One year ago I started a journey. Now I am sitting in a friend’s apartment in Istanbul, a friendship that was formed in the weeks of training in Virginia, preparing us for this international life. I didn’t know life would look like this. But I wouldn’t choose any other life either. It’s so hard to explain, but I am going to try. Social media catches the highlights… because who wants to scroll through their newsfeed and see “Today was a struggle…again”? But maybe that’s the real our hearts are longing for? To know that we aren’t shuffling through the hard struggle days on our own. To know that someone else knows that hard days come more often than we like to admit but the word of the day is persevere… because it is worth it. Living in the middle of where the Father has called you to be is always worth it.
My life looks like some kind of grand adventure from the outside. Many days it is a bigger adventure than I ever dreamed I would live. But it’s hard. It’s hard and not glamorous and I wouldn’t be a friend if I hid that from you. And me? I’m not perfect. Sometimes I’m too selfish and not caring and choosing comfort is easier than choosing love.
Can I tell you something though? I’m learning to give myself grace. I’m learning to be ok with the small steps of everyday. I’m learning to persevere on days when I just really don’t feel like getting out of bed. I never thought I would struggle this much. I never thought that when I was right in the middle of the life I dreamed of that I would want to run away.
But my Father knew I would stumble and struggle and brave wouldn’t be some easy thing that I woke up with everyday. He knew I would need encouragement and grace and His word to sustain me.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. Hebrews 12:1-3
The cross was always before Jesus. He always knew the hard that was coming. But that didn’t keep him from pouring out love and offering healing and speaking grace to the people who would soon reject and crucify Him. And because He lives in me, I can love and give grace like this too. I can keep my eyes on His truth and persevere, because He truly is worth it all. AND SO CAN YOU. I don’t know what lies you have let creep in and take up residence in the dusty corners of your heart, but you, dear heart, don’t have to let them stay. Too long the enemy has stolen my joy and replaced hope with discouragement and fear. Can we all just stand up and say “no more”? We are children of light if we have a relationship with the Father… and His power is greater than any hard day or storm tossed sea. Maybe you think you could never do what I am doing, but hear me loud and clear: I am just like you. Fallen, broken, selfish, struggling to give myself grace and love others well. I simply chose to believe that God was bigger than my small dreams and said yes to the big adventure He was leading me into. Obedience. That’s the thing (combined with perseverance once you’re in the middle of it and it gets hard) that makes the difference. That’s the key to the door that unlocks God’s bigger things and life abundant that we all long for. So run your race. Throw love like confetti and let His grace be loud in your life. Let His glory shining through your smile be what you are known for… and believe Him for the big impossible things and the brave for today. Don’t let those lies weigh you down anymore. And by His grace, I’m going to believe this too. I’m going to walk in these truths and see life like the some kind of beautiful it is. It matters that you’re here on this earth. You have a purpose and I do not want fear to keep any of us from living abundantly.
Vacation is ending and I’m heading back to the bush. There’s a large part of me that wants to be anxious for the hard that I know is coming. But a larger part of me remembers that the God who put me here knows me intimately, and He is not leaving me to struggle through on my own. The people I live with are beautiful. The need is real but so is this brave spark He put in me… the spark that yearns for every person to intimately know the heartbeat of our Savior.
So let’s do this life thing. I believe in Jesus in you.