Counting the Cost

If your house was on fire what is the first thing you would bring with you? If you could only take five things to a deserted island, what would you bring? Today I stood in my dining room with a lot of stuff around me. Coffee mugs from around the world, knick-knacks, picture frames, shower curtains, bedding, candles, photographs. And as I stood there with this heavy weight on my chest I realized this is the cost.

Over the last month and a half, I’ve deeply felt the Lord stripping me of every single thing that I can potentially find security in or do find security in. Whether it’s somewhere to live, a coffee mug from a place I love (I collect coffee mugs, it’s kind of a problem), or not having a car…all of it is being taken from me.

But over the last few weeks I’m realizing…I’m not being robbed. I’m not being punished. I’m not some poor missionary who’s losing everything. Rather…I’m gaining everything. You see, all these little things my soul has sneakily found meaning, security, purpose and identity in. I’ve trusted in these silly things that have given me place and honor. All of these things that say “I don’t need Jesus here. I have these things to take care of me.” So, Jesus has been stripping me of things and in return, He has given me the very best to fill those faith gaps. He has given me Himself! 

As I walk this road ahead, I’m reminded of Jesus’ calling of the twelve disciples.

…and [Jesus] sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal. And he said to them, ‘Take nothing for your journey, no staff, nor bag, nor bread, nor money; and do not have two tunics.’

Luke 9:1-3

Jesus calls these men to forsake everything, quit what they’re doing, leave it all behind and follow Him. What a radical call! Even as they were fishing on the Sea of Galilee later on, He told them He would make them fishers of men. And these men immediately left their nets and followed Jesus. These men didn’t even take the time to count the cost! They just followed Him. Oh, that I would have faith that would act immediately, confidently and boldly.

Over the last 2.5 years the Lord has consistently called me to equip young leaders in Croatia to fulfill Christ’s commission through the local church. In this movement of God, lives are being changed, churches are being revived, and societies are being transformed. So as I sit in my dining room looking at all this stuff…I don’t even have to take a minute to think, “Is it worth it?” Just like the disciples left their cast nets, like they left their treasures, like they left everything they knew for the sake of the gospel and to be fishers of men…I am coming to find that Jesus is worth everything. I am counting the cost and following Him. There is nothing on this earth that can bring identity, purpose, security, belonging, anything at all other than Jesus.

So, I’ll gladly get rid of my coffee mugs, my plants, my picture frames, my mason jars, my furniture, all of it…because Jesus is better, He’s worth it, and I am ready to go and make disciples.

Irresistible Invitation

It was the summer of 2016 and I had just arrived in Split, Croatia after long days of travel. I had been preparing for this summer for the last six months but had no idea what God had for me. I’d known for several years that God was inviting me into cross-cultural missions so this opportunity seemed like a practical and wise experience for me as I stepped into the future. What seemed like a practical and wise move was quickly turning into much more. Day after day, it felt as if my heart was bursting. I penned in my journal, “I came into this season with hands wide open and a heart ready. It may be the very beginning but I can truly see myself doing this for the rest of my life.”

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I found myself struck by the great grace of God with tears in my eyes as He continued to speak to my heart in the coming weeks. All at once, it was as if everything was coming full circle; these things that God had begun in me years and years ago were being brought to fruition. It was as if God was placing me in the exact place He wanted to use me. He was calling me to what He had equipped me for. Could God really be opening the door for something as big as this? I tucked that prayer away for a later time, focusing on what God had brought me to do in Croatia, serving Him one day at a time.

