In the words of a preschooler, “I’m having a hard time.” It has been a hard week. My hair has been a lion’s mane, knotty, bird’s nest all week. My eyebrows are the opposite of on fleek. My jeans hardly fit even when I do the ‘strechy jeans’ dance. I had two tests I didn’t study for and two assignments I didn’t do. I skipped classes to try to catch up but only ended up falling more behind. I’ve spent more money this week than I’ll let myself believe. And I’m struggling with the fact that I’m trying to do all that I can and somehow it still isn’t enough.
Last night I stood in the shower, water streaming down my hair, crying. I had reached a breaking point I didn’t even realize was near. I went to three classes unprepared that day. Then I went to a work meeting followed by a biology lab followed by children’s choir. It was the tipping point of busyness that finally threw me over the edge. I had been so caught up in my routine that I didn’t leave time for myself or for rest or for Jesus. I’ve been caught in this rush of classes and work and volunteering and ‘intentionally’ spending time with friends that I didn’t let myself be still.
So as I stood in the shower crying, I realized that I was enough for God. God doesn’t expect me to be as perfect as I think I should be. He doesn’t want my life to be a series of checklists and do this and that. He doesn’t care if my jeans don’t fit or if I didn’t study for a test. He wants me to come to Him all that I am- broken and exhausted. He wants to be my source of rest. He wants me to seek Him out and lay all my worries and anxieties upon Him. He wants to part of my life.
The song “It Is Well” has been heavy on my heart lately. “Through it all. Through it all. My eyes are on you. Through it all. Through it all. It is well.” I hate to admit that I haven’t been keeping my eyes on Jesus. I have been caught up in the speed of college that I’ve sidelined God. I have never been great at daily devoting time to God, but the more I thought about it the more I realized writing is how I devote time to God. For me it’s a time of reflection and quieting my heart. It’s a process of remembering the parts of my day that made me sad or happy and pondering why it made me feel that way. Most of those times I’m able to see how God is working in my life day by day. I need time to rest. I need time to blog. I need time to be still and know that I am enough for God.
I spent the last hour crying, and I’m not even leaving. Just the thought of leaving Kaneohe is shattering my heart into pieces. As I packed up my stuff it felt like I was shutting away every happy memory I’ve had here. Slowly tucking them away to cope with the sadness that is about to flood over me. I can’t decide whether I’m protecting these memories from being tainted by hurt or pushing them aside allowing the pain to overtake me.
I’m not going through an emotional roller coaster, because that would mean feeling ups and downs. I’m at an emotional intersection where the pieces of my heart are being pulled in every direction. I’m excited to see my sister come to Hawaii. I’m heartbroken to leave Kaneohe. I’m proud to have been part of an incredible ministry. I’m frustrated to go back to school when I’d rather be here. I wish I was numb, because being numb would be so much easier.
Two weeks from now I’ll be walking away from a chapter of my life that has so greatly impacted my being. I have felt God in tangible ways through people and experiences and love. I have seen my life change from being a spectator to a player. Rather than sit on the sidelines and let others guide me, I’ve learned and practiced what it means to be in ministry. I have spent time and put my heart into relationships. I hope that even as I leave I’ll be remembered as more than just another summer intern.
When I get home it’s not going to be easy. It’s not going to be easy waking up for 7:30 AM classes and staying up until 1:00 AM writing papers when I know my heart and body belong somewhere else. It’s not going to be easy being a student when I feel so prepared to serve God. But I’ve been reminded that in my last year of college I have the opportunity to continue learning from those who have done it before me. While I can’t wrap my head around it now, God is giving me a year to continue preparing for ministry. He is giving me people and knowledge and time to do what He knows I am capable to do at His perfect timing. It is not going to be an easy year, but it’s going to be the year that God continues molding me into His image.
People keep asking me if I’m coming back next summer. They keep asking when I graduate and what I plan on doing when I graduate. In all honestly and humbleness, I tell them that I don’t know. I don’t know because essentially it’s not up to me where I go, but it’s up to where God has called me to go. If God opens the door for me to come back to Hawaii I’ll be running towards it. If He calls me back to San Francisco or to stay longer in San Diego or even if He calls me somewhere I have never been before, I’m going to go knowing that He has a purpose for me there. For He knows the plans He has for me, plans to prosper me and not to harm me. Plans to give me a hope and a future.
Seriously, I’ve grown to hate writing. What was once a beloved hobby of mine has become like a homework assignment. I remember starting my blog in Barcelona and spending an hour before bed writing, reflecting on my day. I enjoyed it. Fast forward a couple years and I’m constantly behind on my daily blogging. I think I’ve turned blogging into a chore rather than a hobby. It’s something I do because I feel like I need to do not because I want to do it resulting in my laziness and hatred of writing.
