Sleeping under light sheets in what seemingly felt like the perfect summer night led a 7:30 AM wake up call that I was actually prepared for. The cool breeze of morning was dancing through the windows of my friend's house where I spent the night. I woke up to conversations and hugs shared with good friends in the heart of Orange. I could already tell it was going to be one of those days. One of those good ones :D.
I drove about a mile to Kimmie's Coffee Cup in the Orange Circle to meet with Frankie, one of the teammates from my Uganda trip and raddest women I've ever met. She is southern hospitality at its finest (e.g. "swate tay"). Met with a smile and yet another hug, we found ourselves talking for three hours about what God's showing us, how His Spirit is moving and how when we sincerely say "He is good," He always ends up showing how He is far better than we could ever imagine. Passion oozes out of this woman; it's contagious. Where the Spirit moves--she moves. We laughed, we cried, and we gave Him the glory for all that He has done and is doing. She's felt the need to meet with me more so than she has since we came home from Uganda (early January). And likewise, I've been having a hankering to meet as well. It turns out that that wasn't at all coincidental. The Spirit's been leading us to the same themes of deliverance and healing as well as the same passages as we've been praying through things. We've both been spending a lot of time in the book of Hosea--both being reminded of and compelled to pursue, all the more, our First Love. At 24 and at 51, He is wooing us. Awesome :D. In the midst of our time together, I couldn't help but be thankful for how He's woven people into my life. I am rich because of the Who/who's in my life.
Driving to campus for some major paper-writing and book-finding, I kept in mind the fact that Biola is currently holding its annual Missions Conference. One of the reps from ELIC (English Language Institute China) came to speak the other day, and I wanted to stop by and say "hi." Well, the "hi" became an incredibly comfortable sit-down conversation about our overseas experiences, God's provision as well as His sense of humor. I asked her about the teaching opportunities seeing as how i'm feeling led to do long-term missions work. They have a number of opportunities, but their 2-year ones stood out to me a great deal. They encourage and firmly stand behind sending out teams and not just individuals. I'm 100% behind this. I cannot fathom going overseas and teaching in a foreign land without the support of the Body--near and far. The countries that ELIC is involved with are China, Mongolia, Laos, and Vietnam. If any of you are wondering, my parents are currently doing missions work in Vietnam. They work during the year and go over there during the summer months to serve and cultivate what's been established over there through their Non-Profit [Helping the Poor Children]; it's a program that focuses on the impoverished children in the rural villages--providing children with tuition for school while establishing relationships with their families to share the Love and Life of Christ through service. During summer of last year, I was prayed over by this elderly, but fiery couple, the Masons. Jesse felt that the Lord had put on my heart a draw to "my people"--the Vietnamese, and I was deeply moved by this. My mom also had a dream about all of us serving together. I've continued to pray about these words and visions, and I'm just asking the Lord to give me discernment and further direction (I wouldn't mind the prayers!! :)) Confirmation, please! Where He says, "Go," I will go. There are just moments when I just wish I knew, but He's enjoying me just coming to Him to talk and get to know Him, and i'm more than fine with that!
All this is good and well, but I feel like it's just be blabbering away. I'm referencing things that seem to only "mean a lot" if you were there to experience them. If you don't want to get personal or see a glimpse into my heart, you might want to stop here. Otherwise, proceed. I invite you into this processing as a part of being honest and transparent.
I realize it's anticlimactic to preface certain things, so I'm not going to--well literally, anyway. In light of this time of preparation (getting my MA in TESOL) and the Lord growing my inner [wo]man, my excitement is met with a very deep sense of longing. I've never been one of those girls/women who lives by this idea of a timeline. I never said i'd do things at a certain age. And I definitely never imagined being married by a certain age. Recently, i've entered into a new and sometimes uncomfortable but typically peaceful dialogue with God. Lord Jesus, I'm done with school in a year and a half. I'm open to you sending me anywhere....but...but God...I don't want to go alone. I paint this no other shade than true.
Here are the things I know to be true:
1) God is the giver of the best gifts.
2) God knows me more than I know myself--He knit me in my mother's womb. He is my heartbeat.
3) God has blessed me with the opportunity of knowing some of the most spectacular men ever! Period. Whether through friendships or relationships, God has shown me men who desire Jesus and pursue Him with all of who they are. This includes my dad. Many of the men in my life live with Kingdom vision, and I couldn't be more blessed. They've set the bar...pretty freakin' high.
4) Marriage is the physical manifestation of the love between Christ and His church, which means this: It's a big deal.
5) He, whomever he is, will be my Kingdom partner. We will be iron for each other. We will be extensions of His love to each other. This quote rings true: What direction is this you ask: 1) Jesus and 2) Whatever country we find ourselves in, haha.
6) God is, and will always be, my First Love. And the man I marry will love God with all of his being and love me well because He will love me through Christ's love in Him. Likewise me with him.
7) Trusting God is one of the best ways to worship Him. Indeed, this whole process is worship. I first want to know my Jesus--not to attain something or someone but to be fully open to Him and His work.
8) Dynamic Duo. Words spoken over me. I gladly receive them!
9) God's in the business of blowing our socks off. If we find ourselves manipulating situations, we fall victim to using what we know to do what we think is best for us. Silly humans. He calls us to trust. The tree that is firmly planted by water whose roots are nourished by the nearby stream did not plant itself or cultivate itself. It stands firmly rooted in its Source of life. May we be these trees.
I guess a list of 10 would have rounded things off nicely. Oh well. I don't say these things because "they make me feel better." Knowing truth doesn't always make the process easier, but it does make it far richer. I walk through this time with the confidence of Christ and with the full assurance that He sees, provides, is present, near, almighty, sovereign, and worthy of all worship.
In closing. We often want what's good. We hope for the better. Ultimately, He has the best.
More Jesus, please! He gives the best gifts. He is the best gift.