My mom would remind me before every youth camp or conference that she was praying that I would grow and as I did, to know that’s what it was – growth. When I learned something new, it didn’t mean that I didn’t know Jesus – it just meant I was learning more about Him. She’d tell me to never be scared of growth but also that I needed to recognize it for what it was. What wise words…I have often reflected on them during my life. I was saved at the age of 4. I know that is true and that from then forward if I died, I would indeed have eternal life with Jesus. However, the growth in my relationship with Him is far from over – I have much to learn, much to glean, much to apply…the list could go on and on. So from time to time in between the Ryleigh updates and ministry updates – you’ll probably read about some of that growth. I just wanted to give you a glimpse into why I’m choosing to share it.
One of my weakest areas is vulnerability. I’ve read Grace for the Good Girl (highly recommended by the way) and God used that book to show me how much I struggle with it. He led me into a room that I’ve created full of “masks”. These masks aren’t wild and crazy…they are the masks of a “good girl”. Someone who was brought up in church, did Bible Drills, youth choir, mission trips, VBS, and then even went to a Christian college, not to mention – all the while longing desperately to live in Africa. Absolutely nothing in the world is wrong with any of these things…most of the time I was even praised for choosing them and the Lord used each of them to teach me more about Himself. However, there were times I was doing the “right thing” to be who I thought people wanted or expected me to be. The majority of these expectations were created in my mind and were no where near what people were truly thinking. The bad part was that my heart was not ALWAYS in the right place and there were times that I did things out of selfish motives. I honestly don’t believe I was aware of this until the past few years, when He has been showing me strongholds in my life. Maybe, I didn’t want to be made aware but nonetheless, I’m trying my best to listen now.
The biggest “mask” I wear is not letting others in. Does that make sense? I have told myself that I should be a “strong” person, when in reality showing others my weaknesses can only glorify the Lord more. Some of you may not care to know who I really am – a weak, sinful, prideful, child of the strongest, most holy, selfish God. But, I need to put it out there anyway. I need to be vulnerable because then there’s no room for pride. I enjoy writing and this blog is often where some of my thoughts end up. My prayer is that when you read things about my life and what’s going on over here in Madagascar is that you see His glory. That you truly understand how unqualified and unworthy I am. It is through His power alone that I am here. It is through His strength, grace, forgiveness, mercy, and love that I make it through each day. And frankly, that’s how each of us should be, that’s the only way each of us should ever make it through any given moment no matter where in this world we are. Realizing this does not mean we have “arrived” and life from here on out is smooth sailing – ha – in reality it means that I try to be continually aware of the fact that I will drown if my eyes come off of Him (oh how much there is to learn from those childhood Bible stories).
So, I guess this is me letting you know what this is all about. This space where I come to type out what He’s showing me and how in the world I might start to apply it in this life He has given me. It’s a journey. No doubt. I don’t have it all figured out and I don’t share all these things publicly because I’m trying to teach you how to do something. I just want to share my mistakes, my struggles, my weaknesses – to give testimony to the One who is greater than all of those. He’s asked me to write, to share, to be honest…so this is me…obeying.
Praying that is exactly what each of us is doing today…obeying what He’s called us to do.
How can I be praying for you? What has He called you to? When’s the last time you were vulnerable and honest about your struggles? Do you see how He can use those for His glory?