I died a thousand deaths. [And then picked up my boxing gloves]

I can’t say it better than my dear friend JMTK put it in his most recent blog, so I’m not even going to try. But I will say, he hit the nail on the head in regards to life after doing long-term ministry overseas.

That’s one of the worst feelings- knowing that you’re trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. It ain’t gonna happen.

Little did you know, mostly due to me being in and out [mostly in] the pit of despair and solitude, the waves are raging and the sea of life is rough. This quote-unquote season is rough. Faithful is asking me to trust Him, and to be honest, I haven’t. Since I’ve been in America [exactly 100 days], I’ve tried to plug myself into two different states and have visited 8 different cities. I’ve church hopped like nobody’s business. And don’t even get me started about the job searches {Immigration Officer at the London US Embassy, sign me up! ‘Cause nothing says “Welcome to the UK” more than having hot tea sloshed on my blouse by a bunch of angry people whom I just denied a VISA}.

In all reality, I’m tired of trying to figure out what’s next. I appreciate and love that so many people are willing to sit down an brainstorm ideas with me about potential jobs, living situations, etc., but I am overwhelmed with what’s behind the door the illuminated by the good ole’ red, white, and blue that the Lord just lead me through. As much as I enjoy funnel cakes and Christian Chicken, the buzz has worn off.  As JMTK stated perfectly, “The smoke has cleared, the ink has dried…and now I sit on the shore of my life skipping the past years into the foam like stones, wishing with each splash that I could dive in and pick them out again.”

I’m weary and exhausted. I’m tired from doing it in my own efforts for self-fullfilment, purpose and satisfaction.

[Here’s my cycle I’ve been trapping myself in for the past 100 days] Starting point: unemployment which leads to feelings of lack of purpose mixed in with anxiety about finances, BUT then there’s the feeling of not only not fitting but feeling like I’m not supposed to be in Ohio or Memphis or wherever it is I’ve made camp that week. Again, I do know that I’m not made for here so I won’t necessarily feel that “sense of belonging” until Heaven, but I have this ever present feeling that being in Cincinnati isn’t where the Lord wants me, called me or even lead me. Which makes me a much bigger peg and Cincinnati a much smaller hole. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve met some amazing, sweet, gospel-centered believers in Cincinnati. I’m excited for what the Lord is doing here, I just don’t feel called to be a part of it.

So, what do I do? Look for a job in Cincinnati? If not, then where to? And doing what? But then I think, if I get a job then I’m trapped to a city and so far, I hate all of them! [I’m dramatic, but reallyyyy…. a commitment phobe]. And so the US Embassy job search continues with planning a month long escape to scope out how I feel about living in Belfast. [what?!]

I haven’t done this on purpose [but let’s be honest, who ever really DOES do this on purpose?], I feel like I’ve tried to be the God over my own life the past 100 days. But in the true Christian, sinful spirit of justifying my sin, I needed to live somewhere. I had to make some kind of decision about where this little lamb would lay her head. It’s hard when you grew up in two states, half of your family lives in one city, you went to college and have community in another city six hours away and then you lived overseas for two years. Knowing where you should call your “base” gets tricky. Add reverse culture shock into the mix and you get one big dose of…. I can’t say. People will think I really dove off the deep end.

People, let me tell you. I long for the day that I can say, “Yes, that season was hard but the Lord showed Himself faithful.” Right now, in this moment I’m faced with, “Mary, you’ve been trying to run your own show. Are you ready to hand it back over to Me?” To which I sheepishly reply, “Yes, Lord. Please.”

I’m gripping, grasping and clawing at deeper faith of “Yes, this season is hard but the Lord is and will show Himself faithful.” I want to fight for that stance and will. I am not throwing in the towel just yet. Right now it feels as if my punches are packing very little heat, but I will fight the good fight of faith ’til the day of redemption because He is worth it and His kingdom is worth it.

“Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: 5 Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce. 6 Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. 7 But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare…

10 “For thus says the Lord: When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place. 11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. 13 You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you, declares the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into.” Jeremiah 29:4-7;10-14

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Rhonna#1: The Year to Fly

Wendy: Peter, I can’t come with you. I’ve forgotten how to fly. I’m old, Peter. Ever so much more than twenty. I grew up a long time ago.

Young Peter Pan: No, no, no! You promised!

Wendy: I have children of my own now. They have children of their own. That’s my grandchild, Moira, asleep in the bed.

Adult Peter: [voiceover] When I saw her lying there sleeping, that moment, something changed in me forever.

Young Peter Pan: I shall give her a kiss.

Wendy: No. No, Peter. No buttons. No thimbles. I couldn’t bear to see Moira’s heart to be broken when she finds she can’t keep you.

Young Peter Pan: No. I mean a real kiss.

