“What has God been teaching you in this past year?” Hardest question in the whole staff application for summer camp. If I had been given more room on the paper (every writers problem when filling out paperwork) I would have written a quote from The Princess Bride, “Let me explain, no, there is too much, let me sum up.” (Inigo speaking as they look at the guarded castle walls right before Evil Humperdinck’s wedding, just in case you need a reminder.) But, I made myself skip the quote and instead asked myself where I was a year ago. I then realized that one year ago I was graduating School of Photography 1! How was that a year ago??? It almost scares me how much I did right after that, and how I jumped into it without knowing how tough it was going to be.
After that school I learned more about injustices like modern day labor and sex slavery, bad orphanages, HIV/Aids stigmas, and others which alternately made me numb and made my heart break while my mouth screamed at God. Living for seven months in a place where I could not scream or sing without someone else hearing me almost drove my introverted self crazy. Co-leading a trip to Africa challenged me more than I thought it would. Someone asked me after I came back if I was scared to go so far away while leading other people even though I had so little experience. My answer, “Not as much as I should have been.” But the red dirt, iron ore rocks, lonely fields, and thunderstorms I saw there sure were nice. :)
When I first got back from that trip I may have wished I hadn’t done it. After a few months though, I can say I’m glad I did. Not because I did a great job, or had a great time, or saved lots of lives, or even got that much closer to God. Those things didn’t happen as much as I would have liked. I’m glad I did it because I’m glad I obeyed God. God showed me that he can do things through me that I cannot do on my own. He can protect me when I unknowingly do something stupid and dangerous. (Quick example, I stomped at a green mamba to scare it away from the other girls in my team. I didn’t realize what I was doing before the snake had already turned away. Nobody got hurt, except for the snake, some awesome African guys killed it.) God is bigger than we are. Even in our mistakes He’s got us covered and can do stuff through us that we can’t do ourselves. He has bigger dreams than we do.
Now I’m home doing things I never would have thought of doing before. Growing up I had no clue there were prostitutes anywhere near me. I hadn’t really even thought about the fact that they existed ‘till a year or two ago. This year I’m starting to work with organizations that help women who are or were prostitutes or strippers. I don’t know why I should do this and not someone else. I’m not qualified to do this by any means, but I’m willing to help. Yes it will be hard. Yes, it has been hard. But I don’t think we’re supposed to run from difficulty in this life.
Anyways, I’m not sure why I wrote this tonight. I wasn’t planning on it, but I guess the main thing I want to do tonight is to say thanks to God for getting me through my wildest year yet.
So, forgive me as I give Him a little space online and pray….. God, I am in awe of what you have brought me through in the past year. A year ago I was graduating School of Photography 1. You have done so much in me, brought me through so many things, taught me so much, and been right beside me as I grow up. Thanks. Thanks so very much. I don’t know how I did what I have done, which to me is proof that I had to have done it with you. I have made mistakes, but you have been right there to catch me. I have learned so much, and you have been right there helping me to apply the knowledge. You have brought me to places I had only dreamed of before, shown me people and lifestyles that are painful to know about, but Father, you are still God. No matter what I see and how little it makes sense you are still truth. Thank you for the book of Habakkuk in the Bible, thanks that you are bigger than anything I can try to wrap my head around, and I’m so glad you are. :)