I was born 4 days before my mom’s birthday. Every year our birthdays seem to mold into one and turn into our birthday-week. This year it turned into a birthday-month.
My biggest fear in life is not being liked, not measuring up or not being good enough. In June I led a team of 13 to Haiti. I put myself out there (took me 29 years). I was terrified. I grew up as a ministry kid (PK). I have seen enough to know that if you start doing what God asks, Satan will throw everything he can at you. I’ve seen it, I’ve experienced it and I expected it.
There’s a reason why lots of ministry kids are rebels or socially panic-stricken. I’m only half kidding.
The trip went great. I (naively) thought, “That wasn’t so bad or scary, I got through it with a few minor bruises. This is easy!” My confidence was still intact and I felt on top of the world.
In the few weeks since I returned home I’ve had everything from exhaustion to confusion, insecurity, anger, stress at work, resentment, past hurts and memories, arguments with my husband. Everything thrown at me trying to creep in. It’s overwhelming. I hate the idea of going back to school. I feel completely unmotivated to go to work, church, go out with friends or do anything other than sit on the couch. My temper and patience are out of control. That compounded with thoughts like “you’ll never graduate. No one respects you. No one likes you. You’re not going anywhere.”… I’m exhausted.
When you do what God asks, you have a target on your back. It doesn’t matter how big or how small what He asked you to do is. Satan will try to use whatever door he can in whatever way he can to create stinky, ugly chaos in your life. His goal is to create doubt and confusion in your mind. If your world is stinky and chaotic, your mind and heart can become stinky and chaotic (if you’re not washing it out with God). If your mind/heart becomes stinky and chaotic, Satan won’t have to create it. After a while you’ll do that on your own.
My birthday was June 28th. We were in Haiti and since it was Saturday, no English Camp meant we could go to the beach. Even though we all arrived safely in Port-au-Prince, I still wasn’t feeling confident about leading the team. Haiti has the prettiest beaches in all of the Caribbean but they are usually empty because most people don’t consider Haiti as a travel/vacation destination. It’s a shame. The water is crystal clear, the food is amazing and the people are fun. There was a soccer game on. Brazil was playing (Haiti’s favorite team) and they won. There were a lot of people and staff at the beach gathered around the TV. It was so cool to see Haitians react and cheer for their favorite team. Their energy was crazy, I loved it.
The night we got back from the beach my friend Tara made me cake, everyone sang happy birthday and had funky monkeys (Espresso/peanutbutter smoothie–nectar of the gods. ). I felt welcomed and encouraged and loved. I was given gifts but the real gift was feeling accepted.
When I came back to Albuquerque, I was slightly depressed to be back in the U.S. with all the boring, snobby Americans. My husband Jon took me out for cheese and chocolate fondue. Jon always makes me feel safe and has a positive outlook. We spent most the day talking about what we want to do once school is out of the way. I felt encouraged. ..Cheese and chocolate are my love language.
The next week stresses and problems were compounding. Then my friend Tara gave me a gift card for my favorite Mexican food place…. Mexican food is my love language.
Last week problems continued to multiply. My bad attitude and insecurity was at an all-time high. My mom took me out for a pedicure for a late birthday gift. Yesterday I took her for red velvet birthday cake (our favorite). My mom looked down at her plate and said “My birthday is officially over.” I looked down. Sad. “Mine too.” …Pedicures and cake are also my love language.
I know this is small but during my birthday God sent me little gestures through friends and family to keep me encouraged. Throughout everything that’s been stressing me out and creeping in God has been there encouraging me – fighting to keep the chaos and stink out of my heart and mind. It’s hard.
Last week my dad’s family came into town. One of my aunts wrote a book about their family and some of the problems my grandparents faced following God as pastors and missionaries. I read the whole book that night. As I was reading, I realized nothing I am experiencing is new to anyone who has followed God before. I told Jon the next day “It’s taken me 29 years to face my fears. I feel like I’ve been initiated.” Ministry hazing.
There’s no new fears, problems or issues. Whatever you are facing God and others have seen it before. The problems you have aren’t any different than what might have come against Moses or Paul or Gideon. Problems like past mistakes, fear, worry, not measuring up, not being good enough, respected enough, or having people think less of you etc. They are not new. You are only responsible for doing what God asks and conducting yourself in honesty and love. (preaching to myself)
You have a target on your back. Satan will use anything he can to create stinky, ugly chaos in your life. If your world is stinky and chaotic, your mind and heart can become stinky and chaotic. If your mind and heart becomes stinky and chaotic, Satan won’t have to create it. After a while, you’ll do that on your own.
When I think back to this summer, I hope I won’t remember the problems and stress. I hope I’ll remember the love and support of my friends, family and God.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.
My husband made a beautiful video about our trip! Please watch it!