Saturday, January 18, 2014

Angels and A Jumbled Mess of a Heart

Well you guys…..this has been a rough past couple of days.  It feels weird just not talking about it right now.  But I’ll explain more later.  Right now, I am going to tell you all the story of how I encountered an angel. 

It all started with Ministry Week during DTS.  Basically, at the start of the week, we were told to bring an object that represented what we wanted the week to be about.  Or what we wanted to “receive” by the end of the week.  I forget how it was worded.  But that was the gist of it.  So, the object I brought was a ring.  It’s one a have never worn….it had a heart on it and was just kinda cheesy.  I don’t really know where I got it, but this is besides the point like usual.  So I brought the ring because what I wanted really this whole REACH experience to signify was me falling in love with Jesus.  Not just loving Jesus, but really allowing Him to romance me.  May sound a bit weird to some people, but I can assure you it is the best feeling that there is.  And I feel like that I what I have been doing throughout this whole REACH journey.  There have been ups and downs with it, but honestly, I don’t think I have ever been more content in the Jman than I feel now.  Being a girl, and quite a sappy one at that, it has always been really easy to have wanted a boyfriend.  And while that isn’t a sin, I know I have let it affect how much I really seek Him.  And now, during the last month or so, I have felt completely and utterly content in Him.  I know He has me exactly where He wants me right now.  And I am just in awe of Him.  The Creator of the universe loves me.  That is a ridiculous fact!  It makes no sense, but it’s true.  And I have this mental picture of Him holding out His hand and asking me to come and dance with Him.  He WANTS me.  And I feel like as of recently, I have taken His hand and His offer, and He has been twirling me around.  Seriously, I have never felt like this before….just completely at peace in Him.  He is all I need. 

So anywho.  I brought a ring.  I also just love rings.  If you look at my hands, you would be able to tell.  I am a very sentimental person, and I love wearing little reminders that make me think of the people that gave them to me, or jewelry that helps me remember a promise or something.  You follow?  Basically, I just really love having something tangible that reminds me of something I find really important.  For instance, I have a ring that says “He died for me.  I live for Him.”  That kind of thing.  Bracelets and rings make great reminders for stuff like that. 

Ok.  So, I love rings.  And I picked one out as my item to symbolize what I want from this experience.  There’s more to the puzzle.  Just keep trackin with me.  It’ll all make sense soon. 

So then, during a different week some time later, we were learning about spiritual gifts and the Holy Spirit.  We had the same speaker the entire week which was cool, because he got to know us a bit and vice versa.  So he’s teaching us about spiritual gifts, and we evaluated ourselves and our teammates on what we think their spiritual gifts are.  It was really cool and encouraging to see what other people saw in you as gifts that you didn’t even think you had.  Then, he had all of us leaders come up to the front, and he asked us which gift we wanted more of.  He asked us to choose a gift that we would want if we could have any of them.  And I chose faith.  Then the other REACHers gathered around us and prayed those gifts over us.  It was so cool! 

Let’s review.  Ring as a symbol for what I wanted this journey to be about.  I love rings.  And I want to grow in faith.  And the Lover of my soul took all of those things and gave me the coolest symbol of them all.  Talk about romantic. 

So.  One day I was coming down the stairs at the RIC and at the bottom we have our mailboxes.  It’s a habit for me to look in mine to see if I got anything.  Getting mail while you are gone is HUGE.  I looked and saw I had a letter.  I was so excited!  The envelope was made out to me, but there was no return address which I thought was strange.  And the handwriting looked familiar to me, but at the same time I had no idea whose it was.  And the postage on the envelope was very unhelpful.  I went to open it up, and there was a rip in the bottom of the envelope.  There was something sticking out of the hole as well.  So I ripped it open and inside was a random ad from a magazine to act as the cushion for the item inside.  There was no note…..just this ad that wrapped up…….Yup.  A ring. 

I was so confused.  I searched through the ad for a note of some sort.  I looked all around the envelope.   Nothing.  Not a single hint of who had sent me this thing in the mail.  So I put the ring on, and it fit perfectly.  I was shocked.  You see, I have man hands.  They are huge and my fingers are really big.  Let’s just say that you would never call my hands dainty.  At this point, I am just very perplexed as to what is going on.  So, I inspected the ring more and what it says just blew me away.  It reads, “FAITH SEES THE INVISIBLE, BELIEVES THE INCREDIBLE, AND RECEIVES THE IMPOSSIBLE.”


Seriously.  I was just like….what is going on.  Now, at the time, I did not put all these together.  I just really loved the ring and I was so curious to find out who it was from.  So, I talked to some of my friends at the RIC about it.  I was like….do you know who gave me this?  Do you know what this is about?  That kind of thing.  And a few people came and looked at the envelope.  It was a mystery to us all.  I seriously racked my brain about it for a few days straight.  What would make a person send this to me all secretly.  And how did they know that I loved rings?  And why? 

