Transition

How do you go from 21 days of shouting, praising, teaching and sun, to sweaters, boots, apple chai-der, textbooks, working at a dining hall and cramming for exams?

How do you go from Hawaii with 450 of your newly found closest friends, to New York with the two most important women in your life, your mom and your 12 year old little sister?

How do you get off a plane from a trip that left you wrecked, and mow the lawn for 3 hours the next day?

The truth is I don’t know. 

  • Transition [ noun: 1.movement, passage, or change from one position, state, stage, subject, concept, etc., to another; change. 2. Passage from one scene to another by sound effects, music, etc. verb: an abrupt change in energy state or level (as of an atomic nucleus or a molecule) usually accompanied by loss or gain of a single quantum of energy]

I now have a better appreciation for the people who travel for work, who tour in bands, who don’t really have a resting place at home. When home is an escape and a retreat, not where you live. I am starting to understand this.

20726942_1469393246477245_513600632_oI am back at school. We just got through midterms. I am currently questioning what I am studying because the class I have waited 5 years to take (that made me want to study food science) I am currently failing. I need to learn how to say no. I feel like I wake up every day wishing for more margin in my life and I know I will never get it back.

The thought that life after college only gets harder makes me want to panic. Graduation is less than seven months away and I don’t know what to do. I don’t know what job to look for? I don’t know where to move?

School is fine, work is fine, family is fine, and campus ministry is fine.

I’m not happy with fine anymore. I want to Thrive not just survive. 

I think it is funny that my word for this year is Thrive. there is something interesting that the word thrive does not communicate a completeness. It means you are still growing but you are growing well.

Andy Byrd talked about our school being a group of catalysts in his message on the Culture of Faith. That the world is on edge waiting for a reaction. Personally I think that with the current status of perceived stability in the economy, politics, and other global spheres of influence, everything is primed for a great reaction. The world is waiting for something to happen. I don’t know how to step from summer to school to the rest of everything. Honestly I don’t want to right now either. I want to do my best to live right here and now, but it is hard to do when you also feel a sense of duty to your generation. It is hard to sit still when you have the best news the world has to offer (especially among todays headlines). I don’t want to sit still anymore.

The thing about being a catalyst is that once there is one change, or you have made some difference, you are never truly satisfied. this is why you can only find your satisfaction in Jesus, because He is the only thing that is truly limitless. 

I had the privilege of attending Awaken The Dawn this last weekend. I was challenged and encouraged and got to reconnect with people I met at 21 Project now almost three months ago.

I know this is a short post but I wanted to get something out rather than nothing even though it is small. This is a philosophy I will be adopting more in my life. The next post is coming. Somewhat fitting this post is short, it it Transition, and it it literally a transition into the next part of life. Transition is a change in energy, a change in state, a change in scene. This is where we are.

Thank you for all of your support and hanging in there with my very sparse posting!

  • Bee

 

 

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Surrender

  • Surrender [1. a:  to yield to the power, control, or possession of another upon compulsion or demand b:  to give up completely or agree to forgo especially in favor of another. 2.  a : to give (oneself) up into the power of another especially as a prisoner b :  to give (oneself) over to something (such as an influence)] 

Here’s the thing about surrender. It’s conscious and willing.

I want to start this post by saying I never thought I’d share any part of my personal life-story, in a blog post, on the internet. Writing it even now feels like I’ve betrayed and exposed my family, my church, my old friends and everyone I hold dear. Being vulnerable about myself is somehow exposing them and it feels strange. Most of them will never read it, or take the time to see how I’m doing at school but that is okay. So for the maybe 30 people who will read this 🙂 thank you. To be heard is a privilege.

I recently talked to a friend who I never expected read my post, and it encouraged her and gave me the encouragement to keep writing and telling my story. So here we go, this is my story and I’m sticking to it. (Even if only a small part of the beginning)

When I was three years old I walked into my parents room on the second floor of our Tudor style house. My parents room is now (Many years later) my little sister’s room, after it was renovated. I walked into the attached sun porch on the second floor with terrible airflow. This room would frost in the winter and cause candles to melt during the summer due to the two walls of floor to ceiling windows. This room was always warm to me though. Even in the winter when my nose would run, I would crawl under the covers in the king size bed (which was ginormous to a 3-yr old) next to my parents and be safe, warm, and happy. I was safe in that room. That time, many years ago, was different.

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My memories of that morning look like photos and vine clips. Snippets of my past so vital to the person I have become, they are cemented in my mind. After all of these years my memory of them has not changed.  I was three, a long time ago, but I do still remember them so clearly.

I remember feeling alone. I didn’t know where my family was in our house (which felt so much bigger at the time) looking for my big brothers who were normally causing a ruckus and the music in our house was quiet. My house is never quiet. I remember the feeling of loneliness, the darkness of the hallway and the warm light walking into the sunny-safe room that day.

I felt something dark inside of me, it felt like wires and emptiness. My parents and my brothers were on my parents king size bed. They had been crying. Why was my family crying? My dad was praying with my second oldest brother, I knew what prayer was. We did it every night. My oldest brother, his eyes were red, he had been crying. My mom. My sweet mom looked at me, smiling, with tears in her eyes. The wires in my heart began to hurt, and burn.

I should have asked why everyone was crying. That would have been the right thing to do. However, I (like any 3-yr old) selfishly asked my mom about myself and what I was feeling.

“Mommy, I feel empty inside, and it hurts”

My mom then asked me to describe what I was feeling, sharp, pain, empty, dark. I didn’t understand. My mom asked me if I wanted Jesus to come and live in the space. (Jesus that is related to praying, Daddy says Jesus, Mommy sings about Jesus) (Jesus was safe).

I asked Jesus to come live in my heart. I asked Him to take away all my sin. Even at three I didn’t know how “bad” my sin could actually be? Yelling, stealing a cookie from my siblings? I don’t know. All I knew was that I didn’t want my sin anymore. Even though it was light “3-year old” sin, I didn’t want it.

“I wasn’t empty anymore. I felt this warm light come live inside of me. It overcame the dark wires. It felt like the sunlight I had walked into, but it was living inside of me and it wanted to come out. I would never be alone again “

Now, what does my salvation story have to do with 21 Project in Kona Hawaii in 2017?

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Everything. 

19 years later I would not have asked people for money, to send me to Hawaii, to learn from people I didn’t know, if I hadn’t heard from God. I would not have heard from God if I had not surrendered then and there at three.

While I was in Kona, Andy Byrd gave a teaching on the beauty of an Uncommon Surrender. The point that stung me the most was:

“The power of that yes carries the weight of every no to everything else”

Andy gave the example of marriage, the power in that yes, to spend your life with one person, carries the weight of saying no to everyone else forever. It occurred to me then, that the death (or hard part) in sacrifice was never an issue for me. Saying yes wasn’t the problem, saying no was. Surrender is not a sacrifice. It is giving up the right to say yes to anything other than God in order to gain everything.

In surrender you give up loneliness and gain the most amazing companion. I gave up my right to complain, and got the most amazing joy I have ever experienced.

The reason my salvation story found its fit in this post, is that when I asked Jesus to come into my life at the age of three, I knew what I was getting into. I knew my life was not my own. I knew I would never be the same. I knew that the Holy Spirit was living inside and around me and that I could talk to Him whenever I wanted. Would He have revealed Himself to me later in life? Maybe. Personally, I shudder at the thought of my surrender being delayed even by one day.  Where would I be? Who would I have become?

In Kona I didn’t discover new areas to surrender, I discovered that I had to surrender my right to “be right” or think I have everything figured out.  Part of being convicted to dream bigger is recognizing that I was dreaming too small, and therefore not walking out the fullness of what He has for me.  My plans I thought God had given me for my life after school, however righteous I thought they would be, had to be put back in His hands after I had closed my fingers around them.

Surrender right now looks like not being in control and trusting Him for everything in every area: finance, time, health, creativity, education, spirituality, appearance, influence, diet, relationships, and so much more. Surrender is willingly letting go of control. 

So now what? Now I lay it down. 

“Whatever it takes, whatever it costs”

I knew this song before I went to Kona. At some point in the second week I heard Lindy lead this song in person. I went back to my room and bought the album. This song (along with many others) has been one of my anthems coming back to school and this concept of “real life”. (not life on an island in the South Pacific, being poured into for 8+hours a day). School has been crazy, (it is only day four) and I will go into more of that in the next post. For now I wanted to challenge you, the reader, to surrender.

Lay down your right to criticize. Lay down your time and opinion. Sacrifice every dark area in your life and give it to Him. The crazy thing is you will only get light, joy, and love in return.

-Bee

 

Confidence

As the driftwood whittles down, you see the beauty that it had. Carried through the open ocean ’til it finally reached the sand. Where I came upon its sadness, saw the glory it contained. And you let me cut you slowly until only you remained

 

  • Confidence  [a :  a feeling or consciousness of one’s powers or of reliance on one’s circumstances b :  faith or belief that one will act in a right, proper, or effective way]

This story is picking up 2 days after that last post on preparation…I didn’t feel prepared or confident that first day. (or that week for that matter)

20746731_1469393149810588_702919567_oI arrived in Kona and spent the first two days wandering by myself. Never in my life had I faced such a feeling of loneliness, and being extroverted I had a true realization of how much I tend to draw my assurance from other people. Loneliness, but why? It was just two days? I didn’t realize exactly how far away from my “normal life” I was. My dad couldn’t come get me, a call to mom was six hours off schedule, and my friends were sleeping or working when I needed encouragement. This is what loneliness is; it is not the absence of people, but the disappearing of being known. I was on an island, in the middle of the pacific, alone. I knew no one and no one knew me.

While I wandered and pondered loneliness, I found some really amazing places to eat and was overall testing my boundaries. How far did I feel safe walking alone, how late did I feel safe staying out? How far was University of the Nations from Kona Seaside hotel? I walked to Walmart and bought sheets, towels and a blanket that I would need for my stay at YWAM. That walk,which was just under a mile one-way, scared me. I learned about Hawaii’s no plastic bag policy and bought my reusable bag. In all honesty I mostly stayed in my hotel room (and I felt guilty doing it because so many wonderful people supported me to come to freaking Hawaii)!

It might shock you to know that, even though I am Puerto Rican,  I am not a beach person. I love the sand, and the sun and the water, but if I swim in the ocean for too long I get seasick and that is no fun for anyone. I also felt wrong swimming without a friend. I stayed in a hotel for two days and didn’t use the pool. Is something truly wrong with me? I couldn’t go adventuring,  I didn’t really want to do anything amazing if I was doing it alone. I guess that is just the kind of person I am.  I mostly drank coffee and wandered around tide pools, amazed at the fish, where I was and looking forward to when everyone would arrive. I could feel anticipation in the atmosphere. Big Island knew a company of fiery young people was about to land and that something was about to happen.

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I will try to write a separate post about food and what I ate, and how it has impacted me post-21P, but these next few posts I want to be focused on what I learned/ what I did. (Because so many people have been asking, I feel so loved!)

My second day I felt brave (or bored) enough to walk to the campus by myself. I went exploring and it felt like orientation. When I arrived by Lyft the next day I knew where to go. I was overwhelmed by the love and acceptance of so many beautiful people, but I wished I had a friend with me. I felt like I had to prove myself to anyone I met. There was a false feeling of needing to justify why I was there. I wished I had someone I could lean on or run to.

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This all led to a version of myself I didn’t know was inside of me. A girl that processed internally, trying to fight the lies without anyone next to me that I knew well enough to ask for help.

