So I have been all alone in the office today. It is eerily quiet. But it has given me a chance to spend some time in a reflective mode. Introspection is something I like to do. Not in the dark, arthouse movie sort of way, but there are just times I want to sit and think about who I am and how far I have come. It helps me realize how far I still have to go.
I pulled out my journals form my old summer missionary days. I found myself fascinated today with the journal from my summer in Queens in 1993. The fact that I will have seventh graders enter the youth group this fall who were born that year is a bit frightening by the way. As I read through the thoughts of that young 23 year old, I was amazed. God really did teach me so much that summer. It was a roller coaster but I learned a lot.
One thing I learned was that God can make a missions experience much more about the change in you than the change you make in others. I think I have learned that on every trip I have ever taken but there were some moments in the summer of 1993 that really spoke to that.
It was during that summer that I first read The Hiding Place. As I turned to the page that chronicles that reading in my journal it started off by saying, "After today, I will never again be the same." That is a bold statement but one I think held true. There are parts of that entry where I am describing myself and my spiritual struggles and I don't even remember that person. God has done such a work in my life that it is amazing who I no longer am. He has helped me to put away my past and focus on the here and now and the future. I am not that frail twenty three year old anymore. The change didn't happen over night but it did happen. For that I am thankful.
Reading the journal also made me realize how much I love working with inner city kids. I miss that being here in rural Maine. It is interesting to see how God uses us in whatever setting he calls us to go. Still, I feel a sense of burden for kids who grew up like me. Kids who are poor and struggling living "real life" in the inner cities of our country. It makes me very eager for our trip to Raleigh in a few weeks.
I think it is good to have a day of retrospection. Everyone needs to take stock from time to time. Lately I have been feeling like God has not really done much in or through me but then I sit and read about the way I used to be and I am glad God loved me enough to help me change.