looking back

Approximately 3.5 years ago, I was entering my senior year of college. My parents set me down and told me I had to start either a) looking for a job, b) deciding where to go to graduate school, or c) begin applying to missions organizations. Choice C was my favorite, so I spent months searching for the *perfect* missions organization. I sent emails, made phone calls, asked around…until I finally broke down and was so frustrated I kept hitting dead ends. Either people didn’t respond, I didn’t agree with certain things, or timing. I finally was connected to Pioneers, International through random sources I can’t even remember. I do remember one person’s influence greatly during this time, through emails and visits…who recently was martyred in northern Central Asia this past August (we called ourselves “sheet twins” because we both had matching green t-shirt sheets). I think the day I called PI was one of those days when I was a little frustrated with the process, so my initial phone call went like this:

random secretary: “P.I., this is Rachel, how can I help you?”

me: “Um, yes, I need help.”

Rachel: “With what?”

me:”I just –insert sob– really want to be a missionary and I don’t know how and I just want to talk to someone!!”

Who other than the Director of Mobilization got on the phone with me for over an hour to talk, plan, encourage, and pray for me. I remember sitting on my bed, in my green/brown/burnt orange dorm room, feeling incredible peace like never before (other than when I knew I was supposed to be at Lake Forest Ranch in 2007. Another story for another day). PI sent me videos and tons of information, and I began the process to be “appointed.”

I went to a Candidate Orientation Program week in January of 2008, and met the most amazing people. Everyone there was in that place because they wanted to bring the gospel to unreached areas. Needless to say, I felt home.

One thing to know about me is I HATE letting go of people and relationships. God beat me in this area though- he has kept some of those same people in my life, particularly one. Alison Aubuchon was one girl I immediately clicked with and had a blast with. We spent the entire year emailing back and forth, until we reunited at the Pioneers conference Story ’08. The next summer, she called me saying “I’m coming to Memphis!” She moved to a poor neighborhood to work with refugees under a guy that I used to intern for back in 2005. After that, she returned to Springfield, MO to finish her nursing degree, in hopes to move overseas after that. However…in 2010 she officially moved to Memphis to be a nurse at the crazy emergency hospital The Med. Not only does she live in the same neighborhood as before, it is the neighborhood I now teach in. To be even more weird, my school and Alison’s house are literally across the street from each other. Clearly, God wants us to be friends.

I don’t know why the story of me & PI turned into the story of me & Alison, but it helps me to know that throughout the changes the past 3.5 years, God has allowed for some things to grow and some things to be paused. Alison and I understand each other in a really cool way- we have a desire to go overseas, but we know it’s not His timing to go now. We like to pretend one day we’ll end up on the same team together, but it’s just really refreshing to have her in my life.

 

January 2008

 

 

December 2008

 

February 2011

 

what’s in a blog?

Bobby likes it when I blog and keeps asking me to do it more, but I wonder what my blog should be. Already I’ve posted way too personal things, vented a lot, shared about what I’ve learned…but as I read other blogs I get really intimidated with their cool layouts, photos, and of course- THE RECIPES. I am not a great cook AT ALL. Like, I kind of don’t really like cooking sometimes. I would love to put something in the microwave and magically my mom’s food will appear. Unfortunately, I’ve got to learn. I know it’s the cheaper option to eating out all the time (but we looove eating out!) and it’s like, the womanly thing to do, but uugghh.

In addition to my lack of skill, the big thing I’ve been faced with is the quality of food. I watched Food, Inc. a year ago and it changed how I look at food. I honestly cannot and will not eat McDonald’s or other fast food like it. Knowing all those processed chemicals are going into my body really freaks me out. I babysit for this AMAZING family on Thursdays, and they feed their son only organic food. They’ve found studies that can link all the processed, fake food to ADHD and other problems kids can have. They’re not weird about it, and they said they won’t get mad if the kid wants to eat someone else’s food at a birthday party, but while he’s 2, they can do the best they can. I definitely want to learn more about it…but…sometimes is it necessary?

When I go to the grocery store, I get so overwhelmed with the decisions: fresh vegetables or frozen? Organic peanut butter or regular? Organic, ultra-pasteurized milk or regular 2%? Instant rice or real rice? Rice at all?! Potatoes?! Do I need to limit my carbs?!  I’m already pretty high strung, so I have to really prepare myself when I go to the store. I either spend an hour walking through every aisle, picking things up, then swinging back around to put it back (really), or I am in and out in less than 10 minutes, with a memorized list and tunnel vision.

I know if  I was a hard-core blogger, I would scour the blosg, find the recipes, blog about my own, and create a book. However, I am no Pioneer Woman. This week, I DID cook twice- TWICE! I’m super impressed with myself for that. The first time was a little off…I needed more than just a sandwich, so I threw a ton of random stuff in a crock pot, and while I will never make that specific recipe again (chicken, cream of celery, half a bag of cheese, sour cream, paprika and lemon-herb spice- what the heck??!) it was actually pretty good. Last night I made tacos, but had to use beef so it made my stomach feel a little weird after. I probably shouldn’t have told Bobby that when he came over to get some, because he conveniently decided he wasn’t hungry then. Whatever.

