Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Paris, the City of Lovers (and this Future YASCer)

If you are reading this blog, then you know that I will be spending the next year serving with YASC in some foreign country. But until this point I have not written anything about where I will be going and what I will be doing. Why it has taken me so long to fill you in? I have no idea!

So here it is (drumroll please): sometime in August, I will be moving to Paris! Whhhhaaaaaattttt?!?! Yes, you did read that right, I will be moving back to France this coming year! 

It's crazy and never in my wildest dreams did I expect it! And to be honest with you, I was, in a small way, disappointed at first. Now before you go thinking that I've lost my mind, let me explain. Going into this I fully expected to be traveling to a country that we (at least I) typically think of when we think of missionary work: a country in Africa, Central America, South America, etc - somewhere that I've never been. I was thrilled about this prospect; I love visiting new places. Sure that can be scary and definitely out of my comfort zone, but I thought that this would be an excellent opportunity to challenge myself. To rely fully on God and the people I would be meeting there. And almost as important, I would learn to further trust in myself.

And then the email arrived, asking me if I was okay with my placement being in Paris. As I've mentioned, I was shocked. I spent a year studying abroad in France. I visited Paris many times. I am, in many ways (excluding language skills), comfortable in Paris. God, why are you sending me there? So, like I always do when I am confused and questioning, I called my dad. AND HE LAUGHED! Laughed because this is hilarious. I did say I wanted to go back. And now I can never say that God doesn't listen to my prayers! 

I realized through this conversation with my dad and a few others (all of whom laughed when I told them) that God is calling me to Paris for a reason. Maybe God is putting me there because God wants me in a comfortable place so that I can be in more uncomfortable situations. Maybe there is another reason. All I know is that I am meant to somehow further God's kingdom in that community. And I am still going to have to rely fully on God, the people I'll meet there, and myself.

So what will I be doing in Paris? I will be working at the American Cathedral there, working with youth ministry and outreach programs. This incredible church community wants me help to bridge and grow these two programs. And honestly, I couldn't be more excited. I LOVE outreach and I LOVE working with youth. God knows what God's doing. And even though I was slightly hesitant at first, I cannot wait to get started!

Monday, June 1, 2015

Wisdom Teeth and Jesus Taking the Wheel

I don’t consider myself a “control freak” but as I am approaching my imminent wisdom teeth removal I am beginning to rethink that label. Tomorrow I am getting three teeth surgically removed and I am dreading it. Why though? People have this done all the time. You can go on Youtube and watch videos of people still loopy after they had this surgery. So why does this terrify me? Theoretically (and I pray it’s the case), I won’t feel a thing. I have tattoos and piercings that were probably more uncomfortable to receive. But, I realized, I was in control of those situations. Sure someone else was holding the needle, but I was saying what I wanted, where I wanted it, and, ultimately, I could stop the whole process if I wanted to. I was in control.  

I understand that labels do not truly matter but as I was hashing all these thoughts out, I asked myself “how does faith play into this?” Now, not necessarily how it plays into my wisdom teeth removal (though I am putting A LOT of faith in those doctors), but how does faith and this want for control work together? I know that as human beings this is something we struggle with. Why else would there be some many references to “Jesus taking the wheel?” We all want control but the beauty of faith is that we don’t need to be in control. We have a loving God who is always beside us, before us, within us. To continue the cliche and slightly annoying metaphor, we just have to ask God to take the wheel. This is obviously something that I am not good at. But God knows that. In Jeremiah Gad says, “for I know the plans I have for you….” I feel like that God is talking directly to me through that verse. God KNOWS the plans that God has for me, plans that give me hope and a future. So I can work on relinquishing control.

Maybe I am a “control freak.” And this is definitely something I’m challenging myself on. But I can rest easy tonight knowing that God has a plan for the loss of my wisdom tomorrow. But please still pray for me! Cause even though I know God’s got this, having teeth surgically removed still terrifies me!