This is a post from my series The Gospel of Enough, based on a theatre performance by George Fox University players. These stories happened in the past, but are written in first person so you can get a sense of my thoughts and feelings during each story as I worked through big emotions to get to where I am now. I hope you enjoy this journey with me.
The past few posts have shown a very broken side of my story. There has been so much hurt and pain and hardship, as every story has at some point or another. But that hurt and pain and hardship is so important. I am a firm believer that we cannot know true happiness unless we have been completely heart-broken and that we can never experience true joy if we have never seen complete despair.
When I returned to Newberg from Walkabout (which turned out to be an incredible experience), I told my boss, Matt, about my fears. I was terrified of the sophomores I would have on my floor, terrified that I wasn’t a fit leader, terrified that I would fail. And he said a simple sentence that changed the course of my year:
“They only put the strong with the sophomores.”
Maybe he told me that as a statement to grow into, maybe Student Life saw in me a strength I didn’t see in myself, maybe he only told me what I needed to hear, who knows. But that knowledge that the strong had the heavier burden because they are able carried me throughout the year. Throughout floor events where the only attendee was my roommate, with girls who wouldn’t acknowledge me or talk to me and with a new role as a friend and navigating how I do life with a leadership persona.
The strong carry heavy burdens. They help along those who have it easier because they have the experience of a heavy burden. Because I had a goal and because of my life story, I was enough to help carry the burdens of those who let me in to help carry them.
I never did make it to Romania. I can’t remember crying so many times in one day when I told the team leaders that I had made the decision to no longer go on the trip. I cried when I told them, I cried afterwards, I cried with friends, I cried on my way home, I cried with my parents, I cried myself to sleep. When people would ask me afterwards why I didn’t go on the trip, I found myself struck silent by the lack of words to describe the pain I had experienced.
While it was scarring, I learned something important: God is faithful and He is enough.
I had put Him in a box and limited how He worked. I think He needed to show me that He is still good even when things don’t go the way I had anticipated. He is still enough no matter the circumstances, simply because of who He is. That is all I need.
And yes I did get to talk to my friends about Bangladesh. Not in one fell swoop; that wouldn’t do the experience justice. But I tell the story of Bangladesh in the way I live my life. The way I interact with people, the way I view the world, the things I see as important. The trip defined me in many ways and freed me to walk in the definition as a woman of God with a story to tell.
And I’m learning how to share that story.
Last week was a week of pure joy. I was in my element, looking for good stories, sharing them and utilizing the people who loved stories just as much as I did. That experience of story-telling was life-giving, refreshing, restoring and in many way, determined the steps I want to go forward with. My future may be gray, but I can walk knowing that I am enough, my story is enough. My God is enough.