All that to say, I have a long way to go. Bobby’s on this adventure with me. Lucky him!

Top 10

My best friend Diana used to send frequent emails of our top 10 in life. This is in honor of D:

1) Really good TV shows…like Parenthood, How I Met Your Mother, Grey’s Anatomy, Modern Family..and are you ready for this? LOST! Still on Season 1, but we’re pushing through.

2) Grammys were so fun! I’ve never watched or listened to anything Justin Bieber, unless they break out into song/dance at youth group of that Baby song, but it was so cute watching him keep up with Usher! Usher was amazing, as always. I was very happy The Avett Brothers and Mumford & Sons performed. Lady Gaga- thank you for being able to dance in heels and carry a tune. 10 years of music lessons has made me seriously annoyed at female artists who sing fab in the studio and are pitchy on the stage.

3) Really, really great, supportive friends. Friends who boldly fight for me in the Spirit, text with me about our favorite girls on the Bachelor, feed me food while we watch the Bachelor every week, call me out when I need it (which has been a lot lately!), and inform me on really good concerts, like tonight- Over the Rhine!!

4) My parents, in their obedience, traveling across the world to bring hope to the unchurched, unreached, and incredibly poor. Pray for them February 17-March 4th.

5) My sweet future in-laws. Love them. I’ve had good relationships with both my sister’s and brother’s in-laws, and I am so thankful to have my very own now!

6) My wedding dress- can’t wait to wear it! I actually just tried it on between the time I started this post and now.

7) The armor of God. I’ve been needing it a lot lately

8)my students at school today were SO GOOD! It’s a rare day when I can say that. Today I attempted to teach run-on sentences and independent/dependent clauses, and one class turned into a hysterical laughing fit of writing paragraphs about the boys we loved- Bobby, Black, and Blue (clearly made-up). Maybe that’s not appropriate. oops.

9) The other day I asked God to reveal things in my life that I’ve been hiding and pushing away. He is. It makes for really hard days, really hard conversations, really hard moments, and really good clarity.

10) Obviously, Bobby. I guess he would be more of a #1 than a #10, so I should’ve reversed the numbers. He’s amazing. God has been so generous with giving Bobby the grace to handle me lately. He’s fighting for me though.

nomadic like

It’s so strange to think in only 72 days (o-m-g) that I will be getting married and then moving in with a man. MARRIED! I think all this anxiety I’ve been dealing with might be a suppression of this huge change about to happen. Every time we go to marriage counseling or I talk to a married friend, I realize “oh wait…this might be a big deal…”

It’s so hard to believe it’s coming when I feel like I’ve CONSTANTLY been waiting for years for something stable. I’ve been living like a nomad for so long that I don’t know what stability looks like, honestly. It’s all been this transient season with the hope and promise of change “soon”. When I moved in with Olga, it was with the understanding it was temporary until I get married. I mean, when everyone writes on your Christmas cards “Happy last single Christmas!” you get the feeling life is moving on. Then this year I received more “happy last single…”, and it was like this transient season had turned into a lifestyle. My job feels nomadic like- I don’t even have a classroom. The last part of my day I move into the teacher’s lounge, with my ADD Somalian student, while teachers congregate making copies and using the bathroom (which we hear. and smell).

I always related being a nomad to being free-spirited, that I can go wherever the Lord leads me. Now he’s leading me into marriage, stability, owning things (like, my own blender! my own coffeemaker! my own forks!) and I felt for a long time my free spirit was about to die. I actually felt guilty for wanting my own forks.

My heart has been, for years, for unreached people in unreached locations. For nomads like myself. Those who don’t feel like they have a place or a home. A verse I’ve gone back to over and over is Romans 15:20- “that I might preach Christ where He has not been named…” Sometimes I wonder if I might always be restless because something deep inside of me is halted, waiting to be stirred by taking action to this huge giant of a passion I’ve been fostering since I was a kid. However, I’ve got to take on unchartered territory in my life now first: stability. I’ve learned that stability does not cancel out adventurousness or not wanting to venture to potentially risky places for the gospel. That was a really hard lesson to learn. I’ve used “waiting on what I want to do”-“waiting on a job”-“waiting on being engaged”-“waiting to be married” as an excuse for my heart not being okay with what God has given me.

Another great lesson is restlessness does not equal free spirit either. Nomadic living means different things. It’s NOT okay for me to feel nomadic in my heart- I have Jesus as my strong Protector. He is my home. I’ve also learned that it’s okay to be happy. Bobby is the best partner for me, and together we honor and serve God better. I trained myself to run away from responsibility, just in case God says “go to Africa! go to Peru!” I think I’ve always misinterpreted action, the word “go”, the Great Commission in general.  Right now I am going into marriage, stability, and learning what it means to have my identity in Christ not based on what I do. I’m over being guilted. I’m over waiting for peace in  my heart. May the Lord prepare me for whatever is coming, and may I be happy with all He gives so freely.