There's Much Still Left to Do

Author - Emma Stanley

Coming back from Maui has been bittersweet. On one hand, I felt I had so much more to accomplish on the island. I had come to enjoy the long, laborious days that made me sit in bed and ponder the day for way too long before drifting to sleep. I felt like there were still so many conversations to be had, prayers to be prayed, and encouragement to spread. On the other hand, I have severely missed my momma, and reuniting with her has been such a joy. It was a hard decision to leave as she continued to recover from her stroke, but I don't think she would have forgiven me for not going, and now, with the hindsight of being in Maui, I understand why this was so important to her.

This week has been a recovery week of sorts. Adjusting back to our Texas time zone has been no simple feat, though staying up for 40 hours during our travel day probably also added fuel to the flame! I've used this week to process all the grief and hurt we saw in Maui and continue praying over those we served and the volunteers we served with. I have also been recharging from the sheer amount of people I had the honor to meet. There wasn't a moment to be alone on our trip as we jumped from one thing to the next, which hadn't been a problem until I had that first moment of being alone while on my way to my parent's house. I have found I cherish those moments of alone time much more now than before!

This week has also been our first "normal" week. We've started our study of practical Christianity with Keith and have begun to break down the 80 hand signs and learn how to transform them into 2-minute stories with Arlie.

Keith introduced the makeup of mankind to us. I had heard of it before but always looked at it as a far-off concept I didn't have the ability to grasp. In the two days we've spent on the subject, I have learned more about how I function as a God-made human than I could've ever imagined. We're learning what controls our responses and how we view the world around us in a way I haven't before. I feel as if I am becoming a true student of The Word. We've already spent some intense afternoons breaking down a man's spirit, soul, and body. Goodness, I can't wait to continue. Spending months diving into this concept is a treat that I would never be able to partake in without The Fellowship!

Keith also shared his idea of "unsettling" us. His goal is to push us into new questions and conversations that should make us rethink the theology we've grown so comfortable with. We all come from such different backgrounds and upbringings, which affects how we view the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. We're challenging that view, using scripture alone to form correct, biblical thinking on the Trinity and learning how to use the narrative of scripture to answer the questions that arise within our independent Bible studying and our study around the table.

I'm seeing parts of my understanding of the Trinity that I believed was so black and white forming into the most colorful, multi-dimensional, breathtaking views imaginable. I'm learning the limits that my humanity holds on my understanding of God, and I'm confused and enticed and hopeful and daunted but excited to continue to learn who I worship so that I might worship in the most radical way I can.

I'm re-establishing the importance of viewing passages within the context of the storyline of the Bible, and I am doing so while also learning the complete storyline of the Bible for the first time. How crazy is that? I am learning how the God of John 3:16-18 is the same God of James 2:14-26 and how it seems so contradictory until you spend the time to sit and put it into context.

I am beyond thankful for the opportunity I have been given to be a part of this fellowship. To learn how to go "back to the basics" that are so vital. That was again made evident to me as I was studying in a coffee shop with my cousin and close friend this past Wednesday. I had spied some gals around my age studying their Bible. In a moment of boldness, I approached one of them, asking what they were studying. She explained that they had been trying to study James but had so many questions about where much of the contents came from, so they decided to go back to the beginning, to Genesis. I was in awe. These girls were studying and striving to understand James within the context of the storyline of the Bible, the same as I had been doing just a few hours before. It was as if I was hit with a confirmation that I was, in fact, doing the right thing in being a part of this fellowship. It brought a sense of peace as the confirmation I didn't know I had needed was placed right smack in my lap by way of two sisters in Christ I had never met and likely will never see again.

As I sat writing this blog, Jauhmar came to join me. I was figuring out how to close it up, and he made an excellent point. He said maybe this is God showing me that the work I felt I didn't get to accomplish in Maui, I can instead accomplish here. As I sat with this, I reflected on my church's members' meeting that took place this Wednesday. There, I discussed the next steps for me to begin serving in our kid's ministry. What better work is there than shepherding our most vulnerable? Teaching them who God is and how He loves us so much that He gave his only Son so that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. So, although I felt like my work on Maui was cut short, I have the opportunity to use my time there to impact the people here at home. I still have work to do, but I hope you will join me as I figure out where to place my next step towards Christ.
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