.This. week has been a good week of just "getting back to normal" at House of Hope. The week was fairly busy with a team of women from the states here. Counting beads and getting production ready for the next few Tuesday's that we are going to be doing production until the end of the year. There is always a lot to do here...that's a certain constant...there is always work to be done.
.Last. week I wrote about 5 dorm girls running away and not wanting to live at House of Hope anymore. One of those girls returned with her grandmother on Tuesday. Upon her return she refused to talk to anyone or even look at us. She was being a teenager who was angry at the world...which we all understand right? There were obvious frustrations with the staff on campus with an unruly teenager that was at risk of jetting away at her first opportunity. Talking with the dorm mom, Brittany, she was expressing that she was frustrated with the girl not talking to her and just totally ignoring everything she said.
.I. thought for a little while before responding...looking at the girl who was standing arms crossed and looking intently at the ground. I had a flashback to when I was younger...and could see myself in her shoes.
.Knowing. that I had really messed up. Knowing that I had truly hurt someone that I deeply loved.
.Coming. from a super broken background I always felt like when I messed up or hurt someone's feelings that was the end of the world. Not to be dramatic...but it was just a deep belief that I had...that once I screwed it up...whatever "it" was all was lost and I would never again be invited back into the heart of my friend (or whoever it was). I remember living that way for so many years...elementary school...middle school...high school...college..and beyond. Just living in that broken thinking that even if I messed up once I was toast.
.This. is how I often approached God. I spent about 10 years playing the "religion game" and trying my best to please God and then doing something and feeling as though all was lost. This left me bitter and angry and eventually I walked away from religion and who I thought God was.
.Looking. at what I have learned about who God is and who is creating me to be all of those misbeliefs and wrong thing has changed or is at least in the process of continually changing in DRAMATIC ways. About a years and a couple months ago...after I had been walking with God for almost a year...I messed up...like REALLY messed up. One of those mess ups that you just would really rather forget and hide and never talk about again. I was wearing shame and guilt like it was a heavy wet jacket...clinging desperately to it because it was what I thought I deserved to wear. The first few days after what me and my friends now call "the incident" I walked through face-to-face confession and all the really messy parts of getting your junk out in the open so that you can deal with it with God and allow community to walk alongside you. (Yuck!) After a few days of just feeling such grief and despair I felt God speak to my heart and just led me to himself in such a kind and loving way. I felt God whisper to my heart to just sit in his presence and spend time in his word and with him. I did. I spent hours with him in my room in his word and on my face before him.
.Confessing. Repenting. Being filled. Being loved on.
.In. those hours I realized what one of the main differences of religion vs. relationship with Jesus was and is. Instead of getting all cleaned up and then going to God to ask for forgiveness once I felt that I had "paid the price" for my sin...I went all dirty and honestly a wreak...and I came out of my time with God a different person. A child of the King wearing forgiveness, grace, and mercy. Realizing that for me to continue to walk in condemnation (now that it was confessed sin) would be to continue to sin and deny the very nature of who God is.
.After. my time with Jesus I brought two of my close friends into what God had shown me. Telling them that I needed their help to continue to walk in freedom. To correct me if I say things that display that I am allowing myself to live in condemnation and not in the freedom and grace that God has lavished on me.
.This. was a pivotal point in my relationship with Jesus.
.To. think that this was just over a year ago and now to see where God has me and what he is doing in and through me. Me! a mess of a sinner. As Paul says I'd be the queen of sinners...but God! Oh how I love how he works. How he works. I love who I am continuing to discover God to be.
.My. prayer for the girl that has returned would be that she would feel loved, forgiven, and accepted just as much, if not more, than she ever was. That she would see that just because she made a bad choice and ran away from those who love her dearly...that our love for her has not changed...but it has increased. That this precious girl would see that is how God is! His love for her...for us...for you...is absolutely perfect. It has nothing to do with what we do or do not do....but everything to do with our heart and us following him.
.That's. grace. That's love.
P.S. So just the other night I had this giant..and I seriously mean GIANT..caterpillar in my room the other night. One of the women, Erika, who lives on the other side of the wall from me came to my rescue and we had a blast getting it out of my house and then she literally stoned it to death. Yep that's right friends..she threw stones at it until it exploded. Kinda gross..but there was a lot of screaming and laughing at the gringa screaming going on. Poor little guy though.