Thursday, May 31, 2012

I am he who will sustain you.

"He delights to do the will of God- and that is true missionary motivation" (Hay, Isaiah and the Great Commission, pg 23)

Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The Lord, the Lord is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation. Isaiah 12:2

Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you. -Isaiah 46:4

he says:It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring my salvation   to the ends of the earth. -Isaiah 49:7

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. -Isaiah 55:8

And foreigners who bind themselves to the Lord to serve him, to love the name of the Lord, and to worship him, all who keep the Sabbath without desecrating it and who hold fast to my covenant- these I will bring to my holy mountain and give them joy in my house of prayer. -Isaiah 56:6-7

My life goal is simply to make God smile. I have learned a lot about myself these last few weeks. One of my worse fears in life is letting people down. I will pretty much do anything to please others and I'm really hard on myself when I have done less than I could have. Along with letting people down, I also struggle with boundaries, and knowing when to say no. I don't mean physically boundaries (even though I am not a "rule-follower, by the book type person), I mean more with people, with my time, and with opportunities. 

When I was back in North Carolina at SIMStart, one of the meetings that we had was with a psychologist to go over 4 psychological exams that I had taken previously, submitted and now was getting the results. 4 tests all revealed that I can sometimes over trust people, I tend to avoid conflict by pleasing people and hide my struggles and hurt feelings hoping they will simply go away. It is really hard to admit my struggles, because deep down, I just want to please God. But what I'm realizing is by admitting my struggles, i'm one step closer to working through them and being more confident in doing what seems impossible now. 

So I definitely have some things to work on, but I know that as I reach out for help, place myself in situations that aren't always easy, I can grow. I can think of myself as a seed at the moment. In order for the seed to grow, it must be watered. And once it is watered, the seed makes roots, roots form a shoot which builds strength until it finally pushes through the soil. Once the shoot has grown above the soil, leaves begin to form and soon enough flowers or fruits are produced. I have a long way to go before I'm a flower, but then again this life is journey. Strength must be built with each new step that is taken and I look forward to seeing Jesus work in my life to produce a flower unlike any other. 

When I look at flowers, I see God's beauty. I smile at Jesus because of His creation and know that my constant acknowledgement of Him makes Him smile. There are a few versus at the beginning of this post from the book of Isaiah. I began a new book, probably will finish it very soon, it's pretty short, called Isaiah and the Great Commission: An Old Testament Study of New Testament Missions by Ian M. Hay. I am so in awe of who God is as I read through these versus and realize that I cannot even begin to imagine how big He is, how powerful He is, how holy He is, and on and on. My prayer is that as you read this, that you will stop and just sit in awe of who God is for as long as you can....keep going... :) Really, each verse in scripture is written through the power of the Holy Spirit, we hold in our hands the Word of God. God, this big, mighty, powerful being wrote a book so that we can know Him in our minuet ability, to be in relationship with Him, and provide a way for us to spend Eternity with Him. God, the Holy Spirit, and Jesus all work together all the time and yet in their own unique way to bring sinners back to Him. I'm in awe, and just smiling at God for He is so uncomprehending. 

I cling to these promises in Isaiah tonight. That my God is my salvation, that He does carry me, that He desires to use me to spread His name to the end of the earth, and that as I walk this journey with Him, I must continue to remember His ways are not my ways and that He has a calling for me to go. Whatever that calling is, He will make it clear in His timing. 


"Is that why the Israelites kept recounting their past- to trust God for their future? Remembering is an act of thanksgiving, a way of thanksgiving, this turn of the heart over time's shoulder to see all the long way His arms have carried. 'Gratitude is the memory of the heart,' writes Jean Baptiste Massieu, but gratitude is not only the memories of our heart; gratitude is a memory of God's heart and to thank is to remember God." (Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts, pg. 152, emphasis mine)

Remember: (v) to recall to the mind by an act or effort of memory; to retain in the memory; keep in mind.
Gratitude: (n) the quality or feeling of being grateful or thankful.
Memory: (n) the mental capactiy or faculty of retaining and reviving facts, events, impressions etc.; the act or fact of retaining and recalling impressions, facts, etc.
Thank: (v) to express gratitude, appreciation, or acknowledgement to.
(definitions from

