As many of you know, this past fall season I went through a 15 week program at H.E.A.R.T. Institute in Florida. I lived in a community of cabins, shared kitchen, gardening together, attempting to raise animals, and all things community. Our focus was on training for a missional life geared towards developing countries.
I would try and tell you how incredible it all was, but it is so hard to describe an experience like such. I found myself saying over and over again that living in such close, intentional. Christ centered community is like constantly looking into an honest mirror. You learn about yourself in every possible way. What are your strengths along with what you stink at. What encouragement you have to offer along with the ugly you bring to the group with your attitude. How great it can be to live with the same group of people all the time along with the struggles of sharing your space and time with them. Pieces get put together and the puzzle starts to make a picture. Who am I, truly?
With all of this there is most definitely pain, tension, and hardship. And it makes you wonder if it is worth it. Of course it is. When I lived on my own and I split ways with all my close friends I wasn't challenged to be refined. I didn't have to change my attitude or my habits if I didn't want to. They didn't directly affect those around me in a consistent way. Yet, when the people you work with are the same people you share meals with, go to class with, hang out with, pray with, etc you and everything that comes with you affects them. So it is absolutely is worth it. The Lord gets to throw me in the fire and burn away all the ugly that doesn't glorify Him. It is a painfully beautiful process that brings about another piece of Heaven being displayed on earth.
I left H.E.A.R.T. in the middle of December to return to my home and family. Without any certainty of what my next step in life would be I settled into my sister's guesthouse and resumed my duties of being a sister, daughter, aunt, and friend. I ended up only being home for 3 weeks. In those three weeks I was able to see my nephew's birth and kiss his precious head, I shared many laughs with my nieces, enjoyed meals with friends, and got plenty of rest. Where did I go when I left?
Back to H.E.A.R.T.!!!
Currently I am a floating intern and I am bunking up in what we like to call the "Tin Can" with 3 other girls and waiting for another to arrive. The Lord has blessed me with the opportunity to return to a place where He started something huge in my life that involved alot of pain, tension, struggle, and plenty of emotions. I am excited for this season of life where I am certain that the Lord is going to challenge me in healthy ways, reveal to me what needs to be transformed by Him in my life, and be enriched by the community around me.