Last Saturday I had a scorpion visit me two days in a row. For my own peace of mind I'm telling myself it was the same one both times. I was a chicken and was too afraid to kill it. I have no previous experience you see killing such pests. I wanted to watch it be done first before I can feel confident in being able to defeat one myself. I called a friend over who bravely smashed him into bits and pieces...as I screamed like a little girl. Then Friday I had a HUGE tarantula in my room! Legit. I quickly did what anyone would do in the situation...pick up my cell phone and call my friend. I said "Um where are you? *scream* Can you come to my house now?! *scream*" Haha! I never knew I was such a baby with critters until now. My friend came thinking I was just overreacting to such insects...but when she saw the hugeness of the spider she screamed as well. It took a whole 5 minutes to work up the courage to get close enough to smash him but it was well worth the funny videos. I bravely photographed the killing as I crouched on a chair in my house. I deemed myself the encourager...because I was encouraging my friend who was the killer to be brave...because I was not! I now feel more than confident to handle any scorpions or tarantulas that decide to come by for a visit. I just can't kill em without watching first. *eek*
On to more important and interesting things...
This week has been a week of getting the campus back together after the medical team. The women have been working hard cleaning up and moving their families back to where they were prior to the medical team being here. The dorm girls have been enjoying an easy week at school due to exams and teacher work days...which means a lot of days off from school...and a lot of girls running around campus. The two new dorm girls have been adjusting to life and are fitting in amazingly well. There are two new women living on campus with their children as well. They are just settling in and building relationships with the other women. It's neat to see the other women reaching out to them and inviting them over to talk over dinner...discipleship at the front lines.
There were two teenage girls that had moved in right after the medical team as well but they ran away in the middle of the night a few nights ago. They were not so on board with the program at the House of Hope. Sad to see them give up and not really even try...especially when they would be given such opportunities...school...housing...Jesus.
That got me thinking about the opportunities I was given in the states. Opportunities to learn..to grow..to be challenged..to be moved..and what I did with them. I wasted so much time and so many opportunities. This made me really thankful for what I had in the states. Thankful for my Jesus family...that they desperately move towards God in little and big ways...that they are locked arm and arm moving together as one. Thankful that I was a part of that day in and day out...not that I'm separated from the body...I'm just a little further away. Thankful for the ways in which God chose to use me to spur others towards himself. Showing them his love through me. Humbled.
He is good.
Thankful that I was a part of small groups of women who just love God and want to look more like him every day. No matter what that means. Painful at times. Revealing to the depth of our yuck.
He is a jealous God.
Thankful for a God that is after our hearts...our sacrifice...our obedience...the death of us...for us to experience the abundant life in Him!
I was looking back through my journal the other night to answer an email from a friend who had some questions about my former lifestyle. It was interesting reading though what I wrote just two years ago. I wrote about how I had "tried Christianity...been there...done that...got the 50 t.shirts." I was so DONE with Christianity. It was all facade and smoke and mirrors to me.
Nothing of life. Nothing of growth. Nothing of depth.
Then I remembered a conversation I had in the atrium at Blueridge almost two years ago now. It was with someone who I call my best friend now. Talking about salvation and not really having God. I could tell what she was getting at...that I didn't really have God. I told her "You can't talk me out of my salvation!" I said this arms folded...beyond angry with God and with Christians...living my life how I wanted to. Wanted absolutely nothing of God. But. I was holding onto a prayer that I repeated when I was 15. A prayer that I didn't really understand. A prayer that had no meaning. No depth. A prayer that was what I thought my salvation. Why was I holding on to that? If you would have asked me if I was a Christian I may have said yes..but more than likely I would have said no. But I held onto a prayer that meant nothing so that I could claim something when this life is over. Huh.
I've been listening to a lot of podcast sermons from Mars Hill, The Village Church, and Blueridge. One sermon was from Woody where he challenged us about having the abundant life that Jesus promised...and if we didn't have that why. I remember hearing this sermon live...sitting in the big room...arms crossed thinking "there's just no way that's true!" But remembering another thought fly through my head "maybe I don't have God." The reality was that I had smoke and mirrors of God. I had stories and pictures to tell but nothing of depth. Like a first date when you run out of things to talk about...that's what I had with Jesus. A ten minute conversation over coffee but no second phone call.
It's wild to think about where I was in life just two years ago today. I didn't know God. I did what I wanted when I wanted. I was living for me with a lot of anger and bitterness. Crazy to think I was living with someone three years ago...in a lifestyle void of God...alcohol...eating disorders...and self injury controlling every move I made.
Look at what God has done!
It's only him. Only Him that rescues us and places our feet on solid ground. Only him!
Only God who rescues us from ourselves.
Only Him who rescues women and girls from the brothels and places them at the House of Hope.
Only Him who gives life. Real life. Abundant LIFE.
Look at what God has and is doing.
"Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and made you strong, firm and steadfast" 1 Peter 5:8-10
In other words...run with rocks...wild dogs bite hard. God is good...run well brothers and sisters!
P.S. I got some rough and tumble Chacos for the six months here. (Pictured above). And the soles started peeling off last week! Only two weeks into this and they were falling apart! Not like Chacos to fall apart. I called the company this week and told them my unique situation and they were quick to respond with "Where would you like us to send your replacement sandals?" AMAZING! Only five minutes on the phone with Laura and I have my replacement sandals on the way. Without the expensive hassle of having to mail her the broken shoes. Shout out the Chaco's customer service and flexibility...and making things right! :) Thanks Laura!