Today I “Sabbathed”:

Today I “sabbathed”:

“Sabbath is not primarily about us or how it benefits us; it is about God, and how God forms us. It is not, in the first place, about what we do or don’t do; it is about God – completing and resting and blessing and sanctifying. These are all things that we don’t know much about……But it does mean stopping and being quiet long enough to see – open-mouthed – with wonder – resurrection wonder…..we cultivate the “fear of the Lord”. Our souls are formed by what we cannot work up or take charge of. We respond and enter into what the resurrection of Jesus continues to do.”

—Eugene Peterson

Today I sat at the breakfast table. I sat reflecting in two of my favorite spots. I sat in my mother’s salon chair allowing her to care for more than just my hair, and resisting the urge to make any major change. I sat broken in my brother’s embrace fully recognizing failure and more grateful for the ministry of reconciliation than I’ve ever been. I sat in line at the grocery store thankful for provision. I sat on the phone overwhelmed with appreciation that there are male and female leaders who see my worth, work ethic and potential and are willing to attempt to move mountains to tap into that. I sat thinking about the “crack pipe” dreams and vision for my life and future, that I definitely didn’t come up with on my own.

I sat quiet.

I sat “open-mouthed – with wonder – resurrection wonder…..cultivating the “fear of the Lord”. My soul recognizing it was formed by what it cannot work up or take charge of. And I will continue to respond and enter into what the resurrection of Jesus continues to do.” I sat giving honor to my pastors, teachers, leaders, mentors, and the dynamic voices who’ve spoken life, and love, and blessing over the ministry God does through me. I sat consumed by the mantels they’ve passed on to me, and blessed by the burden I carry. I sat reminded that there was a time when I feared the call, and even more feared what others would think or the questions they’d ask.

Ultimately, today I sat at the Father’s feet(one of those aforementioned favorite spots). Where I thanked Him for allowing me to learn lessons the hard way. I asked for forgiveness and welcomed His discipline. I submitted, once again, my life to following His direction and His lead. I asked for guidance and clarification. I asked for companions and champions of the faith. Who will see to the work of the Father above all else.

I sat quiet.

And He sang over me.

“As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God? My tears have been my food day and night, while they say to me all the day long, “Where is your God?” These things I remember, as I pour out my soul: how I would go with the throng and lead them in procession to the house of God with glad shouts and songs of praise, a multitude keeping festival. Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God. My soul is cast down within me; therefore I remember you from the land of Jordan and of Hermon, from Mount Mizar. Deep calls to deep at the roar of your waterfalls; all your breakers and your waves have gone over me. By day the Lord commands his steadfast love, and at night his song is with me, a prayer to the God of my life. I say to God, my rock: “Why have you forgotten me? Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?” As with a deadly wound in my bones, my adversaries taunt me, while they say to me all the day long, “Where is your God?” Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.”

Psalms 42:1-11 ESV

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Unpacking the Struggle

Last fall, shortly after arriving stateside from 3 months spent in the Czech Republic, my best friend and I were asked to share with her church/my new church, about our trip. Both of us were supposed to share one Sunday, but she ended up taking the entire time.

Which was fine because although I’d prepared a message, that Sunday morning during my personal devotions, God had other plans. As I sat listening to what she had to say, I was also busy reworking my message in my head, in order to incorporate what the Lord had been downloading that morning. Saturday, the day before, I had spent the day unpacking, (before our 3 month adventure, I had moved cross country and dumped everything in a storage unit, to await our return, and the new adventure of living with my best friend in her home town) listening to worship, and praying about what “box” to unpack with our little church .

At that point unpacking had become a theme in my life due to the previous several months. I’m not just talking about literal unpacking, like the kind that we were in the midst of at our house at the time. But figuratively, thanks to the cohort that I had been a part of, the books we had read together, and the ones I had read individually, my devotions, and the experiences we had. It seemed as if I had been unpacking spiritually, emotionally and even psychologically; the experiences of the last 4 years in Ohio, my time working and studying in California, and even further, the experiences from my growing up in the Magic Valley.

