It’s been a month since i boarded a plane in Tirana headed for Amsterdam. It’s quite strange, i have been back in the states for nearly a month now, it seems impossible, yet it is true. However, it is only now that i am able to begin processing it all, the trip, the travel, the being back. Everything still feels pretty surreal, i often have to ask my self “did that really happen?”. i know it did, but like i said it’s still a bit surreal.
If you’re anything like me then you go into things expecting them to be a certain way, when in fact, they never quite turn out that way. It would be an understatement to say that is true of the trip to Albania for me. i love the way Jesus works in or perhaps against my expectations. The way he knows me better than i know myself. The way he brings me to realizations that i never dreamed.
With that said, the things i expected didn’t really play out as i had imagined or even at all really in some cases. The truth is God moved in my heart differently than i had thought he would, which is the problem with trying to put a finger on how God will move. Before i left, i thought it would be difficult to leave Albania. i felt like this, because i knew i would be face to face with the great need and not want to come back to my comfortable life in the states. Honestly, i was ready to leave Albania, that is not to say that i didn’t enjoy my time there or that i wasn’t overwhelmed by the enormous need there, it’s just that God stirred something different in me. i want to go back, i don’t know when or how that will happen. Honestly, i can even see myself living there, but that all will have to be worked out by the Lord. The thing that happened on this trip that forever altered me is that, there i was in a country where i know no one, with a group of people that i don’t really know, with the exception of Anne, and i stood face to face with all my deepest insecurities. You know, the things that i can pretend aren’t there when i’m in the states with my normalcy surrounding me. There in Albania, i didn’t have my normalcy and i didn’t have my comforts and i was completely insecure. Which as horrible as it felt, was good. It made me cry out and seek my maker’s heart in more deep and profound way. It also challenged me to let go, to quit hiding my insecurities and either do something to change them or embrace them, but to not let them hold me back any longer. This will be a process, as the Lord showed me, but i am fully committed to it and to growing in him through these insecurities. He also taught me that all along He has been in control. i can think i am, i can make these grand plans, but all along it’s always been him. i think back to all the plans i had to be this and do this, and now in his leading i see something so different, but so much better. i became more aware of my talents and gifts and how i can use those before Jesus in the days i have been given, and so i am going to pursue those things with my heart and let him prepare the way. i can’t live for a time some where off and away, i must live each day fully alive in him making the most of the moments given to me, and let go of my plans and my insecurities and my hopes and my dreams and embrace him and his way for my life. i am getting there. Being Jesus happens everyday, not just in Albania or in 3rd world countries, but i was made aware that i have numerous opportunities each and everyday to look like and live for Jesus no matter where i am, so i am going to fully embrace that and make the most of those opportunities.
So i loved Albania and the experience for very different reasons than i had thought i would. i am grateful that God pursues my heart and doesn’t let me stay the same. i am humbled by what he teaches me, how he shows me that there are orphans and widows here in the states that need me to be the plan by letting Jesus work through me and letting God prepare and change their hearts, so just because i am not in Albania or a 3rd world country, doesn’t mean i’m not the plan, he will continue to develop me and use me here and there and forever i am connected to Albania and forever i will pray for Albania and when God sees fit He will send me again, in the mean time he is preparing my heart to rest in him and let go of me.
Please pray…pray for Albania and the way Jesus is tearing at the fabric of deep oppression that holds that nation in captivity. Pray for the orphans and widows. Pray for the lost and the broken. Pray for people with special needs who are oppressed and marginalized. Pray for the USA the same way. Pray like in Matthew 20, Son of David have mercy on me. Cry it out, because the world needs mercy…i need mercy…you need mercy.
If you are interested in something you can do for orphans and children with special needs in Albania check out these websites: