ME. But keeping a large and diffuse heart, I sense… feel … the possibility in the air.
The energy is potent. The possibility crackles and lures. It makes me confident and hopeful, if only for a little while. But I want to say there’s something different this time around. I need to say that, so that I can make myself believe it. It’s real. the more I can take those risks in trusting Him, the more He will respond.

He knows and understands.

He’s got the whole world in HIs hands.