Now, before I get too far into this particular story, I want to clue you in on a little bit of my background. Through the faithful friendship of a childhood friend and pursuit of Christ, Jesus radically changed my life when I was 16. Throughout all these years, there were many misconceptions that were broken down. Not unlike many others, I had this perception that missionaries were special. Afterall, they’d known their whole life that God had called them to *this* place and *these* people (don’t get me wrong…I don’t doubt that is the experience of some) and so I’d shut out the idea that God would ever want me to share the gospel overseas. I’d thought missions required an experience or a-ha moment. This misconception would slowly but surely be corrected over the years as I traveled to many places, met many people, and deeply fell in love with the world and saw the deep need for revival. Plain and simple: through God’s Word, His Spirit, prayer, and various experiences I clearly saw God’s command to go and make disciples. I found no greater joy than in this posture of humble submission to the great commission. Did I know exactly what that looked like back in 2015? No, but God would faithfully lead me. Now let’s get back to that part...

This tugging at my heart wouldn’t leave quickly. Was God opening a door here in Croatia? Over many years, my heart was breaking for places where the gospel was not being heard, for places where the gospel is misunderstood. When I learned that out of 4.5 million people in Croatia, less than 0.5% know Jesus, I quickly thought, “we have to do something!” As I wrestled with God, anxious and trying to navigate His plan like a jigsaw puzzle, He stopped me in my tracks. “Following Me means dying to you. Your life is me. You must die to truly live.” What? The God who died for me tells me that I must die to myself, my plan, my path, my way in order to truly live? That is precisely what Jesus was calling me (and is calling me!) to do.

front-1-4Here’s the problem. What Jesus was calling me to was very contrary to what I wanted. I’ve always been one with a set plan, a purpose, and a precise path. I like to have it all figured out, don’t we all!? Dying to myself meant dying to walking by sight, dying to the approval of others, dying to my plan, dying to control (and oh how I love control!). Dying to my desire for a clear and direct call. And coming alive to obedience and faith.

So when those chilling words reminded me that following Jesus means dying to myself, I quickly tightened my grip on the life of my plan and control. As a young woman, there’s been plenty of paths that have caught my attention. Some lasted longer than others. When I was 16, I planned out the perfect future: I would go to college, meet the perfect guy, get married by 22, have kids, buy a house, be comfortable, and be a faithful disciple of Christ. Sounds great right? The thing is, there isn’t necessarily anything inherently wrong with that plan, it’s just not what the Good Shepherd had planned for me. So as I’ve tried to tighten my grip on my plan and control, the sweet and patient grace of Christ has slowly loosened my grip. shortterm-60

So everyday for three months while in Croatia I kept hearing the gracious voice of God, “Will you serve me here? Will you die to yourself? Will you trust me?” And for several days it felt like trusting Him meant falling into the great unknown and it was scary. But then, this unexplainable freedom was realized and this weight was lifted. Because my new life is in Christ, I have died to myself. I’m called to obedience and faith in following Him. Following Him to unknown places with unknown people. Following Him to build up the next generation of believers. Following Him to walk with disciples as they make disciples. Following Him to share the story of what He is doing throughout the earth.

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So when I came home, this question kept circling through my mind, “Could God possibly be inviting me into what He is doing in Croatia?” The Lord was ever so patient with me as He ever so clearly and consistently invited me. “I am moving; changing society, transforming lives, and rebuilding my local church here. Will you join me?” This was an irresistible invitation I couldn’t pass up. This was an invitation to die to self. Again. But this time, it was as if I had finally realized that if Jesus wholeheartedly said yes to an invitation from the Father to give His whole life in obedience for the sake of the world, how could I not say yes to this invitation? How could I not say yes to my ever-faithful Father who has (quite literally) saved my life and give my life to making Him known?

So what’s the invitation that I’m saying “Yes, I’m going!” to? The invitation is this: the sovereign God of the universe is building His kingdom through the saving and sending of His people. The call of God is to go. I go because the glory of God is at stake. I go because the story I am caught up in is not my story; I’m caught up in God’s story. I go not because it’s radical but because it’s necessary. I go to join a team of incredible Kingdom builders who are seeing God move on a daily basis. I go to fulfill Christ’s commission in Croatia, by equipping young people and making disciples.  

