More Grace, We Ask for More Grace

“Adele has the kind of music that makes you miss that person you made eye contact with on the subway 7 years ago.”

Someone posted this meme this week when her new album 25 dropped. She has incredible ability to put into words how so many people feel when they deal with loss.

This fall has been one of mourning, and thanking; loving new things, old things, people, places and everything in between for all they are worth. Some people say goodbye by starting to pull away before they’ve left. Some people ignore the goodbye and pretend its not there. Some people cry, and some people hide.

When I was leaving Lebanon this last summer I tried to make the very most of all it had to offer. There were friendships I made at the very end that are closer to my heart now than friendships I had all year that died with the wave goodbye.

The first 30 days home were not numb, but they were certainly not embracing each moment for all it was worth. The first month home was “what now?” despite knowing what was next. I didn’t know how to feel, how to fit back in again. This last 30 days have been some of the most concentrated growth I’ve had since trusting Christ 6 years ago. I wish I had the energy to spill my guts and tell you the whole story but honestly, I’m exhausted. This last month has allowed me to see the the brokenness of our inability to act upon anything but the past. A few years ago a friend told me in midst of relational struggle, “We ask for more grace. Grace upon grace.” That has been something I’ve clung to many times since but tonight it is even more real as I repent in mourning over my inability to see past the feelings of the moment. Who can blame me, I can’t act upon an experience of the future, I’m not there yet.

This last 30 days have shown me more about loving and losing than I imagined possible. Like the changing seasons, things will always come and go. I crave the day I wake up in heaven and everyone is fully loved, fully known and there are no goodbyes.  I look forward to the environment where eI’m not stiff armed, held back from or let go but embraced in pure intimacy. I’m so worn out from trying to read between the lines and attempting to convey what I want people to know without having to say it. Life is not a film where everyone knows how everyone feels, because none of us are watching life go by, separated from the tensions.

I wish I could pour love out without having to take time to be filled. I wish I could give more than I have. I so often forget that my value comes from whose image I was created in. I forget that I’m not inexhaustible; I’m mortal, and finite. I so easily become depleted of what I have been given, and without filling from the one who never ends, I will never be able to continue.

Tomorrow when I wake up I have to actively choose to see whats around me as a gift. As a grace from the God of heaven who gave His son in my place. Tomorrow I wake up and say yes to the Lord so I can continue to give from His overflow, instead of my own futile efforts. I will not be satisfied in anything else. Papa, help me to chose you. Papa, help us to see we cannot run to each other. Help us to embrace one another without idolizing the idea of heaven before we are there.

Jesus help us to feel deeply when we want to shut off the pain from being shut out, from being disappointed and unsatisfied. Help us Lord Jesus to ask for more grace.

 

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I’m in love.

When I moved the summer of 2013 into the basement of a lake house near Northwestern the semester before I graduated, i stole something; sort of.

 

The girl who lived there before me left a gigantic collage on the wall in the bathroom of images and quotes. One particular piece caught my eye.  It was written on a torn-out page of a novel:

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“I’m in love with cities I’ve never been to and people I’ve never met.” I tore it off the wall and saved it. Its been hanging in my room ever since. When I would read it, i prayed that the Lord would start softening the hearts of the people in the city that I would end up living in overseas. Little did I realize how true that quote would become to me in the coming years.


I’ve now been home for almost 4 months. Beirut you have an unbelievably deep place in my heart.  I miss it as much as I did when the tears rolled down my cheeks staring out the window of the airplane while the sun rose over the dimly lit city. Leaving Lebanon with no definite return date was heart breaking for a long three weeks before departure, but even more real as we got higher and farther from the city. I had just spent an incalculable amount of myself building a life the previous ten months so far from anything I’ve ever known because the Lord worked in my heart through countless prayers for years prior.

When I got back to America, my neighbor asked how it had been and after telling him he said that he could tell how much I loved it. That my joy showed through my smile and that it was evident it was where I was meant to be. He said he was so glad I found a place where I could feel that.

A few weeks ago I met with a pastor at my church who said, “I just don’t get why you love it so much. Its so clear how passionate you are.” It was encouraging to me that my love for the Middle East and what had happened in the last year was so evident to people around me. What an incredible answered prayer to be given the opportunity to not just tell others but show them how God works in our hearts. 4 and a half years ago I had no desire to go anywhere outside of America but one little girl changed everything for me.

Tonight as I read the quote hanging on my wall, tears roll down my cheeks again, baffled at how much has happened in a year. I think I finally understand what Paul means when he wrote:

11 For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you— 12 that is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine. 13 I do not want you to be unaware, brothers,[a] that I have often intended to come to you (but thus far have been prevented), in order that I may reap some harvest among you as well as among the rest of the Gentiles. Rom 1:11-13

I feel this tension of being so far from where I want to be, yet obedient to God’s call to stay right where he has me. I am excited and expectant to where God will lead me in this journey, how he will use me and I try to pray this same quote to effect me in Huntington for the next year and a half like it did in Lebanon.