My last blog post talked a lot about going to Tennessee and how I originally did not want to but God shoved me off the pedestal I had accidentally (not) placed myself on and told me to get going. Now, that entire post was true. And while writing it I did feel so confident and secure in going. People would ask me about it I would say “YEAH! I’m going because God told me to!” and give them a high five. And it was all very genuine. But in the last two weeks before going, some bad news spiritual warfare started going on and it really knocked me. I shouldn’t have been surprised by this – that I was confident in God’s stirrings should have made me acutely aware of satan’s attempts to discourage me.
My last Sunday morning at Watermark served as a tipping point.
Frankly, I cry most Sunday’s anyway. Any boy that has ever dated me and any friend that has ever known me knows that emotion & I are no strangers to one another, especially when you put me inside a church. It happens. And it happened this sunday especially. I think a lot of people thought I was sad to be at my last church service, but that wasn’t it at all. Of course my heart is heavy away from Watermark – and you can bet your britches I miss my roommates and beautiful friends, but I literally already have plane tickets bought to visit Tampa in September. I’m going to be around. Leaving isn’t tragic. What I was so distraught over was the heaviness from the spiritual battle that I was in. My brain was cloudy, my heart was jumbled, I was terribly unhappy, I felt far from my God. And I know that when something is making me feel far from my God that I need to get my tail home and start praying up a storm. So, after church when I was asked to go to lunch I had to look at my friends with red and weepy eyes and say “Actually, I need to go home and cry a lot and pray. I’ll meet up with you guys in a few hours”.
This was another one of those really difficult and really informative prayer times that I mentioned in my last post. The kind that you enter into knowing you’re about to get dealt with in the most beautiful of ways. Suffice it to say, I was dealt with. Yet again.
A few days before I left I was telling all this to a lovely friend over Coldstone ice cream and we laughed about the individual ways God addresses his children. For her, God is so tender and so loving. He ends every thought with some sweet sentiment or term of endearment because He knows that that is how she needs to be loved. For me, God is very brash (though not unloving) and straightforward with me. At times I swear I can feel him putting His strong hands on my small shoulders, sense Him leaning His glorious head near mine, and hear Him saying “We’re finished with this nonsense, there is no room for this in my Kingdom”, because He knows that that is how I need to be loved.
I won’t go through the two hour prayer time because, frankly, it’s precious and it’s mine, but I’ll share this: my prayer started out very selfishly. I demanded to know why God was making me leave my comfort zone, my friends, my church. Why couldn’t I have a normal ‘dream’ like everybody else? Why couldn’t He have made me a little bit smarter? Why was I a nanny when all I really want to do is photograph children in Haiti? I flipped open my bible because I was too flustered to quiet my brain to hear God any other way. Luke 10:41 –
Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary.
God is weaving a tapestry that I can’t see yet. I’m stressing out about the mess that I see right in front of me and it’s making me doubt the only One who can see the whole picture — the only One who has any control. The necessary thing is to follow God. To do what He asks. To reflect Christ to every person that I meet, in Tampa, in Memphis, in the ice cream aisle at the grocery store.
That night, after the crazy settled, I found myself sitting at The Mermaid Tavern around midnight with a friend I had only just begun getting to know. While regaling the tale of my day I realized and said aloud, “God did not create me to be somebody’s wife. He didn’t create me to be a mother, or a photographer, or anything other than a mirror. My highest calling is to reflect Christ to people who don’t know Him.”
That’s the mindset I have to keep while I am in Tennessee, for however long. This doesn’t mean I spend every day evangelizing. Not at all. This certainly doesn’t mean that my goal is to save everyone I know or convert them. I can’t do anything of the sort. But it does mean that God has put me in an incredibly specific place to show His love to people who haven’t experienced it yet. And it does mean that when He presents an opportunity to, I get to share about an incredible God who has shown me grace despite what a fickle daughter I have been.