It has been awhile, but I always eventually return. You will never get rid of me completely; the writer in me can't stay away!
Where to begin?
The last time I wrote was about 2 months ago. I was just starting my new job, and looking forward to my Jamaica trip.
I am now fully acquainted with my job-- in a way, I feel like I've already been there for a year-- and Jamaica is behind me. It is interesting how time marches on, whether we stop and realize it or not.
I continue to stay super busy, too busy, actually. Things have slowed down a little bit, but of course being gone for a week didn't help as it put me behind. However, there is light at the end of the tunnel; one thing God taught me these past few months was how to prioritize, make the most of my time, and how to say "No." Just because I CAN doesn't mean I should, right? :)
Meanwhile, I do like the new rhythm I have established, and once I can collect myself and all of my projects into an organized fashion, I look forward to enjoying things like bike rides in the evening, baking cookies, trips to the gym, and just a night on the couch in front of a favorite movie. But right now, those options seem a little far off, because other things take their place in line. That's OK; it will come.
As I always say... I would rather be busy than bored, and ironically, I am so much more productive when I have too much to do than not enough. I think I actually thrive off of fast-paced, super-busy living. I'm not inspired until I have a deadline!
Of course, as a predictable result, my devotions/prayer life is suffering. I have to make a conscious effort to make sure this happens. In a way, that is always the case; a priority is only there if you make it one. And why should this not be a priority?
Sometimes I stop and think about how foolish I am. I so often try to take things into my own hands or dwell on my anxieties instead of just breathing a prayer to the Lord. That's the thing; I always try to make it too difficult. I always envision a grandiose scenario, one in which I sit in a quiet room for over an hour, writing out prayers and feverishly studying the Bible in complete concentration. Wouldn't that be nice? And sometimes, that can happen. But most days, I'm doing good to make time for sleep. So in those cases, I need to remember that making time for God doesn't have to be an all-or-nothing mentality. It can simply mean talking to Him at different times throughout the day in my head through prayer, or taking 5 minutes on my lunch break to just stop and thank Him for the sunshine. It can be choosing a kind attitude over a frustrated one, or it can be reading a Bible verse in the morning and dwelling on it all day long instead of thinking I need to get the whole chapter read so I can "check it off my list."
I had the opportunity to share my testimony while in Jamaica with the group. It was so neat to revisit. I was actually contemplating doing a blog post on my testimony before I left, and never got around to it. It ended up being cool to just remember back where I started with my Christian walk at age 13; I wasn't perfect, but I knew I was a sinner. And as a sinner, my destination was Hell, regardless of what I had or had not done. The best part was that another guy shared his testimony, which was an amazingly miraculous transformation. He completely changed his life around. And while he may have "sinned more" than I did by the time he came to the Lord, he was still forgiven. That is the beautiful thing about grace; God does not hold back. He gives us what we need, and we do well to remember not to judge, because before grace, we are all going to Hell.
Anyway, tangent. You can count on a spiritual tangent in almost every blog post :)
There are so many other things I could share about Jamaica, but I won't tonight. I didn't necessarily want this to be a "Jamaica" post but just a nice update.
I really am enjoying my job-- I love that it is fast-paced, and no two days look the same (typically.) I like variety, and I like having creative autonomy. Also, the view is pretty cool!
Otherwise, I stay busy with photography, too. The past couple weeks have been a bit slow, but I didn't really put my camera down in Jamaica so I feel like I've been capturing a lot lately. I am so pleased that I am mostly shooting newborns and kids... that is exactly what I was hoping to do. And in a way, going to a photo shoot after a long day at work is weirdly relaxing. I'm not sure if that makes sense, but it's just a way for me to "unwind" and be creative in a different way.
I am also still keeping up with the jail ministry. It really is dear to my heart. I have started going every other Wednesday night now, too. It's great because I feel like I can establish an ongoing relationship with these women, rather than seeing them maybe once a month (by which time I have forgotten their name). I feel privileged that God has given me a special love in my heart for them. I know it's not for everyone. And that's OK. It takes all kinds; some are called to do kids, some love the handicapped, and others take care of the elderly. I like the prisoners :) There is something about seeing beyond the veil of brokenness and pain that intrigues me. To me, there is ALWAYS beauty hiding behind it. I have always been about being "real" and getting down to the raw. You definitely go there when you're in jail.
Well... I should go. As I always say... I'll try to be back sooner rather than later. We'll see!
To close, a picture from Jamaica. This is one I took at the infirmary-- the place that touched me the most.
Love you all,