The proud and satisfying moments were fun and brought back good and warm feelings. The moments you remember suffering were not so fun. Taking pause to reflect on why you felt the way you did and describing those moments (that forever shape you) is painful. It's not fun and it's hard and I'd rather just forget.
It's important though, to do this because it really is evident how those moments and those feelings play into your passions and gifting later on.
One of the most painful parts of my life, was during my younger years in church- specifically youth group (Junior High on up) I'm not going to dive into all of it, but suffice it to say I was hurt by people in the church (side note...people can really suck and that includes God's people. It sucks and it shouldn't be this way but we are all human and sometimes humans suck) I could have very easily written the church off at that point but I am grateful that God (and my parents) walked me through that and that I didn't turn bitter.
Something I did while in my youth group days was go to Mexico on a mission trip. I sort of signed up because everyone did, but I really struggled with it. God answered specific concerns I had with different verses right before I left and I will always remember that. But I did not come home feeling "totally awesome" nor did I ever feel like "Yes, I was totally supposed to go and now I can see that". I just never have. Some things you just don't get the kind of answers you expect.
I swore I would never, ever go back to Mexico on any kind of a mission trip
(you know where this is going don't you?)
As I've shared before, God is rattling my soul and asking me to live brave, to trust in Him in new ways and to let go of fear. Going to Haiti with Trades of Hope was a huge step in that direction for me. Letting (seriously) Trev go to Israel for over 10 days was a big deal (it's all about fear people)
Then my friend (our Youth Pastor now) asked me to go to Mexico with the Youth as photographer for their trip over Spring Break. He must have sensed I was in a "heck yes whatever" mood when he asked because I said sure.
His wife is one of my dearest friends, and at that point I thought there was a good chance she was going. Well, she's not. And I started to back peddle a few months later.
I tossed up a lot of excuses
"I'm not invested in it"
"I only said yes because he's my friend and I don't want to let him down"
"I am not a youth worker right now, I have no connection"
"Wait, it's like hardcore camping!?!?"
"I will miss my boys"
"I am afraid something will happen to them while I'm gone, only I can really watch them the way I want them to be watched"
We leave tomorrow, and to be honest I'm still fearful. I'm just sort of putting those things in the back of my mind and focusing on using all this cool camera gear and apps to edit movies that I get to upload while we are in Mexico.
But here is the thing-
I think God wants to redeem some things in me. I think God wants to take something that makes me remember hurt and loneliness and rejection and turn it into something good. I think He wants me to trust Him with the parts of my past that still hurt. I think God wants to work on me. I know that unless every.single.part of my life is His I cannot be used the way I have asked Him to use me.
Am I hesitant and a little afraid? You bet I am. But I'm going. I will leave before my kids get up in the morning and hit the road with vans full of teenagers that may be feeling exactly what I felt so long ago but hid it really well.
And my boys will ask Trevor where I am and he will tell them that I'm heading to Mexico to build houses, and that Mommy is learning to trust God in a whole new way.
You can follow along at www.mednazyouth.blogspot.com or @mednazstudents on IG