I have been reading this book over the last few months. Some weeks more than others but each time I pick it up, God has a new revelation for me. I would recommend this book to anyone! The last post I wrote(now 2 posts ago), I talked about needed to refocus my eyes. And so as I begin to figure out how to do that, I've been thinking about seeing this world, seeing people and God's creation, through Jesus' eyes. As I drive down streets I see green trees, I see grass growing, I take in birds sitting on telephone poles, and I can't help but think of God. If you saw me walking from my house to my car, you'd probably think I should be committed. I walk slow, I catch a glimpse of a bird flying and I literally stop and watch. I take in the wings flapping quickly, how the bird smoothly makes its way through the air, the sound it makes as it's moving. Once again... God.

Little Buddy A who meets me in front of my door almost everyday when I get home.

Little Buddy B who joins little Buddy A. They are just too cute!

So this idea of looking through God's eyes and seeing the world as He see's it leads me to want to accomplish a similar task to Ann's ...I want to spend some time writing down and numbering gifts. But I don't want to just start in the present like Ann did. I want to go back, and I want to be able to add to this list as time moves forward, to be able to do as the Israelites did and recount my past so that, I too, can trust God with my future.

  1. My Salvation through Jesus- Jan 2006
  2. Nanny job- taught me so much about being a mom/caretaker & got me into college- Dec 2007
  3. Finding my home church- Aug 2007
  4. Joining my bible study- Feb 2008
  5. Best 3 months when I look back and see how God grew my relationship with Him to all whole new level. Aug-Dec 2009
  6. Official job at the church in Children's Ministry- Jan 2010
  7. Short trip to Romania- Oct 2010
  8. First contact with SIM organization- Oct 2011
  9. SIMStart Training- May 2012
  10. Missions oriented friends.
  11. A mentor.
  12. My family's support.
  13. Realization that God's timing is incomparable to mine.
  14. The joy in knowing that God wants to use me to accomplish something much bigger than myself.
  15. Possibility of getting to serve overseas for an extended period of time.
  16. Late nights of fellowship with friends; sharing life together.
  17. Laughter and smiles, even when it's difficult.
  18. Eternal perspective on life; replacing the fear of death with the joy of life everlasting.
  19. Colossians 3:12 Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourself with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.
  20. Emails, even if they don't tell me exactly what I want to hear- 5.31.12
  21. Purchase of an international cell phone. I won't have to get a new one when I go overseas.
  22. A day with a couple hours of nothing. The quiet of the fan blowing, music playing, breakfast in bed, hours to get ready. Friend time. Jesus time. 

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

How quickly I have tried to take over God's mission.

God looks after us so we can look after others. -Faith like Potatoes.

I have another post written, but it's a work in progress, so looks like this one is going to get posted first. I just watched the movie Faith like Potatoes. Hmm. Aside from the tears that were almost shed, I want to think about the message, what was trying to be portrayed? Where does my faith lie? Who is my trust in? Why must I look to God in a situation when I feel deserted?

I can only pray that God does not desire to teach me in reality something that this movie has already clearly taught me. Trust in Jesus all the time. Oh wait, I have been internally struggling with why don't I have an answer?? Jesus, do you want me to go? And if you do, why won't you just confirm so I can keep moving along in the process. Jesus, it's been a week! A whole seven days and nothing. I feel the anxiety weighing me down. Jesus, what can I do to further this process? Maybe I need to do this, or that, and then I will know.

