Once upon a time, my little Colorado self lived in Mexico for 5 months.
In 2008, with a YWAM (Youth With A Mission) school, I was bunking in a teensy room with 5 other girls and one bathroom in a revamped salmon-colored hotel on the rainy Baja Peninsula.
It was out of my comfort zone.
As my time there waned, though, I developed relationships. Two of my roommates were native Spanish-speakers, and Naara, who slept on the bunk beneath me, really loved the Backstreet Boys. I’ll never forget one night when I was trying to fall asleep, my normally non-English speaking roommate below me suddenly started belting out “I Want It That Way.” My venture for sleep was ruined as i started a giggle fest, and couldn’t stop for quite some time. I’m not sure to this day if that was offensive or not, but I sure did like her after that.
My other dear Mexican roomie, Paloma, referred to me as “Chocolate blanca,”(white chocolate) and she to me was “chica del noche” (my Spanish and her English didn’t go very far past that at that point, but we were still friends. She taught me how to communicate without speaking the same language, and she could make me laugh and laugh).
My British roommate, Abigail, would sometimes make fun of us American kids, and her “American” accent always sounded like she was from the south. Kacey, from the Cayman Islands, taught me that it’s very important to take time to eat mangoes in the sea and ride horses on the beach (even if horses terrify you).
Katie, one of my most favorite Canadians, used to knock on my door so she could read me her latest favorite poem (my favorites were usually by E.E. Cummings). She and I had songwriting parties and she was the bomb-diggity (am I still allowed to use that word? was I ever?) to harmonize with. She taught me the beauty and diligence of innocence.
In addition to Katie, there were also Matt (also Canadian), Doug (Californian), and Bekah (Australian). Once, we had communion on the rook with milk and cookies. Call it sacrilegious, but it’s all we had, and it was one of the most intimate times with God I’ve ever had.
Truthfully, God taught me a lot in Mexico through a lot of different people. But mostly, he taught me things when I’d sit on the roof with Him and listen. I know that it sounds strange to those who have not heard God (or who don’t realize they heard Him), but I believe in my heart of hearts that God has the ability to make Himself perfectly clear, audible or no.
When the breeze blew the scent of saltwater into my senses, I found that I have more insecurities than I like to admit. While I watched the brilliant purple fiery sunset over the Pacific, I found I had fortified walls around my heart like Jericho, and I was really good at ignoring God’s love songs to me.
And amongst all my fears, failures, and shortcomings, there is STILL grace enough for me.
If grace were perfume, you’d choke.
If grace were a bath, you’d drown.
If grace were a skyscraper, you’d get a nosebleed.
5 years later, and I’m still learning about grace and fear, love and insecurities…though not so much on roofs while overlooking an ocean. More like when I’m dragging myself out of bed to make coffee, while I’m driving to work, while I’m vacuuming the floor, while I’m paying bills, etc. etc. etc.
So… the same God that spoke in Mexico is the same God that speaks as I sit here in this old, scruffy chair in my living room. My circumstances may change, but God doesn’t. The daily grind threatens to make me complacent, but God still wants the opposite.
And he does speak. On roofs and in living rooms… He still speaks. I just have to keep reminding myself of that.