Throughout the entire process of checking into my room and figuring out the meal schedule, meeting room mates, meeting people in general, anytime or memory I had of ever feeling special or strong left me. Don’t get me wrong, on any given day I will be the loudest, happiest, most confidant person in the room, but I had never felt smaller.

I texted two of my best friends back home in a panic.

“I have never been surrounded by so many strong, beautiful people, and I feel so out of place. Why did I do this? What am I doing here?”

They encouraged me, and reaffirmed why I was there. I was there to encounter Jesus. Everything else was just gravy.

I grew up being a leader. I grew up being that friend that was always put together, the party planner, the plan-maker, and those sorts of things. Now I was alone, on an island feeling unworthy to be the friend of anyone around me.

Confidence-shattered, and thank God it was.

  • Confidence [a :  a feeling or consciousness of one’s powers or of reliance on one’s circumstances b :  faith or belief that one will act in a right, proper, or effective way]

Reads differently now, doesn’t it? There is nothing in confidence that makes us rely on God. Therefore, it had to be broken. The few days that followed I felt weak, uncomfortable, vulnerable and raw. 

I called my mom (I thank God for my mom 🙂 )

Remember when you would go on a youth retreat and it would water everything in your garden, the good and the bad? well that is what is happening. Everything is growing inside of you at an alarming rate.  And any dark thing, if even a residue, is being brought to the surface and dealt with, because you are in a place of such light.

I could see it now. I don’t think there was some large thing inside of me that needed uprooting, but we are human aren’t we? There will always be something that needs refining. I think this season was teaching me not to rely on what I knew or had been through (well not in the way I would think). I was learning what of my past I could stand on, and what honestly didn’t matter anymore.  That first week was (and still is) a bit of a blur. Let me think about what I remember clearly.

I remember experiencing worship again.

Okay, when you have worship every morning with 400 people who think just like you and Lindy Cofer happens to be leading most of the time, life is really good. That 95% of the congregation is engaged and truly worshiping and people are diverse and expressing their worship in every way, was a real taste of heaven. It didn’t matter that I only knew two of the songs we were singing. It didn’t matter that I didn’t know who to sit with, or who to say hi to. We were all there to worship.

I have been a worship leader for over half of my life, I didn’t realize how much I was drawing on myself (confidant right?) maybe that’s why I kept losing my voice last year. By the second day I was on my knees weeping in the front of the court.

I was worshiping in the front (where everyone stands together like sardines) and God just began to speak to me. The next thing I knew I was sobbing, on my knees, feeling small, and yet so loved. I wasn’t alone. He called me there. He needed to get me alone, He wanted me all to Himself.

He had to put me outside of everything I knew, away from everyone who knew me, and beyond anything I could have ever dreamed in order to reset me.

I remember getting challenged again, and yet affirmed.

First day of track I remember being surrounded by people who had all of these amazing business ideas. I remember thinking, “I thought I would be learning about marketplace ministry, like I would get a job out of school and work ethically” or something like that. Not, “Oh I have this idea that will change the world and I need help pitching to investors”. I wasn’t here with an idea to change communication, or to impact cities one house at a time. I didn’t have the business plan for a coffee-shop-prayer room. I had nothing. (Why was I here? Can I go write songs now?)

Entrepreneur, disruptor, and maverick were synonymous after the first day. We were going to be blunt, honest, uplifting and encouraging.  Our track leader gave us $20 with instructions to grow the money 10% and return it to him after 2 weeks. (I didn’t sign up for this!? I am selling things? I have no car!) 

I called my dad (Also super thankful for my dad) he gave me some strategy that confirmed some still-small ideas I had in my head. I can do this I thought. I was built for this. There is a reason I am here. I am going to see this through.