As I prayed and brainstormed about what box I would unpack with our church, the “struggle box” kept coming to mind. Not to be confused with “struggle bus,” same idea different container. I kept pushing that box aside though, because frankly it stunk. However, it seemed to be confirmed by the fact that I was days away from studying my cliché “life” verse. Which deals with struggle, really it talks about suffering, but the two are very closely related in my mind.

I’m talking about Romans 5:3-5. You are going to read it and think to yourself, “Why is this her life verse?” The Lord has a sense of humor, and sometimes I look to the heavens and say, “Well played, Lord, well played.” In my original message (I lost the original due to technical difficulties), I explained why it was my life verse but I ended cutting the explanation. We can talk about that some other time.

Romans 5:3-5 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

Allow me to get on a soap box for a minute, and just say that scripture memorization is key! If you’ve never made it a discipline in your life, can I just take a minute and encourage you to go buy yourself some 3×5 cards and get with the program. There is nothing better than being in the midst of some hard circumstance, and having been equipped with the word of God, you have scripture rolling over and over like a song you can’t get out of your head.

I thought for sure that Romans 5:3-5 was going to be the text for that morning. Until 2 hours before church, while doing my devotions, the Lord starts scribbling all over my notes and rerouting me. It worked out that my friend was long winded because the Holy Spirit had more for us that morning.

What does Romans 5 have to do with my time spent in the Czech Republic? Let’s go there.

When asked about the trip my easy answer has been something along the lines of it was equal parts hard work and fun, frustration and excitement, exhausting and exhilarating. We experienced so much, we traveled a lot, we learned a lot, we saw the things most people only dream about. We met so many people, and experience a depth in relationship you would think would be impossible to achieve, for the short amount of time we spent with them.

What else did I struggle with? Personalities, my friend, safety issues, finances, anxiety. I also struggled with fear of the future, what it would be like beginning my life here in Salmon, and even what missions would look like for me in the future. We will touch on that in a second. I struggled to find joy and hope, in the midst of attempting to get a grip on my anxiety and fear. All of this struggle was accumulated, stuffed into a pressure cooker, seasoned with self-discovery and cranked up on high. Do you want to know what the biggest struggle for me was? The language barrier. I knew that it would be difficult, it was hard the last time. But we were only there for 16 days the last time. 3 months is a lot longer.

Follow me here, I DO WORSHIP. When run, when I’m alone, when I’m angry, when I’m in the car, when I need to hear Jesus, whenever. I knew not being able to worship in community for 3 months was going to be difficult. But I thought, it’s fine I can find another way to worship at the same time while they worship in their language. I love worship in other languages. I cry. It’s gorgeous. It’s even better when your worship team is made up of professionals, which they were in CZ. Worship was good. It was so good. It sounded good. We could observed the church responding. It was awe inspiring. But we couldn’t understand it.

We attended a Czech wedding while we were there. At this wedding we met a man that at the age of 20, befriended some English speakers and learned English. He loved the language and planned on only speaking English to his children, so that they would grow up bi-lingual. Great plan right?! He stopped speaking English to them almost right away… Do you want to know why? …Because he found that he could not effectively communicate his love to his children, in English, the way he could in Czech.

And this is what I struggled with and what I continue to struggle with. In order to effectively communicate the Gospel, which is a missionaries primary goal. One needs to be able to speak the language. “That’s what interpreters are for?” Right. Interpreters are a highly valuable tool in which the Gospel is spread. I am not by any means dismissing the gift of an interpreter. And we had some astounding interpreters and incredible experiences with them. However, there was a good percent of our time spent feeling frustrated by the fact that we seemed to be token English speaking Americans. And it seemed like that was all we were there for.

So I began to question if I have what it takes to buckle down and spend the time needed to learn the language of the nation and people group that the Lord so clearly called me to over 10 years ago. Language: it came down to this one thing. That will take me years to understand, let alone master. Just like the man at the wedding, how am I supposed to effectively communicate God’s love, my love of God’s word, or the love poured out for us on the cross, if I can’t speak the language?