Colossians 3:12 Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourself with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Deep breath. Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. Jeremiah 33:3 Call to me and I will answer you. Jeremiah 17:7 Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him. Philippians 4:6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

God has some pretty cool promises in His word that when human intelligence tries to take over, the Holy Spirit wins. As my above frustrations began to really take hold I couldn't help but turn to Jesus. I think I'm more frustrated that I didn't turn sooner. And as I list verse after verse of promises from God, I try and try to let go. As I ask the question, Jesus do you want me to go? I cling to the Proverbs 3:5, lean not on my own understanding. It's not my timing, it's not what I want. How quickly I have tried to take over God's mission.  And this isn't the first time either. Sometimes I wonder if that's why God waited over a year to reveal to me the organization. A year and a half later and I might have a destination. If God would have told me a year and a half ago that I was going to Africa, I may have completely ruined the plan (which is very likely). So I must put my trust and confidence in the Lord and be patient. Oh patience. Every time I read Colossians 3:12, and it's been a lot lately (I have it officially memorized), I relax. A while back I blogged on this very verse, broke it down, and every since, I can't seem to shake the change within me. One, I'm chosen and two, I'm loved. And because Jesus loves me, He gave me His Spirit to be compassionate, kind, humble, gentle AND patient. I must say, these can be quite hard to live out, especially when you are being challenged in that very area.

So I must continue to rest in these promises. And know that Jesus will in fact answer me. He wants to know my heart, He wants me to tell Him what I want, but to do so with a thankful heart.


I am so thankful for the call. I'm thankful for how you have changed my life. I'm thankful for the brothers and sisters that you have brought into my life to encourage me through the race. Above all else, I'm thankful for You. Jesus, I want to know You more. I want to be able to trust You when I look around and see no possible way. Help me Jesus to live out Colossians 3:12. Help me Jesus to lean not on my own understanding but to fully trust in Yours. For Your ways are higher than my ways. Help me to be patient, to wait on your timing and know that you are never late and rarely early. Jesus, take away my anxiety to know, help me to rest in You and You alone not the mission that you have for me. My life is not about what I'm called to do but rather the God I serve. Focus my eyes yet again on You.

In Your name Jesus I pray,

Friday, May 25, 2012

...lean not on our own understanding...

Missions update:
5.23.12 I met with our missions director and admin assistant to share what I learned about SIM and to get an idea of what the next few steps will be, as far as working with SMCC, are. I always learn a lot after meeting with him but also leave with the feeling of "so much to do and so little time".

5.24.12 Last night I got invited to go to the monthly missions board meeting because two couples were given their Oral Doctrinal Evaluation. Two couples sat on the hot seat and looked out at four pastors and 12-15 elders and board members. Each couple had written their oral doctrinal statement and the pastors and board members were given a chance to read through the statement prior and come prepared to ask questions based on what was written. I left this meeting fearing I would need two seminary degrees in order to even breach the idea of given my own oral doctrinal statement. I'm very thankful to God that I do not have to prepare this until 3 years of missionary service and only if I want to go full-time.

The Conditions of Discipleship

"If anyone comes to Me and does not hate...he cannot be My disciple." -Luke 14:26

Discipleship means personal, passionate, devotion to a Person- our Lord Jesus Christ. There is a vast difference between devotion to a person and devotion to principles or to a cause. Our Lord never proclaimed a cause- He proclaimed personal devotion to Himself. To be a disciple is to be a devoted bond-servant motivated by love for the Lord Jesus. (Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, July 2)

I'm still waiting to hear back from SIM as far as acceptance from the field. Every time I get an email, and it isn't from them, I have to remind myself of God's timing. A quote that I have really taken a liking from training is, God is never late and rarely early. As far as finding out if I have been accepted, God will not be too late in providing an answer and He's probably not going to give it to me sooner than I need to know. Which is why I really like the devotion above because as I go through this journey, I want to make sure my eyes remain focused on Jesus and not on the task that He has given me. I think it would be really easy to focus all my attention on support raising, doing training's, and figuring out when God wants me to go. But as I read this devotion I felt the conviction. This last week I've been desiring to hear more from my organization than I have from God. My eyes and ears have been tuned into my email, checking it constantly for updates. Unfortunately my heart follows what my eyes and ears see and hear.