I’ve responded to the invitation. I’ve given my RSVP. I’ve given a bold yes in obedience and faith. I will need to continue to give a resounding yes as I walk this road and link arms with others who also give a bold yes. I choose to say yes, knowing that He has far greater things for me than I could ever imagine or plan on my own. I choose to follow Him even when things get hard or when they are seemingly perfect. I choose to say yes because there is no other option, no greater call, and no higher honor than making Him known.camp-45

 

In his book Great Commission Obedience author Jerry Rankin says, “Jesus did not introduce the concept of the Great Commission upon completion of His time upon earth but ratified this as the eternal will and purpose of the Father.” There’s no clearer invitation than this. Jesus tells us to come, go, follow. Without reservation. Without our own plans. Without our own confidence. Without our old selves. But, with Jesus. With our coming King who invites us, so irresistibly so, to go and make disciples.

So what does this look like for you? Obedience and faith, dying to self, saying yes, responding to the irresistible invitation. What does it look like to be a faithful disciple? Maybe it’s digging into the city you live in, being bold in your faith with your coworkers, or making disciples in your local school. Jesus calls us to die to ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Him. What does that mean for you? Whatever that looks like for each and every person, what I know is this: God has given us a clear call and it’s this.

Go make disciples. 

Thank you for reading and following along. Please leave me a comment or send me a message! I’d love to hear from you. If you’d like to hear more about what God is doing in Croatia or you’d like to partner with me, please click here

 

25

On my 24th birthday last year, I remember feeling this pressure. Every year on your birthday, you feel this pressure to be satisfied with the year before, proud of what you’ve accomplished, and happy about the areas you’ve grown in. Last year, I remember sitting in a french bakery with a good friend of mine in tears as I felt that pressure and didn’t feel satisfied. There was something in me that just wasn’t proud of what I accomplished in the last year, done with my life, succeeded in. Maybe it was the fact that I was 24 and just about to finish my undergrad, or that I wasn’t sure where I would be living or what I’d be doing in the next 6 months…it was a crazy season that felt a lot bigger and full of pressure than necessary. Sure, it had been a good year and God had done a lot but as I got to that day, I just didn’t feel this overwhelming sense of satisfaction and contentment.

I’m happy to say that as I approached my 25th birthday, I was dumbfounded at the sheer contrast between this year and last. Whether it’s a shift of perspective, a change of heart, or the simple (yet so complex) goodness of God, I came to this day content, satisfied, filled over and above and grateful. Grateful to look back on a year of so much. From events like saying “yes” to Jesus’ invitation to serve Him in Croatia with my life or finishing undergrad at Moody or moving into a 100-year-old dreamy apartment in Buena Park with 5 friends; this year has been full of so much goodness. Of course some hard things, like relationships that cause me to draw near to Jesus (hard at the time but SO good in the end), selling my car and becoming a full on Chicagoan biker/commuter, and really digging deep into what it means to be here now and also prepare. I’m leaving 24 with a lot less baggage, a whole lot of healing, and a bigger heart. I have a hunger to do more and be more not just to say I’ve done it or learned it or become it but to know Jesus more, to serve Him wholly, to glorify Him deeply.

As I make this next trip around the sun my prayer is that this verse (Gal. 2:20) would ring true and these lovely words from Paul Tripp’s New Morning Mercies: “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.”

“I don’t think that we let our hearts consider the wonder of this identity enough. By grace, we are the temple of the Most High God. By grace, he lives in us. By grace, his power is at our disposal. By grace, he fights on our behalf, even if we don’t have the sense to do so. By grace, he works within us to complete the labor of grace that he has begun. By grace he animates us to desire to do what is right. By grace, he exposes and convicts us.  We are able to choose to do what is right only because he lives in us and gives us the power to do so by his grace. He hasn’t just forgiven us, he’s taken up residence in us, and in that there is real hope.”