So let’s back up, I mentioned I’ve been unpacking, right? I have a lot of books. And I learned the hard way that you pack books in smaller boxes because they weigh a lot (Which is probably why my luggage was overweight, but I digress). So when you have a lot of books you end up with a lot of boxes. And just when you thought you’d unpacked your last box of books, you find another one. This is the truth. The struggle is real. I have textbooks that I actually still reference. And I’m one of those people that read with a pen in my hand because I underline and comment in the margins and occasionally I’ll leave a note in the pages. Like the one I found that Saturday.

I found it stuck in the pages of my Strong’s Concordance. It read

Hupomone (hoop-om-on-ay)- Patience & endurance steadfastness. {What God often requires of his people are not isolated demonstrations of extra ordinary strength and courage or light bulb bursts of passion for a calling. It is the slow, toilsome, day-to-day, opposite-of-glamorous… hupomone

OUCH! I found that while I was praying about what to share, hoping it didn’t have anything to do with the topic of struggle… Ok Holy Spirit, I’m listening. REALLY!?

Strongs: hupomone- cheerful (or hopeful) endurance, constancy…

Constancy: 1) the quality of being unchanging or unwavering, as in purpose, love, or loyalty; firmness of mind; faithfulness. 2) uniformity or regularity, as in qualities or condictions; invariableness. Synonyms: resolution, steadfastness, fidelity, fealty, loyalty, devotion, permanence, regularity, dependability.

…constancy – enduring, patience, patient continuance (waiting)

In the Message version Romans 5:3-5 it says:

There’s more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary—we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit!

But everything I just shared with you is not the point God wanted you to hear. That Sunday morning, in my personal time with the Lord, I was in Romans chapter 4.

I mentioned that 10 years ago the Lord started speaking to me about a particular nation and people group. Besides the question, “How’s the unpacking going?” The next most popular questions are, “What’s next?” “When do you start missionary training?” and “When do you deploy to the field?”

The answer, “I DON’T KNOW!” I know that’s a bad answer.

Here’s what I know. I need to get there first. Moses scouted out the field!… I think that’s biblical thing to do… I think that’s a good plan, and a nice strategy. So I’ve put the word out and I’m looking for trips that are going. Hoping that I can tag along. If not plan my own. I have been engaged with what is going on in the area of missions here in the Northwest District and loosely with what’s going on in the Northeast Atlantic District.

And I’m acutely aware of the fact that there are refugees in the Magic Valley from the very nation that I feel called to. Which is roughly the size of Tennessee, and on the other side of the globe. They weren’t there 10 years ago, when I heard the call and responded in faith, by moving some 800 miles from home to receive and education that would hopefully prepare me to minister to them. I SERVE THAT GOD. The God that calls me to an obscure nation and people group, and then sends them to find refuge in the very community in which I was raise, in the middle of Idaho, of all places. THAT’S MY GOD.

My God, is the God of Romans 4:18-25 The Message (MSG)

17-18 We call Abraham “father” not because he got God’s attention by living like a saint, but because God made something out of Abraham when he was a nobody. Isn’t that what we’ve always read in Scripture, God saying to Abraham, “I set you up as father of many peoples”? Abraham was first named “father” and then became a father because he dared to trust God to do what only God could do: raise the dead to life, with a word make something out of nothing. When everything was hopeless, Abraham believed anyway, deciding to live not on the basis of what he saw he couldn’t do but on what God said he would. And so he was made father of a multitude of peoples. God himself said to him, “You’re going to have a big family, Abraham!”

19-25 Abraham didn’t focus on his own impotence and say, “It’s hopeless. This hundred-year-old body could never father a child.” Nor did he survey Sarah’s decades of infertility and give up. He didn’t tiptoe around God’s promise asking cautiously skeptical questions. He plunged into the promise and came up strong, ready for God, sure that God would make good on what he had said. That’s why it is said, “Abraham was declared fit before God by trusting God to set him right.” But it’s not just Abraham; it’s also us! The same thing gets said about us when we embrace and believe the One who brought Jesus to life when the conditions were equally hopeless. The sacrificed Jesus made us fit for God, set us right with God.

