I am writing this morning from my new host’s apartment, Jim and Sally Foote. They have been missionaries in Siberia for twenty years and have generously opened up their home for me to stay in until I either go onto another host’s apartment or until I leave Russia.
Their home is unbelievably organized; everything in its place and nothing out of order or messy. It is a home I love visiting and vacationing in, but could never get myself to be disciplined enough to be that clean. My personality is living life with things stuffed and pressed in crevasses and corners of my backpack.
I was spoiled living with Nastya because I did have my own room with free shelves and space to fully unpack and measure how all my possessions fit in two medium sized boxed cubbies. Impressive I know.
Friday at 3 in the morning I got a text on my phone from a friend of mine in Caifornia. I woke up to my ringtone instantly nervous because being in Russia my American phone does not ever receive calls or texts from home, especially when my roaming data is turned off.
She texted, “Ukraine is probably far from you, but are you safe? Heard about the plane being shot down!” WHAT? I was up the rest of the night wondering what had happened.
Morning rolled around and I booted up Nastya’s computer. I went to CNN and foxnews and read about the plane being shot down over Ukraine.
My heart sank.
The rest of the day I was in a pretty melancholy mood, reflecting and thinking a lot. I react to things in my life by processing and being alone. I think yesterday was a small gift to be able to be alone because I had nothing going on up until 7pm. My mind flashed fears of my past, present and future. The scares and dangers of being a single traveler in a foreign country (particularly one with political strife) showed up in my life for the first time since I departed for my backpacking trip three weeks ago.
I went to bed wrestless.
This morning I woke up and had the whole morning to myself. I decided to start reading one of the two books I brought with me by Brennan Manning called Abbas Child.
I could write forever about the praises of the brilliance of this book, but I wanted to share an excerpt which screamed out at me:
“People find themselves defeated by the most phycological weapon that satan uses against them. This weapon has the effectiveness of a deadly missle. It’s name? Low self-esteem…It’s the gut level feeling of inferiority, inadequecy, and low-self worth…bound and chained to a deep sense of worthlessness.”
BUT! Manning then writes: “However, Jesus says. ‘Acknowledge and accept who I want to be for you: a savior of boundless compassion, infinite patience, unbearable forgiveness, and love that keeps no score of wrongs. Quit projecting onto Me your own feelings about yourself. At this moment your life is bruised reed and I will not crush it, a smoldering wick and I will not quench it, you are in a safe place.'”
I sat back in my seat, mind blown, refreshed with the truth I know but so often forget. How come fear and low-self esteem binds us from living a freely joyous life? Why should I fear the world when I have the ultimate safe haven!?
In a week I fly from Tyumen, Siberia to Rome , Italy. My plane is suppose to fly over Ukraine (however I have been told all routes that fly over Ukraine are blocked off), but either way what do I have to fear? I am protected and unconditionally loved by God-for He is constantly compassionate and tenderly gracious at all times.
This afternoon I went for a jog through the city of Tyumen. Listening to music, matching the rhythm to each step placed on the ground, I couldn’t help but smile.
I run with no fear.
I have the ability to love myself solely for the fact that I accept God’s love for myself.