Saturday, February 26, 2011

Trip to Nowhere

Right now I'm feeling a lot like one of those yellow dish sponges that sits on the side of your kitchen sink.

Exhausted, dirty, kind of rough around the edges - but full, absolutely full of purpose, peace, and perspective. Didn't even mean for that alliteration to happen...but wow, love when it does.

And you know how sponges like that are supposed to be full of germs? Well until I get a shower, I'm gonna say that is relevant to how I feel right now too.

Anyway, this weekend I participated in a LIFE event called the "Trip to Nowhere." The name of our community service project is deceiving, to be sure. Even though we stayed in Greenville, we went lots of places.

So, you're asking, where did our LIFE group go this weekend?
  • Surrounded by high vaulted ceilings, perfect acoustics, and dazzling stained glass windows, we worshiped in the Harper Chapel on Friday night. The lyrics of "God of this City," are still ringing through my head: "Greater things have yet to come, greater things are still to be done in this city!"
  • We split up around First Pres and prayed over the City of Greenville, the organizations we were partnering with, and the people we were serving. I could feel the Spirit of God just pumping us full of energy and anticipation.
  • We spent the night in the Junior High room at the church. You can't do better than a good old-fashioned lock-in. Even though I didn't participate in the 2:00 am game of Sardines, I still loved staying at the church. Took me back to my youth group days!
  • We cleaned trucks and shelves, painted poles, and put together snack packs for needy kids at Harvest Hope Food Bank. I was lucky enough to get to put together the snack packs with some of my dearest friends, and I had the idea of writing notes to put in each lunch bag that said YOU ARE LOVED. I am still smiling thinking about the kids getting a handwritten note in their snack pack.
  • This afternoon, we split up into groups and did projects at Miracle Hill, United Ministries, Habitat for Humanity, and again, I was lucky enough to help with a field day for Pendleton Place Children's Shelter. I convinced a skeptical 10th grade girl to compete with me in a sack race. I chased a giggling, screaming little blond boy around pretending to be a monster. I sang "Umbrella" to a fifth grader when she showed me her umbrella silly band and she started singing and dancing right along with me. I helped to raise a parachute high in the air for delighted toddlers. I saw the wonder and love and joy of these children despite their most horrifying and unbelievable circumstances. I was in awe of their resilience. I felt the presence of the living God.
  • Tonight I sat on couches back at First Pres with my best friends, my Greenville family, and processed through what was a truly amazing weekend of service. One thing I'm sure of is that serving others doesn't change those being served as much as it does the ones who are actually serving.
I am changed because I have learned for the millionth time that this life is truly not about me. It is not about my checklists or my goals or my dreams or my wishes. This life is about being poured out like a drink offering, about laying down your life for your friends, about helping the widows and the orphans. This life is about being the hands and feet of Jesus. I feel so very lucky to have had the chance to relearn that lesson this weekend.

Now I know: With a Jesus who loves me, a roof over my head, food in my belly, clothes bursting out of my closet, a family that loves and encourages and supports me, friends galore, and a job that is a perfect fit - I am blessed beyond what I could ask or imagine.

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