So everybody’s asking me these questions… and I don’t know. I know what God has promised. I know his promises are “YES” and “AMEN”. I know another verse, seared in my memory bank, is Proverbs 13:12 which says a “hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a promise fulfilled is a tree of life.” Am I sure that God will make good on what he’s promised? YES! Do I know what that looks like? Not a clue. Am I prepared for it to not look like what I’ve always thought it would? I am now.

My challenge is to ask you what the Lord has promised you individually? What promises has he made for your family? What promises does he have for His Church?

I am passionate about dreaming. I’m passionate about seeing potential in something or someone and seeing something great come out of that. Because I serve a God that with a  word can make something out of nothing.

I want to know what your nothing is, so that as a Church, with God, we can see it become something.

Making room,

Melissa

 

The Pursuit

Pastor Jess text me the other day. It was pretty simple.

Hey lady –

So what’s the update –

Are you ready to get your application on to FMI?

As expected, that seems to be everyone’s question. If I’m honest it’s mine too. I gave it to her straight, cause that’s how we roll. The truth is I don’t know, I’m hopeful that this time will come sooner, rather than later. I’m praying for some breakthrough miracles for my mom’s healing, and for my own financial provision, simply for the basics at this point.

The Lord has been continually faithful over the last several months, and I have done a half-assed job of giving credit where it is due. Despite my frequent ungrateful attitude and hateful behavior, His presence and love for me have been exceptionally steadfast.

Yesterday I was on the phone with a friend, who has been an incredible source of encouragement since the moment we met, literally. He shared with me an experience he had with the Lord. In short he found himself desparately praying for the Lord’s help in a situation, and realized that more often than not he was only going to the Lord in prayer when he needed something. In that moment he was broken by conviction, yet at the same time he was moved by how God would meet him in a moment of desperation to pursue a deeper relationship with him. Broken, yet touched by this revelation he returned to his friends to share this moment he’d had with God. In the end all the loose ends were tied and this trivial situation became a holy moment between him and the Lord.

That in many ways is how the last year has been for me. This week will mark the one year anniversary of my choice to pursue missions more intentionally, and to move home. I’ve experienced challenge and stress in the past, but nothing like what I’ve encountered this year.

In the next couple of days I’m hoping to publish an edited version of a message I shared with our church here, shortly after our return. I’ve mentioned before that when the Lord speaks to me, he normally says the same thing over and over and over. Using people in my life, media, worship, sermons, random strangers, scripture. It’s quite ridiculous how many times and ways he has to repeat himself before I catch that he’s trying to say something to me.

One of the overarching themes that has been working itself out over the last several months is the pursuit aspect of relationships.

Pursuit: the action of following or pursuing someone or something.

Pursuit in regard to relationships happens, or should happen at all levels. In the last year I’ve had to be very intentional in my approach to how I pursue people in my life, and even how I want or don’t want to be pursued myself.

So lastnight, I sat down to get into the word and my reading plan took me through Romans 4:18-25 The Message (MSG).

“17-18 We call Abraham “father” not because he got God’s attention by living like a saint, but because God made something out of Abraham when he was a nobody. Isn’t that what we’ve always read in Scripture, God saying to Abraham, “I set you up as father of many peoples”? Abraham was first named “father” and then became a father because he dared to trust God to do what only God could do: raise the dead to life, with a word make something out of nothing. When everything was hopeless, Abraham believed anyway, deciding to live not on the basis of what he saw he couldn’t do but on what God said he would And so he was made father of a multitude of peoples. God himself said to him, “You’re going to have a big family, Abraham!”

19-25 Abraham didn’t focus on his own impotence and say, “It’s hopeless. This hundred-year-old body could never father a child.” Nor did he survey Sarah’s decades of infertility and give up. He didn’t tiptoe around God’s promise asking cautiously skeptical questions. He plunged into the promise and came up strong, ready for God, sure that God would make good on what he had said. That’s why it is said, “Abraham was declared fit before God by trusting God to set him right.” But it’s not just Abraham; it’s also us! The same thing gets said about us when we embrace and believe the One who brought Jesus to life when the conditions were equally hopeless. The sacrificed Jesus made us fit for God, set us right with God.”

