well we returned from Denmark 2 weeks ago, how time seems to be flying. Since then I have been OFF! How amazing and life seems so real and I feel like I have so much ownership over it, that feeling is amazing. Gods timing I suppose. I have moved in with the youth worker for Church of Ireland in Lurgan, Laura. Shes great and living in my own place is such a blessing for me, as well as my car and that freedom. Last weekend we went down to Newcastle for our LIT residential(thats just a learning retreat for you Americans). It was such a refreshing time to my soul. To be honest these years in Northern Ireland are the hardest of my life. Maybe because it is just the place I am in life or maybe its because I am in a different culture, I could give you all the reasons I think its hard, but the simple fact remains...it is. I feel like I am all over the place. I cry, a lot. Its funny because I have gotten really comfortable with my fellow LITers and they just know when we get together to pray or talk about how we are doing I am just going to cry.It makes me feel hopeless sometimes.I was actually just reflecting last weekend about why it was I was here at all. There seemed a lack of pupose, a lack of passion and I dont want to live without that. Sometimes on top of that its hard for me to acknowledge that fact that it seems no one chooses to love me. Although that is not true that had been what was hurting my heart. Why does it seem sometimes God is with holding good things from me. Things my heart wants. Then I went on this retreat. The guy who spoke validated our feelings and that it was hard, and then he spoke freedom truth to our souls. He told us we didn't have to feel guilty about looking for love in our lives. That yes we want to be loved, but more God has made us to love, we want to love someone else. Its where we are all at, but sometimes it feels like thats not something spiritual...not something to bother other people or God about. Then we had prayer ministry. He said since I first spoke he had this real sense that God has me "under construction". He was so excited to tell me! It was in his eyes. This is what I feel in my soul, that God has something BIG for me, and he spoke to me about this. He said he knows that it feels like I am all alone and that no one understands-but that is where God wants me to be. He said Jesus was a carpenter and like a beautful piece of furniture you can not just throw these things together. He said God was sanding me down, getting me ready, its the time in the workshop, its the time to remain faithful thru the hard times. When I was on my DTS God gave me a vision about a long, big, fancy table where many people were gathered around and I was the host. So when he began talking about furniture I thought about this table. Then he said God was making me a beautiful table and that many would eat at my table. Later he came and said God had put him thru the workshop as well. I asked him if it took a long time, he said --yes! Later a friend came to me and said he felt God wanted him to ask me, "Are you excited? Because you should be!" I am! The thing is that I wasnt discouraged by all this. It was where I knew God had me, and it was like a release. This is where I am supposed to be, the hard palce is where God wants me to be, I dont need to try to get away from it or fix it. I need to embrace it and drink in all God is trying to do in me through it. I dont want to wish this time away. Here I am, bring it, sanding is rough but its all for a purpose. I await the table God is building!
, by Ashley Jackson