When I woke up this morning, I was so overcome by a heaviness that I just couldn’t pinpoint. After a lot of prayer and journaling I realized that I am truly worn out, physically and emotionally. These last few months have consisted of a lot of heartache, a lot of travel, a lot of work, and a lot of joy. All of these things required my attention, draining energy from my little body.
I traveled to California, Ohio, Kentucky, Michigan, Chicago, Iceland, and now Uganda, all in a matter of months. Today I was reminded of the heartbreaking day when all of my stuff was stolen. I was thinking about how I am so excited to hand letter prints for the hospital staff here, when I was interrupted by the realization that all of my supplies were stolen alongside my laptop, camera, hard drives, and everything else in my backpack a few weeks ago. People in my life have been facing illnesses that I can’t wrap my mind around. I have been praying prayers that I have been aching to find answers to. Satan has been telling me that I shouldn't be here in Uganda, because I am not good enough to love these kids and people and take captivating photos. It's like he's saying, "Yeah Hannah, good try". I have been physically sick, and emotionally tapped out. I have been told that I seem to be living the dream. While I am incredibly grateful for the experiences I have had this summer, truthfully, it has been an incredibly challenging couple of months for me personally. I have been feeling inadequate, and not enough, which is a tough lie to wrestle with when I am exhausted. Shortly after realizing how tired I am, anxiety and fear kicked in. Where am I living when I get back to Indiana? What job am I going to have? Will my photography business that I’m so passionate about stay busy? Do people even like my work? Am I loving Ben as well as I can? Am I pouring myself out enough during my time in Uganda? Am I going to adequately fulfill God’s purpose for my life? So many thoughts raging through my already exhausted mind. Not to mention my sweet housemate here in Uganda left to head home today. It’s pretty crazy how close Heather and I became from simply spending a week together, and this place is missing a huge piece without her.
So, today I left the guest house once. My goal was to get up early and head to church. However, I woke up not feeling well, with so many things on my mind, and shamefully feeling no desire to go anywhere. I am in the place I have longed to be for months. I am surrounded by so many people I love, and the children I've prayed over for so long. But I just felt so drained, like I'm not loving and pouring myself out as much as I desire to. I decided I would watch a message by a pastor that Ben and I love so much, Matt Chandler. Little did I know what was I was going to experience through that message. So much happened in my heart in those many hours I was switching between the dining room table and the couch eagerly listening and writing down what he had to say.
As I pulled up a randomly selected Matt Chandler sermon (they’re all incredible, truly any one of them is a jackpot), I began laughing and crying all at once. The topic was Sanctification: Fear and Anxiety. Jesus knew. He knew how I would wake up feeling so strung out, tears flowing before I could even open my eyes. He knew exactly what daily bread I would need today. I reluctantly clicked the play button, pen and paper ready to soak up all of the challenging wisdom.
Don’t be anxious about anything. Easier said than done, right? I certainly think so. I tend to be a very positive person. I can genuinely encourage someone up and down all day long. But oh, how quickly I am to wrap myself up in a heap of worry about what will happen tomorrow or next year when it comes to my own life. How quickly I am to cling to the little control that I think I have. How quickly I am to forget what Matt reminded me, that I am of more worth than a sparrow, yet He truly cares about every detail of that bird’s life. He tells us that He even cares about the grass of the field that is alive today and dies tomorrow. If He spends so much time on the grass that is dead tomorrow, what makes me think He wouldn’t spend that time on me as well, His daughter?
In Matthew we are told to not be anxious about tomorrow, because tomorrow has enough worries of its own. But how often do we soak up the verse right after that says, “Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” I feel like this is Jesus compassionately giving us permission to wrestle with todays fears and anxieties, giving them all to Him. He knows we need to work through them, and at the same time He reminds us that He will be there again tomorrow, to talk about tomorrow’s troubles. As humans, we can only handle one day at a time. Hence, daily bread.
In Matt’s message he stated that the things we give great value to and prioritize will determine how much anxiety and fear will reign around those things. This morning I was elevating my job title, my earthly possessions, and my housing situation higher than they deserved to be. So much so that I was so overwhelmed. Sure, I need to be aware of and responsible for the things in my life that need attention, but ultimately Jesus goes before me. The fact that I am where I am is no surprise to Him. He isn’t losing sleep over this season in my life. He isn’t stressed out about what my financial situation will be like when I get home. He isn’t caught off guard by any detail of my life. It is a freeing thing to understand that I am not in control. What a train wreck I would be if I was in charge of the precious details that make up my life. Today Jesus wrapped me up so tightly in His arms and reminded this daughter of His that I have nothing to worry about.
The day went on. More journaling, more learning. His goodness has brought me to tears before, but this time was so different. I was so overcome by His love for me that I had to retreat to my room and let myself cry, and cry, and cry some more. I’m talking the kind of cry that forced me to stay on my knees with my arms stretched wide for an amount of time that I can’t remember. With Through and Through by Will Regan (the best) blaring through my headphones I let my body run out of tears, all for Him. It was the most humbling experience to be in a posture of such awe and humility, so much so that I couldn’t walk away from the music, or my time with Him. So, I reveled in it. I soaked it all in and let His undeserved grace and patience and love wash over me. I would go into more detail, but I think Jesus wanted to spend those precious moments with me alone, revealing things to me that I have begged for for so long.
When I finally gathered myself to stand up and go to the kitchen to chug the water that I needed to replace all of the tears I shed, I looked at my phone to see that two clients confirmed upcoming sessions. The best part? Had this not have been the cherry on top, He would still be good. So good. Today is a day that will forever be engraved in my heart as one where Jesus met me in my mess and my fear. He met me there so patiently, but boy did He refuse to leave me there. Tonight I am going to bed on the other side of my emotions. I am going to bed with a renewed sense of awe for Him. I am going to bed with a heart so full, I can't wait to wake up and pour out the love He has overflowed me with today. We serve a good, good Father. On the good days, and the challenging ones. He is my everything. He is my Father, He is my hope, He is my comfort, and nothing in this world compares to a relationship with Him.