22 June, 2011

The Seven Horcruxes of my Heart

I have met many, many people from all over the globe at this point in my life; people who have changed me forever in places that have changed me forever.  I also have a burning desire within in me to experience life to its fullest.  I want to ring out life for everything it’s worth. I think we all do.  I think God placed that desire straight into each of our hearts.  And I believe that the only thing, the only person or relationship that can quench that desire deep within us is Jesus.  But we all find Jesus differently, which again is just a manifestation of my Father’s beauty.  And for me, I have found Jesus in people and places all across the world.  God has given me a passion for traveling and experiencing different cultures.  He has blessed me tremendously with incredible opportunities to explore many different cities and countries, and for that I am so thankful.  But I am currently experiencing a time where I literally feel like I have left pieces of my heart in various places that are thousands of miles apart from each other (kind of like Voldemort...but he intentionally split his soul). I am going to share a few of these places with you and tell you what they mean to me.

Saranac Village, NY
Parasailing with Rebecca and Nina

You probably all saw that one coming.  With Young Life camp being the main topic of conversation due to the fact that it is summer and all of my friends are leaders, I have been thinking about it a lot.  Just like any YL camp, this place changes lives for eternity.  To this day I will claim the last week of July in 2007 as the best week of my entire life.  Before that week, never in my life did I experience the freedom, joy, pureness, perfection, and realness that I did at Saranac.  Before that week, no one ever offered the love and grace of Jesus to me.  It exemplifies the majesty of God’s creation in awesome ways.  Lake Saranac holds a special, special place in my heart, because it is where I met my Savior.

London, England
The bloody Brits! Nana Joan and all her grandkids
PG tips tea with digestive biscuits: England is my blood. My dad was born and raised in the eastside of London, England.  I grew up with “W.C.” on the bathroom door and using “XXX” on all birthday and Christmas cards.  Some of my closest loved ones, grandparents, uncles, aunts, and cousins, all still live there.  Family members often tell me that I am “such a Francomb,” between my facial expressions and characteristics.  Not to mention, I simply love the chaos and coziness of the city of London, especially during the wintertime.  I frequently wonder if my English heritage has something to do with how I so fancy Harry Potter.

Lima, Peru
With our host family, the Hidalgos
I believe that the week I spent in this city has altered the course of my life.  I got to visit the missionaries of Word Made Flesh (http://www.wordmadeflesh.org) and see how they serve Jesus among the poorest of the poor.  Rebecca, Nina, our YL leader Jess, and I were welcomed into the community of passionate Christ followers whose calling is to practice and proclaim the Kingdom of God to children, adolescents, and young adults from the streets of Lima.  I will never forget the night they took us to the streets.  I still have such a vivid picture of gorgeous yet sickly 15 year old Anita, who was standing on the corner sniffing glue to ease her hunger pangs; who told us that she had to run away from home, which wasn’t much of a home at all, because she was pregnant and her mother would abuse her.  But the way she welcomed us and embraced us in her arms was a perfect picture of Jesus.  The Lord opened my eyes to his heart for the poor and the oppressed.  I understood what Jesus was about after going to Peru: serving and loving the lowest, dirtiest, poorest people out there in complete humility, expecting no recognition for any of it.  Jesus isn’t just found on Sunday mornings at a mega church in Texas or in a camp speaker at Saranac, but Jesus is found in a young, homeless Peruvian girl named Anita.  I fell in love with everything about this country, and it had a huge part in me choosing to major in Global Justice Studies and to minor in Spanish.  I know I'll be back there.

Harrisonburg, VA
Lily, Me, Kasey, Blaire
TA girls + JMU dance party = my life in Hburg
My last post about college kind of sums it up, but I have grown more in these past two years that I've spent in Harrisonburg than I have at any other point in my life.  Spiritually, emotionally, relationally, educationally, Harrisonburg has given me so much.  But something that I didn’t mention much in my last post: I think a huge part of my heart has been left in the halls of Turner Ashby High School.  I never thought I could love a bunch of punk teenagers as much as I love those kids.  I have never believed in or hoped for someone like I do for kids at TA, I have never walked through a valley like I have with some of those girls, I have never had girls look up to me like they do.  They have pushed me towards Christ in huge ways, and even though it has been tough and my heart has been broken, my friends there have changed my life.

Me and Brent, playing some hide-n-go-seek in Jerusalem
After walking where Jesus did, the bible has truly come to life.  I have this newfound excitement to read the Word of God and dig into Scripture.  When I hold the bible in my hand now, it literally feels different than it ever has before; there is such power behind it.  I could write about Israel for days, but just to mention some of my favorite places that we went: Mount of Temptation, Garden of Gethsemane, Megido/Armageddon, and the Sea of Galilee.  I also loved learning about the Palestinian-Israeli conflict because I just didn’t know much about it.  Without stating any biased opinions, I would implore you to look deeper into it.  If you want to meet people who are completely in love with Jesus Christ, go to Palestine (specifically a little town called Zibabdeh!) If you never again want to doubt that Jesus Christ came to earth to die in place of us, go to Israel.  I know God and the many dimensions of his Spirit much better after traveling to the Holy Land, and I am more in love with my Savior.

Philadelphia (Ridley, PA)
Class Night at the Diamond Club

I LOVE the city of Philly. It’s fun, it’s adventurous, the people are crazy but at least they are interesting and real.  I love how fast paced it is, I love First Fridays at the Gallery, I love hanging out at boathouse row and on the art museum steps, I love South Street, I love soft pretzels and Rita's wooderice, I love Chickies & Pete’s, I love the Phillies, the Eagles, the Flyers.  Ridley, well…that’s a different story.  Honestly, there are some terrible things I could say about Ridley, but I won’t, so if you want to know what it is like just check urban dictionary.  However, I am thankful that I grew up here because I know it is a huge part of who I am today.  It challenged me to fight for more out of life than what was being offered at the surface level.  I knew that the world had to be bigger than what I was living in, and it made me ambitious to explore it.  I am extremely grateful that Ridley taught me to form my own opinions, speak up, and stick up for myself.  In a gigantic high school with over 2,000 kids, you have to learn to fend for yourself.  You have to find out what you’re good at and become confident in who you are, or you’ll never be noticed.  One random thing I love about Ridley: no one gives a crap about what freakin designer clothing or brand name anyone is wearing.  No one can afford it, so materialism is never an issue, and I really appreciate that.  Ridley has made me more than okay with being different and not conforming.  And most of all, Ridley has introduced me to the best friends I could ever ask for.

How did I get stuck rowing?

Barcelona, Zaragoza, Madrid, Cordoba, Seville, Torremolinos, Fuengirola, Malaga, y Javea.  Nothing spiritual or life changing about this country, I just simply love it.  I love the Hispanic culture: the food, music, colors, language etc.  I think Spain is beautiful and vibrant, and I am STOKED to be there again in just 9 days!!  EspaƱa will forever have a leeeedle piece of my heart. J

My advice to you: Travel AND meet new people.
Other awesome places you should go: Italy, France, Portugal (just not significant enough places for me to make a horcrux out of them)

1 comment:

  1. Good stuff Linds...I'm proud of you for everything you have accomplished and everything you will tomorrow and forever! Your amazing and i'm extremely excited about the Harrisonburg Va part. It truly is a wonderful experience to be a leader and i'm so glad you are one. Stay awesome see you someday :p