I wrote a letter to me 200 days ago

For those of you who don’t know, I went on the World Race in 2015. It’s an 11-month missions trip to 11 countries. Each month brought its own special recipe to destroy me in ways I never fathomed, so that with each passing month I grew more into my true identity, for which God originally created me.

About half-way through this adventure, during month 7 (with four more months ahead of me), I wrote a note to my post-world-race self. Well now that I’ve been home for two months, I found that letter.

Dear Sarah,

I hope the rest of your Race went well. I hope that your workout with Jesus really strengthens you and prepares you for that open field of wild yellow flowers. The real world is out in the open–exposed, wild and dangerous. Don’t forget Jesus told you that he won’t ever leave your side. Remember where you came from–that field of holes and ladders Abba made to help get you out. Giving up that tree house to fall in love with Jesus was worth it. Life is hard and sucks sometimes, but God is near to the brokenhearted. I’m excited to see how you grow in your relationship with Jesus and how you will show grace and love to all you encounter. Don’t ever stop praying for all the people you met on this journey. Remember to protect your heart and be aware of red flags. One thing I want you to remember is that there is always more to learn and to be ok with having to be reminded of the basic lessons. Love yourself so you can love others well too. Your actions have more power than your words, which can give life or death. Don’t forget to dance.

Love,

Sarah from July 18, 2015 in Estonia

I wrote that letter exactly 200 days ago. Two hundred days ago, I didn’t know Jesus would take me to that open field in month 10 in Cambodia as I was recovering from Dengue Fever, infested with head lice, and crying to a teammate in a shack on the beach about how nobody loved me. In that moment I temporarily forgot that Jesus told me that he would never leave my side. God knew that would happen and placed me with a loving teammate who gently reminded me by helping me look up from my self pity party and find Jesus right next to me, where he promised he would be.

Two hundred days ago, all I knew is that five months prior I had taken a step away from all my past dreams to follow Jesus, represented by the tree house. Clueless to where Jesus was taking me, I was fully satisfied that he was worth it. Later that month, Jesus called me into college discipleship using skills he instilled in me from birth.

Two hundred days ago, when I wrote “life is hard and sucks sometimes,” I had no idea exactly how hard it was about to get. I didn’t know that changing teams would feel like a bad break-up. I didn’t know that God would shove me into leadership. I didn’t know that I would struggle so hard with pride and getting over myself just to say, “I’m sorry.” I didn’t know that I would get dengue fever, head lice, or spend the night vomiting after throwing out my back. I didn’t know that saying goodbye to my squad would feel more painful than when I tore my ACL. I didn’t know that living in my parents’ home after travelling the world felt like I was taking steps backwards.

Two hundred days ago was a long time ago, but through it all, through all the difficulties and trials, I knew the truth. In the humming of my brain working when it’s on autopilot, I hear the phrase, “Life is hard and sucks sometimes, but God is near to the brokenhearted.”

Tears welled in my eyes as I read, “Don’t ever stop praying for all the people you met on this journey.” I know I pray for them sometimes, but I feel I forget more often than I remember. God brought such incredible people into my life during each month, and I never want to stop remembering them in my prayers. How can we just discard people who impacted us so well in our life? Never stop praying for the people you meet on your journey.

“One thing I want you to remember is that there is always more to learn and to be ok with having to be reminded of the basic lessons.” Give yourself grace. If you ever transition seasons, tattoo this phrase on your arm, “give yourself grace,” because you will forget. You will. But that’s ok. There’s grace for that.

“Love yourself so you can love others well too.” You know the verse Mark 12:31 that tells us to love our neighbors as ourselves? I know everyone knows that phrase, even if you don’t read the Bible. Well what I want you to think about is what if you don’t love yourself? How can you love others well? And once again: give yourself grace.

“Your actions have more power than your words, which can give life or death.” If my words have power to give life or death (Proverbs 18:21) and actions are more powerful than words (1 John 3:17-18), then my actions have the power to bring myself glory or proclaim the gospel much louder than my voice ever could.

And finally my past words of wisdom for 200 days later Sarah:

Don’t forget to dance.

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