HOME + Community

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Last week, I met up with my first friend.

tiffany

We grew up together. We went to church together growing up. We have taken different life paths since graduating high school, but we remain friends through it all. We are both pretty determined women who set goals and accomplished exactly what we set out to do. Her goal was to become a lawyer and mine was to become a youth minister. While she is still a lawyer, I am flexible to what a youth minister looks like. I prefer being in the education system and meeting tons of different kids rather than working at a church.

While her life looks different than mine, she is a sense of HOME for me. Community is something I will continue to fight for, but it is so encouraging being around people you are automatically comfortable with because you’ve known each other so long.

I sat by her in church last week, and it felt so nice, especially after my recent struggle for connection in churches in this area (see the previous blog post). Her mom sat on the other side of her and commented how nice it was to sit with her two young ladies again!

The crazy part is that while my friend left our hometown area, I’ve gotten to know her mom better. This is the second time I’m back in my hometown connecting with my friends’ moms. Community is messy (thanks for the phrase, Heather Zempel) and something I will always fight for. One of my favorite books is Because of Winn-Dixie because the girl finds community with a multi-generational set of people. Community no longer consists of only my peers.

Keep going, keep pursuing community, and be thankful for those special friendships where you can pick up right where you left off when they are back in town.

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B.I.G.: Boundary | Integrity | Generosity

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Brene Brown is one of those authors I hear a lot about from friends. I recently bought her book Daring Greatly on Audible and decided to buy a copy of the book to read along with as I listen to it. Basically, I have only seen her TED Talk on Vulnerability but I want to know more about her work because everything she talks about are things I need to hear.

Like this video. Amazing insight.

Video Marker 2:15: “My question is BIG: What BOUNDARIES need to be in place for me to stay in my INTEGRITY and make the most GENEROUS assumptions about you?”

Wow. Challenged.

Boundaries

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Why are people afraid of boundaries?

As children, we need to know boundaries. Sure, kids test limits, but they want to know where to draw the line. It can help us feel safer to know where the limits are.

So as adults, why are we not setting boundaries with people, especially those who are toxic? Maybe you like the poison that comes from these people (Britney apparently does enough to write a song about it).

In Scary Close, Donald Miller mentions that not all people are safe. I don’t know why, but that idea really stuck out to me.

This year I had to have a conversation with a MARRIED MAN about what he was saying to me about what I wore. It’s nice to be complimented, but a line was crossed that needed to be addressed. Conversations like this are AWKWARD and UNCOMFORTABLE. But I knew it needed to happen. I asked some guy friends for advice before talking to Mr. Married Man. They told me to be direct and not pursue conversations with him that would further any emotional ties in our friendship.

Mr. Married Man had no idea what he said to me was inappropriate. I’ve heard him say similar things to other women, but maybe they liked the attention or weren’t bothered by it. While being married might not have mattered to him, in order to honor my future husband (because I hope to someday be married) as well as his Mr. Married Man’s wife, I NEEDED to have this conversation.

Boundaries are good. Maybe you need to have a conversation? I’m giving you permission to BE BOLD. BE UPFRONT. DO IT.

South Africa: Meet Steven

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It’s now been a month since I returned from my trip to South Africa. It’s kind of unreal.

The highlight of my trip was meeting this man:

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His name is Steven and before I took the picture, he said he hoped his picture wouldn’t break my camera.

I met Steven while watching the sunrise over the Indian Ocean. I missed the actual sunrise because I was talking to him, but it was worth it.

Steven is homeless.

I don’t know how old he is. He told me when I met him he was 41, but he told my other team members he was in his 50’s.

Steven told me his story. God knows his story and cares for him.

The story he told me was that he was born in Italy (seriously?! God sent me an ITALIAN to meet in SOUTH AFRICA?!), but he was sent to Cape Town to live in a children’s home when he was eleven. He has been homeless since leaving.

Steven is just one of the many homeless people in the world. Homelessness is a worldwide challenge. He has his own struggles and addictions. He told me the first time I met him that he was searching for rest. He said he has to sleep with one eye open because it’s not safe sleeping on the streets.

The last day we were there, as we were coming back from watching the sunrise, we saw Steven sitting on a stoop with his hands over his face. He was covering up wounds from a fight. My teammates asked how he was feeling. He said, “Empty.” He prayed with us to receive Jesus. I pray that his life changed forever in that moment.