The messages were amazing and that is the best way of summarizing them 🙂 You can listen to them all here. They challenged me and yet also solidified the messages I grew up hearing. I think the one that impacted me the most was this one  “The Culture of the Unoffended Heart” It helped me forgive the people that I would rationalize not forgiving by being a “stingy forgiver”.

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I actually learned how to make friends (I think)

In 48 hours I had made about 100 acquaintances and almost no friends. This would change in the days to come. I had never been in a place where I couldn’t lean on my family’s name before. I couldn’t sneak into a social circle by being the younger sister of my older brothers, or the daughter of my parents. That was a truly strange feeling. I had no affiliations, it was just me.

I did make friends, and I am hopeful that they will be friends I keep my whole life, but time will tell that one.  I met some truly amazing and inspiring people and even meeting them was a blessing.

I began to be seen again. 

What even is being seen? I don’t think it matters being seen, but who sees you. God began to show me my DNA the way He saw it. Not what my friends think, or mentors, or family (who are all great spheres of influence) but I really relate to the lyrics that began this post.

“As the driftwood whittles down20727438_1469393349810568_1439034208_o.jpg
You see the beauty that it had
Carried through the open ocean
‘Till it finally reached the sand
Where I came upon it’s sadness
Saw the glory it contained
And you let me cut you slowly until only you remained…Cause You’ve got, What I want. ”

I wanted Him. I didn’t want some version 3.0 of me anymore. I didn’t want to be known for being the most confidant person in the room. Being known for confidence is being known for self-reliance and image. I wanted to learn how to ask questions, shut my mouth, listen and only offer an opinion if asked. I needed to learn to be content keeping secrets with God, and no one else never needing to know anything about me, or my family, or what I study or my capacity.

Only He remains. That is an end game worth fighting (and being uncomfortable) for.

In the posts to come I will go more in depth of the two weeks that followed, but for now that was week one. Thanks for reading and following along in my story.

I hope to write soon!

Bee

Preparation

Please play this while you read 🙂 

  • Preparation: noun [The action or process of making ready or being made ready for use or consideration. (b) Something done to get ready for an event or undertaking.]

Now, it is one thing to prepare for making a recipe, or an interview. Preparing for an event, school, a day at work and the like. I never knew what He would be preparing me for through this process. If you are reading this then you might not know that I am currently on a plane to San Francisco that will connect me (with almost no time in between) to Kona Hawaii. I will be on Big Island for 21 days. So how did this adventure come about? Well I will happily tell you (if I was Tamatoa from Disney’s Moana it would be in song form)

So let’s start this story back where it actually began, about a year ago during one of the hardest seasons of my life.

I was staying on campus for the summer leading up to my fourth year of college. I had to stay to take four additional classes so that I could stay on track with graduating next May. Here at school I know many talented, musicians who also double as anointed worship leaders. Throughout that summer three of my friends went to Bethel and another three did this thing called 21 Project. All of my friends came back from an experience different and saying I should go and do the same. At the time, nothing really sat well with me and, I still didn’t feel like I personally needed to go. However, there was at the same time a longing for training outside of my personal sphere of influence.

In September I was invited to attend TheDROP in Falcon North Carolina. The experience was three days of crazy mixed with a dash of spirit. The story of my experience at TheDROP is a long one, and if you would like to hear it then let’s grab a coffee. It was TheDROP that did it. The Circuit Riders had come to my school the previous spring and were also at TheDROP. I sat in a worship training session with Lindy Conant and her team and it was the first time since high school I felt challenged, encouraged and also enabled.

In October I started allowing myself to think about ministry training. The reason I hadn’t in the past is because I didn’t know what good it would do. Why raise money to fly somewhere for only a small amount of time? I couldn’t see the lasting impact a trip like that could have. (Also something I struggle with in regards to short term missions trips, Blimey Cow sums this thought up well in this video) 

Something was different about the friends that did Circuit Riders though. They were actually living out the things I had seen them go through, whereas I saw the Bethel crowd come back and only be more in love with Bethel. Not to say the “Bethel” experience has less of an impact, but something about 21 Project made my heart jump.  I then started to pursue an opportunity to go to Australia for worship training, and also thought about 21 Project following that also in worship training.

