I wish as adults we would approach relationships in the same way that kids do.
“Hey, do you want to be my friend?”
And then they spend hours innocently playing together as if they hadn’t just met.
How much simpler and carefree would life be?
Instead, we get caught up in a messy web of mixed signals, bad communication, and poor time management.
This week has been filled with many moments of introspection. Mainly, examining the relationships I have in my life and why they, even the authentic bonds, make me want to throw in the towel and move to the mountains alone at times.
Fact of the matter is that people are messy and you can’t control how they act, but relationships are absolutely necessary in our lives. Hebrews 10:24-25 says,
Praise the Lord that he’s softened my heart enough to form some really amazing relationships with a handful of solid women. I could probably write a book of thankfulness on just the topic of my authentic friendships, but on the other side of that lies an overwhelming fear.
As each day reminds us, nothing in this world is constant. The Lord calls people to go different places and do different things. Often this results in many hard goodbyes, and reverts me back to my old ways of stuffing my emotions. I am so scared of rejection, abandonment, and having to leave the Christ-centered friends I have.
However, this is further justification that we can only set our hope in Jesus, as he is steadfast and unfailing.
In addition to having an unwavering God, I also know he is purposeful. One of the biggest reasons I wanted to come on mission was to work through the pain of my past and figure out how to move forward without all the baggage. As he so often does, the Lord has been working through the relationships I’ve formed here in Milwaukee to bring me to a point of reconciliation.
It’s been so crazy going from thinking I was alone in my struggle to finding an entire group of people who’ve gone through similar things. I’ve spent many hours navigating the reality of our broken homes with Alexis, Gloria, and Ashlinn. Where I used to find shame in coming from a split and messy family, I’ve now found safety in sharing my story- knowing I have friends who understand what I’m talking about. Romans 8:1 says,
“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
In addition to this commonality, I’ve found people who understand what it’s like to deal with depression- they understood when I couldn’t accurately put into words the darkness I experience. Not only this, but friends who point me to the cross, pray for me, and read the Word to me when I feel like I can’t do it myself. These kinds of friendships are a true gift from God.
I got a harsh reality check during the latter part of this week when I received a letter from a family member that made me realize how caught up I was getting in the Christian bubble of summer mission. The words in the note were not in support of the work I’m doing this summer and about the lack of balance in my life.
This crushed me to pieces. I had a feeling some of my family members weren’t as supportive as I’d hoped, but never to such an explicit point. My heart was heavy as I immediately began processing through this. It hurt because people I care so deeply about weren’t seeing the value in what I’m doing, the reality that they don’t know Jesus as their Savior, that I may never see them in heaven someday…
It also stirred about a range of thoughts from who am I, what am I doing, and why am I doing what I’m doing. The thought that kept me grounded throughout this week (and my entire life) was Jesus is my only hope. That truth continued to pop into my head as I faced challenging situations this week. (Click the link to find out who I am, and who you are too!)
This immediate reaction, automatically running to Jesus, is something new for me. Even just a week or two ago, I would look at situations like this and let the awful thoughts the devil put in my head win. I would give in or try and control it myself, believing that I had the power to ‘fix’ things. But as a result of the Lord answering my prayer to break me down to my weakest form so I may be built up in him, I run to Jesus now. Praise God!!!
All this, in addition to the recent tragedies taking place in our country, makes it ironic that I’m working through the book of Lamentations.
To lament is to feel or express sorrow or regret for, to mourn for or over.
This Wednesday during date night with Jesus I went through chapter 3 which is even more ironic. Before I share what this chapter is about I want to invite you to pray right now for the two men and five police who were wrongly killed.
There’s so many things that could be said or protested, but out of respect and love for the victims let’s put aside our differences and acknowledge that we’re all one body under Christ. And in no way do I want to minimize the horrific deaths or try to say that I understand what’s it’s like to experience such things, but I do know that there’s a God of love, comfort, healing, hope, and justice.
Lamentations 3 explains all the awful, awful things Jeremiah, the author, endured. But it also goes on to say that despite these things Jeremiah has hope. Verses 19-25, 32-33, 55-58 say,
“I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall. I well remember them and my soul is downcast within me. Yet this I call to mind and there I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, ‘The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.’ The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him;”
“Though he brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love. For he does not willingly bring affliction or grief to anyone.”
“I called on your name, Lord, from the depth of the pit. You heard my plea: ‘Do not close your ears to my cry for relief.’ You came near when I called you, and you said, ‘Do not fear.’ You, Lord, took up my case; you redeemed my life.”
You’d have to be crazy to think that our world is okay. Our world is far from okay- innocent lives being taken, shaming people for their faith, broken families. The list goes on and on. What do you do in times of crisis? How do you keep going? Where do you get your hope?
For me, I know the only steadfast and unwavering place I can find hope in this ever changing world is in Christ.
And with that…
Join me in praying this week:
- For the families of the victims of the recent shootings
- That I would be able to rest firmly and confidently in my identity in Jesus
- During times of tragedy and crisis that our world would look to God for hope and healing
- That our mission team would continue to build each other up and finish the last three weeks strong
Thank you for taking the time to read some of the heavy things on my heart, as well as praying. I really, really appreciate it!