I must refocus. I must shift my head upwards to my Jesus. With my eyes and ears focused on Him, I will see and hear exactly what I'm suppose to. I am the vine and you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit, apart from Me you can do nothing. (John 15:15) If I'm not attached to Jesus then my effort is in vain. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28) As I search out God's word for guidance, I keep coming across versus that talk about being called to a purpose. I believe God has a calling for each person's life. Some it is to teach, others to work in the office, still others to entertain, but aside from each of those "spiritual gifts" is a command from God to His children to fulfill a purpose. As these three or four years have gone by, I look back and see God's hand in gently guiding me, revealing step by step, where I am to go. I would have never found my perfect college had it not been from word of mouth communication to a family looking for a nanny. I would never have got the experience coaching for five years if it hadn't been for my dedication to the sport when I played. I would never of found Shadow Mountain if it hadn't been for a relationship that God obviously had His hand in. I would never of gotten the job I have now if Jesus hadn't stripped me of my previous job. I would never have found Jesus if it weren't for that one person taking the time to share the Good News.

And as I look at how God has guided my steps these past couple years, I see how He used different people to make His purposes clear in my life. Each of the above changes in my life happened because of a person saying, doing or giving of themselves, most without realizing it. I think back to John 15:15, it says that I can do nothing apart from Jesus. I had to trust God in each of the turns He made in my life because they didn't make sense when they were happening. I look back and see His hand and perfect timing in each of them.

So with this situation right now, waiting to hear back from the field, I once again must refocus my eyes to Jesus and trust in His ways. Proverbs 3:5 says ...[to] lean not on our own understanding... I must rely on Jesus because if I try to do it myself, oh my I don't even want to know where I would end up. Jesus has called me. He has a purpose for me. I want to look up to the One who knows all and rest in Him.

Monday, May 21, 2012

...complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me...

"And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem (Africa), not knowing what will happen to me there. I only know that in ever city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me. However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me- the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace." Acts 20:22-24

Every once in awhile the Spirit leads me to a passage in Acts and I am overwhelmed by the mission that Paul endured. I read through Acts 20 tonight, a couple of times, just soaking in all that Paul shares during these few versus. First, even though he is facing all kinds of hardships, he still makes the time to encourage those around him. Then, in Troas, during a time of preaching a man falls 3 stories and dies. And yet Paul runs down, hugs the man and exclaims, "He's alive". And then he goes on to explain his journeys from place to place and while in Miletus, he explains to the elders of Ephesus some more words of encouragement. And this is where I find the words I have put above. But first I want to just think through the story of Eutychus.

Eutychus, is the man sitting by the window during Paul's teaching in Troas and falls 3 stories during Paul's 3rd story. 3, the number of perfection. The Trinity, 3. Paul rushes down, embraces him and says, "He's alive". This idea of falling to your death and then being embraced with life. That's salvation. This story may not be how Eutychus came to Christ because I'm no theological student, but when I read about death and then life, all I can think about is Jesus and His death and Resurrection and how that symbolizes are death and resurrection through Salvation. When we pray and asks Jesus into our heart, our old self dies. Our sin that Jesus carried with Him on the cross is dead due to his perfect life. Our old dreams, desires and  duties die. And through that prayer of belief that Jesus is alive now, we get life. No longer fearing death because we have already died. After the "death" of our physical bodies comes life, comes Eternity with Jesus. Not everyone goes to Heaven, which is why I am on the mission I am on. To see God use me and the gifts He has given me to share His love and ultimately His Truth with those in Africa. The weight of sin can feel like falling 3 stories, like carrying around death, but by Jesus conquering death by coming back to life, weight is lifted and we gain life, we gain freedom, we gain Eternity.

A mission. Knowing that whatever happens I have life in Jesus, I'm excited to go. It's because of Jesus' death and resurrection, that I want to go. I have found truth and I want others to hear about it. And because ultimately I know where I will go when I die, fears of sickness, persecution and death lay low compared to the richness of living out my faith. In these few versus of Acts, Paul explains how "the Holy Spirit warns me..." It's no secret that other places around the world are dangerous. But God also promises to be our Protector. That doesn't mean we won't suffer, so no matter what happens I know I am in the hands of God, I'm protected whether here on Earth or in Heaven.

