It has been entirely too long since I have written and I am more sorry for myself since I probably get more out of these blogs than anyone else. Alas, I have finally forced myself so sit and reminisce about the amazing summer I had!
Remember when I said leaving London was hard? I don’t think I truly understood how hard it is to leave a place until I fell in love with Montana.
As beautiful as Montana is, the hardest part about leaving revolved around the friendships I made and the lessons I learned.
I came into this internship with 3 words from my dad. Listen. Learn. Love.
Listen.The beginning of this year I allowed fear and doubt to cloud my hearts desire and faith in hearing from God. But, applying for this internship and moving to Montana for this summer has turned my ear to Jesus more than ever. God allowed for opportunities to grow a listening ear with friends as well as with Him. I don’t think I’ve ever been more confident than I am right now that I hear Him when He speaks to me. I’ve learned that part of hearing Him is trusting that you are actually hearing Him and not yourself.
I remember telling a friend of mine once that I can repeat truth back to myself when I need it so it was hard for me to know the difference in my voice versus the Lord’s. She looked at me with a quizzical face and said, “Are you sure that isn’t the Lord repeating truth to you?” Well, no, of course I had never thought of that. I’m entirely too self-centered to think I couldn’t hear Him when he speaks(oops).
In John 15:4 Christ says”remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.“
If we are in God then he is also in us. And whatever good fruit we bear, it is not on our own. I think the same applies when hearing from God. If we cultivate and grow a relationship with Him, the encouragement you need and get doesn’t come from your own heart. It comes from God’s. Therefore, we must rely on Him for any good thing to be said to us or come out of us.
God is always speaking with us. We just have to seek out the different avenues in which he does so. Truthfully, I hear Him best when I write. I journal questions and the like and start writing whatever I feel like comes to mind. Then I read over it, make sure it lines up with scripture, is life giving, and trust that it’s from the Lord. Trusting Him is half the battle.
Learn. Well duh dad I’m going to spending my time learning this summer. That’s what it’s about. Right? I had no idea the context in which learning would take value over my summer. I learned much in the way of listening and loving however, I learned the most what honor means.
In Fresh Life’s code, it says that “we are an uprising of honor”. Throughout this internship I saw how prevalent the value honor was/is. It permeated every aspect of the church and it’s ministry. Because it was everywhere you went, my friends and I were all deeply impacted by this code value. The very first day of our internship, and in the days following, we were always shown the utmost honor and respect by our superiors; “We are so excited and honored for you to be here! How crazy is it that you would move to Montana for a summer?!” However, sweet statements like this were always followed with, “Although it is such an honor for us to have you here, remember that it is also an honor for you to get to be a part of what God is doing here.”
I think for the first time in many of our lives, we learned to honor God with where we where at because it truly is an honor to be a part of what God is doing no matter where you are. And making the choice to put your whole heart into wherever God has put you. Wherever you are, you’re there for a reason. And at the least, God can use you. Choosing to honor God with our time made it a summer of a lifetime.
So often we get caught up in the what; what we’re doing, instead of focusing on the why. If the Almighty God of the universe has allowed you to be a part of a ministry His hand is over, whatever that ministry looks like, may you never lose sight of the blessing you have been given.
Love. This is the one I struggled with the most which is probably why it was my last word. I’ve done a summer long program this like before. And as spiritually and personally rewarding as it was, I knew coming into this internship how hard it is to love people fiercely and then have to leave them.
Even though I was commanded specifically to love this summer, I had already set it in my heart that I would not could not allow too much love in my heart for everyone and everything.
Isn’t it so funny how we often think we can deny our very nature in an attempt to guard our selfish hearts?
I don’t know that I could list ever person that had an impact on me this summer. Because it would probably include just about everyone I came in contact with.
The closer we got to the end of the internship, the more my heart broke. I wrestled with the Lord. Yelled, kicked, screamed, cried, threw a tantrum. I did not want to leave. I could not leave these people, this place, or what I know God was doing there.
I had learned to listen, listened to learn, and in doing both of those come to love a group of people more fiercely than I have loved many in a while.
At the end, all I can say is that God is crazy faithful. While in London I had been thinking that the next thing I knew my heart needed; a new community and a place to be poured into. (I also thought it would be super rad to live in the mountains next). When I applied for the internship, I didn’t have either of these things in mind. God had anticipated the desires of my heart and had already set me up with an opportunity that would fulfill those desires. He didn’t just meet my need, he exceeded it.
One month later and my heart is still overjoyed at how faithful the Lord is. Like the story of Zaccheaus and the tree; the tree was planted well before Zaccheaus would need it. God knew when he would need it, and there it would be. Christ knows exactly what you need when you need it. He doesn’t just want to meet your need, he wants to exceed your need (what, what Pastor Levi). That tree was planted so that Zaccheaus could climb it to see Jesus speak, be called out by Jesus, and allow Jesus into his home that night so that he could be forever changed.
Jesus knows what season you’re in. He knows exactly where your heart is and further, He knows what it truly needs. If only we chose to trust Him, He will exceed the need. Chose to trust Him blindly and wholly and maybe you too will find that the deepest desires of your heart are met by a God who loves you more fiercely than you could ever comprehend.