Yesterday I was sitting in a worship service for those we call “second generation culture.” I was not a part of this event, but I had asked to go because these are the students that I work with and my boss was leading worship. Josh let me come as his guest. When the speaker started sharing I knew why I was there. He was helping me to gain perspective on the passport I have felt in my life this week. There are days when I feel like I am “out of my own skin” because I don’t fit in the roles God has called me to. The teacher was speaking about the “buts” of Moses. I have asked every single one of these questions, often multiple times a day.
WHO AM I? (Exodus 3:11)
I do not have a college degree. I did attend college but found it a bit constraining for me so I did not finish. I know you probably don’t want me telling your kids that. But here is what I would tell them. Learn ALL that you can. Learn how to learn with your senses. Learn how to learn by experience. Learn how to drink in everything around you and weigh it against what you know about God. And if you don’t know much about God, start there with your learning! I will also probably tell them to finish college because in these times it is almost essential to have those letters behind your name. Who knows, I might even go back to college myself one of these days. But, with passion, I digress.
As I said, I did not graduate from college. But this week I was given two opportunities to walk into a classroom on a college campus and share my faith and my journey with around fifty students. We talked about immigration and refugee resettlement and life and obstacles and service. And I was blessed to be standing somewhere I didn’t belong. I was blessed to be serving God in a place where I was not supposed to be talking about Him. I was blessed that God used me to shift hearts. I was granted passport.
WHAT SHALL I TELL THEM? (Exodus 3:13)
I am a rather shy person. Perhaps the correct word is inhibited. Being social does not come easily to me. It takes a lot of fear, and tears, and strength to step outside of the me that likes to sit back and watch the room, make sure it is secure, and then step into the group dynamic. A few short years ago, I would not have dreamed of stepping into a room and walking straight to the front and leading anything. I know that I have a story. And I know that I have a lot of life experiences from which I can share. But this is why I write. It is far easier for me to be behind the pen or a keyboard tapping out the words. But over the past few years, I have learned to say yes to opportunity. Monday night I led our youth night at the Proskuneo School of the Arts. I have invested time in them and because of this, they have given me passport to speak truth into their lives.
WHAT IF THEY DO NOT BELIEVE ME? (Exodus 4:1)
This week I was able to probe and get answers to a difficult situation for a student in one of our local high school students who needed help. I am not a family member or a counselor and there is no reason why these school officials should talk with me. But there is someone Who goes before me and I was given passport. And now this student can take the next step of his journey.
I HAVE NEVER BEEN ELOQUENT (Exodus 4:10)
I had the opportunity to sit with a dear friend the other night and ask some tough questions about life. Strong words are never easy but they go better with a large dose of trust. My friend gives me passport because he knows I will not judge him in the midst of his struggle. He gives me passport because he knows I pray for him and care deeply about him getting to a better place. He gives me passport because the words are not as important as the relationship.
CAN YOU SEND SOMEONE ELSE? (Exodus 4:13)
Almost every Saturday I get to walk into a room full of amazing friends from Burma. The first few times I went I was so nervous. I knew that my life was about to change, but I didn’t know why God was taking me down this road. Now we break bread together. We open the word of God together. We sing together. They let me come to be with them so I can learn their language and their culture. We are learning together – what makes us laugh, what makes us cry, what makes us proud, what brings us shame. This week at church we had a visitor from Burma. He is the songwriter who wrote one of the few songs that I sing in their language. I was asked to come and sing the song while he was with us. What a privilege to have this moment with another songwriter from another land. Passport. I have been given passport into a world that is not my own but is fast becoming more familiar and less foreign. And I would no longer think of asking God to send someone in my place.
I realize that every day that I wake up is a gift and every door that is opened is an opportunity. I could not walk where I am walking without passport. You give me passport by supporting me along the way with your prayers and your gifts. You give me passport by inviting me to share my passion with people who you know can benefit from hearing about the fire I have for what I do. Thank you.