Thursday, August 28, 2008

1 Peter 2:2-3 says, "Like newborn babies, you must crave pure spiritual milk so that you will grow into a full experience of salvation. Cry out for this nourishment, now that you have had a taste of the Lord's kindness."

Being that 1 Peter is one of my favorite books of the Bible, i can't tell you how many times i have read those verses; however, tonight, they spoke to me in a way they never had before. and i think that most of that was due to the fact that i took the time to read what my application portion said about these two verses. it reads as follows:

One characteristic all children share is that they want to grow up...When we are born again, we become spiritual newborn babies. If we are healthy, we will yearn to grow. How sad it is that some people never grow up. The need for milk is a natural instinct for a baby, and it signals the desire for noursihment that will lead to growth. Once we see our need for God's Word and begin to find noursihment in Christ, our spiritual appetite will increase, and we will start to mature.

talk about the Lord speaking to and teaching me through two seemingly simple verses.

since going to india and growing more in my relationship with Christ in those six weeks than i ever have before, i've struggled so much since being home not feeling like i have been growing or learning anything at all. sure, i've been able to see the way the Lord still answers my prayers here in the states just as he did in india, but there's just been something different, and i never could quite put my finger on it.

i think those two verses have helped me understand more, though.

i had such a HUGE taste of the Lord's kindness this summer and i have continued to have tastes of his kindness in other areas of my life, but i wasn't crying out for the nourishment quite like i should have been after tasting how good, wonderful, marvelous, magnificent, and sovereign he truly is.

i have a long way to go, but i'm excited for the journey. i want to continue learning what it means to extend grace, trust blindly, and love boldly...but more than anything i want to have childlike faith and i want the nourishment He wants to give me in order to be made more and more into his image.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

today, i miss india and my children so much more than i ever thought possible. and i have a feeling it may continue to intensify over the next few months.

everyone from the orphanage has been on my heart and mind so much this week, and i long to hold the children in my arms and to have coffee with johnson so much more than ever. i've fought back tears like never before, and if someone would pay for me to fly there tomorrow, i would jump at the chance.

although i have loved being at school, it has not come without challenges. those challenges range from being overwhelmed with the abundance of food in baldwin to the discovery of US gold medalists in the states receiving $25,000 per medal, from seeing how full my closet is of clothes to walking around on a campus where a building is being constructed that i'm not even sure i want to know how much it costs, and from being able to engage in one on one conversations where i speak the same language as those all around me to driving down the road to the new sonic for dessert one night.

now, of course, none of those are bad things, culturally speaking, but it is through such instances that i have been able to better recognize that my worldview has truly, truly been altered. i'm not sure if it is going to last for the rest of my life, but i continue to pray that the Lord would etch the lessons from india deep in my heart. and i have to continually remind myself that my convictions are mine and not anyone else's.

i long to be back in a culture where the time spent in worship is irrelevant, and it is simply Spirit lead. i long to be back in a culture where it doesn't matter how good of a singer you are, but yet, everyone knows that it is a sweet song in the Father's ear. i long to be back in a culture where one egg can show how deep someone's faith is. i long to be back in a culture where people aren't simply living, but where people are living simply. i long to be back in a culture where the people take the time to stop every day for tea and coffee, where children call me sister, and where i can sing down the path to the home with my thatta.

i long to be back in india.

i am continually hoping, continually praying, and continually trusting that if it is the Lord's will for me to return; it will happen.

i received an email today from one of the men we worked with while we were in india. he said to me, "I would like to see you back in india in order to do the Lord's ministry." my heart leaped at his statement, and then my eyes filled with tears. and then my next hour proceeded to be filled with looking at pictures and sharing stories with a friend about my time there.

now i don't want you to think that i'm not finding joy in each day, because i am, and i am so thankful for the ways that the Lord has continued to show up since being home and the ways He has continually answered my prayers. i think, now, i am just learning what it means to truly be burdened for his people and to have a heart that breaks for what breaks his. i am so thankful he is willing to entrust me with a small part of that. and again, i am reminded of how great of a God we serve...what a blessing.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

i've been back in the states for four weeks and a day now. how that is possible and where the time went i am not sure. i still miss the people more than ever and wish every day that they just lived down the road from me.

i leave for school tomorrow, and how that is possible i am not sure either. i am reminded of the journey the Lord took me on last year in discovering that my dream of going back to India was going to become a reality, and i can only hope and pray that the journey He takes me on this year will be just as exciting. and who knows, maybe next summer, i'll again find myself back at the place where i left an even bigger part of my heart this time.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Six more airports 'til I see your face.
I keep your picture in my passport, but it's not the same.
Still there's joy in this sadness; in my heart and in this place.
In the hope of the longing, the tears cannot erase,
and I'm hoping that you're sleeping ok.
I miss you...I miss you...I miss you...
-Caedmons Call

Some say joy in the sadness, others say bittersweet, I say buy me a one way ticket to go back.

No, but really, although I would love it more than anything to go back, to hold my children once again, to laugh with Johnson, to be laughed at for not being able to stomach the spices and not being able to eat with my hand very well, to hear Dihvya sing sweetly in my ear, to be called sister, and to be surrounded by the mountains, windmills, and coconut trees, I am trusting with all that I am that the Lord is taking better care of them than I ever could.

It's fair to say, though, that the tears have been abounding lately, and I have to admit every night when I go to bed I think about what the children are doing or what the staff is doing and I pray that the Lord would encourage them in a new way that day, that He would comfort those who are feeling lonely, and that He would give the staff strength and patient endurance as they love the children.

The hole in my heart that I have experienced in these past three and a half weeks is nothing I have ever experienced before. The way I am more aware of how present the Lord truly is in all of our lives each and every day is something I never have experienced here in the states quite like this. And on the opposite end of that, I am now so much more aware of darknesses that are present here in the states rather than just thinking the only places darknesses are truly prevalent is in third world countries where they aren't classified as "Christian" nations.

I don't think we really realize how privileged we are to be able to walk to our refrigerators or pantries and see an abundance of food staring back at us. I don't think we realize how privileged we are to be able to sleep on comfortable matresses with pillows and blankets. I don't think we realize how privileged we are to not be under constant persecution for our faith. I don't think we realize how privileged we are to have money in our bank accounts. I don't think we realize how privileged we are to have closets and dressers full of clothes. I don't think we realized how privileged we are to brush our teeth every morning and night with a toothbrush and toothpaste. I don't think we realize how privileged we are to have love marriages. I don't think we realize how privileged we are to have brothers and sisters in Christ living all around the world or right down the street. And I don't think we realize how privileged we are to be serving a God who doesn't need to use us to reach others for him, but yet He chooses to use us anyway.

As much as I would love to hear the voice again of the children, I am so thankful that the God who transcended all cultural and language barriers while I was in India is going to continue transcending the new barrier of distance between my sisters and brothers in Christ and myself.

And as my eyes well with tears, I pray that the Lord would continue teaching me what it means to entrust people into his care, to extend grace, to love boldly, for faith like a child, and to break my heart for what breaks his.

May we all be on the lookout for the ways He wants to use us even if it means stepping out of our comfort zones and for the divine appointments He has set up for us in advance. And may all of us not only be able to say, "Abba, I love you," but also, "Abba, I trust you with all that I am."