Ever have that moment of looking around you at a tiny room filled with stuff you are trying to pack up to move (eh, somewhere) and then find yourself longing to just have a home where all your stuff is located in one space, where you can actually put your books on a shelf? Longing for a time when you can walk through Pier 1 Imports without crying because you don't have a home to decorate? Surely someone out there can relate ... anyone?
That's where I am right now. And today I was thinking back over my life. I was remembering the Christmases that I had decorating my apartment. It seems so very long ago. It WAS so very long ago. I found myself reflecting on when it all changed - when all my stuff got scattered all over the place. I would move literally every single year. I went from my parents house to my own apartment, to a duplex with Kylie, to a room in Angie's house, to a room in Reagan's house, to a few months with my parents, to one year in Ozark, to a few months in LA, then a few months back in my parents house, then back to LA for a year on campus, then on to an apartment with Karisse, Amy, and Kat, and then here to DC (sheesh). In fact, I have currently been living at the same address (with a family member near DC) for more than 2 years. That is the record over the last 10 years of my life.
Tonight I was thinking about my nomadic life and what has made it so nomadic. In March of 1999 my purpose and calling was made known to me. I went to a missions conference at my church and my life literally changed. I sat in a room listening to a man name Dan Hitzhusen. I could go into further detail, but it's such a looong story. I will stop for the moment and let my journal do a little bit of the talking:
"March 20, 1999 ... Last night the Lord led me to Dan's room and he was talking about a mission trip he had taken to India. [When] he was finished talking he said something that caught my attention. He said, 'The harvest in plentiful but the laborers are few.' I WANT TO BE A LABORER. I want to get a passport and have stamps - each one being a trip for the Lord ... I am willing to give everything to follow the Lord and I am excited about the places He will take me."
And oh, He has. He has so faithfully fulfilled that desire. My passport (though now expired) contains stamps from the Philippines, India, Uganda, Thailand, Southeast Asia, and North Africa. Each trip being one where I walked forward in serving the people of another country with the love of the Lord. I have lived a very exciting life ... and it's not yet done.
I'm not kidding when I wrote about crying in Pier 1. I walked through that store tonight with tears in my eyes. I thought about my place mats, napkins, glasses, plates, candle holders ... all packed away in plastic containers in grandmas attic. I drove home, wondering - "What if I had taken a different path?" And then I realized - I would not trade things for the world. The experiences that I have had, the people I have met, the cultures I have grown to love, the places I have lived ... it's worth more than a million dollars. I would not change one single moment. You can read some more about my million dollar moments here.
My life is filled with so much uncertainty right now. I am doing a Bible study that presented the question "When it comes to your life, what exactly are you perfectly clear on these days?" As I reflected on that question, I realized that there is so much up in the air for me. I don't 100% know what job and housing is going to look like in the months ahead. But while I don't really know anything about the direction of my life right now, I do know one thing. I know what happened on March 19, 1999. I know what God called me into. I know that my life is set aside to serve Him and that the plan ahead is so much bigger than I can even comprehend. Things are falling into place, even if I can't see them. 12 years ago I wrote, "I am willing to give everything to follow the Lord". What are place mats, napkins, glasses, plates, and candle holders anyway? It's all stuff. Pretty stuff - and it's not bad to have that stuff - but it's not what really counts and definitely not worth crying over :-)
Well, this has been a very unexpected distraction from my packing. Now I suppose I should get back to it. With this current mindset, perhaps my thrift store pile will grow bigger :-)