Honest, Spain g42

Leftovers in the yogurt

I’m sitting at Maria’s, drinking a coffee, something that I do most Mondays.

But in four Mondays from now, on the 22nd, I will be 8 hours into a 13 hr plane ride back to California.

That makes my heart constrict a little.
(That makes my heart constrict a lot.)

This place.
These people.
The spirit that remains no matter who passes through.

I love these cobblestone streets more deeply than I actually fathomed I could.

Because really, it’s not the cobblestone streets, but when I walk down them? Each step is filled words and lessons and spirit that pummels into my being.

It’s seeping through my feet.
It’s now in my foundation.
I hear the the hearts, of the staff, the teachers, voices that I value repeating words, phrases of wisdom that I scratch quickly across blank pages.

I want to remember, retain and practice.

There is so much beauty between the covers of my journal, so much whimsy of Christ.
But the one I’ve been going back and forth with, the one I’ve been trying to put into words for myself to keep is this:

I want to live out of WHO I am, not HOW I am.

When I first got to G42 this was a concept that I fought against. I remember a span of months during therapy where I had to write my emotional levels down each day and if I’m being honest with myself my life was up and down by the hour. I held it together reasonably well during work, but as soon as I got home by myself I sunk. I allowed myself to be ruled by what I was feeling and allowed that feeling to come out of my pores and seep into the atmosphere around me.

The ups and downs ruled me. The fact I I came out on the other side is a testament to Christ and to the Christ inside of those around me.

I had no bearings to grasp onto- but I sank, literally, at the foot of the cross at church every week and clung onto hope.

And I got through, a bit battered and a bit cynical.

I’m now Meg.
And I refuse to be up and down.

The last couple months I’ve had more FEELINGS of up and down then I would care to admit, because I know that I can live outside of being ruled by emotions. I know the truths about myself and the truths of who I am.

This challenge- living out of who I am and not how I am- has at moments been tough for me to swallow, because it shimmers it’s way into most aspects of my life. But I realize in the moments where I respond negatively to something because how I feel, how important it is to do life out of who I am.

When I choose to live out of how I am, I am choosing to live out of frustration, negativity, depression, exhaustion.

I am NONE of those things.
It reminds me of how we store leftovers-in yogurt containers. I was cleaning out the fridge to see what we needed to buy for the week. I glanced in our fridge and saw about 4-5 containers and because my house has been eating a lot of yogurt, I did the math and decided how many to buy.

Later talking to one of my housemates, found out that 2 of those containers actually held yogurt. But because we use them to hold something else I assumed they were all leftovers & chose not look. Not only does this say something about assuming, but it says something to me about how I present myself.

If I constantly live out of anger or frustration because those are my feelings, because those are the emotions that I feel so I grab them and run, eventually that will be what people see. Those around me will get so used to me living out of my emotions that it will be the assumption that I am angry and frustrated. There won’t be a second glance to search for something more because that will be all that is seen. My container, my being, will look the same, but inside it will be assumed it is negativity.

But really that’s not what is inside.
Inside is yogurt.
I just have to actually look.

I want to live a life where people don’t actually have to look inside to know that it is love. I want to live out of who I am, which is someone who loves, among so many other aspects.

I am a woman who has a lot to learn, and because of that a lot to give. And a lot of love

That’s where I am. I am nowhere near the end of figuring out how to do this, how to live solely on who I am. I’m finding that foundation, I’m finding the Christ inside me that has created that foundation of who I am.

I want to live on it and from it.

(And I don’t want you to automatically assume there are leftovers in the yogurt containers.)

Honest, Spain g42

it just comes to us

My journal is a scary place right now.

And I’m starting a new one tomorrow.

It’s mainly notes from 8 weeks or so of class here in Spain with bits and pieces of thoughts and revelation intertwined in the pages.

I’ve sorted a lot of it out through asking questions and conversations over coffee, tea and wine. But the pages of my journal are a mess of words, phrases and scribbles.

And if there is one theme that weaves it’s way through all of it, it’s the theme of identity.

