Which I’m sure you’ll glad to hear.
I realised these last three days that my spread-out-know-me-inside-out-church-family is just the most beautiful and precious thing.
At 3am on Sunday morning I emailed a handful of my best friends and most loved mentors and asked for serious prayer/counsel/wisdom on some of the things I’m dealing with just now… And I have been so incredibly blessed. I am so wonderfully thankful. Because I am not dealing with things on my own. They responded with emails and words from God and pictures and encouragement… And advice. Wisdom and advice. And insight. Deep insight.
It’s wonderful to be vulnerable in the safety of friendship.
It’s precious to be able to cry and be a mess and confess all of your foolishness with people who are only interested in your restoration.
And sometimes, you need to cry with the person who’s known you since you were 13 and lived through every single teenage and adult mistake alongside you and still got your back.
And sometimes, you need counsel from the people you worked with everyday for 5 years, who know you inside out and get kind of mad on your behalf.
And sometimes, you need the gentle instruction and correction of the friends who don’t just talk about being there, but who you know wrestle in the place of prayer until they are hurting just as much as you are.
I have some wonderful friends. And some inspirational mentors.
I am thankful.
And that means that although this place right now is hard, and a bit murky, and I can’t quite see clearly, it is NOT hopeless. It is not at all hopeless. And the God who carried me this far, will keep carrying me.
I needed people these last few days. And I realised that there was a time in my life where I used to try and be so strong and try and deal with things all on my own… And I’m passed that now. I’d rather share my mess with the people who want to help me put it back together again, than pretend to be strong but be crumbling on the inside. I’d rather admit that I don’t have it all figured out and learn from the wisdom of those who’ve walked this journey ahead of me, than pretend to be wise but act like a fool. And I’d rather keep loving, and learning and growing in the pain and the tears and keep it all together and be hardened by the things life throws at you.
So, are things fixed yet? Not really. Do I know the end of the story? Not at all. But is there hope? Always.
Because Jesus is my Hope.
Today I enrolled in a great Japanese language school for January. And that gives me hope. (Seriously, this place does classroom lessons every morning, 1-1 tuition two afternoons a week, and cultural activies 3 afternoons/evenings a week. The geek in me thinks this is the sweetest thing!)
Today I got offered a 4 month Japanese homestay with said language school. And just the offer of that gives me hope.
Today I applied for a great scholarship programme in Japan for postgraduate study that I might not get but it was great fun applying and remembering I have some good referees. And that gives me hope.
Today every single person I spoke to, both Christian and non-Christian reminded me I was called to Japan. And that really gives me so much hope.
Because He who calls is faithful. In every season. In every storm.
A good friend of mine had a picture of me as she prayed yesterday. I was sad before Jesus, but standing in a beautiful field with sunshine on my face, wearing a beautiful white dress with a bow at the back. I had many bad paper labels all over my body that had been put their by others. Jesus came over and removed all the labels, and then he brushed His hands over my arms, and as He did my hands opened and a little bird flew out of them.
Those of you who have lived with me or have any of my art hanging in your houses know that the images in that picture reasonate in some pretty amazing ways with the promises of God for my life. That’s the exact place I always see myself in when I have visions of heavenly places, that’s the exact dress I always wear when I stand before Jesus. And there’s always a bird, symbolising the complete and perfect healing and redemption of God.
I love it when He speaks.
And I still believe in happy endings (even if they’re not the way I thought). Because, I’m secretly a sap. And God is a good Father.
Please pray for me in these next few days and weeks, and for those who are also praying with me and for me. We need to hear what God is saying.