“As I am reflecting on today, we had a SHOUT meeting after school and Miss Bohinc talked about her experience in Ethiopia, Africa. This changed my life completely. She shared pictures that took my breath away, and shared heartbreaking stories. This made me feel a little selfish, having so many clothes and shoes and family, where children there are orphans, have no shoes, and are begging for someone to pay attention to them. I hope I can get involved in the future, and go on a mission trip to Ethiopia someday. I never would have thought that hearing about this today would have as great of an impact on me today, but somehow I just feel like this is something I want to do.”
This was a journal entry written by me….. when I was in 8th Grade.
And here we are… Six. Years. Later.
I want to take you back to six years ago though. That’s really where this whole journey starts. Six years ago, I was in 8th grade at Sykesville Middle School, and Ashley (aka Miss Bohinc) was my health teacher. I was also part of a leadership club Ashley led at school called SHOUT.
In December 2010, Miss Bohinc told our class that she was going to be going on her first trip to Ethiopia and that we would have a substitute while she was gone. I remember being in her classroom one morning a few days before she left, and she said to me: “Jess! Can you believe I’m going to Africa?!? This is so crazy!” I remember being SO excited for her, and being SO excited to hear about her trip.
So in February 2011, after she had been back from her trip for a couple of weeks, we had a SHOUT meeting after school. It was here that she pulled up her pictures (SO MANY OF THEM!) and starting sharing stories of her time in Ethiopia. I remember seeing two pictures that captured my heart completely…
One of Ashley holding the CUTEST little baby boy ever on the steps of a building.
And another one of Ashley in a classroom with a bunch of students surrounding her. I don’t think I’ll ever forget seeing those two pictures!
So, I must have went home after school and written this in my journal. I don’t remember writing it, but I remember feeling something I had never felt before. I felt something stirring inside me, but I could not pinpoint what it was or why. I just remember feeling that this dream of going to Ethiopia someday was not just going to be short-lived.
On this side of things…I can say that feeling was right. It has remained a dream of mine for the last six years. I can also say that these last six years…have not been easy. They have brought with them lots of challenges and seasons that have been super hard. The last six years hold seasons that I hope I never have to walk through again.
But…you know what?
It was those seasons and those years in my life that God needed me to have. Because it was those years that brought me into a relationship with Him. He used those years…in between this journal entry that I wrote in February 2011, to now in February 2017 as I write this post...to change the trajectory of my life forever by placing my faith in Jesus in 2012.
So tonight, I sat on my couch with tears streaming down my face, chills on my whole body, and my heart feeling like it was dancing inside me.
BECAUSE IT’S REALLY HAPPENING!!!!!
I AM GOING TO ETHIOPIA on the #117Trip?!?!!? What?!?
I am literally feeling ALL the things tonight. Because tonight…I can now see that God was already working inside me back then by placing Ethiopia on my heart BEFORE I even had a relationship with Him. He was working inside me before I knew what it meant to have a relationship with Him. Before that was even a thought in my mind. And THAT…leaves me completely undone at who God is all over again.
It’s in this place of being completely undone that I never want to lose sight of. Because it’s here in this place that I can see God’s hand in things over the last six years of my life.
It’s here that I see I needed to be broken…because it was then that I would come to know and love Jesus, and commit my life to Him…before flying across the world to serve in Ethiopia.
It’s here that I see more than ever before that God knows me so much better than I even know myself.
It’s here that I get yet another glimpse at just how deeply I am loved by Him.
It’s here that I am able to see Him a little more clearly, and a little more closely.
It’s here that I am in AWE of who He is, more than ever before.
It’s here that I am UN.DONE.
I never want to forget what it feels like to be undone.