I am really enjoying the beautiful blossoms that are out already, on my visit here. Passing the pinks and the purples always puts a smile on my face – I do enjoy the seasons. I will admit that I am slightly intimidated by how big everything is here, and how much space there is. It is very different from home as here everyone has to drive everywhere. I am used to seeing people walking around so that is been a bit strange. And yesterday I definitely got to a point where I was feeling a bit homesick. Going away and experiencing different things is good, but it always makes me so grateful for my home.
So yesterday I did need to remind myself why I was here. As I started to retreat within my shell and hide in my music and writing. I remembered that I had come to connect, to have conversations and to spend time with people. There are times when I find it really hard to feel, and I have learnt that at those times, likes yesterday, I have to just keep speaking truth over myself, to choose to walk in God’s promises even if I’m struggling.
I ended up having some really lovely times with some of the leaders from the Worship School and their families. I got to hang out with my amazing tutor, Taylor, which was so fun and she took me to shop at Target, which I was told I had to do! I was especially excited as I managed to get some Thomas trains for my son at half the price they are are in England – was it so sad that I squealed with excitement at the bargains!
I had a moment of panic when I went to a build-your-own pie/pizza place with my friend, Megan, and was overwhelmed by the choices. The kind server noticed my panicked look and helped me out – customer service in America is somewhat more friendly and attentive than some places I have been to! Ordering can be stressful for people, like me, who find too much choice overwhelming and confusing.
I brought bagels and peanut butter – when in Rome! I have also tried peanut butter and chocolate pie, which was actually pretty good. Something that really struck me yesterday is that on Worship School we have been learning all about discipleship, and how it means inviting people into your home and into your life and being willing to show them who you are at all times, not just the version you might want people to see. I felt this when I was doing grocery shopping, and curtain shopping with Megan, and helping her cook dinner. It’s a real privilege to ‘do life’ with people where I am the guest – are we willing to be host for those around us?
To be authentic with people means showing how you do life not just in the good moments or the big moments but in the every day, the mundane, and the challenging. When we convey an image to others that things are always good because we only let them see those times, what message are we really sending out? I have discovered the importance of vulnerability over the last few years. I try in this blog to be open about about the struggles, the triumphs, the challenges and the smooth sailing. It’s good to model how to overcome hurdles, and how to use our strengths to bless others, and even more so in our journeys of faith – showing what it looks like when we are clinging on with one small finger, and when we are making great strides. As a mum, I want to learn to model a healthy life balance and not just hide my struggles because I think I need to be a strong, super mum all the time. It’s okay to show to our children when we are sad that they can learn how to process that type of emotion, but this is still a work in progress, but such an important one.
With love and prayers from Atlanta,