In this 8 month season of my life the word consistency has been thrown out of my vocabulary. It is the last word I would use to describe my days. I have lived in a storm that has yet to subside, I have felt the weight of my own sin and others, I have seen lives being destroyed, then built back up, and destroyed again.
I found myself today shedding unstoppable tears, and ended up sitting on the lap of one of our girls' nannies, weeping in her arms, with an intense need for someone just to hold me.
In this time span I have felt so out of control…
Dreams being ripped from my hands, a calling that has felt impossible to fulfill.
I have been overcome by hope and hate almost simultaneously.
I have suffered.
And I am sitting here, with 30 days left, still questioning what God had for me when I came.
I have never felt so disappointed in this life.
And it has taken me back to reflecting on my days before the Dominican Republic many times.
OH how easy my past seems to me now… How much I would give to be back there instead of confronting the intense darkness that has covered me for months now.
Relationships that I used to look on with difficulty and frustration now seem healthy, loving, and functional compared to the ones I have experienced here.
Individuals that I struggled to love now seem like the most pleasant people I could be around.
If I am honest, this life really just feels like one big mess.
And I question myself, I question if I REALLY AM surrendered to my God like I say that I am… I question if I really am WILLING to take up my cross and follow Him WHEREVER… I question if I am really being obedient, if I really am even seeking Him or if I’m really just desperately trying to find my way back into comfort instead of daily giving this life over to Him.
And I’ve realized how bad the truth hurts.
It has hurt so bad that this is the first time I have ever dealt with anxiety.
It has hurt so bad it is the first time I have avoided friendships and counsel because I didn’t want to confront what I am going through.
It has hurt so bad I have wanted to abandon that which I KNOW God has spoken over me.
It has hurt so bad that my physical body has suffered and hurt so intensely in ways that I didn’t think were possible because of the Spiritual forces I have been up against.
It has hurt so bad that I’ve wanted to be anywhere but here on my worst days.
And when I go into the secret place, when I get into my Bible, when I’m yelling at God to give me the truth… I am then faced with this verse:
"He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it to life eternal.”
And in this moment I realize I just want a life that’s lovable, instead of a life that seemingly requires tremendous sacrifice.
Right now if you really saw me, you would see the difficulty to live as I am.
Because it hurts. It really hurts.
It requires a deep, daily death. A dying to myself that begins the moment I open my eyes and realize God is calling me out of my bed to start a day that terrifies me.
When I actually wonder if I will make it to the end of the day in one piece.
And I’ve found myself in this pit, thinking that I really must have it the worst... Out of anyone and everyone that I know...
Sure, there are many who have it hard... but at the end of the day they go back to their own houses, their own families, sleep in their own beds… And I’m just always stuck in the middle of discomfort and pain.
BUT then I go back into the secret place AGAIN, and when I get into my Bible, and once again I’m yelling at God to give me the truth… I am then faced with this verse:
And Jesus said to him, "The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head."
And with each word of truth I’m presented with, the more biblical than ever my life begins to look.
My flesh tells me I deserve approval. My flesh tells me I deserve love. My flesh tells me I need to be comfortable. My flesh tells me to flee from the pain and uncertainty and any kind sacrifice.
But then I’m reminded who my Savior is.
And the life He lived here on earth.
And the throne He left to be like me.
And the death He died that I might live.
And the sins He bore that I might be pure.
And the fight He fought that I might be still.
And the love He gave that I might be adopted and chosen.
And the heart He has that tells me who I really am and how He truly feels about me…
That I was worth it.. ALL of IT. And what He says true love really is:
Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends.
And that this love isn’t just reserved for those that I love but rather HIS theology says:
“If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful."
And so I’m sitting here now. On a hard, cold floor, alone, tears flowing, wanting to be ANYWHERE else but here...
I am convinced that there is still more required of me, that the hardest is yet to come, that greater sacrifice is down the road.
And its not because God is punishing me, its because the cost of saying yes to Him is worth giving my whole life.
Because as I just heard in a podcast of my favorite teacher and previous youth pastor, Chris Nye:
“Following Jesus costs something, but not following Jesus will cost you everything.”
And as a friend told me a story once of a missionary couple that was visiting their church, after they explained the persecution they endured, the discomfort they lived and walked in, the trials and sorrows they claimed, their final words stood and hovered over the whole congregation with mouths wide in awe and disbelief as they closed with this haunting notion,
“We have never truly made a sacrifice.”
Because to live the surrendered life, to endure your own cross, to go into the darkness that has yet to be overcome but will soon be conquered once and for all...
The tremendous, unencumbered, promised blessings and breakthrough outweigh what we could ever claim as sacrificial. Because God is just that good to us.
And He doesn’t leave us at the end of our lives with a deficit, but in reality we walk into a wealth that none of us have ever seen or experienced on the natural earth. Because He has hidden it away for us, and the time will come when we will join with Him in the glory that is to be revealed.
So I say yes again to the life that hurts. I give up my rights. I don't have the answers. I will simply give my day to Him. I'll put it in His hands. I'll realize it won't depend on me. And I'll believe in my role in the Kingdom that is here and also yet to come.