Year 25 intentions:

  1. Memorize Scripture. Ever since finishing Bible school, I can’t say I spend a ton of time memorizing verses. I don’t have to worry about weekly memorization tests. But what a valuable thing.
  2. Well-rounded health. Sleep. Diet. Exercise. Mind.
  3. Dedication and Diligence. I know this year ahead will require more dedication and diligence than ever before as I step into a season of asking God to mobilize me to get to Croatia. Dedication to Him, His Word, time management, people, church, etc. and diligence to do everything will God-honoring excellence.
  4. Expectancy and Anticipation. In a season where the next thing to look forward to is “when am I moving to Croatia” it’s easy to not live everyday with expectancy and anticipation for the here and now. There is SO much that God wants to do in the everyday that when we live with a one-track-mind, we miss out on so much. I don’t want to miss anything that the Lord has for me.
  5. Whole 30…I’ve seriously been saying I’m going to do it for 3-4 years. Just gotta do it. Even though I already mostly eat paleo, I gotta do whole 30.
  6. Read 1 book each month (at least)

Here’s to a year of more grey hairs, wrinkles around smiley eyes, and drawing near to the Father’s heart 😉

Freedom in Thankfulness

In May, after finishing school and moving to the north side, I sold my car. For many reasons. I knew I could do a year of CTA, it was better for me financially, I would be getting rid of my car in a year’s time anyway with Croatia and JV in the near future, and parking in Chicago sucks. When I sold my car though, I also said goodbye to a lot of convenience, simplicity and freedom. Not only did it make my commuting time longer (which honestly, most of the time I enjoy. It makes me slow down) but it also makes it a bit difficult to visit my parents in northern Wisconsin.

I hadn’t visited my parents magical, peaceful, and other-worldly cabin home since March (when, believe it or not, there was still a ton of snow on the ground). They moved up here three years ago and it is totally other-worldly compared to the hustle and bustle of my Chicago life. There’s actually grass and trees and a real lake and it’s the most peaceful place. A few weeks ago my mom had a wedding to attend in Springfield and on her way back up north she picked me up and I got to spend a few days at my parent’s home.

Growing up has not only cause me to ask questions like “Who am I and what do I want to be about?” “What is home?” etc. but it has made me appreciate my family and parents so much more. I’ve truly found so much freedom and beauty in letting go, choosing to love and serve, and just being present. Reality is, I know I won’t have many more visits up to the cabin and holidays with my family won’t be the norm in a year or so when I make the move to Croatia. There’s a lot of bittersweet in life lately but it’s so very good. So, being home and doing normal things with my parents like four mile walks, meeting their neighbors, going grocery shopping, having dad teach me how to drive stick in his new red jeep, watching a movie and laughing hard with dad, laughing at dad falling asleep on the couch, getting a Christmas tree at J.J. Acres and stopping inside for some hot chocolate, drinking wine with mom, and waking up to just one cup of coffee left in the coffee pot.

It’s just been like finding freedom in thankfulness. There’s freedom in thankfulness. Freedom in letting go of unfair expectations and rules. Freedom in enjoying, serving and loving. SO much thankfulness in unconventional thanksgiving (due to working on thanksgiving but driving up anyway and having a feast on Saturday.) Being present over perfect lets us live in thankfulness and not constant disappointment.

Broadway & Wilson

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Yesterday was an ordinary Friday evening. I worked until 10:30pm and got home around 11pm. I was at the express line when a customer and I got to talking. After purchasing his broccoli cheddar soup and water, he mentioned, “it’s a shame what happened last night on Broadway and Wilson.” He went on to explain there had been a shooting inside the Starbucks on the corner. A drug deal had gone bad and a 28-year-old man was killed and two others were wounded, including a 12-year-old boy.

I stood there in wonder. I pass by that Starbucks everyday on my commute to work. I had sat in there with friends a few months prior. It’s about a 15 minute walk from my apartment. “Chicago shooting” newspaper headlines and nightly broadcasts are in my neighborhood. It sounds a little bit different when you’re walking to a friends place and hear gunshots and keep walking because it’s no big deal. This is just life.

I stood there almost frozen after the man told me about this Thursday night incident in my own neighborhood.

