Monday, May 18, 2015

Day 40: Blessed Through The End- The Final Post

Honestly,  I struggle to write this. This project has been fun... well. I mean... let's clarify... fun, painful, torturous, nagging, insightful, eye- opening, revealing, terrifying, lonely.... a little bit of everything...

Let me start with a recap, then I'll go into a thoughtful anecdote to end our time together. Well... let's be real here. I know only about 3 people even read this thing, so my time reflecting on myself, along with a few who are along for the ride...

On Easter I started a 40 day journey and my goals were thus(a short version...for the long version, go here) :
-Less Facebook- well... that one worked:) I deactivated my Facebook about 1/2 way through because I was frustrated that I was wasting so much time on it and not fufilling my commitment to only being on it once a week and wasting so much of my precious free time on there instead of ya know... sleeping, eating.... things like that. 

-Less Sugar- I did pretty darn good, if I say so. I limited to one day per week in which I was allowed sugar, and even then I attempted not to over-indulge. I had my moments, lets be real, but I acknowledge that and know where my weaknesses are now. Also ,my week of being sick totally threw this off, so I plan to keep going with this one for at least another week- this may stick around for... ya know... for a very long time:) I may allow a treat here and there on a rare occasion, but once a week seems to fit best- I dig my weekly trip to get a scoop of ice cream from our local ice cream parlor. It's perfect. 

-Less complaining- Not sure I was successful with this. For about the first half I did well, but around the half way point, life pulled me under, but I think this is an area I'd love to see some future growth, as would those that are around me on a regular basis:)

-More MUSIC!!!! I wasn't able to have my musical moments as often as I would have liked, but I did find myself sitting in awe of the lyrics of songs much more frequently, sitting in amazement of the perfect timing of a song on the radio, playing tunes on my guitar in the basement, or taking time to hammer out a tune when I was feeling low.

-More Writing!! I was not able to journal daily, as the blogging pretty much took up any desire I had to do that, but I hope that now that I am moving out of blogging daily, I can do that instead. I hope to update this lovely blog once a week to keep people posted, write anything that's been rattling around this head of mine that has any meaning, any news that should be shared,  stories that need telling, etc. I also still plan to begin writing my own biography of sorts- no clue how, when, or where, but I hope to make that a summer project. 

-More Sharing- I like to think that some of what I've posted on my blog was sharing more than I would normally share, but I don't think I've shared as much as I would have liked to about what God has done in my life, what he's doing, what's going on with me, etc. I think that's something that I'll be working on soon, and perhaps a part of the next section of this post;) I do hope to continue sharing my music, but I feel incredibly vain doing so.... we'll see how that goes in the future.

-More JESUS- Again, while this didn't go how I had planned, I think it turned out better than anticipated. I wanted to get up early and spend time digging deep. Unfortunately, this semester ate me up and spit me out, so really, most days I roll out of bed, throw together a bag and run out of the door- lucky if I have my head on straight. Also, my morning schedule collides with my roommate's, which would make a quiet time a bit trickier than I had anticipated. Not a good excuse, but what happened. So, instead of feeling tortured, I made a new plan. I have a nice little commute to work, so I decided to make the best of it where I could. I listened to the Daily Audio Bible when I could, and most recently, a friend pointed out a few podcast series that focus on areas that I am struggling with the most right now, so I've been spending most of my drive time, or 'down time'(aka chores or cooking time) doing that. It has given me somewhere to focus my mind rather than on my mess of a mind and the thoughts that are swirling around it at any given moment.

So... all in all- the challenge was.... a challenge. It was not a complete success, but I learned and I grew. I had no idea how much I would struggle and what curve balls I would be thrown in the 40 days, but through it all, I am praising Him in the storm, thankful he's there to brush off my bleeding, dirty knees, there to clean my wounds and carry me through it. 

Now, Technically yesterday was day 40. I miscalculated somewhere and missed a day. It would have been the perfect day. It would have had I not been such a mess. It would have in a perfect world. It would have been a beautiful little ribbon to tie off a perfect little challenge for a figurative little life I have planned out. But, being that my life is definitely not perfect, it wound up a hot mess...

See, yesterday was the one year anniversary of my baptism. How fitting that the 40th day after Easter this year would be my one year anniversary of my baptism. Remembering the day that I said... You know what... I had absolutely no idea what I was doing at the age of five, nor does any child that young. I didn't know what it meant to be baptized and I feel this ache in my soul that God wants me to throw everything aside and say, "I will follow you.... To the ends of this earth I will follow you." I've already shown it in some ways, but I needed to show myself and declare to my community.

In a perfect world I would have had tons of family and friends around me on that day, a huge party after, celebrating the beautiful day it was. It would have been an incredible celebration- full of laughter, stories, and encouragement. Instead, the day was filled with feelings of loneliness and remembering that this world is not my home- this is not an act for anyone but for me and God. I had about six friends come and support me that day. Four came out with me to dinner afterwards. It was a great celebration. Everything I had hoped and more- It was all worth it. The one year anniversary holds some bittersweet memories, however, as two of those people are no longer in my life. Nobody could have foreseen the pain that would come in the year ahead that would tear us apart. I had no idea how much this bothered me until last night, when it all came crashing down on me. 

At the same time, I remembered that in 3 days- May 20th- It will be the 2 year anniversary of my departure from the Africa Mercy. My heart aches so so so much with this. I know the AFM is not the same place I left, but I think of what it was when I left- the people who were there when I left- all that I left on that day, and I cannot help but completely break down. The people I left on that day are all my family- a family that will never all be in one place again until we meet again in heaven. That is a hard pill to swallow, but true. I miss them. I miss feeling a purpose with every day. I miss being able to go a deck down and look into the face of a patient, or a mama, and know exactly the reason why I came to serve these people, in this place, at this time. I miss my family, I miss my community, I miss my Africa.

I have experienced seasons of intense loneliness, but somehow this one is different. It is overwhelming me to the core of my being. It's not just sad, but suffocating. I have never felt this intensity of loneliness in my life. I know there is a reason for it, but I certainly do not like it.

As you can see, yesterday was far from that perfect bow I so wish I could have put on top of the '40 day challenge' cake, but, really, it is perfect. It is the perfect 'Michelle' bow- It sums up my life and who God created me to be. I am broken, but in Him I am made whole. Without Him I am NOTHING, but in Him, I am a new creation. I am poor in spirit, but with Him I am BLESSED... No matter what I face in each day, no matter what comes my way, the thing this challenge taught me... I am BLESSED. Always. 

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