Also, random people would see the ring and be like…..”O hey.  I like your ring.” And then I would pounce on them and be like “It was you wasn’t it!” And then they were really confused and I had to explain the whole story to them. 

After about a week or two of being really curious, I started to realize how this ring really was a symbol of all the things I explained in the beginning.  It connected it all. 

Now, it sounds crazy sorta, but I really truly believe that it is from an angel.  There is no other explanation that makes sense to me.  If you think about it and go through the experiences that I did, I think you would come to the same conclusion as me. 

BUT.  If for some reason you are reading this and you sent me this ring…….WHO ARE YOU?!  Make yourself known!  I would like to thank you.  God definitely used you to bless my life.

Ok.  So there is my story.  I am pretty proud of how short I was able to keep that.  But we are not done yet.  That was the story of the ring and the angel.  Now, I need to share about this week, and how I have been so inspired and challenged by the faith of one of my best friends. 

As most of you have probably heard, this week was a very rough one for us.  Wednesday night, I was getting ready for bed and I had just started doing my homework for my Spanish class the next day and I was going to do my devotions.  At this point it was like 1140.  So I am literally JUST starting to wind down for the night, and my phone started buzzing on my shelf.  So, I picked it up and didn’t really think anything of it.  It was Mrs. J, so I said hey.  She asked if we were still up.  And then she said some words that made my heart drop.  She told me that Nicky’s mom had just called and that her dad was not doing good at all.  They didn’t know if he was going to make it through the night. 

Have you ever had a moment when your world just kinda comes to a halt.  Like, everything just freezes and you can’t really think.  Well, that happened to me for a couple of seconds.  My body kept doing things, but I wasn’t thinking about any of it.  I gave the phone to Nicky and then quickly started getting dressed.  The world began spinning again, but this time it was going at a much faster pace than it normally does.  Nicky, true to form, handled it so well.  We headed over Mr. P and Mrs. J’s.  Luckily, Mr. P had started looking up flights as soon as he heard and had made a connection.  As a consultant was looking up flights, Nicky called her mom and I called my directors.  And I kinda just went into detail mode.  I know it was G-d that got me through that without forgetting anything, because that is totally not the normal me.  We knew we were going to need to go to Madrid, and the bus left at 2 that morning.  At this point it was like 1230, so Nicky ran home to pack up some things, and I waited a little longer to finish up getting details settled.  Then I flew home to get a backpack of things together for the day of travelling.  The day was just a whirlwind.  Poor Bri and Latte didn’t really know what was happening.  We flew around and got everything ready and left our house again to catch a taxi at Mr. P’s house.  When Nicky and I left at 130 for the bus station, my body was going on so much adrenaline that it didn’t feel like the middle of the night at all.  We got on the bus, and we basically just didn’t talk about the situation at all.  And we found things to laugh about which was good.  Eventually we fell into an exhausted nap for like 2 hours each.  Then we got to Madrid and waited at the airport for like 3.5 hours. 

It got more real there.  I was numb.  We got the computer out and tried to get on the internet, but it was only available past the gates, where I couldn’t go with her.  And we had to wait for the ticket booth to open up at 10.  So instead, we just listened to One Direction and sang and laughed at dumb things.  I don’t know how she did it.  She is just so strong.  Even though her world was caving in all around her, she had such faith and peace.  She just blew me away.  Sure, she cried on and off, but she was still the same Nicky, finding things to joke about.  I am blown away by you, amiga.  You have taught me so much. 

When it was time to say goodbye to her, it was terrible.  I watched her go through security the whole way until I couldn’t see her anymore.  She is so strong.  I knew she would be fine, but I just felt so bad for leaving her like that, and it just all became so real.  This was really happening, and Nicky was flying home. 

The trip back to Granada for me was……terrible.  Seriously.  I was in a really bad place and very  dazed.  And I was just thinking way too much.  I played games to try and distract myself.  I was just praying and praying that she would make it back in time.  I didn’t feel like praying for anything else.  That was the only thing I dared pray for I guess.  Little did I know that he had already passed away about the time that we got to Madrid.  It was probably a good thing that I didn’t know that at this point though….

When I finally got on the bus to come back, I wrote some emails to people.  I rambled a whole bunch.  And just thinking back through the day was hard.  I was just so sad and confused and ticked off.  Add to that the fact that I was running on two hours of crappy sleep and you have a very unpleasant Kirsten on your hands.  I didn’t wanna talk to God really.  I was afraid I knew the answer He was going to give us, and I didn’t like it. 