I passed by that Starbucks today on my way to and from work. And at Broadway & Wilson, as they rain poured down, dozens of people were sitting staring out the window drinking their pumpkin spice lattes and americanos in their new Christmas 2017 cups. Had they known what happened 12 hours ago just feet away from them? Maybe so. But life seems to keep moving.

European Friends in Whole Foods

 

Immanuel. God with us. In every moment, in every season. This truth can be a bit of a climax that speaks into the mountain peaks of life but in the now, I’m learning it’s an everyday kind of glory. Everyday kind of glory from the bus window, the bike lane, and the checkout lane at Whole Foods.

As I walk through this “in between” kind of season, so many people have told me “write yourself notes, journal always, and remember the little things.” Remember all the little things God showed you and is showing you so you don’t forget. So you don’t forget all that He did. So you don’t forget when things get hard. So you don’t forget when you’re thinking, “Did God really say…?”

So I’ve filled pages and I’ve made lots of little notes on my phone and I’ve laughed a lot at the intimacy and closeness of Jesus. He delights in everyday miracles.

  • Seeing Croatian flags everywhere…like in the most bizarre of places. And Croatian restaurants and the list goes on and on…
  • Meeting sooo many Europeans at work. And gushing about Europe. And sharing with them why I’m moving and getting to share Jesus.
  • Meeting an elderly woman who pretty much only spoke Serbian and having my ears perk because I understood most of what she was saying. Croatian and Serbian are both Slavic languages. Aaaaaand pretty much tearing up on my lunch break because I just couldn’t believe I caught on to some Croatian words and I couldn’t believe that I met a Serbian woman on the north side of Chicago.
  • One morning I was thinking earlier in the day how I miss LIDL (basically the Aldi of Europe) and how I’ll look forward to shopping there. That very day, a woman came through my line from Bulgaria with a LIDL bag. I exclaimed, “I love LIDL! Where is that from?” She says, “Oh I’m from Bulgaria and I have no idea how I still have this bag.” Then we chatted all about Europe. Again…laughter and tears at the nearness of Jesus. Like, what woman has a LIDL bag all the way from Bulgaria in Chicago?

These are just a sliver of the things that meet me in my everyday. There has been confirmation after confirmation from the Lord. I am so. extremely. thrilled. that He is inviting me into seeing Him move in Croatia as young disciples go make disciples! I can’t believe I get to say “YES!” to this very thing that Jesus is inviting me into.

asking the hard questions

My 15 minute bike ride to work was interrupted this week when I got a flat tire one evening. This turned my 15 minute commute to a 20-45 minutes commute via bus. On my bike ride, I quickly pass people by and make casual eye contact. But on the bus, we all sit on the journey amongst one another. Some are going to work, others to buy groceries and others just finding a place to sit for the day. If I’m honest, some nights I bike home from work, turn on to Lawrence, and my heart feels so heavy I can hardly keep pedaling. I see the men sitting on their front steps passing a freshly rolled joint, the women walking around and young kids. In a season of waiting and preparation, it is so very clear that this is where the Lord has placed me and this is my mission field. But some night I hear myself shouting back, “This is it God? This is my place?! But it’s so hard. It hurts so much.”

How is the gospel good news to the man pan handling and so high he cannot speak? How can I even imagine hearing the words “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God almighty!” escaping their lips? I can’t see it. How can I be heaven minded and not hurt?

I’ve been wrestling. A lot. Asking hard questions and figuring it all out. Sitting at the alter and waiting for the Lord to speak. Because it’s hard and scary and confusing. How does the gospel transcend into the everyday spaces of my transgender neighbors? How do I speak with the man at the bus stop who starts sharing his life with me and “oh isn’t it wonderful how the world has changed and tells me to be proud of my gayness”?

I don’t have it figured out. I don’t have the answers and I feel like I am saying “I don’t know” now more than ever. But I do know that the gospel is truly good news. And there is a coming Kingdom. Even when I can’t see it and I have to sit in the mess with people on the bus instead of zooming by on my bike. There is a coming Kingdom. And all will be made well.

gospel life

Christ in you is the hope of glory. You are the salt of the earth. In Him, we live and move and have our being.

