Things have been getting better. I feel better. After being here for 11 months, I think I'm finally finding where I belong in this ministry. For most of my life I have felt like my talents were worthless. I don't think they would find me a job and I've felt like the things I'm good at are very common and not really special in any way. I've been asking God to change me, and he has. My heart is different, my priorities, how I think and view others and I'm still changing all the time. What I never realized is God already gave me the tools I needed to succeed. I just never knew how to use them. I've spent so much time feeling self-hate and frustrated at myself. I never realized I was valuable.
Reflecting on how far God has taken you is important. I believe if the Israelites had spent more time reflecting on what God had done for them, they wouldn't have been so dissatisfied with their struggles. I came on my first mission trip here for a week in August 2013. At that point in my life I was a halfway Christian, barely making it to church on Sundays. While I was here God broke my heart and I made the decision to follow Him completely. This decision required me to completely alter the way I was living. Starting with breaking up with my boyfriend of two years who wasn't a Christian. It began with a long phone call where we both talked and cried for three hours. Since he was serving overseas at the time, there wasn't much I could do about me still driving his car, receiving his mail, and having his stuff in my garage. We worked together when we needed to, but other than that, I asked him not to contact me.
Before the mission trip I rarely read my bible. I was bothered that in spite of being raised in church and going to a Christian school in my elementary years, most of the Bible was still a mystery to me. I made the decision that I would read my bible every day, starting with a chapter a day. I wanted to read the whole bible and really understand what it meant. I also decided that I needed Christian fellowship. After I spent a week serving with Christians I realized what I had been missing by skipping out of all other church activities. When I came back, I signed up for everything I could. I joined choir, Sunday school, college age worship during the week, the sign language group, and I tried to make myself available for every church outing and volunteering activity.
Through these things, God opened my eyes to the suffering of those around me. I made amends with friends I had no longer talked to. People I knew my whole life were suddenly opening up to me about dark family secrets, self mutilation, and thoughts of suicide. I still don't know how to handle these situations. All I know to do is to show up when you call me and I'll talk you through it until 3 in the morning or whenever you're ready to sleep.
Lastly, I felt like God wanted me back here. I told God that I would try my hardest, do the best I could, and He would have to supply the rest. He did. In spite of every failed effort on my part, somehow God made sure there was enough funds for me to live here for the time being. I don't know what God holds for me when I return, but reminding myself of how far He has taken me, eases the fear of the unknown. God is good all the time.