Take now for example. I’m a month behind on my blog, which means for a whole month I didn’t write daily. It’s not like I forgot to write or was busy every second of the day that I couldn’t jot a few words down, but it’s because I didn’t want to. At first I convinced myself that it would be ok to be behind a few days. Then a few days turned into a few weeks, and before you know it a whole month. Now that I have a whole month to write about I’ve become even lazier. The thought of sitting down for hours thinking about what I did that day makes me not want to do it.
Besides not wanting to write, I haven’t been enjoying what I’m writing about. Not only is daily blogging an unreasonable task for me but I don’t think something life changing and incredible is happening in my life everyday. I think it takes a season of life for it to quality as monumental in forming my being. I don’t think one day alone can change my entire worldview. There are moments in my day that are worth sharing to the world- like a beautifully painted sunset or deep conversation- and those moments deserve their spotlight. So when a moment like that happens I should write about it, but otherwise should I continue daily blogging.
When I started this blog I had no expectation of what it would become, and honestly I still don’t. I don’t expect to become famous or to have a million hits a day. Up until this point I’ve written so that the few people in my life- aka mom and dad- who care enough can stay updated with what I’m doing. But now I’ve realized that this blog has to become something more. I don’t want it to just be about myself and my life and the things I’m doing, but I want it to be about Christ. I want it to be about Christ working in my life and the things Christ is doing with me and for me. I’m not quite sure how to do that. I’m not sure if writing less will help me write more, but I know something needs to change. I have very few hobbies and even fewer things people tell me I’m good at, so writing is a skill I want to maintain. God help and motivate me. Allow me to do this for the glory of your name.
Oops. I’m three weeks behind on my blog. That’s three weeks of adventures and memories and experiences that I haven’t reflected on because I’ve either been too lazy or too tired. Three weeks of emotions I wasn’t able to process, because my schedule is too busy and I’d rather sleep in my downtime. I beat myself up about it all the time. I hate getting behind because I’m not able to express myself the way I would have had it been written on the same day it occurred. I fall behind a couple days, then a week, and since I know I’m so behind I just stop all together.
It’s ashame really. I don’t write to become this famous blogger, but because I love looking back and thinking what an incredible journey God has put me on. A journey specifically crafted to me. A journey that has pushed and pulled, swayed and solidified, all so that I can come a little bit closer to what God has called me to do. I love writing, and I wish for an hour each day I would stop being lazy and just do it.
A couple months ago I faced the hard decision of choosing to return to Hawaii and continue doing ministry or starting a new adventure in Australia as an international nanny. Since the moment I left Hawaii last summer this decision weighed heavily on my heart. I had never intended to return to Hawaii. The plan was always to travel for the summer to be an au pair. So when a family from Melbourne, Australia had contacted me about coming for a few weeks in the summer to watch their three kids, I had no idea what to do.
For weeks I made pros and cons list, I sought out advice from anyone and everyone, and I prayed long and hard asking God to just give me a sense of direction. So how did I eventually come to the decision of Hawaii? On my first night back in Hawaii, Will asked me of the two places which one is going to feed into your life more. All along I weighed out opportunities of what I could do here versus what I could do there. In Australia I could travel and keep exploring the world, and in Hawaii I could go back and feel comfortable. Never had it crossed my mind to consider which place was going to encourage my life and my experience.
Hawaii is more than just a beautiful place to spend my summer, but it’s a place where I am growing in more ways than one. Investing myself in full-time ministry has taught me that ministry is right where God wants me to be. Being part of children’s lives and seeing Christ move in them is one of the most rewarding feelings I can experience. Receiving guidance and learning from a pastor whose name- Joy- embodies her personality gives me a vision of what I want my ministry to look like. In Hawaii, I’ve formed intentional relationships where I can lean on them and they can lean on me. So as I came to terms with my decision, I realized it was the right decision.
I was writing an email to the family in Australia, and as I typed out the words “Unfortunately I won’t be able to come this summer” my heart felt no pain. I typed those words out as if they were nothing, and I had no regrets. Then I thought about what it would feel like to text Lynn and say “Lynnie I’m sorry but I‘m not coming back this summer” and my heart broke. It nearly brought me to tears thinking about how difficult it would be to explain to the people who have so greatly impacted my life that I wouldn’t be returning.
So in a less than a week I have the amazing opportunity of returning to a place I love. I asked God to guide me as He always does. I asked God to reveal to me where He wants me to be. I asked Him to just take control of the situation. And so with a grateful and content heart, I choose Hawaii.