We talk about identity so much in this world. And as someone who has spent most of her Christian life in bible studies with groups of women it’s a topic that causes me to roll my eyes.

I don’t think we need to SEARCH so hard for our identity.

I think it just comes to us.

That’s why my journal is peppered with talk of identity.

Because as I learn more and more about this new face of Jesus I’m seeing who I am.

We live this life where we strive to find identity in everything that we do. In everywhere we go.

But what if we didn’t need to strive? What if we didn’t need to search for things that give us clues to who we are but what if instead we searched to learn about who Jesus was and is presently.

I’ve been learning something beautiful the last 2 months: I’ve been learning about who God IS. And he definitely isn’t a lot of what I’ve heard all my life.

He’s joyous. He delights in us. He gives us keys to the plans he has and tells us to run with them. He does not want to check our every decision.

He just wants us to be who he created us to be. Because those creations are vibrant and lovely already.

So while I’ve been searching for this identity it’s honestly been right in my front of my face.

I am who God created me to be.

I don’t need bible studies or books or anything to figure that out.

I just need to walk arm and arm with God and hear what he tells me, through so many varities of ways and I need to pick up what’s meant for me.

Nothing more, nothing less

hope is a verb, Spain g42, To dream

Cake with Jam

Before coming to Spain I had the vague idea of what I wanted to do. But mainly I just had this large pile of things that I wanted to be involved in. Passions, gifts, talents, words. Just in this bag of tricks that I lugged with me over an ocean.

I had no idea what to do with it.

A few weeks into my time in Spain we held the inaugural g42 reunion. Alumni from the first five years came from all over the globe to remember and celebrate what God had done and was doing, to lift one another up, to visit this place so many people still call home and of course to establish more vision in the next years of life.

The house I live in is the bigger of the two so we hosted ten alumni and in that group was the Harder family. Steve and Jo Harder and their beautiful boys who are missionaries to Ukraine.

Jo is a kindred spirit.

She is a powerful, strong, vibrant woman who hears wonderful, beautiful truths from God.

At the reunion kickoff we had a time of prayer and prophecy and Jo shared a word she had. She wasn’t sure who it was for but she knew she had to share it.

She shared a picture of this person who was holding all of this JAM. It was dripping out of their hands and the person wasn’t sure what to do with it all. Jo reiterated that she didn’t know who it was for, but if it was for you then to come see her.

I didn’t give it a second thought. Mainly because I was in an incredibly emotionally, overwhelmed place and also because I didn’t WANT to hear it.

(you see where this is going don’t you)

So that evening after worship was over I had two people come up and say they thought of me when the “jam hands” picture was given. Why? The week prior I had made a wedding cake and the filling? Raspberry jam.

But, like I said I wasn’t in the place or the mindset. And also like I said in this last blog; I feel as if God has been “saving thoughts” for me and this thought; this picture was one he saved for me.

A couple weeks later during class we were doing the process of identity mapping and while Zach was getting his done I suddenly had this thought:

What if I opened a secondhand bookstore?

There it was. A random thought in the middle of class on a Thursday morning.

What if I opened a secondhand bookstore and taught creative writing classes?

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I wrote a little more and then stopped.

What if I taught story? Through everything in this little bookstore.

Through creative writing, through baking, through book clubs, through sharing and laughing over good food.

 Wow.

Since going on the world race I’ve known that for the rest of my life I want to sit across tables from people. I want to hear story and see what is going on the lives of those around me.

I am honored that I get the privilege of hearing what God is doing and being able to speak into what God is doing and where he is going in someone’s life.

I’ve also known that I want to tell my story and let other’s use it in their lives.

I want to teach things that are good for the heart. I want to use the things I have been given to speak into other’s lives.

I want to create a space out of which people can MOVE.

But my thought prior to this random moment of revelation was where in the WORLD can I do this? Is this just a lifestyle that I am going to live? Is this a ministry I will step into?

But there wasn’t enough for me in that.

And then sitting in the class in the middle of the morning I just knew.

I knew I had found something that was more.

I knew I had found something that terrified me.

