Yesterday we hosted our first party. I loved watching the students transform as the night went on. We welcomed 10 people into our home. To the students these men and women were strangers who did not speak their language. The discomfort was palpable. As the hours passed on the discomfort turned to ease. The fear of speaking Spanish turned to comfort and risk combined. Friendships were established, future plans were made and people lingered for well past 5 hours. It was incredible in every way.
I love watching the students. I love listening to them. I love hearing them. It is a pleasure to serve them.
Today we hosted a dinner (which is our lunch) for a local artist, his girlfriend and he also invited another friend to join us. Both artists showed us their work and as they did, we were invited into their stories. It was powerful. The artist who was invited by his friend, I believe, was truly invited by Jesus to join us. His art displayed a deep sadness. This struck the students and their desire for him to know freedom is beautiful to see.
Our conversations about mission and being in people’s lives have been rich and full and already transformational.
On to another subject:
My year has been challenging. Quite actually. When I received the invitation to come to Spain, it was almost as if Jesus himself were inviting me. I knew I had to go. I packed my bags and without much knowledge about “the what” to my trip, I knew I was to go. Since coming I’m even more certain that this is a time for me to live into the freedom that has come from my months of darkness. (The darkness actually was a catalyst for freedom, so in many ways I find myself thankful for the season.) The freedom I felt as I got on the plane was almost as though I stepped into the passage: The old has gone and the new has come.
Living into new is not all that easy. My life was filled with patterns, coping mechanisms and ways of living that kept me from truth, learning and freedom. I now find myself unwilling to participate in those habits and am unwilling to step back into the old. It is truly gone. But …. new has come. This passage for me almost always was this happy, chipper almost euphoric idea. NEW! New has come.
And at the same time… New has come. New. Not old. Not familiar. Not comfortable. But NEW!
I don’t know about you, but every time I’ve experienced anything new, at first it’s always been challenging. A new home. A new job. A new city. A new haircut. A new pair of glasses. A new language Everything… everything new must be worn in and lived into. But, at first the new is difficult, uncomfortable, challenging and seemingly impossible, all held in the hands of peace, good and freedom. I’ve known this reality here. For not only am I in a new location physically, I’m also in a new location spiritually and emotionally. The old has gone and with it, went my habits, control tactics and coping mechanisms. Therefore, when discomfort, sadness or the unexpected hits I feel completely out of my skin. Yes, I feel freedom, but I also feel discomfort. There have been moments here where I’ve felt an almost instantaneous compulsion to burst into tears. I get caught off guard as I feel a new that I know is good, but the familiar which kept me “safe” for so many years is no longer with me and there is great risk and vulnerability in that.
I feel naked a lot. I feel as though I have been stripped of all the things I’ve used to cover my shame and now I’m standing naked, wondering if it’s okay to be doing such. I feel a deep vulnerability. It is good. It is risky. It is true. God is in it.
With all of this new, I am experiencing good. The good is real and filled with truth. It is beautiful and I’m so thankful to be walking in it. (even though at times it is painful) Freedom is uncomfortable. But I intend, as a friend reminded me today, to do as Marmie said to Jo in Little Women, “Go and embrace your liberty… and see what beautiful things may come of it!” What a great line. What a great invitation! It is an invitation I fully intend to take.
I am living into my liberty and beauty is found here.