Today we had the first chapel session here at EuNC. I had heard that they were just starting a 4 wk chapel series themed off of Henry Nouwin’s book “With Burning Hearts”, and this first chapel service was about mourning. I had heard this and thought it was pretty odd seeing as how there were 9 of us new students here just starting this semester, and it seemed like an odd way to kick off the year. But I went expected regular point-loma style first week back chapel service (except, obviously on an extremely small scale… there’s something like 29 students at this school).
We went in and sat down, and we sang some older style hymns and a couple more contemporary songs which were all more sullen. The music was a bit different from point loma’s incredibly well-funded worship services: we had a keyboard, a bass, drums, and 2 singers… not as loud as i would normally expect, and not as “full” of a feeling from the whole room. but i couldnt control myself. God was just there… speaking in the soft music, in the small chapel, and into my jetlagged body. i couldnt help myself from having tears flowing from my eyes… then we would get to a point where I thought I had it under control… and then they would come again. It wasnt like weeping. just silent tears streaming steadily down my face as i stood before what felt like only God. This lady name Michelle from the school came up and told a story about a friend that she’d had to leave behind in order to follow the path God was calling her on to Europe… and this friend hadn’t understood why she would leave him. The story was incredible… but in essence, she was talking about mourning over people you’ve had to leave behind.
Later in the morning, I sat on my window sill with my legs out on the roof… just looking over the land, and I began to pray and journal. It has been pretty obvious to me that God clearly wanted me to come here. He opened this door, closed all the other doors, and removed everything that was standing in my way. I knew it was intentionally following him here, and that he wanted me here for some reason, I just hadn’t known what. As I was praying the tears began again and i knew. At least one of the reasons i’m here is to be broken again. But there’s some things i know this time going into this period of being broken… and while it already hurts.. i’m so excited in a deep joy kind of way for what God is going to do to me this semester. This is an except from my journal:
How do I know you are real, and you are here? Because even in pain, evein in numbness, ever in Joy, and everywhere in between, I feel you. I feel you. When I grieve, and when I can’t help but shout for joy — I feel you bursting and churning within me. Even in the midst of mourning I see you — perhaps thats actually when I see you most. You know my journey, but now, I feel my griveing is different. I feel like in my mourning I am continually walking along the road with you. That I’m entering into the conversation with you. And while some may call it a comforting to have you there, I don’t think you are always there as a strong shoulder to cry on — I feel you mourning with me. I feel my broken heart being weaved together with your broken heart. Maybe thats why you break us… so that you can make us whole with you. I prayed for this. I asked you to break me… and I knew what that meant… and i know that it can be a costly prayer. But I’ve gotten comfortable and numb, and I just desperately want to be near to you. So break me. swing away. I just want my heart woven with yours again. I want to KNOW you intimately again. I want to be your lover, and your servant, and I want you to be my partner, and my King. I can feel you breaking me, and all together in the midst of it I already feel your overwhelming Love. I can’t stop thinking about that song “Oh How He loves”. Oh my gosh. I just can’t contain myself when i think of all the ways and oh how you love us.
After journaling I still can’t stop thinking about all this. I am here to be broken. I am here to be taken away from home, away from the people and places I love. I am here to be taken out of my comfort and complacency. and I think i must be crazy, because it makes me want to cry and dance all at once. I don’t understand God. but I’m learning to love Him again.