This is the exact same bit of scripture that wrecked me shortly after we had arrived home, and I prepared it to share with our church family. Last night, I opened that message again to review it after these last couple of months had gone by. I’ve rested, I’ve waited, I’ve listen, I’ve hoped, I’ve leaned in, I’ve had faith, but my trust has been another story. This scripture states, “Abraham was first named “father” and then became a father because he dared to trust God to do what only God could do: raise the dead to life, with a word make something out of nothing.” Abraham dared to trust God… Abraham trusted that God would be faithful…and Abraham trusted that God could make something out of nothing.

My relationship with God throughout this time has been great. I’ve been more intentional in devotions, prayer, study and worship. However, as I reflected last-night, I too was broken by the conviction that I’ve only seemed to lean in and pursue God in my times of need. I’ve been the needy, clingy girlfriend. But I’ve withheld my trust. As I reflected on that, I thought to myself, if I had exchanged wedding vows with God they would have been something along the lines of the following:

I take you God to live with you in covenant. I promise to love you, to be comforted by you, to honor you and revere you for better, for richer, and in health, forsaking all others, be faithful to you so long as life is working in my favor.

How unfair… How cold… I’m learning so much about myself, about God, and about relationships with others. And the biggest revelation to come out of this week is how conditional my approach to relationships has been. Yuck!

Pastor Jess’s text seemed to shake me up a bit. The weather that day was glorious and I had the chance to take a delivery way out into the boonies, so I had a minute to process her questions and my responses. I realized that I’ve been doing a decent amount of trusting only myself, I’ve neglected my hopes, and forfiet my dreams, in order to focus on “reality”.

Today I was encouraged by receiving several messages from women whose voices, support, and gentle guidance have made all the difference in my pursuit of ministry. As well as a timely word from my pastor that, it’s time to get my hopes up.

No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. Romans 4:20-21 ESV

I don’t know what the future holds at this point. I’ve gotten some practice in just focusing on the day to day. I start a new job this week and I will be attending a future missionaries gathering here in a couple of weeks. My hopes are up, I’m dreaming again, and I’m committed to not withhold my trust from my God.

How has God gotten your attention lately, and how is your pursuit?

My first love

My first love

A couple of days ago I took a selfie to show off my homemade haircut. Really it was just a trim. (DISCLAIMER: Please don’t follow my example. My mother is a cosmetologist, so I was raised in the chair and can barely pull this task off successfully. On behalf of all cosmetologists out there, don’t make their job harder than it already is.) This selfie turned into a brief post that scratched the surface of the last year of my life.

I received a couple comments and messages about how I should blog or write. I laughed because I’ve had this blog for several years, but in recent years it’s been a little neglected. Here’s the skinny on why… about 5 years ago I fell into this rut. It’s possible that some would say that I took ownership of my millennialism. I became entitled, bitter, self-glorified, ungrateful, and even more stubborn than I’ve ever been. I wasn’t interested in cataloging that for the world to reflect on, so I just didn’t write. Some of that was a coping mechanism in response to the season I was in and going through. But I have realized in the last 3 months of “rest,” that the mechanisms I used to cope, I’ve over utilized and now use as everyday life survival skills. Which I hope to unlearn.

I vowed to spend the first 3 months in Salmon as a sort of sabbatical. Getting my land legs and acclimating to my new environment. This season of “Rest” has been anything but restful. If anything it has put the “rest” in wrestle! 

When we set off on our adventure I didn’t plan on winding back up here to settle. I thought it would just be a harbor, a place to shelter, while we prepared for the next assignment… 

At this moment I’m not sure what that next assignment is. I’m not sure why the heck I’m here. I’m not sure what I’m supposed to be doing. I’ll be so bold as to submit that I’ve questioned my calling to foreign missions. I know I’m called to the nations, but what if that means I’m called to those from other nations living in my community here in the U.S.? What if I’m supposed to church plant to provide them with a place and community to worship our God on U.S. soil. 