Paul goes on to say, "I consider my life worth nothing to me..." This life, my life, nothing. My life in Christ, lived out for Christ, is everything. And that's why I feel compelled to go, to use the breath God has given me to live out the call. The call to be a missionary in another country. Worth nothing. Monetarily, physically, however you want to put an Earthly price on it, I say zero, nada, nothing. I deserve death, and yet God has graciously given me life and therefore I live out my life with Him. "...if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me..." The task. A mission, a call, a command to go and care for orphans, to share the gospel and equip the Church to continue to do His work. Has given me. Present tense. Jeremiah 29:11 says that He has had these plans for me all my life, but just recently, currently, is God bringing these to the forefront. That's exciting. To sense, to feel, to know that God is alive and working in my life. That's amazing! "...the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace." My task. To testify, to share, to witness God's grace with those who need it around the world. By caring for orphans, sharing the gospel and equipping the church of Africa, I am in fact a witness to His grace. If it weren't for Him, I could not live out what only He can do. Support to raise, training's to be done, books to be read, steps to be taken, these can't get me to the field. Only Jesus, alive and living in my heart and life can get me to the field. I rest in my Saviors arms tonight and am thankful for the beginning. I'm thankful for the hard times that are ahead, I'm thankful for the people who I will get to share His love with, I'm thankful for life in Him.

Is this true of me?

But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself. -Acts 20:24

It is easier to serve or work for God without a vision and without a call, because then you are not bothered by what He requires. But once you receive a commission from Jesus Christ, the memory of what God asks of you will always be there to prod you on to do His will. You will no longer be able to work for Him on the basis of common sense. Never consider whether or not you are of use- you are His. (Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, March 4)

Sunday, May 20, 2012

5.20.12 Step by Step

7:20pm Charlotte, NC time. 4:20pm San Diego time. I am currently on board a U.S. Airways flight straight to San Diego. However, I want to take you back about 3 hours ago and explain how I got here. God is good. I arrived at the airport around 4pm. The Lloyds, gave up their afternoon to come and spend some time with me at SIM and then take me to the airport. So many questions were answered and I cannot thank them enough for what they did. I arrived at the airport, went to the kiosk, typed in my confirmation # and up came a little sign that said, “there have been changes to your itinerary” I clicked next and viewed my next flight, Charlotte(5pm) to Chicago(6:09pm). That was my flight, I clicked the series of next buttons until it printed out my boarding pass and I quickly rushed to the security line. Longer than I had expected I relaxed knowing that I really had plenty of time to make my 5pm flight. I arrived with plenty of time (the plane hadn’t even arrived at the terminal yet). I sat down, looked at my ticket and realized I only had one ticket. I’m suppose to have a connecting flight in Chicago to San Diego and when I get off I have no idea where I am to go. Talk with the front desk later and kindly ask her if she can print off my next boarding pass. Few seconds go by…”your flight has been cancelled in Chicago due to mechanical problems”…”Oh they have you on a flight from Chicago to San Diego tomorrow morning”…Now I’m thinking, tomorrow! I’m not very fond of the idea of spending the night in an airport. I kept quiet though and allowed her to keep working. She said give me a second, picked up the phone and asked, “do you have any seats on your flight to San Diego left”? Hangs up the phone. Keeps working. “They have 5 seats left on an airways flight to San Diego, do you have any checked luggage?” No I do not I respond. A few minutes later and I’m walking to a new concourse to check in for a 6:20pm flight from Charlotte to San Diego. My original arrival to San Diego was suppose to be 10:45pm. It has now changed to 8:36pm. I’m jumping for joy inside. God is so good.

I’m walking to my gate and I hear, “Danielle!”…one of the SIMstart attendee’s is sitting at her gate waiting for her flight. I sit on the floor next to her and explain what just happened. We thank God together. I share that I need to get my ticket, I go up to the counter, receive my ticket and the lady says, “you need to go down to your gate to receive a seat”. I sit back down, Attendee offers to watch my bags while I take the walk down. Nice lady at the counter explains the plane is full but she will ask for volunteers. Okay I thought, God has this all under control. If I’m suppose to get on this flight then he’ll make it happen. I go back to Attendee and realize other SIM starters should be showing up soon. I call one, yes they are close and we plan to meet up. Attendee and I share stories about God’s faithfulness, the Bible and thoughts about our near future as well as people watching! Time comes and attendee is ready to board her plane. She leaves and I walk a few to meet up with the other Attendee who has offered to meet up with me. We walk the terminal to my gate to find people loading. I walk up to the desk, ask if there were any extra seats and I get a smile, “Yes we got you a seat”. I smile and say thank you and return to my seat. We chat a few more minutes and soon I am ready to board as well. We hug and say goodbye. God is so good. I will be arriving in San Diego, in about 4 hours, 2 hours earlier than originally expected. God is so good.

