Tuesday, October 7, 2008

been there, done that

China was unlike anything I could have expected. It wasn’t that I was expecting to be like Ireland—I knew it wouldn’t be. I knew that this summer any would be unlike the summer before considering I was going into a country that if they had known what I was really doing there they would not have treated me like such a celebrity; a country so vast we know little about it to work with people who live a life so foreign a life from the one I understand in America. But hey, I’ve been a small group leader before, so it can’t be that different, right? Oh how wrong I was. I’ve told people that this summer was the hardest in my life, which surprises some because my first summer stretched me in ways I had never been stretched before. But this summer I lived in such a way that is so diametrically opposed to our human nature—I lived pushing against the selfishness that claims us all. I don’t me that I simply served others and not myself, though that was a part of it—there have been times when even serving others has turned into a way of serving myself. This summer was about living in the constant submission to the Father’s heart, allowing Him, without resistance, to guide me in my steps, in my words, in my actions and in my relationships. Nothing I did this summer was by my own strength or ability, but by the power and provision of the Perfect One. This summer I saw in a tangible sense the giving spirit of God, His father-heart, His desire to use me to His great ability. He granted me the blessing of using all my weakness and mistakes and frustrations for His purpose. I have found there is nothing greater than being completely emptied of everything that I am and giving God the right to fill me completely with all that He is and all He wants me to be. He is my Father, my Protector, my closest Friend and my Teacher. Give praise today, brothers and sisters, to the Great I Am, who is and was and always will be our Lover and our Savior, for He is worthy to be praised.

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