hey y'all. New layout. Not sure if I'm sold on it yet, but I wanted something more spring/summer-y.
So this has been a busy week (but what's new?!)
Sophomore year is wrapping up. SO weird.
The fact that I'm almost halfway done with college is just insane. Wow. Exhilarating and absolutely horrifying.
This week was honestly an emotional roller coaster... between registration (oi), to my procrastination forcing me to stay up til 1 twice this week, I've been a bit of an exhausted wreck. It's over now, with only ONE full week left of school before finals start. Holy. Where did this year go!??!?
We also had our 1st Cozumel reunion this week, which was a bit of an emotional experience in itself.
Lots of laughter. Lots of time reflecting and thinking about our trip, what it taught us, what we miss the most, and what's next for us here. No tears, surprisingly (though Abby did cry from laughing at Nathan's account of the Spanish church reunion).
It was great to be back with the team. Though we see each other in passing, it was nice to have intentional time together as a group. It was good to hear others' reflections and favorite parts of the trip.
Robert, one of our adult leaders, made a point that stuck with me. He said something along the lines of one of the reasons we all loved this trip was how we feel known, wanted, accepted, and loved while we're there (hence the title of this post).
Known, wanted, accepted, loved.
Aren't they things we all want? At least they are for me.
To be known- for others to know our names, know who we are.
To be wanted- for people to actually invest in us, for people to be interested in us, for people to actually acknowledge us, to feel important and worthy
To be accepted- to be welcomed with open arms, to be supported and embraced
To be loved: to feel cherished and cared for, to feel love and doted on.
Those things to me are things as someone that's dealt with her insecurity for many years that I worry about getting. From friends, family, colleagues, etc. It has to do with that whole self-esteem/ self-doubt struggle I've dealt with for many years.
Am I good enough? Am I worthy? What do people think of me? Do people actually like me? Do they want to have me around? Those are the evil and unjust thoughts that plague me a lot of the time.
The Great Preacher of peace and love came for you, and His voice found those of you who were near and those who were far away. By Him both have access to the Father in one Spirit. And so you are no longer called outcasts and wanderers but citizens with God’s people, members of God’s holy family, and residents of His household. Ephesians 2:16-19
Sometimes it's hard realizing that God came for me. He found me and loved me perfectly, something I can't even do for myself.
We don't have to feel those things above anymore. We are accepted into a family that doesn't compare to the life we have here. So why even think that I'm not?
But yet I still struggle with those feelings of insecurity. It's a battle of me versus myself; me yearning to be who God called me to be, but still struggling with the "am I good enough" thoughts that plague so many of us.
Seeing myself as all of those things-known, wanted, accepted, and loved- is hard. Trying to believe that I am worthy of that, both on earth and to my Father is a daily battle for me.
Yet in the eyes of a child, it all makes sense.
When Conny ran up to me and put her arms around my neck, she didn't know my name. She didn't know my story (still doesn't). She just knew I was there, so she just loved me. No if ands or buts about it. There wasn't something I had to do to earn her love, she just gave freely. She made me feel wanted from the minute she stepped into my life. She made me feel like I was useful (something that I definitely did not feel, with the language barrier), like I was someone worth something. Looking at pictures of us reminds me of that feeling, that I was there and she loved me-and didn't hold back.
When Marce first came up to me, she didn't know anything about me. Heck, she couldn't even hear me and didn't understand anything I said. Yet she knew I wanted to meet her, and wanted to play. So we did. And it made me feel more loved and noticed than any other kid has made me feel. Every day she found me. She didn't know my name, but she knew who I was the one who came up to her on the first night to play. She knew who I was- and knew I wanted to spend time with her.
How thankful I am for Jesus showing up in these two little girls, to remind me how accepted, wanted, and loved I am. He used these girls to teach me that those feelings I hear in the back of my head are wrong. I am worth something to two little girls in Mexico and I'm worth those same feelings in my life everyday, despite the lies I fight with everyday.
For my news year Resolution, I've been working on my self-esteem and my one word: beautiful. Loving myself has been one of my hardest tasks in life, seeing myself as worthy or beautiful.
Seeing myself as any of the things the kids at Ciudad saw me as from day one.
It's crazy thinking that after knowing me for a total of one day, how those kids just loved us.
I don't understand it, but am thankful for it-for the reminder that I am known, and wanted, and accepted, and loved. Even when I don't see it myself, and don't understand it. It's just a given.
So, Robert was right: those kids make me feel known, wanted, accepted, and loved. They also remind me how much God feels the same way about us- He knows us better than we know ourselves, He wants us and yearns for us, He accepts us as we are, and loves us enough to send His son to the cross for us. Crazy.
In the wake of Brennan Manning's passing, I saw this quote of his posted on facebook:
"God loves you as you are, not as you should be."
I think the same goes for kids, especially (for me) the kids at Ciudad: they love us for who we are, just for being there. For being willing. For being present, for loving on them. Not because of what we've done, what we've said, or who we have been. But because of who we are, and whose we are, we are known, wanted, accepted, and loved. By God and by those little children who love and know God better than this 20 year old college kid. (And we wonder why God says to have a child-like faith?! It makes so much sense).
May you remember than you are known, wanted, accepted, and loved, by a Father who created and loved you from the minute you were thought of. And if you don't, may God put someone-or maybe some sweet kids-in your path that remind you just how much those things are true. :)