I keep an ink & paper journal where I explore and develop my faith – my “QT with God” time, as we called it back in college. I wouldn’t say the journal is private per se, but it’s just easier for me to be quiet and curl up, taking pen to paper, free from the glare of the screen and the distractions and hums of my computer. I’ve been carrying it around a lot lately, especially as I’m looking for moments that leave me “Wonderstruck” as I listen more. I have always processed better through writing than simply thinking through things.
But this song was on my mind tonight… I haven’t heard it since serving at Jeremiah Project, one of my very earliest mission opportunities, and I just had to find it again because this has been a constant dialogue in my head for a few weeks now, and “Everybody Duck” delivers the words so eloquently:
Use me here, where I am
I’m not gonna pray anymore that You’ll change your plans
Despite my fear, I place my life in Your hands
The future can wait, tomorrow might be too late,
So Jesus use me here
I lay my heart’s desires at Your feet, oh Lord
Take all the plans I’ve made and all my dreams
Blinded by triumphs of tomorrow I’ve let sin control
So many drowning within reach, Father it’s time
You heard me say…
I tell myself I want to know Your will, oh Lord
Still I confess I’ve had plans of my own
But from now on I plan to listen to Your will and to obey
No matter what the future holds I’m gonna live for You
And an excerpt from my paper journal after our 3rd Women’s Bible Study (“Wonderstruck”) tonight:
…just met an incredible Christian. I’ve actually met her a few times now, and she just lives out her faith so freely and openly, allowing herself to be so approachable and vulnerable to others. It’s amazing how connected I’ve already felt at this church. I feel like I’ve met so many people (I’d say “key players,” but I know that’s not the right concept at.all.) on a real and personal level, and everyone has such an enthusiasm in their faith. They have found ways to plug in and use the talents they have. I always feel so encouraged and so inspired by their stories to become a better Christian myself. It’s been awhile – since the BSU in college, I’d say – since I’ve been so completely surrounded by such uplifting, encouraging people. I need to define myself and not compartmentalize myself so much in trying to please others… I want people to know what (or Who) I stand for. I’ve met so many new people already who just live out their faith, and it makes me want to get involved and develop stronger relationships. I stayed at church late tonight, just talking in the parking lot. It has been such an unexpected blessing to have this group.
I am still praying for God to show me where He wants to use me and why I was brought to this new place… not so that I can take, take, take, as I have lately, but so that my husband and I can bless other people with our own individual strengths. I used to have no inhibitions with serving in college. It was so easy to find opportunities to serve, and to accept leadership roles: I led Family Groups. I went and spoke at women’s prisons. I played the flute at Christmas Eve services. I knocked on doors in Brooklyn, NY in one-degree weather and slept on space heaters on a church floor. I gutted homes, used nailguns to lay shingles, taught Bible schools, spent entire summers away from technology in the mountains, leading devotions around campfires or designing prayer labyrinths in gymnasiums, meeting awesome children and teenagers. I choreographed dance routines and walked across the stage on my hands. I taught leadership skills to groups of children using horses (that I knew nothing about!). I painted my face with a South African flag and I don’t really even remember why, but I still keep in touch with that missionary from South Africa- she was the first person I messaged today! I dug through trashcans of homemade smoothies to look for retainers and led groups of young campers hiking to the top of a mountain about 8 weeks in a row. And then camped with them. I helped families recover in New Orleans immediately after Hurricane Katrina. I served as President of a Leadership Team even though I’m a behind-the-scenes person. I spent weeks on crutches after, literally, jumping off a cliff. I designed countless certificates and slideshows. It may sound like a stream of “I’s,” but all of it was God’s way of equipping me to serve others in His name. I could go on an on about the opportunities to serve that He opened for me, but my point is that now, as a 29-year-old, I marvel at the boldness and strength I had in the last decade that I found in service. I guess I just need to stop looking, and start listening… I know there’s something for me now, even in my new(ish) capacity as a wife and mommy, where life’s demands (and blessings!) are just on a completely different playing field than where I was before.
Okay, back to paper now. Thanks for listening. 🙂