bittersweet transitions. and new squad leaders.

as is par for the course with most of the transitions in my life, i find myself currently sitting somewhere between the bitter and sweet.  i felt the same sentiment of a few months ago when i was scared to death to leave my friends, my routine, my comfort.  although this time i’m sitting in the middle of thailand; sweating to death and hoping to not see white rice again for a long while.

i’ve begun the process of transitioning out of this squad.  we picked and announced new squad leaders a few weeks ago.  we’ve raised up new team leaders and put people on new teams.  we’ve traveled to a new country.  we’ve settled into new ministry locations and have begun to embrace a new culture.  i’m learning how to share a role with two more people.  more than share it, i’m learning how to give it up. hand it over.  set it aside.  it’s no longer about me finding my footing or figuring out how to be a squad leader.  now it’s my job to see them do it.  push them into it.  watch them succeed.  bend down so they can stand on my shoulders.

there’s not a doubt in my mind that katie and brian will be amazing.

brian, who’s affectionately known as chino, is such an incredible man of god.  he’s got more passion than anyone else i’ve known.  his heart for the lord and his heart for people inspires me to be better. the way he pursues the lord with everything inside of him is both a conviction and a comfort.  when he prays, i tear up.  every single time. brian walks in a gentle kind of strength that he’s not even aware of.  his humility and willingness to serve those around him will gain him respect that he cannot imagine.  he chooses the stuff in front of him because he wants more than anything to look like his Father.  brian has surprised me around every corner with the way he jumps into things, the way he motivates and challenges people, and the way he always goes above and beyond.  i am sure that squad leading will be no different and i cannot wait to see what surprises both brian and the lord have in store.

and then there’s katie.  katie, katie, katie.  a fierce little lamb.  if the lord hand picked any one person for me on this squad it’s her.  she’s been both a little sister and a friend.  she’s said yes to everything the lord has put in front of her, especially when it was the hard thing to do.  she is covered in more strength, peace and crazy faith than she even recognizes.  the way she walks with the spirit and calls people into who they are inspires me to do the same.  she leads from her identity in a way that i’ve rarely seen and only recently tapped into for myself.  she isn’t concerned about positions and titles and merit.  she just wants more of jesus and everything that he has for her.  she’s gotten much more than she bargained for and she’s handled it with grace, honor, faith and maybe a few snickers along the way.  i am thrilled that she gets to be the one to stand on my shoulders and lead this crazy crew.  there is no one else i would rather be cheering for.  and you better believe i’ll be cheering.
and yet. for as much as i love these two and as confident as i am in their ability to be amazing leaders over the next six months, i don’t want it to be over just yet.  it’s probably a mix of things.  the fact that i have not even a semblance of a plan for what to do when i go home.  maybe it’s because i forgot how much i loved being overseas or how right all of this has felt.  it’s probably partly due to the fact that i still don’t always believe for good things on the other side and i’m afraid that if i’m not needed i also won’t be wanted.  maybe i don’t want it to be over because it’s just been so sweet.  and jesus has been so close and i’ve felt more like myself than i have in so long.  maybe its just because i never like change.  i always struggle through transitions.

and that’s okay.  it’s how i’m wired and it’s who i am.  and i know, with full assurance, that the lord can handle my struggle.  so i give it up.  i lay it down.  i set aside.  i push and promote and bend down for the people i believe in.

and while it’s hard and bitter and kind of makes me want to cry. i also can’t help but be thankful for the people who have done the very same thing for me. and that’s the sweet part.

enough.

if i have wrestled through anything the past several years, it’s getting to a place where i actually believe that i am enough.

not that i will be enough when i figure a bunch of stuff out.  not when i get all of my stuff together and stop being messy.  not enough in spite of x, y, and z.

just.  i’m enough.  right now. with all of my stuff.

in as much as i’ve fought to believe i am adequate, sufficient and legitimate the new battle seems to be fighting the lie that i am also not too much…but that’s another blog for another time.

yesterday, the plan was to enjoy a free day with one of my girls.  we would have breakfast and catch up and romp around the city for the day.  i sat down at mcdonalds, opened up my computer and proceeded to check my emails.  a certain email sent me into a tailspin.  for whatever reason, one little well intentioned comment got me thinking about all of the things that i’ve done wrong.  all of the things i’m lacking.  all of the reasons i’m not good enough.  and in about five minutes i had myself talked into what a terrible leader i am.  what an awful christian i am.  how badly i fail at just about everything. and then in about two more minutes i was resolved to the fact that all of my friends would stop loving me.  my family would pretend that i don’t exist.  and these poor kids that are stuck with me for another five weeks.  i felt back for them.

and then.  then i got real pissed.
because all of that is bullshit.  nonsense.

none of those things are true.  not even a little bit.  i am loved.  i am a good leader.  my family knows me and appreciates me.  i have people that fight for me. god isn’t mad me – he’s really, really proud of me.  i’m not forgotten.  i’m not a burden.  there is a plan for my life.  i’m not really lacking anything.  and the list goes on.  

so, in the span of about ten minutes i had had it.  i was so upset that after all of my battling and my fighting and my struggling an email could send me into such a tailspin.  so i decided to get a tattoo.  a prophetic act that all of the things i’m declaring are indeed true.

it’s the hebrew word for “enough.”  it can also be translated as “satisfaction.”

so that’s it.  enough is enough.  i’m enough.

lice, lice baby.

i only remember bits and pieces from the time that my sisters and i had lice when we were growing up.  one of us had picked it up from either school or daycare and brought it home to share.  i was maybe eight which would have made my sisters four and six-ish.  for one reason or another we happened to be in kansas city when my mom discovered our infestation.  we had to go through hours of shampooing and picking through our hair on top of sealing up and washing anything and everything we owned.  despite not recalling details, i can tell you that it was a pain.  my head itched something fierce, i am sure there were  tears and i’m positive my mom did 37 loads of laundry and washed our hair 82 times.

last week my squad discovered our own lice infestation.

a few girls had been complaining about their heads itching, but had chalked it up to dry scalps because of the tea tree oil in their shampoo.  and then, somehow, they realized they actually had bugs and eggs taking over.  david and i were in town when the call came.  “we need lice shampoo and a lot of mayonnaise.”  we came home to find nearly everyone covered in mayo and plastic bags on their hair.  it was a sight to see.

things have calmed down and picking lice out of each others hair has become our new favorite pastime.

i’ve spent hours picking minuscule white eggs out of hair.  hours and hours.  strand by strand.  picking and searching and removing. it’s tedious to say the very least.

as a good missionary, this is the point in the story where i should probably launch into how jesus picks through our eggs even though its tedious and it doesn’t seem to make a difference sometimes.  he digs through all our stuff just to pick out the stuff that shouldn’t be there.  he loves us enough to sit with us for hours upon hours; years upon years, if it means we are getting more and more clean.  and how sometimes, even though our head still itches and even though there are still bugs crawling around, we need the reminder that we are actually getting somewhere.  it does matter.

but, i don’t want to launch into a long dialog about how jesus makes it better.

i just want to tell you that i have lice.  and scabies.  which means i’m really itchy.  and kind of bitchy twitchy.