Real Talk.

Over time, what gets exciting or gives your heart butterflies may change. There are still some things that will always make your heart soar – for example, here, a baptism or cuddles from a young friend waiting outside the gate. Never gets old.

But over time, the excitement of some things fade.

 

But guys, I am jump-on-the-bed-to-a-90s-pop-song excited. Tears welling up, but the good kind, happy tears. I am bursting to the seams proud of a young friend of mine who is just – I can’t even fully explain it’s awesomeness without you being on this journey – but she is growing. And I am so proud of her.

She is a young mother, and she has transformed into this caretaker who is all about her little one. Her attention goes to her child before others and her resources are responsibly arranged to take care of him. And let me tell you, it shows on him…he ADORES his momma. He’s one of those kids that hasn’t learned about the universe yet, and therefore has mistakenly assumed it revolves around his mother. His dimples and playful attitude come out when she is around and their joy together in front of me reflects what their time at home is like.

She is learning how to responsibly organize her resources – AND she is organizing them with her child in mind! She is working hard where she is at. She is taking up responsibilities and following through with them.

She had lost her light a little over a year ago – that smile that defined her to me. It is back, and sometimes she is having an awful day, or even week, but that smile stays! Her child may be sick and not sleeping….for days….and she shows off bravery and love in that smile.

I see loyalty in her, maturity, ownership. When you give her a responsibility, she owns it and she owns it WELL. She doesn’t know how it will happen, but she is dreaming about how she would own a shot at a future, like going back to school. This includes a savings plan and all that she is dreaming up. Guys – talk of savings DOES NOT HAPPEN AROUND ME, not so far in my experience here. And definitely not from a teenage girl.

I have seen her be the most consistent attender of Young Lights (the youth gathering in Bercy that God is moving in) and stretch out of her comfort zone….and invite her friends to be stretched as well.

In tough, tough interpersonal situations…I have seen her act beyond her years or her peers. I have no idea where her other worldly reaction came from.

And guys, this is not from me. That’s part of why I’m so excited. So proud. So humbled. So emotional over how good He is.

Oh, I had plans for it to “be me” if she grew at all in 2015. Intentionally putting things into place where I could pour into her, influence her environment, love her well day to day. Prayers for her growth and for her to see her worth and for her life to break cycles. Dreams of what it could look like as our lives came together.

You know what happened instead? I was human. I was short with her at times, I was lazy and didn’t intentionally plan a way to pour into her each time I saw her. I love her, I really do, but sometimes I love her like a sister – where you’re all, “I love you, but I want my space right now”.

Yup. Me. The missionary. Sent to love people and show off Jesus. Guys, I love the verse about making the most of every opportunity and I didn’t! I know truths, I have on my door, “What would today look like if there were no selfish ambition?”…well, ask Jesus that one, cause I definitely did not go a DAY with no selfish ambition this past year.

But friends…look at Jesus. Look at Him. The one thing I DID do (inconsistently, at that) was pray. And look at Jesus. It is GOD who is shaping my dear, dear friend and He alone can get the credit.

God is maturing the daughter He stitched together before I even knew her. God is growing her. God is softening her heart. God WILL break chains. God had her cousin get baptized just a couple months ago. She WILL be His soon. And He continues to grow her, and I hope that she is seeing His love, bit by bit.

I had this dream, I prayed these words….and I did not show up on my part. Or I did passionately one day and called in sick the next. I am imperfect, I am selfish, I am lazy, I am not put together, and I definitely do not have a “1, 2, 3, come get discipled with me!” plan in my back pocket. And I want to get better, and I am a work in progress, but the truth is that I cannot get 2015 back.

But God.

I am SO proud of my friend. She is why I am here, and progress in people – even when it seems stuck-in-molasses slow – is the fuel to my heart (after Jesus, yes). This is the why.

But even more – He is the why. Look at Him! Look at what He is doing!

While I do NOT want to “celebrate” the areas where I could have done better; it’s almost like it’s kind of awesome that I was so clearly NOT it this year. Because that leaves no debate – it is Him. And I hope that I can remember this in both my plans to “improve” as well as every time I see progress….yes, I get to be a part. Yes, I want to redeem the time given to me. But it is HIM. LOOK at what He is doing!

I am so proud of her. I am so in love with Him.

For I am about to do something new.
    See, I have already begun! Do you not see it?
I will make a pathway through the wilderness.
    I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.

Isaiah 43:19 (NLT)

Hey, if you want to pray for her heart…I am SO proud of her growth, but she still has not accepted Jesus. She is not holding back in interest, jumping into being involved, and showing changes of heart all over the place – if you want, you can pray confidently with me that this will happen soon!

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