Tuesday, January 11, 2011

two zero one one

As a new year begins, I am amazed and encouraged to look back and reflect on the year that has just passed. The faithfulness of our God never ceases to astound me. My cheeks are wet with awe and humble gratitude. I consider where I am and realize that it is somewhere I never would have envisioned myself. Now I can’t imagine being anywhere else. Without the quirkiness of Houston, the busyness of the city, the diversity of the people, the struggle, the despair, the victories, and the celebrations, my life would be missing so much. I would not be who I am today.

I have planted myself in Houston’s soil and slowly but surely my roots are extending deeper and holding me stronger. The nutrients of this Houston earth are beginning to feed me, to grow me, to sustain me. Houston has become a part of me and continues to be more so.
I am allowing myself to fall in love.
The other morning I read through some of my journal entries from this time last year, when I was beginning the second trimester of my Mission Year.  I was floored as I read story after story of how God showed up. All I had to do was make myself available to Him. Though I doubted, though I struggled, though I resisted, though I closed my eyes and my heart – God was faithful. God is faithful. Always, ever will He be faithful.
What I loved the most was seeing certain names come up over and over and remembering the process of beginning, pursuing, and deepening those friendships. I read about interactions with neighbors, my hopes and prayers for those relationships, and how God answered those prayers and blessed my often feeble efforts. I read about my friendship with the refugee family and all that we went through with them. Although I was often tired and not extremely excited about going to their house and struggling through communication, I always ended up feeling blessed by our time together. Being with them made me feel at home and as I think back on our relationship, I am amazed at how God brought us together.
Now God is dreaming a dream within me. I dream of remaining in Houston, of moving into a neighborhood and dwelling there, building relationships and maintaining them for years, investing in the children of the neighborhood and watching them grow, caring about the needs and issues of the community because it is my community, my home. I want the threads of these relationships to be woven throughout my journal entries and memories not just for one year, or even two, but indefinitely.
As Mission Year ended last year, Houston looked at me and said with furrowed brow and slight sad confusion, “You can’t leave.”
I looked at Houston and said, “You’re right.” And I stayed.
As I began to consider options following my second year working with the program, Houston again looked me in the eyes and said, more firmly this time, “Sarah, you can’t leave.”
Again I looked at Houston, caught slightly off guard, and I said, “You’re right. This is home.”                                                                                                                                        
I look forward with anticipation to living out my life here until God leads me elsewhere.