I knew that I was standing there with jam on my hands

Later that same afternoon I did my identity mapping up front. And one the questions that was asked of me was this: Where do you see yourself in 30 years.

My answer: Standing on my porch.

So what does that mean?

That I own a house.

WHAT?

And suddenly everything that I had ever thought was gone and I was choosing to believe in myself more. Choosing to believe that I could do more then just sit across from someone at a coffee shop.

So that’s where I am going to leave this.

image

That’s where I am going to leave you.

With the fact that there is more for me then I ever actually thought possible.

I’m dreaming big, creating a plan to get there. It’s not a next year plan, or even two years, but a long term plan.

Dreaming, thinking and invisoning the future.

I’m here in Spain for 3 more months and would be honored if you would consider partnering with me in further what I’ve learned and done here.

To see ways that you can journey with me check this out.

I’ll leave you with a verse from class today; the prayer of Jabez. It encourages me to dream, hope, and long for more.

1 Chronicles 4:10

Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, “Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.” And God granted his request.

It gives me the courage to know that I CAN do more with all this jam on my hands.

 

ramblings, Spain g42

all I have is a topic sentence

I’ve started at least 3 blogs in the last five minutes trying to figure out what to write about.

There are multiple things I could write about right now. I have a myriad of thoughts flying through my brain.

But most of them are all topic sentences:

(Re)Learning to use my voice.

(Re)Learning to step out in faith.

Learning to burst beyond that which makes me uncomfortable.

Learning to leave insecurity at the door.

Learning not to second guess myself or my purpose.

It’s all a beginning. Or more so a continuation.

7 months ago I got off of a plane into a familiar place that had turned unknown.

A week ago I go on a plane to an unknown place that is full of familiar.

photo 3((some of my NSquad girls who I have the joy & privilege of doing life with here in Spain))

And the lessons aren’t the same. But the lessons here have built upon the lessons from there.

So now I sit here with all of these topic sentences at the beginning of a new season. 5 for now; probably more to come. And here’s the thing:

That’s ok.

It’s like God is handing me this notebook with a topic at the top of each page and saying

“it’s ok. You don’t have to figure all this out tonight. Or even tomorrow. I’m just saying it’s time.”

And it is time.

photo 2((july interns on a scavenger hunt through Mijas))

There are a couple things that I’ve let lurk in my closet far too long that I am ready to let out and then beat them down with a broom. They have been taunting me and poking their heads out for too long.

And God is reminding me daily that it’s fine. And it’s time.

I tore so many chains aside last year; and I’ve come to realize that I have some more. They’re rusted over because they’ve been there for so long that I’ve forgotten about them.

It took the demolishing of the chains on top of them to realize that they were there.

So that’s where I am. I’m sitting here in lovely Spain, having just finished my first week of class with a post it note of topic sentences; of things God is going to walk with me through.

And it’s going to be good. And hard. And beautiful.

I’m here. I’m ready to live through these lessons that I may come back someday and be able to tell you about another chain that has fallen off.

I am here.

photo 4

And here I go.

 (click here if you would like to see ways in which you can journey with me

Honest

chapter titles in the book of my life (part 1)

My second overseas mission trip was to South Africa with my church in Orange County. There were 22 of us going and every other weekend for a few months leading up the trip I would leave my Sunday morning job early and haul over to the church for training.                                                                                                                        In an effort to hear story and to get to know each other better we would share “defining moments”: a way to share our heart and apart of story without having to sit there for hours upon hours hearing about each detail of each others lives.                                                                                                                                                    Since that summer I’ve always had that in my head. The concept of defining moments; going back through pivotal moments in life and seeing and realizing how those lead you to where you are now.  I’ve realized that all of these would be the start of new chapter in my life, of a new lesson I was to learn.

image-9

In an effort to share more of how I’ve gotten to where I am now I want to share five specific defining moments (in two parts) . Now, I feel as if I have more than that but these specific four speak volumes into who I am and where I’ve come from. (Mind you; I’m not even touching on 2013 and the world race because that is a defining year and we’re just not going there right now.)

