For the past two weekends I have been in Toronto again, reminiscing as I visit the friends, community, and places of a season ago with the same thought to open my memories... "This time last year..."
This time last year I was living with one of my dearest friends and her generous-hearted family. Sitting around their dinner table again it is easy to remember when I was just like family, but this time from the new vantage point of guest.
This time last year I could walk into church and ask "how was your week?" Now the question must broaden to cover the months that I haven't been a physical part of their lives.
This time last year I was busy getting ready to leave for Guatemala to do short-term missions work, having opened my heart up more to the idea that it doesn't matter where we serve, but that we serve. I thought that God may use my time there as a stepping stone for bringing a music program there in the future. Now I'm on tour again because of my time in Guatemala. Sometimes our prayers of "God how do you want to use me after this?" have the most unexpected answers.
But the biggest difference between now and last year is the place my heart is in. Last year, through all my time in Pickering I was restless. Restless to be working differently. Unsure of how to live with purpose, and what my purpose was. Longing to be overseas. Afraid of settling. Now I have better learned that missions is a state of the heart, not your state of living. There is great value in community that shouldn't be taken for granted once you've found that you are surrounded by relationships that have taken time to form, and taken time to care for you while you are gone. Serving is made easy when it is the nature of our daily jobs. A servant's heart though is what truly makes us servants no matter where we live or what we do.
As I learn, as my heart is redirected, I can better see all the opportunities with great purpose that are inbedded in being settled in a community. I think of being back to "where I was last year" when I think of "this time next year" and I am newly and perfectly content.