If you ever make it to Idaho you are bound to hear the locals, especially the young folk, say there’s nothing to do here. They/we couldn’t be more wrong. There’s so much to do and see and experience. Idaho is a recreation state. If you break up that word it’s re-create. Which means to create again, reproduce, or re-enact. To re-enact is to bring into effect again when the original statute has been rescinded. 

Beyond learning rest and sabbath, my goal is to re-enact. To unlearn my “millennial” ways, and rediscover why God has wired me the way he has. 
I want to be humbled, to find joy, to be contented, to reconnect without the use of technology. I would like to learn what it means to be refreshed, repurposed, and restored. 

I was reminded recently, and again this morning in my own personal time of worship, why I love the book of Hosea so much. In it God paints a picture of His heart for Israel. Hosea 2:14-17 is a scene of God and Israel or Hosea and Gomer, where he takes his beloved, who has been exceedingly unfaithful, into the wilderness to remind her of her first love, which is himself. 

I can’t help but hope that this is my wilderness season. The season where the Lord has brought me to this place to remind me of himself and his scandalous love for me, and that he has a plan. And if that’s why I’m here, I couldn’t be more excited for what is to come. 

I just hope it warms up soon. 

Have you ever experienced a wilderness season? What did you learn? How did you change?

I’m preparing to read AJ Swoboda’s book “The Dusty Ones” it should prove to be a trip.

Home

Yes, I made the choice
For Papa I will stay
But I don’t deserve to lose
My freedom in this way
You monster


If you think that what you’ve done is right

Well, then you’re a fool, think again

Is this home
Is this where I should learn to be happy?
Never dreamed that a home could be
Dark and cold

I was told
Every day in my childhood
Even when we grow old
Home should be where the heart is

Never were words so true

My hearts far, far away, home is too



Is this home

Is this what I must learn to believe in?


Try to find something good this tragic place, just in case

I should stay here forever

Held in this empty space
Oh, but that won’t be easy
I know the reason why

My heart’s far
Far away, home’s a lie

What I’d give to return
To the life that I knew lately
And to think I once came
From that small, provincial town

Is this home
Am I here for a day or forever?
Shut away from the home until
Who knows when, oh but then
As my life has been altered once
It can change again

Build higher walls around me
Change every lock and key
Nothing lasts nothing holds all of me
My heart’s far, far away
Home and free



A little known fact about me that I do not share all that often with people, is that at the age of 12 in the midst of my mom battling cancer the 1st time, my family experience a foreclosure on the home my brothers and I had spent our childhood in. As a family we spent the next several years moving from place to place, quite literally until I moved to college.

 
3 months ago I moved back to my “home” state, and for the last 2 and a half months I’ve called Liberec, Czech Republic “home”. This journey has wrecked me. It has stirred several things up in me I didn’t know were there. Like the realization that I have a very literal obsession with the idea of home and I have for years.

 
The song above is a lesser known song from Disney’s Beauty & the Beast. I know this movie from front to back proudly and can’t wait to see the live action version with Emma Watson. All that to say I was surprised to find this song on a music cassette of Disney princess songs about 15 years ago. I was quite outraged that this song would make it onto this cassette when it wasn’t even in the movie. But I soon let it go and fell in love with it. As a young dramatic teenager this song helped me express serious emotions about the questions I had in regard to what ‘home’ was.

 
I hadn’t heard this song in years, until earlier this spring a wonderful friend surprised me with tickets to see it on stage. We were seated on the front row, when the song began. I did all that I could to keep from jumping on stage and taking over the performance.

 
To continue, It was around that same age that I grew a passion for interior design. There’s not a building or home I’ve ever been to that I don’t completely redesign in my head. I decided against pursuing a career in that field and chose bible college instead. I wish I could say I don’t regret that decision, but there are times that I wonder if God could have still used me as a designer.

 
Lastly, over 10 years ago I fell in love with a country and a people group I have yet to reach. Nepal is constantly on my mind. Constantly in my prayers. This God I serve is so crazy! Since I’ve been away God has resettled Bhutanese Nepali refugees in my hometown. I often dream about returning to and maybe even church planting there.