So many of these gospel realities are invading my everyday thoughts. As I bike along Broadway to and from work everyday, I ask myself what does this mean in my life. What does gospel life mean? What does it mean to live out the gospel? What does it mean to embody the gospel when my primary community is my coworkers and we are all such different people? What does it look like to be the hands and feet of Jesus in my community? What does it look like to live out the gospel in the apartment building I’m living in?

If the gospel is truly good news and we are Christ’s ambassadors, what does this look like in day to day life? How do we live kingdom lives in the seemingly mundane schedules? Surely, it is not possible to live a gospel life if we neglect the reality of being the branches. We must be filled with knowing that Christ is the Vine and then abide.

I don’t know the answer to any of these questions and I’m not sure there is an answer. But I do know that when we say, “Jesus in you I do abide”, and we are in Him, the Spirit is faithful and eager to guide us as we delight in Him. Gospel life is abiding in Jesus as His humble and needy child.

thriving awaits

So I graduated from Moody Bible Institute on May 13. Of course, I’ve been asked, “What’s next?” countless times over the last year. So here’s what’s next and NOW…

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On May 1, I moved out of my on-campus apartment with Andreea and Aleana and moved to Buena Park, part of Uptown, on the north side of Chicago. A lot of hustle and craziness and hard work went into getting this apartment. In January and February, I was a nervous wreck as I was thinking through what was next and what I wanted to do. Firstly, I realized I had just been thinking about this for months. Had I been aware of my abiding in Christ and seeking His heart? I had forgotten who I was and this sent me nervous and afraid of what was next. Through prayer and the wisdom and counsel of others, I stayed planted and decided to stay in Chicago for the next year. Out of the Lord’s good and perfect plan, He orchestrated that Chloe, Gaby, Leah, Aleana, Casey and I would live together. Through different seasons and subleases, we would begin looking for a place to call home.

After loads of searching on Zillow, we compiled a google doc of possible apartments and began the viewing process. We went to view our (now) apartment and immediately fell in love. Regardless of the beauty and charm of our place, we were so drawn to our home as it would allow us to do just what we wanted for this next year. All of us chose the hard thing and the not-so-ideal thing to live with multiple girls as we all had just graduated from undergrad with the purpose of living intentionally, with each other and with our neighbors. Being in a big city, it’s easy to live among your neighbors and not know them or enter into their lives, to walk into a coffee shop everyday and not know the barista, to go into work and just know your coworker with their uniform on. As hard, inconvenient, and uncomfortable as it may be at times, we all have committed to staying and being rooted and planted here in our home and in our neighborhood that’s not glamorous to enter into people’s lives and love our city.

So that’s living. But, what about work? Well, from my understanding, it’s a bit unusual for the college grad to land their dream job out of college. I had some interviews for full-time positions in what I thought was my dream job throughout the semester, and I didn’t get it. What would have been devastating, was funnily enough not at all. Throughout the interview process I just knew that this was not at all what God had for me. As much as I knew I would love the job and thrive in it, I knew it wasn’t what God had for me.

Toward the end of March, I began applying for loads of jobs. I believe I applied to at least 35. From coffee shop jobs to restaurants to assistant work, I applied for everything and anything. Several interviews, emails back and forth, and opportunities, I got a job at Whole Foods in Edgewater as a cashier. At first, I wasn’t so jazzed about the opportunity, but as I sat there and was offered a job I smiled as I realized this was exactly what I had desired. I committed to spending this next season in Chicago living in this neighborhood getting to know my community and know them in their everyday lives. What’s more “everyday life” than grocery shopping?! Now, I’m aware this isn’t the fantastic, post-grad dream job, but I honestly love it. Standing on my feet all day, working with people I wouldn’t normally rub shoulders with, and having conversations with people from all walks of life all day long…I’m learning a lot. And I love it!!

