Some thoughts on faith and transition.

I will be going back to South Africa soon after a fair stint with Mercy Ships and no solid plan here on out. The more I’ve rested and released this decision over to God the more I’ve, very slowly, realised that it’s not about where I go. Or what I do. But rather, Do I love God and do I believe that he loves me?
As with any big transition there’s a billion doubts,  questions, fears and cliff hanging emotionally stretched yo-yo moments. I feel like the rug of identity that I have gotten used to is about to be ripped out under me.
As I’m tired and exhausted I’m scared of not having enough to start over again. I’m hoping people will at least be able to roughly know how to relate to the loss I’m going to feel over leaving. Leaving home and people who’ve been my extraordinary everyday for the past 18 months. And I’m trying to not have outrageous expectations of my friends back home as I hope they’ll fill up the gaping holes in my heart and day. Which I know is only God’s thing to do. How do these two places meet harmoniously in my mind and heart?
Each time I stop frustrated, overwhelmed and throw it all away, in a somewhat rebellious way, I see God more and I seem to be closer to him. Like he’s happy that I lost.
He keeps drawing me back to now. All that I know that ultimately matters is how much I believe He loves me and how much I love him today, where I am now with what I have now.
I love him because I am unworthy, begging for mercy. By stopping, listening, and talking to Him. Like a friend that I am just getting to know. Also, I can’t strategically show my best side. Its the real and the messy parts that come out when I’m around Jesus. He sees it all anyway. All the funk I’m feeling now is the lubrication in our conversations. That’s what he wants from me. I once read that its the imperfections that the grace sticks to, I think Brené Brown said something to that effect. The opportunity to accept and be with people in their brokenness, regarding the people around me as precious, that’s what he wants from me. That’s what he gives me, and wants me to give myself, and pass on. Will I respond by obediently serving and meeting the needs of others around me. Asking the difficult how-are-yous, staying present to listen; writing the note of encouragement, reaching out to that lonely one, or planning the scary road trip which most people would discourage me from doing just for the opportunity to be lead by the spirit to share who I am with whoever crosses my path. All despite how I feel.
One day at a time. One moment at a time. This One Man for this one place. Now. I’m at a crossroads, feeling lost, but He loves me even when I don’t feel it.
Some thoughts about Ragamuffin faith from the moving film, Ragamuffin and the words of Brennan Manning… He desires me. He waits for me day after day. He longs to hear the sound of my voice.  How do I shape my life in response to this?
This is my guide through this season. He knows my whole life’s story, he knows every skeleton in my closet, every moment of sin and shame, dishonesty and degraded love that’s darkened my path, he knows my shallow faith, my feeble prayer life and inconsistent discipleship. But he dares me to trust that He loves me. just as I am now. Not as I should be. 
None of us are as we should be. Gospel.
“For those who feel their lives are a grave disappointment to God, it requires enormous trust and reckless, raging confidence to accept that the love of Jesus Christ knows no shadow of alteration or change. When Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who labor and are heavy burdened,” He assumed we would grow weary, discouraged, and disheartened along the way. These words are a touching testimony to the genuine humanness of Jesus. He had no romantic notion of the cost of discipleship. He knew that following Him was as unsentimental as duty, as demanding as love.”

“And Grace calls out, ‘You are not just a disillusioned old man who may die soon, a middle-aged woman stuck in a job and desperately wanting to get out, a young person feeling the fire in the belly begin to grow cold. You may be insecure, inadequate, mistaken or potbellied. Death, panic, depression, and disillusionment may be near you. But you are not just that. You are accepted.’ Never confuse your perception of yourself with the mystery that you really are accepted.”
Brennan Manning, The Ragamuffin Gospel: Good News for the Bedraggled, Beat-Up, and Burnt Out
“God created us for union with Himself. This is the original purpose of our lives. And God is defined as love (1 john 4:16). Living in awareness of our belovedness is the axis around which the Christian life revolves. Being the beloved is our identity, the core of our existence. It is not merely a lofty thought, an inspiring idea, or one name amoung many. It is the name by which God knows us and the way He relates to us.”
Brennan Manning, Abba’s Child: The Cry of the Heart for Intimate Belonging
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