 

DEFINING MOMENT numero uno.                                                                                                                                                                 (my attempt to practice my spanish)

Kind of cliché’ but here I would like to talk about high school graduation. Back in June of 2003 I graduated from Kingsburg High school. I wasn’t a valedictorian (all my friends were) I did get to sing at graduation and baccalaureate. But I knew as I walked across the grassy football field that I was finally officially walking into something new. I was going to get a chance to become someone new.

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And going into freshman year in college I feel like I did.

My freshman year was a jumble of first time experiences and not always making it to my 8AM music theory class. I spent my freshman year as a music major, singing in a choir, taking way too many one unit classes and hanging out with girls I would have never fit in with in high school. We were the girls who broke many of our contracted rules (I went to a private Christian university), we somehow got the mark of the “mean girls”, we generally got what we wanted and we honestly just had a lot of fun. I think that graduating high school and moving into undergrad was everything it was supposed to be for a small town girl who moved to the ocean. It did what it was supposed too. It awakened me to new experiences, to a bigger world, to a different way to experience God and to a person inside of me who never had anyone allowed herself to show. It will go down as one of the best decisions I’ve ever made for myself. It was my first step into a tangible kind of freedom on the inside.

 

piclab-12                                                                              (melissa karli and I. CH 421 for the win) 

DEFINING MOMENT numero dos,

Freshman year I met a boy. His name was Joe. He was transfer junior; but he was in his first year as well. We had a few music classes together and he was in bible classes with my roommate Melissa. Everybody loved Joe. Including me. Joe made me smile, made me laugh, he called me “han” after he learned I had an H in my name. Joe always showed up to open hours to our dorm room. Joe always found a way to bribe me to get me to go to AM/PM or In and Out at midnight.

When school ended in May and everyone went home for the summer Joe and I still talked a lot. We texted, he’d talk to me on the phone as I walked to my job at the coffee shop. He sometimes text me at midnight and ask me to go to AM/PM even though we lived 3 hours apart, it was mainly a joke but sometimes I wondered if I’d get a text and he’d actually be outside.

Then Joe went MIA in the middle of June.

Needless to say I was pissed. I left scathing voicemails, threatening to never go to in and out with him at midnight, he’d need a new buddy for his Gatorade runs to the gas station. Then on the July 3rd (it was our towns 4th of July celebration day…don’t ask) I got a phone call from “brada joe” (my Hawaiian friend Kaiu had changed multiple names in my phone) I took a deep breath ready to angrily reem him out.

And didn’t get the chance to do any of it. Joe explained how he’d been in the hospital for a couple weeks and all my anger melted away. We talked for awhile about it and made a stupid pact that as soon as I got to campus we’d go to starbucks and not at all before then. And we’d take more pictures, because I informed him, I’d scrolled through pictures and there were hardly any of us.

Joe passed away 3 days later.

That week was hell for me. It was a week filled with tragedy, boating accidents, friends in the hospital and then an instant message from Joe’s brother that brought me to my knees.

piclab-10

The funeral was a week later. My friends from VU sat crammed in a row meant for less people, holding hands and crying. It was the first loss that we had felt without the impact of our family feeling it too.

It was the first time I learned how to be mad at God. How to wrestling with Him, how to yell at Him. My relationship with God became messy after this, more personal. BETTER really.

Going into sophomore year without Joe was rough, really rough. Questions from ignorant people were worse. I got by, learn to walk in God’s strength for the first time.

There are still some days even now though that I miss his voice yelling at me from the 7th floor of Huntington or the times when he’d plead with me to go with him to in and out just one more time. I wrote about that loss in a poem in my creative writing class senior year. It’s thumb tacked in an old poetry blog here.

So there are the first two.

It’s a lot and nothing all at the same time. Just a couple small pieces into the woman I have become and how I got there. Just segments out of two chapters in my life. Themes that still run deep to this day.

Next up will be the moments where I realized I had more to give, that I needed to open my mouth and the moment that made me quit. Look out for it soon.

(my life’s next batch of defining moments will take place for 6 months in Spain starting in July. To learn more about how you can walk with and journey with me through that here)