And now a brief reflection while I have the time and the battery life on my computer. As I think back to when I was on the plane heading to SIMstart, I remember the excitement, but also the unknown feeling of what to expect. As I flew to SIMstart, I wasn’t sure what God wanted me to do, if this was even what He did want me to do. I knew no one. I had no expectations. I was really looking forward to seeing God show Himself. What I found was something I could have never of dreamed of. An extended family. My fellow attendees and the SIM staff made these last few days just wonderful. We had personal, individualized schedules of our four days ahead of us. Each moment of time was specific to what we needed. As I look back on these last few days, I thank about the countless hours of head bowed prayers being sent up for meetings, interviews, meals, conversations and so much more. By Prayer. SIM’s motto and they made that real for us.
Today I had my exit interview with my selection coordinator and I have to admit I was a little nervous. It was finally my turn to go back, we walked the hallway laughing together and I’m sure she realized my laughter was pure fear of what was ahead. I sat down in the office, door shut and she places a paper in front of me. She asks me to read the letter completely and then we will go over it. Heart pounding.

We have really enjoyed meeting you and getting to know you a little better over the course of this week. We trust your time at SIMStart has been constructive, informative and enjoyable. After meeting with you, reviewing your file and receiving input from the psychologist and those who interviewed you, we…

Seriously. Can you just tell me already, accepted, denied, which one is it???? I keep reading in silence…

…we rejoice to inform you that you have been accepted as an Associate with SIM and are approved to continue in process toward cross cultural missionary service.

I don’t even know what to say! I was a little shocked, quite relieved, and overwhelmingly joyful. 
We talked a bit more about what the future entails. We discussed my placement and she told me that she would be sending my application over to Kenya tomorrow morning and we will wait to hear back, but it shouldn't be too long. We discussed SIMGo which is a 2 week training that will take place in the near future. I just kept smiling. Finally, she said, “before you go I would like to pray for you.” Tears began to fall as the realization of a new chapter was beginning. I left the room and returned to the main lobby where all were gathered. I shared my smile and rejoiced with my fellow brothers and sisters. This reality is happening. We soon had lunch. (Crescents, egg salad, tuna salad, broccoli salad and chips) After lunch we took pictures and said a few goodbyes. Some returned to our living quarters and sat on our community couches in disbelief of what just happened. We, a group, will be sent off in the next few months and years to all different corners of the world to share the good news that Jesus is alive and wants to have a relationship with all the different tribes, peoples, and languages around the world. Unworthy. A conversation begins as we realize we have been accepted into an organization, a family that is so grounded, how in the world do we have the privilege to join them?  

We talked some more, people left slowly, goodbyes were said, hopeful to see each other at training, on the field or in Heaven. So crazy to have bounded with these people and think that I may not see them again until Heaven. And yet we know that as we are sent out, we will be able to keep in contact and rejoice as God continues to guide and direct our paths step by step.
I’m so beyond words at what I feel right now. I do realize a new chapter is beginning, raising of funds will soon begin, recommended books to be read, trainings to do and attend, people to connect with, relationships to rejoice over and miracles to be seen. God is so good.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

5.19.12 ...from every nation, tribe, people and language...(Rev 7:9)

After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. -Revelation 7:9

This weekend isn't over yet, but we are all are sensing it coming to an end. I don't want it to end. I want to keep learning about missions. I want to keep learning about this journey and what God may possible be doing in my life. So many great conversations happened today, one in particular where the person, never having met me before, heard my name and said, "oh you are the who is involved in all the children's ministry at your church". I just smiled and say yes, it is such a joy to see children learn the love of Jesus. A person, who has never met me personally and yet knows that I have a passion for seeing young kids see Jesus. 

