talitha kum

Little girl, I say to you, get up!

If God ever has a mantra for someone’s life I feel like this is his mantra for mine.

Jesus says talitha kum, translated as “Little girl, I say to you, get up!” to Jairus’ dead daughter in Mark 5 (also Matthew 9 and Luke 8).

Let’s be clear: I am not dead.

Although sometimes I act like I am: dead in my sin, dead in my habits of fear and greed and pride. Dead in a definition of myself that is not Christ-centered. Alive in a body that feels dead until Christ occupies, restores, glorifies God through it.

A little girl’s life was raised from death by the words of Christ. This story was recorded in the Bible but is also recorded daily in my life and the lives of those who Jesus pursues all around the world.

But I am not quick to call myself a little girl. These are my thoughts: “I am tall. I just turned 20. I am not a little girl.”

However, when I think of myself as a little girl, I am humbled. I am just like the little girl, Jairus’ little daughter, who needed Jesus to speak into her life to be resurrected. She would have been dead without him. So I really am a little girl. I am only 20 years old. I have barely been out of the country. Jesus has buckets and buckets and even dumpsters more sin to rebuke me of–and cities and countries to teach me more all about the people he loves so much.

Five weeks from today, I leave to spend my fall semester of junior year abroad in Copenhagen. I will live there until December, when I will come home for Christmas and to visit my friends here at school in Nashville. Then, in mid-January, I will return to Copenhagen to spend my spring semester there as well.

Yes, hello, my name is Kendall and I am willingly giving up a year of school in an incredible city with wonderful friends, a place where it is “easy enough” to pursue Christ and find a community who will let me play catchy songs like “The Weekend” and dance very very badly for a potentially terrifying year of new and uncomfortable and I don’t speak Danish and also am not blonde and dang you don’t have over 700 churches? Yes. That is what I am doing.

Last November, I found out you could go abroad for a year. And by “you” I mean not very many people do that because why would you pick your dream school just to leave for a year (??? still don’t know) but yessiree that is what I am doing. I was trying to pick out five classes from the course list at DIS, and wanted to take way more than five.

Courtney said, “Don’t some people go abroad for a whole year?”

Dang it Courtney. Yes, that is what I am supposed to do. I get this feeling (this feeling is God I hope) about certain things that I am being called to do (see also: why I cut all of my hair off). It is kind of annoying sometimes and makes me seem like I am a strict Christianese speaker when I say “this is what I am called to do.” But alas.

I asked my parents over Thanksgiving, expecting to hear a hard no, but it was a hard yes. Also heard from them: “When can we visit? Can you live with a family? Can you learn Danish? When can we visit? This is so cool!” I am floored again and again by my parents’ acceptance of my sometimes strange choices (see also: why I cut all of my hair off). If my children ever complain that I am like them, I don’t think I will be mad. They are phenomenal people.

I am leaving for a year because I want to force myself to learn the lessons Jesus will have me learn. Other people can immerse themselves in a culture with just a semester– I am impressed by that and excited for their experiences both this semester and next. I, however, am highly skilled at checking out of a place when it is not my “real life” and waiting it out until I can go home. I did not want to make this mistake with going abroad, to just breeze by for a few months and then go home, back to comfortable America with peanut butter and my friends.

I will live with a Danish family for a year and I will take Danish class, among others. I hope when I am there, I listen hard enough to hear Jesus saying over and over: talitha kum, talitha kum! Get up! Leave your sin. Come see the world I love and love it like I do. So, talitha kum to this semester. And the semester after that! And the rest of life I’m given!!!

Little girl, I say to you, get up!


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