Unknown to all but a few of you, I have been suffering with the greatest internal struggle of my life throughout the past six weeks. I'm a stranger in my own body and often have difficulty trying to place a finger upon what's truly bothering me. I spend a lot of time in my head trying to figure things out, but each thought leads me wandering down a path of self destruction.
I knew before I set out to become a Peace Corps volunteer that times would be tough and I would face many challenges. The Peace Corps boasts that it is "the toughest job you'll ever love" and I can testify to the truth in that statement. There are moments I feel like giving up and coming home, moments when I feel like I'm not making a difference at all, and moments when I feel like I'm incapable of accomplishing anything worthwhile in my life. The moments come and go - and then I feel like I can be back in touch with my optimistic self. It's quite a rollercoaster though - and it hasn't exactly been much fun for me. It's nothing I want to write home about either..
Instead of turning to other people for help, I've turned inward like a true introvert would. Indeed, that's helpful in some circumstances, but fighting this internal battle alone is something that has left me confused and frustrated. I'm very aware of my strong support system, so why do I try to be the tough girl and tackle this on my own? It all comes down to ego. I want to be independent. I want to be able to do this alone.
But no one is meant to live life that way. And today, I had a beautiful reminder that no matter how much I internalize my problems, He hears everything. He hears my prayers. And He knows my heart.
Allow me to tell a story….
Meghan is a friend from high school - someone I didn't know very well at all. I can't tell you her parents names, how many siblings she has, or her favorite color. But I can tell you that I am an avid reader of her blog. I remember speaking with Meghan last year some time to tell her how excited I was for her adventures…. She is a part of The World Race. She is spending 11 months traveling the world, ministering to people about the love of Jesus. A remarkable way to spend some time!
I'm subscribed to her blog - and an email pops up with each new post. Today, I sat down to read her new post "Chicken and Jesus." Her posts always resonate with my soul, speak truth about the world around us, and more often than not, bring me to tears. She has an amazing way with words - and an even more profound impact on those around her. Anyway, I read her post, felt very inspired and moved by the content, and proceeded to check facebook. There, in my inbox, was a message from Meghan. And this is what she wrote:
So the other day I was sitting on a bus across Africa and Jesus reminded me of you, He said "encourage her" and I was like yes, God I would love to... but then I forgot when I got off the bus. Then the other day I met a guy in the peace corp at the border of Malawi and Tanzania and again God reminded me of you telling me to encourage you... but then I got on the bus again and forgot. But then today I set up my tent on this hillside in the middle of Malawi. He was just loving on me because I really needed it (it is hard to be from home for so long... as I am sure you can relate, especially around Christmas). His love just reminded me of how beautiful he made my heart, even if I make mistakes. And I keep on making mistakes and the older I get the more aware of them I am, and the Devil is breathing down my back telling me I am unworthy of love.
Today our host family fed us chicken, chicken in Africa is pretty sketch (I am sure you have discovered this already) so after everyone else had chosen I went for what looked like the meatiest piece that was left. Well I took a little bite of it and soon discovered it was the neck... so I put it back the plate in attempt to exchange it out but everyone saw it and yelled about how gross it was and how immature it was to put a piece of chicken back that I had nibbled on. So I said I was sorry and that could be a non-piece (those pieces that don't really count as pieces because they are feet or a liver or something) well someone took it and ate it saying that I could easily eat the meat off it. It made me feel really stupid and for that whole rest of the day the Devil has been reminding me about that stupid piece of chicken, making me feel like Hitler himself. I got so down on myself, I felt like I just kept making mistakes and that I couldn't get my act together. I felt unworthy to be his servant or minister to anyone.
So in my attempt for relief I set up this tent under a big beautiful mango tree and God just reminded me that I have big, beautiful heart. That God is absolutely smitten with me. And I felt the weight lift off my shoulders, but He didn't stop there. I got this picture of this big beautiful boat on this sunny day sailing across the ocean. He said my love for you is so deep that you could sail across it. And so then I asked how wide and He gave me a picture of these massive mountains like in the Rockies, He said that as wide as the mountains were from peak to peak that his love was wider than that. And taller that the tallest Redwoods in California and longer than the Nile. He said that is how I love you.
I sat there astounded and feeling just so loved by such an incredible God.
And then He said tell Tate I love her like that, too.
So I tell you this story because God loves you a whole lot and He won't let me forget it. Even though I hardly know you, He loves you so much that He told me.
So it doesn't matter if you took a nibble of a chicken and put it back, or if lied or cheated or whatever, it doesn't matter because your heart is just so beautiful and He is just in love with you.He wants you to know that, inside and out.
I hope that this note blesses you instead of weirding you out.
May you drown in His love....
Tears began flowing down my cheeks as I read her words. A blog post I had just read that spoke so sweetly to my heart - was also personally intended for me. Meghan and I have only exchanged a few brief words since her departure, so she isn't even aware of how closely I am following her adventures. She doesn't even know how her blog posts inspire me to walk closer to the Lord. She's unaware of all of it… and yet, here she is, going out on a limb to remind me that God loves me.
Her note really did bless me - and will continue to be with me for a long time to come. I copied down the blog in my journal so I will always remember this moment and this lesson - God loves us all more than we could ever fathom and we need to spread the message of love to others. I am more than enough in His eyes and I can't do everything alone - and today, I was reminded that I have never been walking alone on this journey. He is always with me and by my side.
I am so grateful for Meghan sharing her story with me - my heart doesn't feel as heavy and my soul is filled with peace. God Bless You, Meghan. May you continue to spread love to people all over the world!
Love & Light,