This past weekend I traveled down to Nashville with 10 others from Northwestern to attend Northstar. I've received many questions like, "What is Northstar?" "What does IJM stand for?" "Why did you drive so far for that?" "How was it?" So I decided to write and answer these questions and share what the Lord taught me over the weekend.
Northstar is a leadership conference for college students passionate about leading the justice movement in the name of Jesus. The conference is put on by International Justice Mission, or IJM. IJM is an organization inspired by God's call to love all people and seek justice for the oppressed. Their vision is to rescue thousands, protect millions, and prove that justice for the poor is possible. They hope to end modern day slavery and this conference was to gather student leaders who have the same dream. Throughout the weekend we had the opportunity to hear from IJM employees, soak in wisdom from Donald Miller, worship our Father, and dwell in the presence of the Holy Spirit.
This weekend was refreshing and encouraging. It was encouraging to see 250 people gathered together who all share the same passion of ending human trafficking. It was refreshing to hear stories of success and be reminded of how victorious our Savior is. I left tired, but so alive; hurting, but joyful; confused, but yet at peace.
You see, human trafficking is a big problem and too often it's simply overwhelming. It seems like such a big problem that I get tricked into thinking I can't make a difference. But in these moments, I'm forgetting of how great a God I serve. I serve a God who shows up. I serve a God who is going to be victorious. I serve a God who hates injustice and when His people respond to the call of fighting injustice, He shows up. But we have to respond. So whether that's through prayer, advocating, or fundraising we're called to act and it does matter! During the weekend, we heard from an IJM investigator working in the field and with tears in his eyes he said, "It matters." Those two words are burned in my brain. Without prayer, he could not perform rescues and without financial support he could not even be in the field.
I often feel pressure to do a certain thing, especially as a college senior. I don't know what's next and I'm scared to make the "wrong" decision. And I feel like since I have such a passion for justice and for the oppressed that I have to do a certain job, specifically doing justice (whatever that looks like), while using all my nursing skills. So I have to be starting IVs on really poor people, maybe in a different country? What? Uhm, nope. I mean, maybe..but not necessarily. As long as I seek to glorify God with my passions and do my best at whatever I do, He'll use that to seek justice and further His Kingdom. I focus too much on me, when I need to focus on my Savior. I need to rest in the fact that He is faithful, good, and sovereign.
[One more tidbit of the Lord's faithfulness: I spent 7 weeks in India with Erin in 2013 and we got to spend time together at Northstar. Her joy is contagious, and she encouraged me to no end in less than 24 hours. Saying goodbye in the Germany airport last July I never would have thought we would be worshiping the Lord together in Nashville the next October. God is good]