I love the early morning. I also love staying up late. Unfortunately, the two don't usually work well together, unless there is time for a nap :-). But the early morning is a wonderful time of day. As I was taking care of the Ellenwood's, I was forced back into my more normal routine of waking up early, eating breakfast, checking email, and spending time in the Word while everyone else was still sleeping. I don't know what it is about those early morning hours, but I feel so refreshed and full and ready to start the day afterwards.
“In the morning, O LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation.” Psalm 5:3
Ok, so this is going to be a long one, but an important one. I have written many updates about different activities and things I have been involved in with the various youth groups I work with, but I haven’t spent much time writing about what all God has been teaching me or about the ups and downs of being here. I have touched on it in little things, but I just haven’t had words to really get into it. So this will be my attempt to do that. And if you get through it all, awesome.
Lately I have been studying the book of Isaiah, and though God has been showing me a lot in it, I have also been pouring over the Psalms. I think most people can relate to the psalmist as he goes from crying out to God, overwhelmed and frustrated, exhausted to praising and dancing and shouting in joy. Well that was pretty much my October and beginning of November. Like I said, I didn't write this in my update about October because I didn't have words yet to express all I was going through. It is easy to write about the good things, and all the awesome ways God is working. People enjoy hearing about those things. And I love to share them. It is so difficult to explain about the hard days, the normal parts of day to day life that are so intertwined with the big events. Some days are awesome, some just alright, and others are really hard to get through. It’s just a normal part of life-everyone has good days and bad days. The only difference for me is that I am living it in a different country. Yes that in itself isn't necessarily normal, but it is for me. So when I go through those things I do so in a place where I don't speak the language, where my closest friends and family aren't around, and where although I have a place to live it still isn't really permanent (I am pretty much still living out of my suitcase).
I am super thankful for the conversations I have been able to have with my parents and some friends over the computer. They have been very encouraging and challenging. But I think most importantly I have learned how more to rely on God for everything. This process really started last year when I was living back in Scottsdale. And so I kind of knew what to expect in not having my friends around all the time, but still there they were only a 2 hour drive away. Here that is not an option.I think this hit hardest in October because some of the people I am closest to here were back in the states, and they were able to see my family and friends. We also were at a point where we, ESIs, have been here for a while but still weren’t close to going back to the states. There was no longer that fresh excitement of it all, or the busyness of trying to fit everything in at the end. It was just regular normal life.
And that is good.
It is part of why we are here for an extended internship. To see and experience what ‘normal’ life is like.
So what has this taught me? How does this relate to ministry? How is God using this in my life? There are so many questions I ask myself everyday and so many answers that I think I know but am still not sure about. But on this I can say that I have learned that being effective in ministry takes a while. Relationships take time.Learning the language takes time.And even though it often feels like you are not being used, God is working together so many greater things than we can ever see. It makes me excited to want to be here full time. To truly be able to invest in ministry here and the people here and not just leave in a few months. God has shown me that He provides for all of our needs. Even though sometimes it feels like I have nothing left, or I really want to talk to a specific person, God always meets them. He is always faithful, always. (2 Tim 2:13…haha yep Jenny still a good one)