Reflecting on two years of grace in Portland

Portland

I’ve enjoyed everywhere I’ve ever lived. I like Portland just because it is where I live right now, and not because it’s quirky, unique and interesting. I have actually found those qualities everywhere I’ve been, maybe just not as predominant. What makes the move I made here unique was that for the first time in my life I have been perpetually thrust into situations completely over my head and beyond my abilities. The circumstances and stories surrounding the events of my last two years are incredible to me, and while they are a joy as I reflect on them, they stand as a monument to my weaknesses and limitations. The grand summary I’m finding is that God’s strength is made perfect in my weakness. A common theme for many folks I believe.

Part of me just wants to document the stories. I think I’d have plenty to say about the drug dealer who tried to convince me the Magi brought Jesus weed as a kid, all while eating my curry with the munchies. Or about how working at Starbucks was actually really challenging, and all the strange situations I found myself in, and the friendships I made there. There’s no end to the stories from my internship at Mars Hill Church, my favorite one is still being written, her name is Ashley

Honestly, it’s all been very hard. Very good and very hard. Deeply unsettling and sanctifying. I’ve had a number of good plans in life, all of which I could have pursued in fulfillment of my faith and my hearts deepest desires. But God shook me up with lots of change. Jobs that were hard for me, relationships that were challenging, a great number of unsettling circumstances that provided me an opportunity to see what I was really standing on. This could have happened in any number of ways, but it happened in a move to Portland and the events that ensued.

I found that there’s this part of my heart that wants to be defined by what I’m doing, where I work, what others think of me and by my education. Sometimes it takes some unsettling to find that out. In God’s grace he provided that. It’s also a chance to find the supernaturally placed deep desires of the heart, where I know I’m a sinner saved by grace, that Jesus died for me, that God calls me his son, and that that grace is what defines me.

When I’m mobile God is teaching me to be stable in him. When I’m stable, God is teaching me to mobilize with him. I’m never off the hook of his grace or the call to his mission. It makes for a terrifyingly wonderful life.

So I find myself reflecting on grace, knowing that whether I’m in a stable position or on the move, by my choice or not, I’m God’s son and that grace defines me.

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