I sat down tonight to journal. Something I enjoy doing and something that blogging took the place of while on my trip with Daraja. I haven't blogged in a LONG time, but what came out of my mind tonight was interesting. It has to do with where I am in my life right now and chances are if you followed my blog on tour at all - you probably have at least wondered what I'm up to now and how Daraja has affected me. If you haven't, I'm not offended, but still thought I'd type out my thoughts - it's pretty lengthy so don't say I didn't warn you! :)
God is so big! So unfathomable. Huge! Amazing. Incredible, faithful, & loving. My life has been so crazy - how did I even make it to where I am right now - in one piece and with somewhat of a sane mind? I've experienced so many things and made so many BAD choices along the way - the amazing part is that through it all, whether I was considering Him or not, the God of the universe was looking over me & knew every step I would take and every decision I would make.
Valentine's Day had me thinking about love, but in a totally different way this year. This is the first Valentine's Day I've been without a boyfriend in all of my "dateable" years! That's roughly 9 years!!!! Wow, that's crazy! The cool thing is - instead of being bummed about not having someone to celebrate it with, I'm perfectly content and have actually taken some time to reflect on what made me look at love the way I did for so long and then really ponder the love Christ has for us.
Since the 8th grade I have always had a boy to say "I love you" to. I've always had a boy to make me feel wanted & accepted. I've always had a boy to define myself by. I've always had a boy to look to for answers, for guidance, for direction for (what I thought was) love. Some may say, that's awesome, I wish I could have had someone like that to rely and depend on all my life. Some may say that's completely and utterly ridiculous, unhealthy, and crazy for someone as young as you! I choose to agree with the 2nd opinion personally :) I mean, if I'm being honest (which I usually don't have a problem being) where did any of those relationships get me? For starters, they painted a completely skewed picture of what relationships should be like. They robbed me of my innocence and purity. They caused me to never form a true identity for myself, leaving me not even knowing who I really was at 22 years old. They caused me to disregard friendships with my girl friends and treat them with less importance. And perhaps the most harmful, they caused me to turn a deaf ear towards God when temptation and the need to control my own life would pound at my heart and mind. I have never had the opportunity to form an identity outside of having a boyfriend until this past year! There's a lot of negative things that resulted from my inability to be alone (which is ironic because I definitely felt alone more than once when I was in a relationship). But I would be lying if I said nothing positive came out of them.
I'm not proud of the mistakes I made regarding guys. I'm not proud of how I ignored God's voice trying to tell me what I was doing was not His will. But I do believe that God has used & is using these past situations to reveal Himself to me now & to teach me so much about what He intended a loving relationship between man & woman to be like. Through those relationships, I learned about commitment and sacrifice. I learned to accept a person for who God made them to be, not who I wanted them to be. I learned about loyalty & partnership. I learned how awesome a relationship can be if it's focused and centered around God. I learned that just because something is hard - giving up is not always the best solution. I learned about compromise, collaboration, and communication. I learned that I was not always right, that I will never know everything, and that guys DO NOT work the same way girls do and never will! :). I met some amazing people through my past relationships. People that I love dearly and would have never known otherwise. There are good things that have come from being in those relationships over 8 years time, but in reality - God wants sooooo much more for me than that life I was living. It was a lie, it caused me to stumble and and to put trust in me, not God.
When God called me to Daraja, I knew things were about to change drastically. I could have never imagined being where I am now! For so long I didn't even know who I was. I longed for love, companionship, friendship, & acceptance. I'm still not done discovering who I am (and probably never will be), but I have found these things I was so desperately searching for! God used Daraja and everybody in it (interns, Kenyans, leaders, host homes, church members, etc.) to show me that all of those things come from HIM first! Daraja taught me about pure love. I've longed for that amazing love story to played out in my own life, the kind we read about and pay $8.50 to see played out on a huge movie screen. I've prayed for it, cried over it, fought for it and all along it's been written out in black and white (and red) in the Holy Bible! Talk about a love story! God sent His one (and only) son to DIE for ME. A filthy, unclean, undeserving, lost, confused, selfish, controlling, hard-headed, strong willed, sinful me! I should have been the one beaten, called names, & crucified because I'm the one who did wrong, but no, God loved us so much that He made a way for us to not have to "pay" for all of the sin in our lives....Jesus - He came to pay the price for us! What greater love?? God romances me throughout the entire Bible. Someone put their life on a cross for me, died for me because He loved me & didn't want me to suffer for eternity because of my sins. WOW! - there is NO greater love than this! All I have to do is believe this, allow Jesus to have my heart (what a gentle love, He allows US to CHOOSE to accept Him and invite Him in) and then profess my belief to others. No this isn't always easy - but how could I not make my life goal to live for this guy? After all He did for me? He certainly deserves my life (although I don't know why He'd want it), it's not mine. God has taught me so much about true love. what love is and what love isn't. He's still teaching me. His love never fails. One day when/if I do have a husband, I want to honor God with that relationship to the fullest. Love isn't easy, It's a commitment, a choice at times, but it's the greatest gift we have ever been given.
I can certainly say I don't have it all figured out, I'm not perfect, I sin everyday. I struggle with the need to have control and the ability to trust. But I'm learning, I'm growing, I'm listening, reading (not just the Bible, there's tons of books out there with amazing insight), praying, journaling (or in this case blogging :)), questioning, pondering, and most importantly, seeking the heart of God. I want nothing more than to be able to trust God with all of my heart and never again lean on my own understanding. God is so much bigger than me, I'm not meant to figure Him out. I don't know why I stayed in those relationships so long, but I'm not going to waste time asking why. 1 Corinthians 2:11 says, "For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man's spirit within him? In the same way, no one knows the thoughts of God except the spirit of God." So why sit around asking why? Instead, I choose to let God reveal Himself to me on His own time. I have so much life to live & so many things to learn. I don't want to take any of my time for granted, each day is a unique opportunity - why not take advantage of it? I trust in time that God will reveal His plan for my life, one day at a time. My goal is not to anticipate these coming moments and miss out on the amazing things right in front of me. Rather, I want to live in the moment and use ever opportunity to learn more about myself and the heart of our God. A friend of mine said something the other day about Valentine's Day that made me think. "Fall in love with Him today." I want to make it my goal to fall in love with Jesus today (and every day for that matter). Happy Valentine's Day - show God's love to someone today!
- Allison :)