under all the ebbs and flows…


I’ve had many ideas of what I could do with my life. Many. I’ve had a lot of ideas about where to spend my life. Many. There’s a question I’m asked a lot. Do you like living in TX? My answer is always the same. I love my life in TX. LOVE it. But it has nothing to do with the location. It’s the people. My mom heard me say that this week and she said she always tells people, “Shanda can live anywhere. As long as there are people there, she’s good and happy.” I just LOVE people. I think that’s why I’ve had lots of ideas. I’m pretty decent at doing all different kinds of things (but not amazing at any really) and I enjoy them all – as long as they involve PEOPLE.

Today I read a blog that talked about calling. It was good. You might want to read it. When I read this part: Right, there’s something in your gut, and it’s there from God. It’s the beginning of a calling, and it starts with a real passion. Maybe there are certain things in life, you kind of ebb and flow, and the enthusiasm is hot and cold, but this is something that’s consistent. … I got to thinking. My life is full of ebbs and flows. I guess I’m an ebby and flowy kinda girl. :) What’s the consistent thing beneath that? Easy answer.

People. But not just people. A certain kind of people. I love all people… I try to anyway. I enjoy most people. But there are a certain kind of people that I am compelled to fight for and I just LOVE to love them. They come in all ages, shapes, sizes, and colors.

Story time.

My sophomore year of college I sat in chapel at CBU. Our speaker that day was an alumni who was working for an organization that sends Jesus-following-college-students into hard to get into Asian countries to teach English. I had never, even for half of a moment, thought of doing such a thing. And then this man told a story that TUGGED at every string of my heart.

Last summer, we sent hundreds of college students like you to teach. One of them gave her students an assignment in which they were to write out a timeline of significant events in their lives. One student wrote down the day that she met her teacher and for the description of that day she wrote: “The day my life began to matter.” 

He went on to say that in this part of the world, many (maybe even a majority) people do not understand that their lives matter. They have no concept of being created for a purpose. Many (maybe even a majority) of them do not know that they are loved. I could not handle that information. An entire COUNTRY FULL of people who did not know what it means to be loved and who have never been taught that their lives MATTER!

I’ve felt like my life didn’t matter. It didn’t feel good. But I’m glad I felt it. Because now, I live to share with people the beautiful reality that I eventually learned. WE ARE LOVED. WE WERE CREATED FOR A BEAUTIFUL PURPOSE. WE MATTER. ALL OF US. 

So… under all the ebbs and flows… that’s what drives me: Showing people they matter… to me… but SO much more importantly, to God… and teaching them that they are TRULY loved. I might be making coffee. I might be teaching English in Dallas. I might be playing with kids or teaching a women’s Bible study in the inner city. I might be holding a crying baby and watching the same Backyardigans episode with a preschooler for the 7th time in a week. I might be tutoring a precious friend in Algebra. I might be filling my 17 year old brother’s bedroom with balloons. But that’s always what’s under it. 

And soon… soon I will be over on the other side of the world, in one of those places where  there are millions of people who don’t know. No one has ever told them. No one has ever showed them. And I will get to… while I teach, while I share life and giggle about silly things, while I smile at people I pass on the streets, while I love on kids I get to visit in orphanages, while I STRUGGLE to learn to speak the language and let people laugh at all my silly mistakes, while I learn more about who I am, and while I remember all the reasons that I breath in and out all day long… 

Yeah. It is gonna be so so good. It will be hard some days. I do realize that. But it is going to be so extremely worth it. 

So… what’s the consistent thing under YOUR ebbs and flows? I bet it’s good. We were all made for something… soooooo good! :)

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