Getting back into life here at Hillsong is amazing. Like I said in the last post, I realized how much I missed it and just absolutely thrive here. I am so grateful this is the way God planned for this season of my life to go. I have been doing a lot with helping the new intake of students arrive here and making sure there first few days are not too terrifying, like mine were. I have loved every minute of getting to meet them, and reassure them that although they are far from home...God has not forgotten them and has plans for them here. I have gotten a taste of what my next semester at college will be like, and I cannot wait for what God is going to show me and allow me to do. He is pretty great. People are coming back from being away for the holidays, and I am loving my new roommates and every night is filled with good food, good people, laughter, movies, tears, all of it. I have made a home and a family here in only 6 months and I don't think I have ever felt more in the right place at the right time.
And next come the bad days that for a while at least, are a bit overshadowing of the beautiful ones. One of my very best friends here, Angela, lost her dad in a car accident about a week ago. It was just a normal day. She called me and I answered in the joking manner that we normally speak in and as soon as I heard the silence I knew something was wrong. I never met her dad, but I felt like it was my dad that was in the car accident. We cried with her, spent hours in the airport and on the phone trying to find her a flight. And telling her goodbye at the airport not knowing if he was going to be ok or if she was going to get to come back was one of the hardest most painful feelings I have ever felt. It gave new meaning to the scripture "mourn with those who mourn"...Our little family in Australia were almost frozen for a few days...we didn't know what to do. I had a feeling like someone punched me in the stomach for a few days. And I lied awake every night thinking that if this is how I felt, how much more in agony was Angela.
I literally cannot imagine losing my father. And I have never wanted God to undo something so badly in my entire life. A few days later, one of my flatmates found out her dad had cancer. I know in my head and even in my heart that God is good and sovereign and steadfast in love, and all of those things that make Him the beautiful God we serve. But the last few weeks, it's been hard to believe that I really can trust Him to make all things work together for good...that He can be trusted in everything with everything. I realized that some fears were taking root in my heart as all this was happening. I was avoiding talking to people from home, especially to family. Because it reminded me I wasn't there making everything ok. As if I was capable of protecting everything I love! BUT it's amazing how fear can poison your thoughts so quickly.
I absolutely love life here, and know in my heart of hearts I am where i am supposed to be. But all I have wanted to do the last few days is drop it all and go be with Angela or just go to my brother's basketball game, go bring my dad lunch at work, watch Monk or Everybody Loves Raymond with my mom. I really was feeling quite paralyzed by it today. I got up at 5:45 and headed to church, and played keys for Voltage like normal. But it was one of those days when you lift your hands and sing because you know God deserves it...not because you feel like it. I sat in my seat as Louie Giglio spoke about starting a new year and deciding where you want to be this time next year and all I could think was "I just want to be safe at home where nothing bad can happen." Realistic? Of course not. I rarely ever am. I knew it was silly...but I didn't care too much. I'll admit it, I miss my mom and dad! I'm a baby! But it was the truth, and I finally had to own up to the fact that I missed home.
I was in the garage at the college promotions stand, wearing my lanyard, answering people's questions about Hillsong College just doing what I do, and a lady I have never met before came and asked me about some Life Courses. We got to talking and she noticed I was American. I told her yes, and that I had been here for 6 months.
"You must really miss home," she said.
I didn't want to seem too weak...gotta keep up my tough exterior and all, so I just nodded and made it seem like I was totally fine.
"You know, I know you probably miss home a lot, but you being here and getting poured into is doing something for your family too. You are helping them by being here, and you are building a life for them as well. I am a mother and I know what it's like when your kids leave, but they know you love them," she said reassuringly.
I just looked at her, and had to bite my cheek so I wouldn't just start bawling there right on the spot. I asked her if I could give her a hug, and told how grateful I was that told me that, because I was having a really hard time with being gone. She just smiled and said your welcome and went on her way and I smiled the whole way home.
God knows. He knows everything. Every hurt, every joy, every hope, every disappointment. Angela's dad dying did not catch him by surprise. And things like that stranger telling me exactly what I needed to hear are no accident. He hasn't forgotten us, and he never will. And that gives me rest. I felt like I have been holding my breath for the last two weeks just waiting for something else horrible to happen, to get a phone call in the middle of the night...how dramatic am I?? But today...I can breathe. God is with me. It's not just a cliche anymore, because I feel it. And I know it to be true in the very deepest parts of my heart.
Angela, I love you and I cannot wait to see you and hug you and cry with you. You are dearly dearly loved.