I confess a bad attitude. I confess comparison. I confess jealousy, annoyance, bitterness. I confess crying about all the wrong things, ignoring my real emotions, and hardening my heart to the Lord. I confess confusion. I confess exhaustion and finding rest in all the wrong places. I confess.
Going into our Midyear conference, I thought I had it all together. I was preoccupied and constantly thinking about next year, but I live with the suck-it-up-and-move-on attitude so if you would have asked me I was fine, thanks. I powered through the exhaustion of January, put way too many impossible expectations on my poor mom and Max when they visited, and lived out of a suitcase for a month like a champ. I planned and followed through with those plans and didn’t stop. Rather, I didn’t feel the need to stop. I was fine, remember? Ha! Then I arrived to Midyear.
Monday, February 10th, Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic. Sitting in a hotel conference room, with a terrible headcold, surrounded by my precious team and 30 other STINTers I had never met, I think I finally took a breath. Led to the cross by a Cru couple and a simple guitar, I couldn’t sing along with worship because if I were to open my mouth, the tears accumulating in my eyes would have spilled out uncontrollably. I don’t know if it was the simplicity of it, or the fact that the lyrics were in my heart language for the first time in so long (praise God for English), but my heart was full. The words of every song tore me apart as we praised the Lord for who He is, and for the way that He loves us.
“I stand amazed in the presence of Jesus the Nazarene, And wonder how He could love me, a sinner, condemned, unclean…O how marvelous! O how wonderful! Is my Savior’s love for me!”
I can’t describe it in any other way except that I was overwhelmed by His love. Overwhelmed by the weight of what my Jesus has done for me, for you, for the world. And I was shocked. I hadn’t realized how badly I needed this until it knocked me over. I was ashamed. How can I be a missionary? How can I tell others of Jesus’ love for them when I had forgotten that He loves me? I was embarrassed and I was exhausted. I had been trying so hard to live this life, this life that is impossible without my Jesus and His power. “I hear the Savior say, Thy strength indeed is small, Child of weakness watch and pray, find in Me thine all in all”. I had been ignoring Him, relying on myself, and yet He met me there. He called me back to true life, life that is only found in Him. Find in Me thine all in all. Not in your job, not in your circumstances, relationships, the hard, the good, not in family, desires, plans, fears, not in jokes or friendships, or in the city you live in, in Me.
Coming back from a week of rest and relaxation at Midyear, I am still struggling. I still sit perfectly torn when I consider what to do with my life this next year. I still have a hard time passing the torch to Jesus and trusting Him with my future. I still am annoyed of many things and have to remind myself to be thankful in all circumstances. I still forget how Great my God is. But I know where to fix my eyes.
Turn your eyes upon Jesus.
Look full in His wonderful face.
And the things of Earth will grow strangely dim.
In the light of His glory and grace.
So I confess. I confess sadness. I confess trying to run this race alone. I confess my fear and doubt and questions. But I also confess that Jesus is Lord. I confess that He is in control, that He is perfectly sovereign. I confess that His Word is truer than my emotions and circumstances. I confess that I am His child; His love overwhelms me and His grace covers me.
“The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Romans 10:8-9