 
I’ve had a passion and live with a fire that burns for people of other cultures. Especially refugees, even those whose views and religion are not my own. I’m not sure if it’s because of my own desire and longing to have a place to call home. I’ve understood from a 1st world perspective, what it’s like to lose my home and work my ass off for the things I needed and wanted. These people have lost everything, some material and maybe for some of them family. They’ve been shipped across the globe after fighting for their lives and the lives of their loved ones. Only for a lot of them to be dumped into communities that are hostile toward them.

 
All this culminated to a volcanic point after visiting Aschwitz and Berkennow, Poland weeks ago. The days that led up to our pilgrimage were spent in the Kazimierz region of Krakow. We visited the museum of Schindler’s factory, the synagogue, and the Jewish cemetery. I was hardly able to speak as we headed to lunch afterwards. And at one point almost had to excuse myself from the table to compose myself.

 
The weeks leading up to our time in Poland were busy, full and exhausting. I had a million questions and not nearly enough answers about missions, life and what I was supposed to do next. Those questions still aren’t necessarily answered but I’m not nearly as anxious about not knowing.

 
The Lord seems to work in seasons of themes in my life. This season he’s sharing with me His faithfulness. This faithfulness of his shows no bounds. And even when I’m throwing an anxious tantrum he’s still faithful. He’s still listening, he still has a plan and he’s still on the throne, and he’s not done yet.

 
These desires to find a place to call home. A place that I can make beautiful, peaceful and welcoming. An environment that my family and friends can take refuge in. I believe they’ve been stirred up so the Lord can reveal, even more than he already has, his faithfulness.

 
I’m thankful that in the last two and a half months I’ve really learned to lean in to his word. I’ve quite seriously depended upon my time in the word and coffee. I’m less anxious knowing, that although all my material questions about home may not be answered, I have a home in him. It’s probably the only one that I haven’t renovated in my head. And my family and friends have plenty of room to come and rest also.

 
How has he shown his faithfulness to you lately?

Learning that I’m Human

Allow me to start with this question… Have you ever made a ginormous bone-headed mistake that causes you to really stop and ask yourself, “Really? McRill, where was your head and how did you not catch that?”

I’m guessing that unless you’re part of the McRill clan, you’ve never said exactly that, but maybe something close.

So a couple weeks ago, literally hours before leaving for two weeks of camps, I realized that in my budgeting for this trip I miscalculated. Meaning that in calculating the cost of my monthly bills/personal expenses, I neglected to multiply them by the three months that I would be away. So I raised enough for one month but not three. I had hoped that with what I had saved from working a whole ton of overtime, and the extra I had set aside for a women’s ministry leadership retreat, I’d have enough to make do with minimum payments. However, that is not the case.

It’s super humbling to say, “I still need your support.” And not just financially, I still need your prayer now more than ever.

While at camp, It seemed as if I was having my competitive nature lit-er-A-lly BEAT out of me. The first camp my team won one event. Just one, and it was seven days of all-day competitions basically. The second camp my team came in dead last in every activity. This particular camp had an “Olympics” theme so individually, I did take gold in shot put, and bronze in archery. So there was a little relief in my grief.

We were extended the invitation and expenses taken care of to visit and serve another worker in Poland, so that’s where we currently are. We have just cleared the halfway point of our stay. According to sources from my studies of short-term missions work, this time is described as the bottom of the roller coaster. If I may be transparent, before our trip here I was feeling a lot of anxiety, frustration and processing a lot of questions.

The anxiety has faded with the frustration but it still lingers. And I have questions that I’m processing a mile a minute. I know it’s the pressure cooker effect of the season I’m in.

I’m incredibly thankful for the women’s ministry cohort I’m apart of and the voices of the leaders who are speaking into our lives. I’m even more thankful that in being apart of this group I have a coach who can help me process a small portion of these questions without an agenda or a bias. The Lord continually baffles me in how he orchestrates our lives so perfectly. I had planned and prepared to join them for a retreat at the end of our cohort as mentioned earlier. This is part of the funds I need to raise once again.

