This last 7 months has been a wild roller coaster ride for me. It has been a huge step of faith, and I'm afraid I haven't always walked as confidently as I could (or should) have. I have been a Christian since February 3, 1993 when the Lord spoke to me in during a powerful youth group service. For the first time in my young life, I heard Him call my name, and I answered.
I had grown up in the church, and I vividly remember dear sweet Mrs. Choate bringing her elephant's tail to Sunday School and dreaming that God would call me to be a missionary in Africa just like her. I wanted to follow God to whatever ends of the earth He called me to and spent two summers as a short term missionary during college " in preparation" for that call.
I spent my second summer building houses in Juarez, Mexico, and it was an incredible eye opener. After 8 years of what I would call "spirited conversations," I finally convinced my parents that I should go to Mexico and that I would be safe while I was there. Very quickly, I found myself in a country where English was not the primary language; where I was the minority; where it wasn't safe to walk alone; where I was called to lead high school students in building projects I was unsure of.
Every morning I woke up physically exhausted, but happy to be where I was. I had fought for so long to get there, and I wanted to enjoy every minute of it. It was a very hard summer for me. I went believing I was fully fluent in Spanish, but after a 20 minute conversation with our site's caretakers telling them I couldn't find my "nails" to unlock the kitchen, I realized I wasn't. (That explains the looks they were giving the poor crazy American girl!) I learned the hard way that I wasn't strong enough to cut roofing aluminum with wire like the locals. Why was this so hard? I was supposed to be a natural at this missionary thing--it had been my dream for years.
The most important lesson I learned that summer was that God had other plans for me than the life I had so carefully planed for myself. I had just graduated college and wasn't entirely sure of the next step. I was scheduled to move to Kentucky at the end of the summer to start Seminary, but I still had no idea what I wanted to study (kind of important when you get to graduate school). So I got in my little green bug with my meager belongings and drove to Kentucky.
After a year and a half of school, I dropped out. I realized that I was supposed to move to Kentucky, and that the Seminary was the way God chose to bring me here. I took a full-time job, took a few more classes, and married the love of my life. I was unsure of the next step, but confident that I was walking in the right direction. I have learned over the years that one of the cool things about God is that He gets to see the big picture. He knows what the plan is, how its going to work, and will guide me every step of the way if I only "trust and obey."
The problem is me. I'm impatient and greedy and want to see the big picture. I get bogged down in the tiny daily details and frustrated when I don't understand my current situation. I have been reading an amazing book with my friend Merrie called "Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His Presence" by Sarah Young. Its a daily devotional we agreed to read together this year. And today's devotion convicted me royally. It says:
"Bring me your weakness, and receive My Peace. Accept yourself and your circumstances
just as they are, remembering that I am sovereign over everything. Do not wear yourself
out with analyzing and planning. Instead, let thankfulness and trust be your guides through
this day; they will keep you close to Me. As you live in the radiance of My Presence, My Peace
shines upon you. You will cease to notice how weak or strong you feel, because you will be
focusing on me. The best way to get through this day is step by step with Me. Continue this
intimate journey, trusting that the path you are following is headed for heaven." **
I would like to say that I trust completely, walking in faith every step of the way. But that would be a lie. I come from a long line of worriers. I have always been a worrier. And what has all that worry done for me? Honestly, it has left me in a cranky mood with the ones I love, it has affected my health, interrupted my sleep, and it has damaged my walk with God. And all because I can't seem to trust that the Creator of the universe has it under control. This is the One who said in Isaiah 43:4 that He loves me; the One who said in John 3:16 that because He loved me, that if I believed in Him, I could have eternal life.
He's got me taken care of. So what the heck is wrong with me?! I have promises like that and I still doubt? I'm a mess. But I am a mess who is trying, one day at a time, to remind myself to trust my Savior in those darkest hours when Satan is whispering in my ears that doubt and worry are better than trust and obedience. I might stumble and I might fall, but I decided today that I am not going down without a fight.
I will walk by faith and not by sight.
I will trust that my Savior has this all under control, and that even though I may have gotten myself in a messy situation, He can lead me safely out of it.
I will trust that His plan for my life is better than my plan, and that His way is worth waiting for
Even if I have to take it one small scary step at a time, I will walk by faith and not by sight.
**Excerpt taken from "Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His Presence" by Sarah Young. Published by Thomas Nelson, Inc. 2004