When I got into Granada, I got a text from Judi asking where I was.  And then she asked me if Nicky knew that her dad had passed early.  And that was the low point.  I had no idea.  I got off the bus downtown and just walked the rest of the way home.  I had to release some energy.  I was a mess.  And through all this, I still haven’t been able to cry, which just topped off my frustrations.  (Crying is something that I haven’t done in over half a year.  I don’t know why, and I have been praying for it for about 5 months now.  Quite a journey, searching and yearning for tears.)  I seriously contemplated buying one of the bottles of wine I was passing and just HURLING it against a wall.  I wanted to just pound something and yell. 

Sidenote: if you are reading this and very concerned for my sanity, I don’t blame you.  I really have not had very many moments like this.  I can only think of like 2 other times in life that I was like this, and I think this might have been the worst time.  I can’t really explain it.  I was just really really messed up inside.  I knew this whole time that if this was God’s plan, then it would all work out.  I knew that He was a lot smarter than me, but I wasn’t ready to not be mad at Him yet.  I just really needed to vent and actually tell Him what I knew He already knew.  But I hadn’t really talked to Him all day besides praying that she would make it back in time, which she didn’t.  So I knew that He knew what He was doing, I was just being stubborn and didn’t want to admit it.  I was blaming myself a lot for not getting her back in time.  And I was mad at the doctors for making it seem like all of this was normal when they knew that his daughter was in Spain. I was breaking for Nicky and what she was going through, along with the rest of her family, but I couldn’t express it like I wanted to which just made me even more ticked off.  And I was just all jumbled up. 

So I got to Mr. P and Mrs. J’s and checked my email.  I was not a pleasant person at all to poor Mrs. J.  I feel terrible about that and apologized to her.  When I left, she knew I was not ok and had Mr. P check on me via phone call when he got home from class.  By this point I was home.  And I just began to unload on Bri and Latte.  It was kinda scary actually.  I was very honest with them.  My filter was down.  I just let it all come out.  It ended up being really good for us I think.  They had never seen me like this, and I haven’t been like that very many times in my life.  Ha.  But me being so honest with how I really was I think helped them open up and also gave us a lot to laugh about in the end. (Jeano, it was like I was talking to you or something.  You’ve seen me in a moment like this before.  I bet this is all too clear of a picture for you :]) Anywho, it was just really good to talk to them.  And we reminisced about funny things Nicky did or would be doing right now if she were here.  And we also just ate like all the chocolate that we had in this house….literally.  We felt disgusting, but it helped in a weird way.  Then we prayed and it was awesome.  And at about 1 I got some much needed sleep.

Talking to the girls made me so proud though.  Bri asked to pray right away.  And Latte gave me an insight that it might have been best that she didn’t make it back in time.  He was in terrible condition after all, and the last time that she had talked to him, they had had the best conversation that she has had with him in a long time, I guess.  So, her last memory this way may have been better than if she had made it back to see him in such a terrible condition.  I may not never know exactly why this is the way God wanted it to be, but I am trusting that He has a perfect reason indeed.  And Nicky….I mean, I don’t really have the words to express how much she challenged me in all of this.  As I was checking my emails, I saw the status that she posted on Facebook.  I was so convicted.  Her was the girl whose whole world was flying out of control, and she was praising God for giving her the strength and peace to get through this.  Her faith is ridiculous.  It is out of this world, and I desire to have more like her!  I am so blessed by my team. 

The next morning was much better.  The other girls were babysitting so I had about an hour of awake time to myself.  I read some notes that they had written to me since the beginning of the year.  And I wrote Nicky a really long email.  It was good for my soul. 

We miss her a lot already.  Seriously, I didn’t think it was possible to be this close with your whole REACH team.  But it is so hard having her gone.  I don’t even think it has fully hit us yet.  Yesterday night at Fe y Vida was the hardest yet for all of us.  And I think this week it is going to hit us all at different times that she is really gone.  We hope to call her today, and we are already so excited to skype with her a few times while she is gone. 

Ok.  There is a lot of my rambling for you.  God knows what He is doing.  We aren’t going to let this stop us from what we came here to do.  We are believing that He is going to use this to even do big things here in Spain.  Satan doesn’t win. 

Thanks for reading this.  Prayers would be great.  We are still trying to figure out how life here without her is going to work.  3 is a hard number.  We can’t wait to get her back.  We need our lame joke telling, guitar practicing, ab workout motivating, outside voice using, churro eating, “SICK!” shouting, Noah mothering, short joke receiving, positive thinking, faith building, tasty food making, snorting, impulsive, and fourth puzzle piece and friend back.  We are a quarter empty without her.  Love you, Nicky.  So much.  But we pray that you have a great time at home with family and friends.  It’s killing us that we can’t be there with you to hug and cry together.  We would give anything to be there for you if we could, but just know that we are here thinking of you every moment.  And like I told you before…..Keep shining over there.  The light you have left here is still illuminating this place. 

Blessings to you all.  Use this time that you have on earth to impact the kingdom.  In the end, that is all we have to live for, and what an honor that is.  Jesus, thank you for using our ruins and turning them into beauty.  

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