Confessions of a Missionary

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nup9jpxYYeE

If life goes according to plan, I will move into cleftRock in less than a week. My subconscious has been holding all my stress and tension for me. Let’s call the babe – my dream – my call to be a missionary at cleftRock.

I have traveled many moonless nights
Cold and weary with a babe inside
And I wonder what I’ve done
Holy Father, You have come
And chosen me now to carry Your Son

When I think of the future, I think of how unqualified I am. I think of my sin. How can I care for the ones called by God to share His Message with others? I am so not worthy. Not even close.

I am waiting in a silent prayer
I am frightened by the load I bear
In a world as cold as stone
Must I walk this path alone?
Be with me now, be with me now

Most of my subconscious stress or fear has been shining through my inability to sleep. I’ve been staying up as late as 4:30am each night for the past week. I’ve always had this thing… that if I don’t sleep, then I don’t have to wake up and face, face life.

However last night I fell asleep SUPER early [11:30pm]. This time my fears were manifested in my dreams. I dreamt that my friends and family were dropping me off at my new home, but it wasn’t cozy at all. It was an old warehouse, concrete slabs, broken furniture, nasty ginormous bugs crawling around, but I was trying so hard to think positively and be content. I was trying so hard not to let the loneliness sink in.

One thought that passes through my mind too often is the loneliness that comes with being a missionary. I’m new to this, so maybe this gets better, but this is what I’ve experience so far: silence. Now there is an extreme amount of encouragement from people that I wouldn’t expect, but there is a super lack of encouragement from those I’d hope would support me, at least with their words or belief. I’m sure I just need to learn how to let this go, but it’s tough knowing that people will avoid talking to me about my job and passion because they think it’s unacceptable to support-raise. It’s completely acceptable, and sometimes even mandatory, to tithe so that the church and church leaders will be supported. Ask for money yourself?! No way José.

In these moments, I just breathe. I remember what God has called me to, and I pray.

Breath of Heaven, hold me together
Be forever near me, Breath of Heaven
Breath of Heaven, lighten my darkness
Pour over me Your holiness for You are holy
Breath of Heaven

This past month or so has been tricky. I’ve been working through my previous volunteer experience, which was PHENOMENAL! And it’s hard to let PHENOMENAL go when it’s so close. AND JOBS KEEP OPENING UP. Hello mixed feelings, fits of tears, crazy obsessing over what to do with my life, prayer, and once again letting go and trusting. But the problem is in my “Year of Opportunity” – the looks of keeping doors open aren’t quite convincing of passion for donors.

Which leads me back to I AM SO NOT QUALIFIED. I’M HUMAN. I GET DISTRACTED. I have been blessed with many passions and opportunities. Sometimes I can’t say no to an open door until it closes on me. Opportunities sometimes create doubts. I DOUBT. But you know who doesn’t have doubts?! Who’s plan will NEVER fail. GOD. SUPPORT GOD. I will fail. HE WILL NOT LET YOU DOWN.

Do you wonder as you watch my face
If a wiser one should have had my place?
But I offer all I am
For the mercy of Your plan
Help me be strong, help me be, help me

Are you sure you want me God? ME REALLY? I mean I’m willing. This is all I’ve got to offer. You sure you want me for this? You know my troubles, my failures, and lack thereofs. Okay, you gotta help me, ’cause I definitely can’t do this alone, without you.

Breath of Heaven, hold me together
Be forever near me, Breath of Heaven
Breath of Heaven, lighten my darkness
Pour over me Your holiness for You are holy

Breath of Heaven, hold me together
Be forever near me, breath of Heaven
Breath of Heaven, lighten my darkness
Pour over me Your holiness for You are holy
Breath of Heaven, Breath of Heaven
Breath of Heaven

This is all you God. ALL YOU.

Song writers: CHRIS EATON, AMY GRANT

Bridge-Jumper

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I was going to make this my cover photo on Facebook, but just couldn’t. It’s too personal, too deep. Not to be taken lightly. It deserves an explanation, and a disclaimer.

Disclaimer 1: I don’t want your “sorrys” or “It’s gonna be okay.” If you’re thinking, “Sarah, it’s been 23 years – get over it already,” fine, keep thinking it. I couldn’t make something so personal, so me, so my heart and soul and mind my cover photo because I don’t want to draw any attention to myself. I wanted to cherish the tears that flow as I read these sweet words. Words of a stranger, that mean so much.

I don’t cry in front of people, not usually. I’ve lost a lot of people in my life as I’ve loved a lot of people in life. I learned at a young age to be strong. I’m not sure how I learned this, I just knew as I attended funeral after funeral, that people needed someone strong, so they could be weak. Later on, when I was alone then I could be weak and God could be strong. It’s worked for 26 years, not fool-proof, but for the most part, I’ve been able to be there for people.

