There is no excuse, though I would love to make one.
So, moving on, Chicago has come back to life. Spring is amazing in this city because until maybe March, nobody moves. people huddle in tall brick buildings and complain about the city. Then, come sweet, glorious March, things change.
All of a sudden windows are....open. Restaurants put tables and chairs outside (including the local Starbucks). People go on walks, runs, rollerblades, bikes, strollers, horse and carriages, long boards, and scooters around the lake and city.
It's like the city comes back to life again and breathes a collective sigh of relief.
I am certainly breathing a sigh of relief. Spring brings about changes and my life is not immune to those changes, even though some days I long for the certainty of being in one place and not experiencing constant transitions.
The changes include: moving, again; starting seminary full time in the fall; saying goodbye to some wonderful undergrads; watching some close roommates go; finding a new family to nanny for; having my own room and not living in an overly-crowded space for the first time in five years and, finally, joining with other friends in celebrating lots of new marriages and babies.
Yes, there are plenty of changes. Not to mention I am heading to Thailand for the fifth time in about...six days. I am so excited to go. I don't remember the last time I was this excited to go on a trip, even though, for a lot of reasons, this has been the hardest trip for me to lead thus far. We are going to living with thai families in a village just north of Chiang Mia. We will be working on a fish farm with the missionaries, learning about how evangelism is done in the East through the efforts of contextualization and, ultimately, furthering through our presence and actions the witness of Christ that is already present in the village. After a week there, we will be traveling to the Burmese border to work in the nine refugee camps. In the camps we are going to be working in the orphanages, bringing school supplies and smiles and getting to spend some quality time with the kids. We also will be funding the building (and building) several toilets in the largest camp. Throughout the trip we will be hearing from missionaries working with women in the sex industry and learning about what advocacy in the States can and should look like. We are going with the very real awareness that we do not speak Thai or Kerrin, nor are going to be in the country long enough to stand in full solidarity with the people. However, we know that by going, we are opening ourselves to new experiences and are entering another story.
We are entering a story that needs advocacy, and, unfortunately, we know that most times people do not change their priorities until their story intersects with someone else's. That is why we are going.
Please, please, please pray for this trip. Pray as the Spirit leads. I am leading with Zach, and the students on the trip are Miranda, Matt, Sarah, Brad, Poe Clee, and Maren.
As we are getting ready to leave, I am clinging to the words in the book of Second Corinthians. The first chapter is about allowing God the room and authority to work in your life. Whenever we experience suffering, we are making room for God's comfort. When our perspective shifts, we are making room for a new one. When we allow God to break our boxes, through whatever means He uses, we are making tangible room for something new. The following chapters are filled with encouragement that in our weaknesses, God can be strong. Again with the theme of less of us and more of Him. The less we have, the more there is room for God to show us He is right, good and ABLE. Chapter six begins with a verse about not wasting the gift of kindness, love and salvation God has given us.
God wants room in our lives to show us He is big enough. He is more than enough. He does not want us to take for granted and waste the power of the Holy Spirit in us on our own fear.
I pray that we would believe God more.
As the trees have blossomed, and kids' chalk litters sidewalk, I have a felt a new wave of joy. There is something terrifying and liberating in change. There is space in my life that has not been there before. There are situations, opportunities and people in my life that have been there before.
I have not been here before.
Man, I love spring.