Like New Year’s weekends before, I sat clutching a homemade latte, staring out the Beckner’s window at the miles of snowy Yampa mountains before me. Those mountains are my Colorado sanctuary– my home away from home where I love to throw down my backpack and pitch a tent in the summer sun.
May through August, those mountains and flat tops are covered with my favorite purple wildflowers and dotted with brilliant yellow buttercups. I know I often say how much I love meeting with Jesus in Denver coffee shops, but the conversations I’ve had with Him over gritty JetBoil coffee, sitting on a log in those woods have been some of the best of my life.
As I sat staring at the feet of snow in the fields before me, I began envisioning those flowers around my bare summer feet and my blue speckled camping mug in my mind’s eye. It was then that I heard Jesus louder than I had in a while:
He was right about the death bit… I was dead before winter break, and sitting in front of Nick and Reba’s window, I felt the weariness of that death, even weeks into my vacation. (Okay, I obviously wasn’t actually dead when my feet hit Colorado soil, but if you would’ve seen me the second week of December before I boarded that plane to Colorado, you would’ve seen the death in my eyes.)
I was bone tired. I was hurt from relational breakdown and trial within my house at TLC. I felt really hopeless for my students after a long few weeks of struggling with (and against) them (and God). And I felt like a failure of a missionary for not being able to “suck it up” and move past my own sin, exhaustion, and pain.
Honestly, I didn’t know how I was gonna put myself back on a plane to Alaska at the end of winter break and willingly enter back into the lives of my students…
Yet here I am, sitting in my little house in Port Alsworth, sipping tea and watching the sun set behind the mountains that have captured my heart. But I’ll be honest with you; even in this moment of peace, I’m still a little nervous about what this semester will bring, given what the last one dished out.
Yet in my nervousness, I’m clinging to the truth that Jesus is the One breathing life into my students and I as we head into what is guaranteed to be a really beautiful spring of renewal and redemption. And as His Truth and the promise of renewal and spring flowers will continue to breathe life into my lungs in the months to come, I remain incredibly thankful for each of you and the ways the Lord has continuously breathed life into me through your friendship and prayers.
To those of you whom I had the privilege of sitting down to coffee with over break and sharing what the Lord is doing at TLC, know I cherished those moments. Thank you for rejoicing with my students and I in the many victories of the Lord last semester. Thank you for listening to the weary, ugly, broken parts of my heart and responding with the grace of the Gospel. (And thank you for handing me tissues and napkins as I sobbed across tables from you. Woof; so much crying, but such beauty has come from those tears.) You, my friend, are precious to me and represent Christ so well it’s ridiculous.
To those of you I missed this trip, know that I am so thankful for your friendship, continued support, and prayers. I look forward to days unnumbered when we can sit and chat about the goodness of God in the resolved and unresolved struggles and joys of life, alike.
As always, thank you for your partnership in taking the Gospel to the ends of the earth. My prayer for each of you is that you would feel the glorious thaw of His love on your hearts and circumstances as the darkness begins to wane and the promise of spring approaches.
“And why do you worry? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will He not much more provide for you—you of little faith?”(Matthew 6:28-30)