Andy and Jo at Carols 2010I had a precious time of just relaxing and receiving from Andy and Jo yesterday.

We shared with each other the difficulties of carrying heavy loads – Jo with 25 hours of work each week to pay for living expenses, Andy with his postgrad and work and all his church ministry, and myself, trying to balance the many different things I want to do with my life. I don’t want to just do church – God is more than church.

We talked about how difficult it is for people, especially girls, to rise up above others as examples, as leaders, secular or otherwise.

I told Andy that in some ways, I just felt a bit sad that I feel I didn’t hit the mark last year. It was so incredibly tough to be strong – not just with a shiny veneer, but with a true inner strength. True strength to be different. To be able to take rejection, to be willing to be scoffed at, to do scary new things, and just to be in that slightly lonely place of leadership. To be strong enough to take jabs from others, to be misunderstood…it’s incredibly, incredibly easy to just shrink back; or lose a precious sensitivity and softness in the midst of trying to be strong.

I struggled so much with trying to find my place in a new church that just didn’t feel like home, to be accepted by friends I think found me just a little bit weird, to be pretty much alone in my weird journalism course, and it just really ate away at me.

On the bus back at night, I just started crying. How do you keep offering every single bit of yourself when it seems that all around you is Discouragement, Lack of fruit, and Painful labour?

I can really feel the difficulty. I mean, there is overwhelming joy in the pain as well, and I want with all my heart to get where God wants me to be, to be a true light and inspiration, to reflect His radiant glory…but it is so tough. I find myself just totally unable to do it without immersing myself in God’s presence and just really asking Him for His supernatural strength. It all sounds a bit silly, doesn’t it, but God’s Strength has been revealed to me in such a real way in the past 2 years. And to get where I want to be, I need to press in more, ask for more, depend more, receive more, love more.

And God is Good! As I was reflecting over my difficult year, you know what God impressed upon my heart? He said He saw my every drop of sweat, He saved my every tear that I sowed into my career, my friendships, and His Kingdom…which is the collective whole of all the little parts of my life. And God just said He really, really loves me. He is really pleased with my imperfect trying. It is beautiful to Him.

Wow. This is a God that sees the tender part of my heart…the part that’s afraid, needing affirmation, and sometimes looking for it in the wrong places. Only God sees it with eyes that are kind, with love that is strong and deep. He is the only one that can come into my situation in a way that is accurately relevant and real.

How can I not respond to a God like that…