Road-tripping here with my sister, Eva, was a lot of fun! We pushed my little Honda up the gigantic mountains of Kentucky and prayed that it didn’t tumble down the other end, we saw the world’s largest tea cup, we searched high and low for the statue of the largest clasping hands (yeah… whatever that means) and visited the famous “Sissy’s Café and Bob’s Barber Shop.” I was thankful to be able to spend that time with my sissy and I think she feels the same way.
After a very intense July, I can finally say that I am starting to become better acquainted with my surroundings. Moving here in July was a seriously big move and risk, if I may say so myself, and in retrospect, everything happened so fast that now I am finally in a place to slow down and process it all.
Upon getting here, I served one week in the office, unpacking, trying not to get lost on my way to the office ... less than 2 miles away... etc. The beginning of that next week, Brad (my partner in crime in the youth office) and I took a busload of kids to camp 8 hours away in Green Lakes, WI. What a way to get to know our middle schoolers! We had an amazing time getting to know each other, building new relationships, and encouraging our kids to be themselves and have a great time. Man, I love my job. That Friday, our wonderful interns were gracious enough to drive me to the airport at 4am in Appleton, WI to catch a flight to DC for a speaking engagement for DC Serve. DC Serve, as always, was an incredible experience and I thank God all the time for blessing me with the opportunity to serve in different ways with this mission project. Talk about back-to-back madness - but every moment was glorifying and beyond satisfying.
As most of you know, amidst all of this summer craziness, my mother has been fighting breast cancer. She had her mastectomy in June and I was thankful I could be with her for a while pre and post-surgery. Since then, we have had some highs and lows with her recovery and we are still waiting to set a date for her chemotherapy. It has been quite a struggle for me being so far away. What does support look like when you live roughly 830 miles away? I have a hard time wrapping my mind around the idea of "100% support." Prayer support is always great, and God never ceases to answer and provide! but there is something to be said about our physical presence with those we love and that is what I struggle with.
In the depths of my heart, I wish I could be sitting beside her, praying over her as she sleeps in hopes that the next morning she would feel a little bit more relief – either emotionally or physically. It breaks my heart to know that she doesn’t feel completely like herself these days. My mother, Daliza, is the strongest most ambitious woman I have ever met. When she sets her heart on something, she does it. Her impact on others is incredible and I admire her so much. I could tell you multiple stories I've heard from her friends and co-workers about how they were so encouraged by her and her spirit, or the funny quirky dances she does around the house while singing to old Gloria Estefan songs, or I could go on and on about how her hugs are the greatest ever. Before I drove away in my jam-packed car, she gave me the biggest most heart-felt hug I have ever received in my life. She whispered the sweetest words in my ear; that’s another things she does – despite her pain and discomfort, she takes the time to encourage me. My mom stoops down to make me great, and does not ask for anything in return (Psalm 18:30-36..."You stoop down to make me great.")
I miss my family greatly. The first couple of weeks settling into St Louis, I fought God a little bit. I allowed the pain in my heart, the separation from those that I love, begin to create a bit of a divide between God and I.
On August 1st in “My Utmost for His Highest,” Chambers brought me back to the beautiful reality of the great commission…
He comes where He commands us to leave..
"When Jesus had made an end of commanding his disciples, he departed thence to teach and to
preach in their cities." ” Matthew 11:1
If when God said "Go," you stayed because you were so concerned about your people at home, you robbed them of the teaching and preaching of Jesus Christ Himself. When you obeyed and left all consequences to God, the Lord went into your city to teach; as long as you would not obey, you were in the way. Watch where you begin to debate and to put what you call duty in competition with your Lord's commands. "I know He told me to go, but my duty was here;" that means you do not believe that Jesus means what He says
To solidify things, the Wailin’ Jennys sing it perfectly in the song, “You Are Here.” Check this out… may your ears be pleased. ☺
This flash, this slap, this raw reality was surprising to me but so incredibly necessary at that moment. I needed to hear someone say that to me: God equips those who He calls. He has me here for a reason and I cannot regret leaving my home. God is completely in control and He's got it covered. All I can do is hope and pray that what I offer my family is enough. I do pray that I can love them well even at a distance; not just my family, but also friends and students I've developed relationships with.
God has been so good to me this August in teaching me this lesson. It has been incredible to see His provision and His ability to meet me wherever I am no matter what the circumstance. Conversations and interactions with others become more and more relevant as God uses them to communicate His love and His provisional comfort for me while I am here. Lesson learned: I cannot physically be here and there all at once, but I can do my best to love others who are here and there. I can absolutely offer support and encouragement from here and send it there… with God’s help; all things are possible, right?
Love, from here to there,