8am: Breakfast. I keep forgetting to mention that they have cinnamon swirl bread! With apple delicious!

9am: Intro to SIM finance. Since this lecture, we have had many conversations about what this may look like.

11am: Building your support team/RDM-Relational Development Ministry.

12:30pm: Lunch! Cheeseburgers. Broccoli salad. Watermelon.

1:30pm: Preparing to Thrive. This was one of the most encouraging talks I had heard from our entire time here. Bob talked about all the pieces of missions ministry. He incorporated such great stories that he made the field come alive.

3:45pm: Next steps/Questions answered. Here, Allen basically summarized all that we had learned at SIMstart as well as what may be in our future.

5:30pm: Supper. (I need to correct my other posts, it's not dinner on the east coast, it's "supper") An Italian lasagna(had a cool name). Green beans. Garlic bread. Salad. Creme puffs and blueberries.

6:30pm Community Hour. We talked about the missionary call. I shared about how I felt God's initial call back in fall of 2010. In April of 2011 I had no real answer and felt myself falling away from praying about it. I shared how the next few months, God broke me down. I felt tired, I felt drained. At that point, I went back to my last blog, posted about 3 months before. I had asked that God would show me if missions was what He wanted. I wrote out a prayer, and within a few weeks I had found, contacted and applied with SIM. Since then, God has been faithful to walk with me step by step and has led me to today. I still can't believe I am here. I still can't believe that I am walking this journey. I still can't believe that God would choose to use me. I still can't believe how God works in our lives to fulfill His purposes in this world that has such an eternal impact. May we all look into our own lives and see how God is faithfully providing a way to Him as well as showing His great love to others, no matter where you are or where He might send you.

Today was a lot of sitting. All these lectures were done in one room, a board room. After less than 5 hours of sleep, chocolate, chair hitting, random funny comments, soda and did I mention chocolate kept me awake. In between these meetings and food breaks, I had some great encouraging conversations with the different people who are here attending SIMstart. We talked a lot about how God is answering prayers, just in these last few days. How God has shown me where, I think, He wants me to serve. We talked about our strengths and how we think that can influence our field of impact around the world. But my favorite part of this whole day was our few moments of prayer. By prayer. SIM's tagline. Such strength and wisdom comes out of prayer. Such encouragement and love comes through prayer. Such peace and truth comes from prayer. God is so good.

Dear Jesus,

How grateful I am to you for who you are. You are faithful, you are my provider. You are strength. Thank you God for breaking my plans of what the American Dream may be. Thank you for providing an organization that wants me to go to the mission field, and wants to personalize my way there. Lord Jesus, I am so excited to see what you are doing. I'm enjoying walking one step at a time, as difficult as it is to want to see further, I know my ultimate goal is heaven. My eternal security is in You and therefore I seek to do everything I can to further your kingdom until I reach your throne. Jesus, what an amazing opportunity you may have for me to go, across seas, to work with another culture, another language, another nation all together.

Tomorrow is a big day for each one of us. I lift us all up to you Lord. You know us personally, but I want to lift them up by nicknames... Please continue to confirm in Soup and Carrots lives that their mission is where they feel directed. I pray for Eclairs night tonight and that tomorrow she can wake up rested and joyful that you have continued to guide her path. God I also want to pray for Apples with caramel not peanut butter. She has so many talents and a beautiful caring personality and I know You have the perfect position for her. I pray that she can seek out your Spirit and come to know exactly what your will is her for life. Lord Jesus I lift up Reese's and Sushi's goals, the specific plans that you have shown them and how you have orchestrated their paths this far. Thank you God for providing them as friends and I pray that you would continue to use that friendship to encourage them along this path.

