By: Tessa Valadez
These last two weeks my go-to has been, “See ya around.” And then I smile and something like an 8-pound bowling ball suddenly appears in my stomach and strikes against my ten-pin rib cage. It’s the strangest thing. That bowling ball has also shown up when I look ahead – when I look forward to the future. This bowling ball is Apprehension.
- anxiety or fear that something bad or unpleasant will happen
- understanding; grasp
- a bowling alley stuck in the pit of one’s stomach
Okay. The third definition came from The Scholarly Academic Definitions of the Life of Tessa (it doesn’t exist), but the others came from Google. I have experienced all three. Fear is my response to closure and change, because I never seem to have a perfectly paved golden road leading me to society’s box of success. Instead, God does something funny. He always does something funny.
He places me into the hands of people who confront the systems of this world and say – there’s something more, something better. He wraps me up in a community who speaks with hands and steps into someone else’s path – meeting needs – because that’s exactly what Jesus did. He plants me in an enriching classroom to interact with the broken, blessed, and forgotten, that I may taste the need for justice and fight on behalf of those who have lost sight of hope. Because of this I have become a hope giver. I have become a kingdom builder because I have met the King face to face in the families that surround me. I am unconventional because that is the way God has made me.
I am beginning to own that story.
This next chapter of my story leads me back to Las Cruces. I’m going to play. I’m going to play so hard my cheeks will fall off of my face from grinning so much. That, or they’ll be permanently stuck. Did you know I can grin so high my cheekbones block my vision? It’s a family trait; but I digress. In Las Cruces I will be working as a barista by day and jumping into the film and theater community by night. I’m going to soak myself with joy and turn around and pour the excess onto anyone around me. That’s right – whole Super Soaker water guns squirting joy until everyone around me is sopping wet. I can say all of this because I’m not going alone. God is my story. He speaks through others who say, “This is the way, walk in it.” I’ve never done that so easily, because Apprehension rattles my ribcage. Not this time.
Apprehension does not have to be the fear that something bad is going to happen. Change riles me up and sets me on edge, but it’s because I never grasp the greater apprehension: understanding. The first definition becomes obsolete when I trust in a power greater than myself – God – who provides and cares for me, but this has just become evident to me because of those surrounding me this past year. Ciudad Nueva, Border Fellows, and family continually speak Truth into my heart and challenge me to claim it.
Thank you for supporting me. Thank you for being Jesus to me, raising me up, extending grace in moments of correction, and praying over me. I will pour into others the exact same way you have poured into me. This has been a very special season and I look forward to seeing you all around. Truly. No bowling balls in the pit of my stomach, just a soaked body. Look at that – you’ve drenched me in joy.