"AND MOSES SAID, THIS IS THE THING WHICH THE LORD COMMANDS, FILL AN OMER TO BE KEPT FOR YOUR GENERATIONS; THAT THEY MAY SEE THE BREAD WHEREWITH I HAVE FED YOU IN THE WILDERNESS, WHEN I BROUGHT YOU FORTH FROM THE LAND OF EGYPT." -EXODUS 16:32
If you've had any deep conversation with me over the last year of my life then you know that my heart has been yearning for an adventure. People have asked me (especially now that I'm graduated) where I want to live/find a job. My answer...anywhere. Then that question is usually followed up with well what do you want to do? My answer...anything.
This was absolutely not true of my life a year ago. I pretty much had every day of the next 5 years planned out perfectly! I knew where I wanted to live, what I wanted to be doing, when I was getting married, and I most certainly wouldn't have a dog! (Sorry Sal.)
Every day I'm more and more thankful that the Lord is all about breaking and restoring us for His glory. The amount of grace He's poured over me this year is UNREAL. Nothing feels the same to me anymore. Nothing in my life is even close to how it was a year ago. I have completely new friends, a new job, a saving account, I'm out of college, I cherish my time in the Word in ways I never thought possible, my skin is tougher, and my heart is softer. Oh yeah-and I have a dog, who I absolutely LOVE! Hard year...lonely year...but so necessary and so rewarding. On to the rest of the story...
I went home after graduation for 3 weeks before I had to be back for my last month in Tyler to work at camp. In between cooking dinners and remodeling the upstairs, I started putting together my official resume and looking for "big girl" jobs online. When I finished my resume I just kind of laughed. I mean...who would hire me? I've always had a job, but all my jobs were things like camp counselor, soccer coach, fitness attendant at the gym, etc. So when I start applying for jobs all the descriptions are requiring things like internship experience, high GPA's, academic achievements...surely the companies that looked at my resume just laughed! At the end of the day, I felt so inadequate and out of place. I was applying for jobs that I'm not qualified for and don't even really want! What I wanted was to work with people, to share God's love with them, and to constantly be active and stay challenged. I don't care about a salary. I'm not an 8-5, sit behind a desk kind of girl. And I don't thrive if I'm not doing something I'm passionate about.
So I closed my computer that day and just cried. Lord, surely there's more than this! Surely...
Fast forward to the next day- I'm applying for the World Race. I've heard about it for years, known a few crazy people that did it, but there was always too many fears keeping me from doing it:
-Leave my friends and family for a whole year?My family needs me and I have incredible friends.Surely they'll all get married or start new lives while I'm gone. I can't lose my friends.
-Raise $16,000?!I can barely afford groceries. You must be crazy.
Or here's one of my favorites- Live outside and sleep in a hammock?I don't do bugs. Or mice. Or anything that crawls. Impossible.
Truth is though-
-My friends ARE incredible and I know they will be a huge source of support, encouragement, and love through this whole journey. And my family will survive just fine without me...despite what I might think!
-I'm absolutely confident that the World Race is something the Lord has called me to. He's called me and He will provide...that might be my mantra over the next 6 months :)
-And lastly, there have been 3 mice in my apartment over the last week. I still think they are awful creatures but I'm learning to handle them! Surely this is the Big Man's way of preparing me! Ha.
Today I got the phone call-"Leah, we would love to have you as a part of our squad in January!" Interested? And with tears running down my face and complete joy in my heart, I said yes. Philippines, China, India, Nepal, Swaziland, Mozambique, South Africa, Moldova, Romania, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic. 11 months-11 countries-1 God.
Well, of course its been months since I've written in this thing. There's just not enough hours in the day. But here ya go...a recap of 2011 so far. Along with an added bonus about what I read this morning- because it was just that good :)
I went to Colorado. AKA my favorite place in the world. I went with the goal of learning to go toe side on my snowboard. But once again, pride got the best of me and I refused to spend a day falling on my face. So yet another ski trip was spent criss-crossing down the mountain. Maybe next time? Ha.
Girls night. Much needed. Hilarious. Refreshing. And, I got to wear my new boots!
I went with some friends to watch James run the Houston Marathon. Even though he was missing his rockstar partner this year (aka-me), he did an incredible job and ran it in 4 hours. The above picture was taken at Starbucks at about 6 in the morning on our way to cheer on James. It is seriously my favorite picture right now- its so awkward, but so funny!
It SNOWED in Tyler, Texas. The pups loved it! And then I went out to the soccer field and played in the snow with lots of friends. It seemed like forever ago since I had seen some of those people...nothing like a little snow to reunite old friends :)
I coached junior high girls soccer at Grace. I absolutely loved every minute of it! I can't say we had the best season on paper, but those girls worked hard and were so much fun. If anything, I know they learned the meaning of BOB and I go ball! We finished the year out with a camping trip in Tyler State Park. A bunch of junior high girls, tents, and a campfire = a lot of giggling, impromptu games, and not a whole lot of sleep!
I ran the Fort Worth Half Marathon...with my younger brother. I ran some races last year, but I've never run with family. It was such a great experience, and a memory that I'll cherish forever.
Last but not least, its finally that time of the year! The exchange students are here from China for 7 weeks. I've been looking forward to this time for months and its already been incredible. I'll save the details for another post. But if you think about it, pray for the faces in these pictures- that their time here would be special. Pray specifically for their host families, their time at the Chinese church, and the conversations and questions that are happening daily. It's been SO cool to watch God move in their hearts already, in such a short amount of time. We serve such a powerful God!
Last thing...I read Isaiah 28 this morning. And the end of the chapter he uses a metaphor about a man who takes care of his crops on the farm. He plows the field, scatters the seed, and beats the crops with a stick. But he doesn't plow forever and he doesn't use a sledgehammer on his crops. Instead he plows when its time, scatters the right amount, and beats the crop just enough. Here's the last 2 verses straight from the good ole Book in case my blabbering just doesn't make sense-
"Does one crush grain for bread? No, he does not thresh it forever, when he drives his cart wheel over it with his horses, he does not crush it. This also comes from the Lord of hosts; he is wonderful in counsel and excellent in wisdom." -Isaiah 28:28-29
Basically- PRAISE GOD that He doesn't destroy us. He has to grow us, teach us, refine us, make us new, etc. But He won't destroy us. He knows exactly what we need, how much of it we need, and when we need it. I am never a fan of the beating with a stick or crushing part...if only I could remember that through that process, He's making me new! Just like the farmer does with his grain to make it into bread...
Don't fight His process today. He is wonderful in counsel and excellent in wisdom. I didn't say it...Isaiah did :)