Disclaimer 2: I’m usually a pretty positive person, [and I’m completely sound and okay]. As you read the next bit, realize that part of me wants to point out all the little blessings of this past year. Some quite epic amazingness, but overall…

This year has sucked. Terrible. I cannot even begin to count the amount of times I’ve wished for it to be 2015 already! Where are you 2015?! Yeah, this year can be over, like now.

There was a moment this summer when my “strong for everyone else” bit flew out the window. And I bawled, right there on that boat, as everyone else had a jolly good time. It was my brother and his fiancées rehearsal dinner. We took a dinner cruise along the Mississippi. We all were joy-filled and love-inspired, as would be expected. But then, we all noticed something. A bridge. Police lights shining. Coast guard. And suddenly life was a whirlwind of slow-motion around me. Photos snapped. Staring. And then life continuing on joyously.

Except for me. I was bawling. Drowning in my own tears. As I have been too many times this year. “Your soul knows.” Most comforting words I’ve ever heard. Yes. Darn empathy. But also, I had been there. On a metaphorical bridge. Too many times. Here friends were taking pictures, and continuing on with their jolly lives, when I knew deep, deep, deep, deep, deep down. That could have been me.

Now don’t get me wrong. Emphasis on metaphorical. I don’t think I could ever do it. I care too much about my family, and about God’s purpose for my life. But it was a rough year. Passion-less. Obstacle-filled. Exhausting.

Losing people hasn’t gotten any easier for me. I’m not a better griever. With time, I do believe I’m becoming a better lover. Perhaps that’s it. Loving more makes losing harder. Also I yearn for Heaven. Heart me is really excited for my welcome party – to see my family – my friends – my dad. Soul me is so excited to fall on my knees and weep in a passionate life-giving way before my Savior, Jesus Christ. To shed away the sin-filled human self, and become fully soul – image of God. Maybe that Heaven will be much more than my heart has ever dreamed – I’m positive it will be – but all that will matter is for once I’ll be whole. For once, I’ll be home.

Running for the Heart of it

Half marathonThe Bourbon Derbyphoto 2 (5)

Growing up, I used to fall all the time. My mom took me to several doctors and with no diagnosis, I learned to live with it. Walking around, I got used to falling. It seemed my ankle would “konk” out and I’d fall. Through many falls, I learned to catch myself, so I would look like I was about to fall and then regain my balance. This problem didn’t affect my sports, as many times it would happen while walking in my day to day life. I played soccer for most of my elementary years, though never would have imagined actually enjoying running. I detested when my coaches changed my position to midfield, as I would have to run more and more.

During middle school, high school, and my college years, I would run from time to time, but rollerblading became my main source of exercise. Throughout these years my feet, and ankles, began to bother me. Falling was no longer my main issue, but pain. The summer after graduating college, my feet hit a stopping point. The day after a long walk/jog, sharp pains shot from my feet up my legs with every step I took. Soon I went to see a couple doctors. The first doc diagnosed planters fasciitis. The next doc stated he didn’t know what it was exactly, but it definitely wasn’t planters fasciitis. He scheduled me for a procedure that would pinpoint the placement of the pain.

My mother was having some of her classmates from a Chaplaincy class visit. One of them was trained in Reiki. She was willing to perform a session, and I thought why not? Reiki is a Japanese technique for stress reduction. The word is made up of two Japanese words: Rei which means “God’s Wisdom or the Higher Power” and Ki which is “life force energy”. It is a “laying on hands” touch-less massage that uses life energy forces to work through areas of stress in the body. During the session I was told to think of a calming color surging through my body working out the areas of tension and stress. In my case, my ankles and feet.

I must admit, I had my doubts as I didn’t feel instantaneously healed. I did recognize a change a few days before my scheduled procedure. In fact, the day before I was on a mission to do everything that would usually hurt my feet. I went for a long rollerblade which would usually kill my ankles. No pain. I went for a long walk in really bad shoes. No pain. I jumped up and down. I pounded my feet on the pavement. Still NO PAIN. My mom and I went to the hospital the next day and told the doctor that I no longer had any pain in my feet. He called off the procedure.

I didn’t start running because I wanted to. I began my career as a runner because I could. I knew that if I couldn’t run for whatever reason, that I would want to. Fortunately, running has become one of my passions. I can now say I love running. I love the endorphins. I love taking in the scenery around my as I run. I love the community that is formed through running on public trails and in races. I love the causes that are supported through entry fees. I do love being awarded a medal [especially nowadays – they’re so creatively crafted!]. I love the shirts. I love running because I can. Nothing is stopping me.

I’ve been healed and I run for the heart of it.

To donate on my behalf to the American Heart Association, please click on the following link: http://cincinnati.kintera.org/heartmini/sarahsmithcleftrock I will be running in the Heart Half-Marathon on March 15, 2015.