I can hardly believe it’s been a year since I left for my internship with Josiah Venture in Croatia. I had no idea how much I would fall in love with this place, these people, all of it. I’d be lying if I said I’m not sad I won’t be there this next year. My heart breaks a bit knowing I will miss camp this year and so many other things. Throughout the year, the writing of my senior thesis, and abiding in Jesus, I have grown more and more fond of, excited about, energized by, and desiring of doing life in Croatia for the glory of Jesus. I am SO overwhelmingly excited about all that God is doing there and I am so ecstatic that He is inviting me to be a part of it. So some days when I make my commute to work on the Lake Shore path along Lake Michigan, I may be daydreaming that I’m biking along the Adriatic, and I know the day will come when that is reality, but I’m excited to learn and live HERE now. This is one beautiful journey that Jesus has me on. I am excited to be back in Croatia in the future and see that dream come to reality.

I am speechless at the Lord’s grace and there’s MUCH to say but I wanted to just post a cluttered, less-than-graciously written post for now. I could write about all that I’ve learned over the last four years at Moody (and that post will come) but for now, this is a little snapshot into life now. Yesterday as I was biking to work, all I could do was smile as I said, “Thank you Jesus that I get to do this and you are inviting me into this beautiful story.” Things are far from perfect and put together, but He is writing my story and I am so, so glad to follow His lead.

When I Feel Unknown

This semester was the hardest. It fled by like a car speeding down the highway. It vanished like warm breath in cold, winter air. I came back to the states with time to spare and get reaquainted with “normal” life. Oh yeah, I’m still an undergrad college student. Moved in to an apartment, organized my books, and got to know Chicago again.

Before I knew it, it was December and August was long gone. I could have sworn it was just yesterday I was standing in a circle with teenagers yelling about a volleyball in some language I had no idea what they were saying. But here I am, with another 18 credits completed sitting in this cabin cooped up in the middle of nowhere. But some things happened between August and December; good and bad, ugly and ravishingly beautiful, trying and building up.

From coming off of a summer where I poured out and saw the Lord use me and felt poured into and loved more than I’d ever known to a season of pouring out constantly and feeling utterly burnt out. When life somehow creeps up on me and abiding in Christ is a scary and weighty task, I’m left tired. When I forget that God is in control and just feel the certainty of my weakness.

This semester I realized the beauty of being alone and spending time to care for myself. Though I didn’t really do a good job caring for myself, I grew in setting up boundaries and listening to my body and myself. I felt the weight of not having someone pour into me and pursue me after coming from such a season filled with that.

As I’ve finished up this short chapter, I’ve reflected a bit. The future is uncertain and most around me are feeling that. But over the last few days I’ve recognized how much I desire to be comfortable, somewhere I’m known, have a place to call “my place”, home, rest. And I realized I don’t have that. And I’m not sure I ever will; at least not for some time. As I’ve been praying through God’s direction for the coming years, I’ve been met with a lot of questions or misunderstanding. “Why would you want to move to a foreign country? Why do you want to be a missionary? That sounds so uncomfortable.”

And as I’ve tried to explain I’ve realized it’s true. It is so uncomfortable. And I’m uncomfortable. It’s not comfortable living somewhere you feel unknown, unable to understand the woman at the grocery store, your old appliances don’t even plug into the wall…there’s so much and it’s all so foreign. But truly, I feel that now. Even here. And as I’ve realized over the last few years, that’s the way it’s supposed to be.

Though it isn’t easy. The beauty and majesty we will encounter when we move our lives to foreign places and unfamiliar faces, all for the glory and pursuit of knowing Jesus and making Him known, nothing compares. I may not have a place that feels like home. But this world is not my home. He is my purpose and my place. It may not make much sense, but nothing in this world compares to making Him known. And He is worth the sleepless nights, the long drawn out prayers, the question met with answers or no answer, the support-raising process, the discomfort. He’s worth it all.