Thursday, March 25, 2010

All you need is love...Love is all you need!

I first must tell you about the overwhelming response I got from the last blog post. And, it's really quite funny! I have had people I never even knew read my blog comment to me about my "bubble exchange". I even received a Birthday card last week that said "Congratulations on your graduation" and then at the bottom of the card read "from your bubble". SO fun! Apparently I'm not the first to experience the bubble shift (that makes me feel better).

I have been doing quite a bit of processing lately as last week held a lot of growing for me (chronologically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually... you name it, I grew). Last week I didn't only turn 24, I had the opportunity to really push my own pride and ego aside and find the servants heart that I truly believe every person possesses and very few realize it! Digging deeper into several of the ministries I've been involved in, I quickly realized I'd never truly saw what I was seeing (if that makes any sense). I served over 500 homeless men/women/children by providing food and household items, participated in Saturday Night Love working with women who are victims of the sex-trafficing industry, and taught African refugee families how to clean their apartments and live in American culture. And I think to myself now, this is exactly where Jesus would be hanging out! ha!

I can't tell you how humbling it is to vacuum up 300 cockroaches living on the floor of the apartment of a family of 6, or to find cartons of eggs and packages of chicken sitting in the kitchen cupboard as a family is confused on how to adjust to American life. Not to mention sitting on a filthy floor listening to grown women pour their hearts out in their native tongue saying, "They have lied to us! They told us that in America if we were strong and healthy...they would give us work." And perhaps more humbling than any of it, sitting at the feet of an 80 year old woman who has lived 13 years in a refugee camp, reading the Word of God in her native language, praising God!

As I hosted the 13 SAU college students for their mission trip last week, we debriefed before they left and time and time again they shared how heavy their hearts were; how broken they felt inside. Perhaps for each of them, but most certainly for myself, this was the very first time we understood true, authentic compassion. Love that is not motivated by a deepening relationship or personal gain, but love that is motivated by blood; blood that was shed on a cross so many years ago. For the first time, these people did more than cross my line of vision...I saw them. The word "see" can be defined in this way: to be awakened by the presence of. That's the best definition I can come up with of how "seeing" moves to "compassion". My heart, soul, and all of my insides were awakened to a new reality by the presence others in need of authentic love.

As if that wasn't deep enough and something that I'm still working to process through, my realizations have continued. I headed back to work this week (well...I was physically there last week, but this week I was fully present) I saw the same things I had seen in the shadow of "the strip". I saw individuals in need of authentic love. I saw co-workers in need of an ear to listen, neighbors in need of an extra hand, and complete strangers in need of a heart willing to love. My heart has been pricked in such a way that I cannot ignore the sting.

The verse continues to echo in my mind, "Blessed are those who mourn for they will be comforted". God's blessing of comfort comes to those who empty themselves before Him and cry out; not only for their own brokenness but the brokenness of the world. Perhaps it's when we can truly grasp even an ounce of how desperately we are in need of a savior that we can find comfort in The Savior. And I can only pray that the sting takes some time before it goes away, so that I am reminded to live as Christ loves.

For some, this may have been a Debbie-downer of a post - but in all honesty, this is very exciting to me!! All of this means that I'm still not the person I want to be, but thank God I'm not the person I used to be! I'm growing, changing, and getting closer to moving into another season of life! I can rest confidently in the palm of God's hand knowing that He is preparing my heart for what He has in store next!

With authentic love,

Monday, March 8, 2010

Only 1 Week Away from a New Bubble!

That's right... just when I thought I had another year to go...they change it on me! According to the "Information Sheet" I filled out today, in just one short week I will be moving to the next bubble. No longer will I be tucked away in the 18-23 bubble of life. The bubble where you don't necessarily have to have everything figured out. You can still talk about how life will be one day when you "grow up". Give me a can still live at home with your parents if you so choose; and that made me feel like I was ahead of the game! But now; no, no! Now is the time in my life when I transition to the 24-35 group; the "this is it, hope your happy" group! The group that I have always thought of as the true, real, authentic - LIFE! And just one short week I, Vanessa Vann, will join in!

Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love my life and probably (when you get down to the heart of it all) wouldn't change even one thing that has happened up to now. I would keep every heartache, every championship, every scar, and every decision just as it was. It's me. And as of this very minute, the move from one bubble to another one only resting 1 cm away seems so much further than my move from Detroit to Las Vegas. I'm sure that sounds very silly, as it probably should. Yet it's this move that makes me think - this IS it! This IS the real deal! This is the time of my life where I get to do all of those things that I've labeled in that "one day" category! This is the time I get to write a book, go back to Africa, go deep sea fishing, learn to fly a kite, and essentially star in the movie of my life! If not right now...well...I can always wait for the next shift of bubbles...the one that goes from 36 to nearly 50! But it seems like way to many people wait until then to start doing what their heart has been longing to do their entire lives.

And quite frankly, I'm just not going to be one of them! So bring it on...I'm ready for the next bubble! 24-35 never looked so good! I'm ready to do the very thing that I have desired to do my entire biggest and most intimate goal is to change the world. A friend of mine asked me just the other day, "Doesn't a desire like that just weigh so heavy on your shoulders?" Absolutely not. Every journey begins with one step. I know that in order to me to move closer to that end, it means that I get to be the difference in the life of every person I meet every day. I don't have enough time to be frustrated and rude to the clerk at the grocery store, or intolerant of the way others live their lives. I don't have time to judge people or second guess the person I'm created to be. All I should have time for is loving unconditionally, seeing through a new set of eyes, pursuing intimacy, and living life with my palms wide open - resources on my finger tips - ready to roll my sleeves up and jump in! I believe this bubble may just be the right size for me right now after all.

And...I believe there may be enough room in there for one more, if your interested...

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, its the only thing that every has." - Margaret Mead