All that to explain that, I need your prayers as we navigate the last 5 or so weeks that we’re here. And if you haven’t given that you would consider doing so. Thanks again!

https://grouprev.com/melissamcrill

Ahoy (hi)! From the Czech Republic

It’s 6:45am here in CZ, I’ve been up since 5:45, oh the joys of jet lag. We made all our flights and connections without any serious interruption. Although Frankfurt was a bit of a monster, we fly back through there on our way home, and to keep it simple I’m not looking forward to it much. We landed around 10ish I believe and met Ken and Linda who whisked us home to Liberec by about 11:30 if I recall, but by the time we got here I could have fallen asleep standing up.

 

It’s early but I feel rested as I work this morning with the sweet nectar of the God’s, aka a cup of coffee, as my companion. We don’t have any responsibilities today, except to adjust to the time change our bodies have gone through. I was up nice and early so bedtime tonight is likely to become a token reward for staying awake all day without succumbing to the temptation of taking a nap.

 

I could not help but be in shock last night as I was mesmerized by the street lamps from the highway that swirled us around Prague and projected us toward Liberec. Shocked that I’m finally here… The last month and several weeks have been nothing short of a whirlwind adventure and a ‘hugenormous’ blur. Even the weeks preceding those were spent gasping for clarity in regard to this crack pipe dream that my bff and I had about following our dream together. Well folks… We’re here. We’ve done it. God is good!

 

And I couldn’t have done it without the truly, in full sense of the word, OVERWHELMING support of my family and friends. I’m really truly baffled by all the support that has poured out from across the U.S., literally! The loving arms and homes that opened up to me while making the move and road trip to Idaho. Down to the help of unloading my things in Salmon… I had an army of competent men and women meet me to unload, if I had blinked I would have missed it. They made coming home sweeter than honey… and I love me some honey! And the loving, peaceful, full of rest, good for the body, soul, and spirit send-off of my family. Specifically, my Aunt Mary and Uncle Walt, I’m so blessed to have an aunt that loves and cares for those around her with her WHOLE self. She is the definition of self-sacrifice, and there is literally nothing half-ass about this woman. I wanna be just like her when I grow up. I couldn’t have orchestrated any of that, God is so good!

 

Don’t get me wrong this little buddy of an adventure was wrought with miscommunication after miscommunication, a nasty sun-burn, corporate complaints, major last-minute rerouting, loneliness, fear of finances and overheating, important document issues, crazy weather, sleep deprivation and the list goes on. At those moments they seemed like insurmountable objects attempting to derail me. But by the time all was said and done I was literally laughing at the stupidity of the situations, i.e. the Idaho DMV, and Frankfurt airport security. (Side-note: I really ought not to laugh in the face of government agents… But I can’t make this stuff up.) I literally felt like a character in one of those ghetto crime movies taunting my opponent, “Come at me Bro… You can’t handle this!”

 

But now that I’m here all those little plights are null and void. The blessings that have been poured out cover all the hard stuff. Jesus wins every-time!

 

Every year Faith Bible Chapel in Salmon has a tradition of giving out promise verses for the year. For the last several years Justine has grabbed one for me as well, who knew then that I would one day prepare to make Salmon my home? Have I mentioned that God is good?!

 

My promise verse seemed so awkward at the beginning of this year. Unlike the years before it seemed foreign and stretched. “But I, through the abundance of your steadfast love, will enter your house. I will bow down toward your holy temple in the [reverence] of you… But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them ever sing for joy, and spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may exult in you. For you bless the righteous, O Lord; you cover him with favor as with a shield.” Psalm 5:7, 11-12

 

Now it makes since, as I sit on the other side of the globe. Having quit the best job I’ve ever had, said sweet goodbyes to loved ones, faced some big fat fears, and thrown caution to the wind. There’s no greater love than that of my Lord, and He (along with my cup of coffee) is my daily delight, my life blood, my sustainer. I have been in awe for several weeks and the joy that I’ve felt is a gift. Several people for the last couple of months have asked if I were scared, or made comments about my courage and bravery… I’ve squished my nose at those questions and comments, the Lord has spread his protection over us and covered us with favor as a shield. And we love and adore him as he continues to prove himself faithful! He is soooo good!