In late October, past fall break, I remember waking up getting ready for a typical weekday of work and classes. I had a dream the night before and it was running in my head while I prepared that morning.

 I saw myself, with a grey hoodie, green backpack and lots of little gold earrings. My hair was short, and I was at a gate at my airport about to board a plane by myself. I knew I wasn’t coming back the same.

I called my mom and told her the dream on my bus ride to school. A week later I cut 11 inches of hair off. For Christmas I got a green backpack and in January I added four new piercings to my ears (grand total of 14 woo).

21 Project(on the website) was going to be $600 and in California, when it was made known that it was going to be in Kona this year (after 7 years it was moved back to the YWAM HQ where the movement was born )and that tuition had jumped I immediately thought that was it, I wasn’t supposed to go. As I looked at the extra money that I would need to raise I heard a voice inside of me say

“You believed Me for six, why not a thousand? Don’t you know that if I am sending you then you will get there?”

I don’t remember exactly what the final straw was, but I started a YouCaring to fund-raise for 21 project.

Fast forward to March. I had been feeling like I was supposed to go Hawaii for 21 days, and as Synergy 150 was approaching (look it up, they are awesome) I didn’t know anything other than I was supposed to go. My campus ministry, roommates and family were all supporting me. April is when the physical provision began to pour in. What’s crazy is that when God wants to send you, He will provide and when He provides He does so abundantly. In late April I was helping lead worship for a woman’s retreat. That Sunday morning I felt like I was not supposed to cut my hair until I flew. I asked God for a window of time and He said any time between July 8th and my flight I was allowed to cut my hair.

I have never traveled on my own like this before.

(As I write on my second flight of the day while watching LaLa Land on my phone) I didn’t know how to pack, so I prayed. I asked God to give me strategy and He told me to get on Pinterest and He gave me a color palette. After this I knew how/what to pack/shop. One night mom and I prayed for the rest of my airfare money to come in, and then next day I was able to buy my ticket. A week later all of my tuition came in. I was going. I couldn’t believe

it. (Still watching LaLa Land) and it still hasn’t hit me what God has in store for me during this time.

Some neat things that just wound up working out. July 8th I cut my hair, no picture, just told Miss V (who is a very Godly woman) to pray and cut it. While 21 Project this year is only 18 days, it worked out with my flights that I will be on the island for 21 days exactly. Doing what? Well…

I applied and was accepted to the maverick track.

I thought about applying to the worship track, and the more I thought about it this is what came to mind. I have personally been involved with worship teams since I was 12, and now I am 21. I say that not to say I know everything there is to know about leading worship, but I am comfortable there. And If God was sending me so far out of my comfort zone, across the country, alone, then I should follow through 100%. So while I am here I will be learning practical tools for marketplace ministry including, ethics, leadership, creative ideas and being a light in the workplace.

So there it is. Preparation. Preparation and the story leading up to the biggest adventure I have ever embarked on in my life. I know the only way of getting through this is leaning into God as I physically step off the continent. I am not a drive from my family. I don’t know anyone where I am going. For such an extrovert this is the part that has me nervous. Not new things, but making friends. Living in a dorm for the first time in my life (with 5-10 other girls). Something interesting is the number of people asking me if I am here for vacation, and the answer is no.  I am here to get trained. I am here to bless others.  and yes, this might be my only time in Hawaii for the foreseeable future, I wasn’t sent here to do all the sightseeing and touristy stuff.  I came with my hands open to give, and to receive what the Lord has for me.  When I woke up yesterday to board a plane God gave me a that song at the beginning of this post.  It has become both His invitation, and my cry. Here, stepping off. God would you meet me, and may I never be the same.

Here I am. Am I prepared? We will have to wait and see.