I turned 31 today - it really started out great as I was awoken at 3am with just this post rushing through my head about what happens when your community goes dark. What I never knew was that the year process of turning 31 would be so knowledgeable, sweet - and look like nothing that I planned.
When I launched this site exactly 1 year ago I was preparing to leave my job and become an expat in Northern Japan that November. I planned on going into a full freelance career and I planned to be giving birth (in my head) within the next month. Then November rolled around and our orders were cancelled... we did not know for months where we were moving nor what next month would even look like.
This unbeknownst to me was the beginning of God shedding me of things I (so dearly) clung to. Once we got orders it seemed as if I had some direction... some plan, but where we were going to live for the next 3 odd years was just the beginning of the knowledge I would be given over the following 7 months.
Once I moved I was faced with some hard conversations about where I was serving - a ministry in what felt like was so life giving to me the last 11 months came to a head and became dead, full of judgement and a competition of followers. Someone who I trusted in that ministry happened to forwarding emails with a specific situation that happened 6 months prior without me knowing. Within the first week of being in Tucson someone else stepped in and made decisions off of what she read in those emails that took place 6 months before. Her words felt like the ultimate judgement and the ultimate rejection from the "online cool kids group". Immediately I was hurt and felt like I mistrusted someone I shouldn't have. Usually, that's where I choose to stay for a while - I put myself in time out and I choose not to play, but this time God had a different plan. He used current friends and someone new in my life to teach me how trust even while hurting. He taught me how to open up and say this is where it hurts and here's why, but this time he brought his truth to it and the people understood, but didn't react to it or expect me to do anything - they simply let it breathe and let me figure it out.
During this time my online life seemed to go from vibrant to dark with an occasional light flicker. Online friends who I was once close with seemed to go away and some followers unfollowed because I was no longer apart in the capacity that I was - to them I became "uncool". In the midst of this there wasn't a moment where I understood what was going on - - until this morning at 3am.
God took me through that season for a reason and it was because he had a far better plan. He wanted me to learn to do life, friendships and hard conversations face to face again. He wanted me in a specific place that allowed me to grow out of this fear he knew was deep down in the pile of unsorted mess that lies at the bottom of my brain. He wanted me and called me to do work on the hard stuff.
As I met with a couple of my teammates this morning, one of them said "God brings you exactly where you do not want to be." I just wanted to shout AMEN because uncool, exiled, working in creative ministry is not where I wanted to be or planned to be on the day I turned 31.
So, where I am going with all of this? Well, something I've learned since turning 30 is that even when you feel exiled, uncool, and unworthy, lost or broken...there is sweet sweet hope in Jesus. So come to him with open hands and let him do work where you think nothing can change. Let him work on your heart in the hard places - let him place you - let him call you where you don't want to be or plan to be. Seek him with a steadfast love & desire to know him and only him. Let your world crumble - and let him rebuild it because it will leave you awestruck at what great things he can do when you drop everything you plan or have selfishly clung to.
Here is to the process of working towards the process of walking towards 32...may he reveal, heal, teach me and place me exactly where he wants to be.