The last few weeks, ever since Hilo have kind of been insanely busy. Obviously, I haven't had a chance to blog since then, but I felt like sharing some quick thoughts. If I have time, I'll eventually write some detailed posts from the last few weeks, but blogging just isn't a big priority in my life right now.
So today we were given our last chance to "back out" of going to Japan and Korea. Maria said that if we were feeling overwhelmed now, it's only going to be worse on outreach and we should really ask God and make sure that it's the right thing for us to go.
I was feeling pretty tired and worn down at this point; my lower back has been in a lot of pain (prayer would be appreciated, for healing and for wisdom about what I should do to help it get better) and it's been a crazy few weeks with a few meltdowns. Doubts started to creep into my mind: can I handle the disorganization, and craziness, is this what God really wants me to do?
Fortunately they gave us the day off from rehearsals and just let us relax. So I spent a little time in prayer and didn't really hear anything. (I don't know about you guys, but I'm definitely not at a point where I just close my eyes and hear from God.) So I called my mom, we chatted for a while, I mentioned it and that I was feeling a little stressed. A few hours later I was still feeling stressed so I called her back and we had a great long chat. I'm so thankful for my mom. She really encouraged me that I can handle it and God has obviously opened all the right doors to get me here. She pointed out that just last week I was telling her how I would leave for outreach now if I could. After we talked I felt so free and much more joyful and I let go of all that doubting and fear. And while we were talking, my back seemed to loosen up a lot. All that tension was probably not helping it.
I also realized part of why I've been feeling a little down during the last few weeks. I've been so focused on "resting" during any free time, I forgot that what really energizes me and feels like rest is hanging out with people. So I let go of my to-do list and decided to look for someone to hang out with tonight. I put up a status on Facebook and then a minute or two later stepped outside because I heard one of my leaders and I had a question for her. Victoria and Kerry happened to be heading down to fro-yo right at that minute, and then they were planning on watching a movie. I'm pretty sure it was a God-thing, because those were two of the things I had been thinking would be fun to do tonight. I'm so thankful for all the friends I'm making here.
We went to the cafe and watched a few minutes of a Johnny Depp movie from the 90's and then some of the doubts starting creeping back into my mind. I prayed about it. A few minutes later we ran into Maria and ended talking to her for a while about outreach and it got me so excited to go again. She explained that she's really been giving us the worst-case scenarios in class so that we're prepared, but we'll actually have a fair amount of free time on outreach. And they have all these fun things planned for us, like historical villages and shopping and restaurants. Plus, she told us that we'll only be staying in about three places in each country, and just driving to wherever our performances are each week, so we won't have to move all our stuff around all the time. After that I just felt so excited about all of it and I really enjoy getting to spend time with Maria in a closer setting like that.
After Maria left, I hung out with the girls for a little while longer, and laughed the hardest I've laughed since I've been here. Then one of my friends from home had written this note on Facebook on perseverance and joy through trials that was a lot of what I had talked to my mom about earlier. It was cool.
Motto for today: The joy of the Lord is my strength! (I bought a feather earring last week. There's a guy on campus who makes them as a fundraiser and he prays over each one and includes a message on the tag. And that's what mine said.)
P.S. So You Think You Can Dance inspires me so much! And you should try ice cream with hot chai poured over it, and I did a marathon shopping trip and went to three stores and tried on clothes in less than an hour last week, and some of my friends got baptized in the ocean, and I got to cook with actual fresh herbs during kitchen duty on Sunday!
That's all! Good night!