GO >> Valencia

I've been staring at this blank screen for way to long. I'm not sure where to start.

This time last week I was in a different and very foreign country, on a continent I had never visited before, and walking around a university that was unknown to me 3 months ago. I was both frustrated by my total inability to speak or understand the language surrounding me and surprised at how easy it was to connect deeply with people despite vast language and cultural differences. I was in awe of the sense of family that can exist so instantly among the people of God.

And today, I'm back at my computer, in my windowless office, pondering how we blip back into our normal life so quickly. Picking back up where we left off, while carrying with us the things we saw and learned, is what I desire to gain from this experience. As impactful as it is to fly across the world to serve and love others, I am more and more convinced that we are called to live with missional hearts right here in our own city, jobs, and neighborhoods.

It's hard to distill the stories and lessons learned from last week's journey to and through Valencia, and I confess I'm not quite up to that challenge yet. The fatigue of waking at 4:30am daily and returning to the apartment at 10pm caught up with me on Monday morning, and I'm fighting to stay awake at my desk. There were some miraculous provisions of translators, ordinary moments that required obedience, and transcendent moments of watching God work in and through and around us. I continue to be humbled and grateful for the love, prayers, and financial support we received for this journey, and certainly hope to bring encouragement and light through this experience.

// katie anne


boeuf bourguignon + worship

Do you ever have those weeks when the same topic or issue seems to pop up all over the place, in unrelated conversations, articles, books, or blogs? Sometimes it's a new word or a new place name, which I then hear 3 more times that week, while wondering how many previous times that word just flew over my head.

Last week, it was Julia Child. I finally finished reading her biography My Life in France, which despite getting a little bogged down in variations on bouillabaisse, is a delightful read that sheds light into julia's authentic joy and curiousity about French food, culture, and recipes. Some days, it would be nice to intraveneously receive her infectious, childlike spirit. Anyway, after turning the final pages, I googled and youtubed videos of her on "The French Chef," including her first one on making boeuf bourguignon. The very next day, one of my favorite cooking blogs posted a recipe for their vegetarian version: BEET bourguignon! (Have I mentioned how much I LOVE beets?) I quickly decided that I HAD to try this, so last Sunday, I followed the recipe and we enjoyed a vegan version of one of Julia's classics.

cute story, isn't it.

But over the past month, a bigger, more significant message has been popping up all over the place. In the sermons at church, in the new book I'm reading, in our Community Group discussions, in my book of Lenten readings. It's like Julia x's 10. And so I'm thinking I ought to pay attention.

It's the message that we are created to worship, that our hearts are prone to wander, and that the lie is subtle and dangerous that we might find life apart from Christ.

It's not a matter of if we will worship. It's a question of WHAT we will worship: the Creator or the creation. We all worship something, all of the time. Our hearts were crafted to look outside of ourselves to be complete; specifically, to look to and know the Lord. And it is in Him alone that we find nothing less than LIFE, joy, significance, completion.

But, we wander, don't we? We buy into the "lie of lies," as Paul David Tripp writes, "that life can be found apart from God." When I step back and think about it, it seems silly. Ridiculous, actually, that I often live as if the perfect wardrobe, an impeccably clean house, or a lively social circle will give me the deep satisfaction I desire. Many days, I pine for control of circumstances, for my needs to take center-stage of my relationships, for recognition and success in my career. Most days, I value my comfort above most other things. And every day, those desires will fall short of the fullness and joy that I have been created for. They can never bring true, eternal life.

Here's the tricky part: Those things I listed above aren't bad. Relationships, meaningful vocation, and circumstances all matter. I show love for my husband through doing laundry, making dinner, and even taking care with how I present myself; so again, not bad. But, even all of these good things were never meant to sit on the throne of my heart.

I'm starting to suspect that this issue of worship is the core of our lives as people, as followers of Christ. That this is the primary lesson I'll be learning for the rest of my life. Thankfully, it's not about me mastering my heart, about casting out false idols and perfectly loving God. For now, at least, it's about recognizing the fallacy of these lies, and then turning to the Lord and relying on His strength and faithfulness to turn my heart toward Him more each day.

Tomorrow, I'm off to Venezuela to share this truly GOOD news with people who are as desperately in need of it as me. And hopefully, this message will dig its way deeper in my heart in the process.

// katie anne