Poor in Spirit

Traveling has a way of re-aligning us. Looking back on the past five years of my life, travel has been laced throughout and re-alignment has come as a result of so many of the experiences I’ve had.

After going to Afghanistan the first time, I changed my college major. Changing my major led me to pursue a summer program in South Africa. I quickly learned that I could handle much more than I ever thought possible – I wondered how far God would push me and what he would ask me to do next.

Another trip to Afghanistan eventually happened, trips to Seattle and the east coast, layovers in Europe, and as my cross-cultural experience grew so did my love for Jesus. I matured in my faith and learned of the abundance of God. With each experience came new understanding of God and his provision for me.

My faith boiled down to this: God will show me where to go and what to do, He gives me direction, He will take care of me.

Moving to Kenya was the next big step, yet another example of God showing me clearly where to go and what to do. I faithfully followed the call despite the adversity it presented. Uganda and Tanzania came next, along with London. A near death experience there, a new adventure there, it was everything risky and life changing and amazing and hard. My time in East Africa was everything you probably imagine it was, equal parts challenging and spectacular.

Six months later I found myself back in the Untied States, unemployed and lonely… but changed. Kenya showed me that I am strong and smart. I came back with enough confidence to muster up the courage to accept the job I have had for the past two years. With that job came another trip to Uganda and a trip to South Sudan. Growth, learning, and re-direction all came in the ways I needed at just the right time. God is so faithful.

Today, I sit on a plane heading to Germany on yet another trip.

I’ve done this enough times now to know that God has a way of revealing more of himself to me when I’m traveling. I need it this week more than ever. Honestly, I boarded this plane feeling more lost and swirly that I have in years. The worthiness battle is raging, big life change is looming, my friendships are evolving as each day passes (or at least I feel that way).

This trip feels heavier than the others… probably as a result of the season I’m currently in, where I feel as though I’m dragging a giant ball and chain behind me. I mentioned this in an earlier post, but I’m still running wounded.   I’m still in pain from the trauma of this past month. I want to be fine but I’m just not yet.

I feel immature – still.

I feel crazy – still.

I feel untrustworthy – still.

I feel unlovable – still.

I’m still depleted and emotionally drained but I’ve gotten to a place where I can say I am thankful. Baby steps. I am processing, albeit slowly.

In my daily bible study, one of the women said something that I thought was so wise:

 “When we become a Christian, it sometimes gets harder because the darkest parts of us are exposed – our motives come to the surface.”

Ugh, so true. God is revealing to me what my dark places are. He’s forcing me to live there for a while and I am so immeasurably thankful for it. There is a beauty in brokenness that is only explained through relationship with Jesus. I’m learning to find the beauty in the midst of pain and function there, and still be worthy.

This week is big for me. I start a new job the Monday I return. There are so many other factors that play in to me saying what I am about to say but I believe the timing of this trip was divine.

As I forge ahead in to my dark places and become friendly with my flaws, I am going to come before God with an attitude of thankfulness. I am going to pray this week earnestly for the refreshment I have learned to expect when I see God working in a new context.

I will end with the verse that has guided me in preparation for this week:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” Matthew 5:3

I am at the end of my rope and I am at the end of myself. My dark places will consume everything in their path and they will blow up my life and the lives of those I love if I choose to live my life apart from Jesus. So this week, my prayer is for God to once again show me what it means to truly be poor in Spirit.



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