Image

One thing every kid wants more than anything is the freedom and ability to fly. The wind beneath our wings and the limitless possibilities of where those wings could take us tantalizes our confined minds. I suppose that’s where we get the expression and heart behind the saying, “I’m as free as a bird.” That’s what we all long for, I guess. Freedom.

Once we grow up, as Wendy did and eventually Peter chose to, what does freedom and flying look like? Just think happy thoughts.. doesn’t always work in a world torn apart by natural disasters, wars, and real life pain. I think it is getting back to remembering. Remembering who we are, what we were created for and where true joy, hope and purpose comes from.

When I was little, my daddy was my best friend. I thought he could do anything, and I thought his jokes were hilarious (that’s where I get my sense of humor.). He always reminds me of anytime I got out of the car I would say, “Hold my hand daddy!” There was dependence upon my father that allowed me to live in freedom knowing that nothing bad would happen.

I think we lose that blissful freedom as we see the corruption and devastating affects of sin in the world. We become aware of the limitations we have and the thought of flying moves, at best, to the back burner of our hearts. But I don’t think that’s how it’s supposed to go. We are created for something greater. We’re not supposed to forget how to fly, as Wendy did. There’s freedom to live in the security of our Father that is offered to through His son. There’s security and purpose and hope and joy, unending joy! And that’s where we fly..

Remembering today that the only place to find liberation is in the One who liberates. And who better to fly with than the creator of heaven and earth?

Wendy: So… your adventures are over.

Peter: Oh, no. To live… to live would be an awfully big adventure.

Memphis: Week One

Well, this is now my third week of support raising for my internship in Africa, and I am at 30% of my monthly goal and one time goal. I have two set goals: a certain amount of monthly support needed and a certain amount of one time gifts needed. Monthly partners commit to giving a set amount monthly. So, I’m at 30% for both of these. That’s exciting. 🙂 That’s an average of 10% a week. If I keep this pace up, I’ll be done in 7 weeks. I have a goal of being done with support by July 1st. That’s pretty bold. I’m going to strive for that goal. Pray with me that I’m done with support by July 1st! 🙂

I’ve been in Memphis for the past week working on support. I have REALLY enjoyed being in Memphis. I’ve gotten to have appointments with people I normally don’t get to see since I’m 6 hours away. I am so glad that I’ve been able to see family, friends, and especially my sisters! Speaking of sisters, Theresa graduated from Ole Miss last weekend with her Master’s degree in linguistics. She’s so smart. Here’s some pictures my dad took.

T is the first in our family to get a master's degree!
The sisters with the graduate!

I’m headed to Nashville at the end of next week for more appointments (hopefully). I haven’t exactly set those up yet, but I’m going to make some calls tomorrow. Prayers are much appreciated.

Well onto things other than work…  I have had one of those days (I’m thinking it’s because I’m wearing a long flowy dress) that feels like all I want to do is run outside in a field, dance around, sing, and just enjoy being. You ever have those days? Those moments are so freeing. There isn’t a care in the world. You just let go of it all and just enjoy life! I love those moments. I need to hold on to those longer. Conundrum…

Anyways! Tonight we’re having a movie night at my sisters house and we’re watching Despicable Me. If you haven’t seen this movie, please do. It’s SO funny! I love love love it. In fact, here’s a great clip for you to watch. Enjoy this glimpse of sunshine and enjoy your weekend!

Thanksgiving Break Just Broke!

Hey Hey Hey!!

Thanksgiving break has officially started for me! YAY! No more school for six whole days! Praise the Lord.

Today has been great. I finished up reading Hebrews for the first time ever. If you haven’t read it before, I encourage you to do so. It’s probably one of my favorites. I like it because the author writes how I think. He presents something and then defends it with evidence and explains it. It’s very theologically appealing. I tend to read things and think, “Where’d that come from?” Hebrews tells you where the theology comes from. It’s awesome. If you like to ask where or why questions, check out Hebrews.

Anyways, yesterday we had a Communications meeting about our internships in the Spring. I was thinking, “Where in the world am I going to intern?” And all of the sudden I thought, “J103!” So, I sent J103 an e-mail asking who would be best to get in contact with about a possible internship. I’m crossing my fingers on this one.

Thursday, my grandma and I are driving up to Cincinnati to visit my step-dad’s family for Thanksgiving. I’m dreading the seven hour drive. For those of you who don’t know, I have a slight phobia of being in a car that someone else is driving. And by slight I mean extreme. I’m not a control freak at all…

I am excited to see my sisters, mom, and nephew though!! WAHOO!!! I haven’t seen my mom since April. That’s a long time. I haven’t seen my sisters since August. That’s not such a long time, but it’s long enough to miss them. I would love to post pictures, but I don’t have a camera. So, I probably won’t have new pictures. Sorry.

I’m going to do my French homework and work on papers so I can have fun playing games with my family! I’ll write to you all soon!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Psalm 75:1 “We give thanks to you, O God; we give thanks, for your name is near. We recount your wondrous deeds.”