Just a Simple Touch

I love traveling. I love foreign countries. I love trying new things. I love smiling at complete strangers. I love listening to songs being sung in multiple languages. I love feeling God's presence in a country that's not my own. I love seeing God move and work in a group of people who are trying to better understand the truth of the Gospel. I love this opportunity that God has given me to serve Him here in Ukraine.

But .... there is still an enemy out there trying to sabotage God's work, and that enemy knows my weaknesses all too well. {side note: It is very tempting to only write on here about my victories and excitement, but then I wouldn't be giving you the real me. I have to be true to what God has called me to do, and today He wants me to share the struggles and the victories. end side note.} There is one thing that can send my thoughts into a tailspin straight down into a never-ending pit of darkness ... and that my friends is a {scary, scary} place. The one thing that I dislike most about being in a foreign country is being in a room full of people speaking a foreign language that I don't understand. I don't know why, but for me, this is one of the most overwhelming, draining, and difficult things. This past Sunday night just so happened to catch me off guard. I wasn't protecting my mind from the attack of the enemy, and if it wouldn't have drawn so much attention to me, I very likely would have started beating my head against a wall. It would have been far more pleasant than the turmoil in my mind. I couldn't find my way out of this pit I had slipped down into. The struggle was so real despite the fact that no one else in the room even knew it was happening.
But at the same time, I wasn't going down without a fight. I was begging and pleading with God to throw me a rope down into this dark pit and pull me out. As it's said so much more eloquently in the book Captivating by John and Stasi Eldredge, "God delights in revealing himself to those who will seek him with all of their hearts. He is an extravagant, abundant Lover, and he loves to reveal his heart to us again and again."

As the service ended, I saw a woman who I had met before at a another church in the Kharkov region quite a few years ago. It was clear she didn't recognize me at first, but after sharing I remembered her {through a translator as always}, she grabbed my hand. Such a simple gesture. But she didn't let go. It was the strangest thing. I'm not really the "touchy-feely" type especially with strangers, but this was different. {Warning: I'm about to sound like a crazy Jesus fanatic ... which I am, so oh well}. It was almost as if in that moment I could just feel the love and presence of God filling my heart to the brim and overflowing. Whereas moments before, I was in a dark place where the enemy had left me to fend for myself ... Now Jesus was reaching out to me, grabbing hold of my hand, and assuring me that He will {never} let go. I was overwhelmed. Just a simple touch. From a stranger nonetheless.
"God wants to share in this life together with you, to share in your days and decisions, your desires and disappointments ... He wants to pour his love into your heart, and he longs to have you pour yours into his. He wants your deep heart, that center place within that is the truest you. He is not interested in intimacy with the woman you think you are supposed to be. He wants intimacy with the real you." {Captivating}

I could have not shared this story, because it was a real-life struggle that shows you that I am nowhere near perfect ... and honestly never will be. I didn't want to share this story, because it means admitting that I struggle. all. the. time. But I will never find that deep intimacy with my loving and intimate God if I'm not the truest me. This is as real as it gets.

Learning to be the Light,