Thursday, February 11, 2010

the night before

November 1st 2009:
"You told me to get my passport. Or - at least that's what I thought I heard. Maybe it was just to make me listen. Again. Maybe I will use it. Maybe You just want me to be ready. Whatever the case, take this as an act of obedience. Make Your next direction clear."

February 10th 2010:

I am sitting in a dark apartment. With bags packed and ready to go. My passport is tucked safely in the pocket of my carry on. There are clothes tumbling in the dryer. And I'm too excited to sleep. In less than twelve hours I will be on my way to the airport.

I look back over my old journals and am amazed. So grateful God puts up with me like He does. So amazed at the way things are interconnected. The way He intertwines all our stories.

From the way He makes the wind blow - just to let me know He's near.

To the way He stopped the world while my sister prayed for me tonight. Knowing that this side of a year ago, I was the one helping her pack. I was the one crying as I prayed for her.

We think we know who we are.

We think we know what we are capable of. What we were created to do. What we are supposed to do. Who we were created to be.

But we ask for discernment.

For open eyes.

We learn to trust. Not just wholeheartedly, but learn to hand our hearts over to the Father.

Letting go of that which we treasure most - to keep it safe in His arms.

But I will wake up in the morning one person.

And as I am suddenly transported to a place I've never been before - as I get to step foot on the other side of the world for the very first time - I have a feeling God is going to show me that I have no idea...

I have no idea what He can do.

I am no where near who I am supposed to be.

Whatever the case, dear Father, take this as an act of obedience. Continue to speak so I can hear You - and when You choose to be quiet, fill me with the Spirit, so I can discern where You are... where I should go.


October 25th, 2009:
"I tried to listen to the music above the drone of people here at Common Grounds. There was African music playing, just so subtly I could barely distinguish it. A beat. Lost under all the noise."

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Good Directions and Perfect Timing

A friend of ours gave us directions to her house on Friday night.

Turn right onto street A.
Do not take your first right.
Go through the stop sign.
Turn right at the second street B.
Turn left onto street C.

I read and reread the directions. Wondering why in the world she would insert that second set of instructions - "do not take your first right".

My friend and I started driving to our friend's house and made the first turn. Only to realize that the first right she had spoken of, had the same name as her own street.

We followed her directions verbatim, however. Had a wonderful time at her party, and asked her about the directions as we were walking out to the door to go home.

"You'd be amazed how many people get directions from me on how to get to my house, then start driving here, and take that first right. As if I don't know the best way to get to my own house! I am so used to people taking that first right and getting lost in all the curves and turns and calling me, saying I'm lost, how do I get back?"

I stood in the foyer and God tapped on my heart.

Don't you think we do that to the Father on a regular basis?

He's given us directions on how to get to His house.

But we get started and at the first turn, where we think He really must have been mistaken when He gave us the directions, we do not heed His instruction.

And we turn.

On a street that might eventually become the right one.

But has so many twists and turns and is so much longer than the intended path, we get lost.

And we call upon Him, all turned around and confused.

He will lead us back out, then.

Give us directions again.

Because His way is better than our way.

And He knows the best way to get to His house - regardless of what our eyes might see, or not see.


Back in May, God laid it on my heart to go on a mission trip.

I remember sitting at the computer and looking through the scheduled trips through Southland.

Ethiopia in February. No, that wouldn't work. I'd be in school. Plus, it was Africa. Not for me.

A myriad of other trips - including one to the Congo, one to Mozambique, trips to Haiti and Austria and China.

But God told me to go to New York City.

On the first trip Southland would take to partner with a church that meets in a theater, to pass out water bottles in Central Park, to feed the homeless in Madison Square Garden.

He provided the means for me to go.

And with that trip, He began to open doors.


I laughed about this today.

Thinking back.

And I realized what happened last May parallels with many other things in my life.

Sometimes... it is not right the first time you see something.

Sometimes... time must pass.

Sometimes... circumstances must change, while that person, place or thing remains the same.

But one day, what you once saw and overlooked, might become your future.


Back in May, I had no idea that I would get incredibly sick over the summer months.

That I would accrue $3,000 worth of medical debt.

That I would have to drop out of school (causing me to fall even more behind than I already was).

And because of being out of school, I would be free in February.

To go wherever, and do whatever, He asked me to do.

So that the next time I sat at the computer and clicked on a link that said "Mission trip: Ethiopia"...

It would be right.

It would be mine - my next move, the next chapter of my story, an answer to my prayers.

I remind myself of this.

That sometimes God shields our eyes.

"Not yet," He whispers.

His timing is perfect.


I leave for Africa in five days.

It didn't hit me until yesterday.

I woke up and laid in bed for a few minutes, thinking about Bible study on Wednesday night.

I whispered before I got up, "sorry for the inconvenience, satan. but whatever plans you had for me today, im going to need you to cancel those. thanks."

I was overwhelmed with stress in the morning hours while I sat at work. Making lists and thinking about anything and everything except my work. I felt stress rising up in me like a flood.

And then, through it all, I heard Him.

"What are you worried about? Seriously? You're set. I've taken care of you so far, haven't I? Why do you think that would change now?"

So on my lunch break I started checking things off my list. I made phone calls and filled prescriptions and cashed checks after work.

I leave for Africa in 5 days.

And if I needed to hop on a plane right now, I'd be ready.

Because God is good. And He cares about the smallest details.

My cup is overflowing.

And as I feel the stress melt away, I feel it being replaced by excitement.

As the day progressed yesterday, I drove through town and was hit with the realization that this time next week, there would be no street lights.

No traffic lights.

No Starbucks.

I had a fleeting feeling that the real adventure was about to begin.

But I chided myself for that - because this whole life is an adventure.

The pace is just about to pick up.

The scene is about to change.

I say I'm ready.

But that remains to be seen.


A few things God has been impressing on my heart the last couple of days...

is about how we must be careful never to mistake a blessing for an attack.

We believe that the best way to fend off satan is to acknowledge his work and call him out on his lies.

However, not every hardship, not every wrinkle, is his doing.

Sometimes, we give credit to satan when it should have gone to God.

Like Thursday. When the Travel Clinic called me about my yellow fever vaccination (which I'd already gotten through my doctor on Tuesday). When I explained to them I no longer needed the vaccination, they asked if I had a booklet of certification.


A little yellow book that you must have with you to enter the country. Proves you received the vaccination.

And I didn't have it.

My initial reaction was, "back off, satan, this is not going to keep me from going."

Before I realized, had the Travel Clinic not called, I wouldn't have KNOWN about the book. And neither would one of my teammates.

I was able to call and get a booklet from my doctor and all was made right within just a few minutes.

But I had almost given credit where it was not due.

And God convicted my heart of that. "Learn to recognize Me," He said. "Don't mistake a blessing for an attack. Don't assume everything I do will be all neatly tied in a bow."


I leave in 5 days.

Life is happening now.

But everything is about to change.