The awesome/relieving thing is that it’s not my job to save people. Don’t get me wrong. I’ve tried. But I’ve learned that the Holy Spirit works on people and it’s not all up to me! It’s my job to point out Who can help with problems, Who cares ALWAYS, and the Person who will be with them always.

I don’t know if I will ever see Steven again. My thoughts and prayers are with him. He has opened my eyes to truly look at and notice the homeless in DC. They all have their stories, and I’ve been forever impacted by one.

Introverts in Relationships

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Ask and you shall receive.

I was browsing Facebook this morning and came across two interesting reads about relationships.

The first was on a site I found on Twitter: @IntrovertDear

It was the type of person each personality type should seek out when looking for relationships.

I’ll share mine. I’m an INFJ.

INFJ

Who you usually go for: No one, because everyone is going to hurt you. Even the ones you’re only mildly attached to, especially the ones you really really like. Once in a blue moon, you’ll meet someone who seems to have the potential to never screw you over. And you’ll put them on a pedestal until, eventually, they’ll let you down too.

Who you should go for: The best friend. The one who has proven their trustworthiness by being there for you through everything. The one who will let you down unintentionally, every now and again, but stays by your side to stitch up the wounds. Someone who will finally make you believe in the whole “everyone is going to hurt you, you just have to find the ones worth suffering for” bullshit that you were struggling to accept before.

Dang. Yep. Pretty spot on.

The second article I came across was from the Quiet Revolution. It talked about the difference between extroverts and introverts in dating. It’s ok we are different. Stop apologizing for being an introvert (I’m talking to myself here).

It’ll be so interesting to read this years from now.

Relationships

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It’s fitting that I finished Donald Miller’s Scary Close book today.

Eleven years ago today I experienced my first heartbreak. I thank God I am not with my ex-boyfriend, but I sometimes wonder if I’ll ever get married.

I appreciated Miller’s openness about his relationship with Betsy, his struggles with past relationships and intimacy as an introvert, and his successes in communication. I highly recommend this book!

“Am I willing to be hurt occasionally and turn the other cheek in order to have a long-term, healthy relationship” (48)?

I am still trying to figure out how to do relationships well. I am trying to become more aware of the walls I have to keep people from hurting me.

I know the struggle is intimacy vs. isolation. I don’t want to end up alone. I’m in the fight for a long-term, healthy relationship. That starts with looking at my own life to help myself become a healthier person (in all aspects of the word).

Anyone know of any Dating 101? Guess I’ll cue up He’s Just Not That Into You.

North + South

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I have lived in DC for a year and a half now. I joined a church that is #OnMissionEveryDay

Last year I went to Northern Ireland and helped with a church that put on a citywide festival called iHeartDerry. I loved working with kids again — it was a catalyst for pursuing positions after my protege year where I could interact with children. My team was amazing, and I loved experiencing a new part of the world.

On Friday, I am embarking on another adventure. I am joining nineteen other people traveling to South Africa. This year I have had to confront my own ideas about race. Current events help me ponder and form my thoughts on racial reconciliation. I am ready to be a student (not a savior) in South Africa and learn more about the culture, history, and what God is doing through His people there now.

Don’t be fooled… this is the beginning of their winter season. It’ll be a nice spring/fall-like weather for this Michigan girl who is struggling with 90’s in May in DC! However, I do plan to try surfing in the Indian Ocean. Because how many times can you say you’ve done that?!

Specific prayer requests:

  • People to Meet! So excited whenever I go somewhere new because that means the country will become personal. I’ll be able to know names, faces, and stories of people in South Africa.
  • Willingness to Learn. I LOVE LEARNING. It’s one of my top 5 strengths in StrengthsFinder. Sometimes the stretching of minds/ideas is painful. Learning the hard truths of what life has been like for some people is a hard pill to swallow. Hoping my compassion will increase.
  • Rest. Honestly, I’m in deep need for rest. Hoping I can get some of it while away.
  • Team Health
  • Team Unity
  • Luggage getting there!
  • Safe flights

From North to South, I love travel. I love the Church. I love learning more about myself, God and others. #LoveDoes