I’m not 100% sure where to start this blog post. It’s been a long time coming, that’s for sure. I often have things on my heart I want to write about but it seems like I have to intentionally press pause on life to be able to sit down long enough to get all my thoughts out of my head. Anyone else feel that way?
That’s how I feel about today’s post. It’s been in my head for a long time, and I feel like while hiking today I finally got enough content (and time!) to sit down and push out my thoughts. A-freaking-men.
I’ve been home from Israel for about 5 months now (and it’s been about as long since I last wrote on here), and I am just now coming out of whatever reverse culture shock I experienced. I honestly didn’t think that was something I would struggle with, so it surprised me that I missed Israel as much as I did, so much so that I usually would shed tears over just thinking about Israel or hearing someone talk about Israel. It was serious. It was uncontrollable. I didn’t really know what to do with it or how to handle it. But it lasted legitimately until maybe a couple weeks ago. I think something shifted in me at the Hillsong concert at Crossroads on October 16th. I felt it – I can’t explain it exactly, and it wasn’t a big “aha” moment, but I felt a shift and I knew it was the beginning of the end of the grieving period I was in.
Needless to say I have been spending a lot of time processing why the heck I’ve been so emotional about anything related to Israel. I’ve been discussing it via WhatsApp with a few of my friends still living in Israel, and most are telling me the intense reaction likely means returning to Israel long-term or in some way serving in Israel is likely in my future. I don’t doubt it. I’m not sure in what capacity or what that looks like, but I don’t think they are wrong. I’ve also been struggling because I see posts from Z4 (the 4th Zealous Israel Project, currently in the midst of their year in Israel) and they seem to all be best friends. Let me tell you that our year in Z3 was much more of a struggle bus and I don’t think anyone ended the year being best friends with anyone else in the group. Not because we didn’t desire that – we did – but that wasn’t God’s plan for us. So I’ve been praying through that a LOT, and I finally felt like God told me that our year was about HEALING. And below is what I feel like God revealed to me about it.
It was hard because we were all healing or trying to heal from something, and sometimes healing causes us to hurt one another. We hurt ourselves. We hurt others when we resisted the healing process. And sometimes to heal we need to be taken out of our comfort zone.
So a lot of Z3 hurt one another. Not intentionally, but because we weren’t whole and couldn’t love others because we couldn’t love ourselves. We were in a place that was so holy, and yet we were so broken. And I think we didn’t know how to reconcile those two things, even though we may not have known at the time that’s what was going on. And because we weren’t on solid ground, the spiritual warfare battle was harder for Z3 than it was for others in past and current Zealous Israel Projects. Jerusalem is a spiritual battle zone, and to live there we must be secure in our wholeness that comes from God alone.
Those words are straight from my journal and let me tell you – they gave me so much closure. The past season in Israel was a holy + broken season; the season I am walking into at the Vineyard is a holy + hopeful season. I was grieving Israel because I lost something dear to me. It’s normal to grieve the loss of something you loved. And now that grief period is over and it’s time to move onto bigger and better things that the Lord has planned for me.
It’s hilarious to me that all this hope is coming during the fall. I think it’s intentional, really. God is intentionally allowing the fall to be hopeful because, in the past, fall has always been a really bitter and dark season for me. It’s symbolic, too – there is hope in the fall. We are fallen sinners, but there is still hope that draws us closer to God as we enter into His forgiveness and mercy. There is beauty in the fall. And you know what else is funny? In the darkness, if you look, fallen leaves still reflect light. I noticed this on my hike today.
Things that are fallen still reflect His light.
Even in our fallenness, we can still reflect His light.
Thank you, Abba, for new transitions. For releasing new joys. And for healing broken hearts.
My time in Israel is not over. In fact, I feel like today God gave me more clarity on what is ahead. It’s exciting, and I feel like I now have a vision I can cling to and work towards. But that is for another day, and I hope to share it soon. ❤