I pray for Taco and Chocolate. I pray Lord Jesus as their options are prayed over that You would make it perfectly clear what you have for their lives and how you will use their unique personalities and gifts to reach your lost people across the globe. Lord God I lift up Strawberry salad to you. I pray that you would make her placement, the will you have for her life. clear to her. I pray that your Holy Spirit would be present in her exit interview tomorrow so that she and her placement coordinator can work together to see where You want her to go. I pray that she can spend time in your Word and that you would continue to equip her and give her confidence that her strength is found in You and You alone. Lord God I lift up Apple jacks and jellybeans to you. As they spend the next few months and years preparing to go and actually going, that you would use their gifts to impact your world in a mighty way.

You love each and every one of us personally and have a specific plan for each of our lives. I pray that we can continue to seek out your will for our lives and I pray that you would make it completely evident where You want to use us and how we might serve You better. I pray for our relationships with You Lord that you would make the time in each of our lives to seek out truths in your Word, that time would be made daily and often to pray and that we would find You in all that we do.

Jesus, I pray specifically for tomorrow. As each of us spends some time with our selection coordinators and go over whether or not SIM is the organization for each of us, I pray that your Holy Spirit would be present in each meeting to direct the words and hearts of those involved. I pray that you would open doors wide or shut them tight and that each person would leave confident that You had worked out that specific plan for them. I pray that are hearts are sensitive to Your spirit within us as we accept guidance. I pray that each of us can leave this training with more information, more experience and ultimately more love for You.

In Your mighty and perfect name we pray,

Friday, May 18, 2012

5.18.12 "Busy Day"


"God called to him...and he said, 'Here I am.'" -Exodus 3:4

Readiness for God means that we are prepared to do the smallest things or the largest things- it makes no difference. It means we have no choice in what we want to do, but that whatever God's plans may be, we are there and ready. Whenever any duty presents itself, we hear God's voice as our Lord heard His Father's voice, and we are ready for it with total readiness of our love for Him. A ready person never needs to get ready- he is ready. (Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, April 18)

I absolutely love this response. I have actually mediated on it the last two days and finally getting a chance to sit down and think through my thoughts. Readiness. Is it a process or something that you are? I take from this devotion that it is a state of being, as far as being on a mission for God, we are always to be "ready". But this is a different mindset than "ready" for vacation or "ready" for your day. When sent on a mission for God, or when you feel like you are being prepared to go, the state of your heart depends on your relationship with Jesus. If you are in love with Jesus, if you take upon yourself a heart to be a servant, when you give your life to Him, when all you care about is pleasing God, seeking to please Him, then you are ready for anything that He puts in front of you. I love the part of this devotion that says, "[I] have no choice in what [I] want to do, but that whatever God's plans may be, [I] are there and ready." As I think about the choices that I have been looking through, praying over, and researching about, I realized that I had no choice. That it really was whatever God wants, is where I will go.

With that said, I have made a decision, one which I can only pray God too wants. I have sensed many confirmations throughout today that this is where He wants me to go. More on this later.


9am: I had an interview with Pat & Joel. We discussed my ministry now and what that may look like overseas.

10am: I met with Cindy & Ray. I really enjoyed this interview. We laughed a lot, talked about what I think the mission field will look like, and got a lot of questions answers.

11:10am: President of SIM USA, Bruce Johnson, did a presentation to my group on the Vision of SIM. Out of this, I got the chance to write out how my personal vision and how that connects with SIM.

 "Jesus said, let the little children come to me and do not hinder them... Jesus loves the little children and he loves the orphans around the world. With the great foundation that they have in their history as well as all the things they have learned over their 119 years of experience, I look forward to taking this knowledge and move forward with the mission that He has given me. He has put on my heart orphans, specifically in Africa, and is orchestrating plans to send me to use my gifts to fill the needs of orphans in Kenya, to share the gospel with them and help to equip the church of Kenya. I look forward to working with a multicultural team to share the gospel with children in Kenya." 

Lunch! We had turkey wraps, chips, and fruit.

1:15pm we piled into a few cars and a few vans and began a very adventurous journey to SIM International in South Carolina. Yep, I got to cross borders today! Two countries to cross off my list from the east coast. As we began the trip we were following the car in front of us, unfortunately that car was following a car in front of them from SIM but were not headed to SIM International, instead they turned the other way. Our car was stopped, told we were going the wrong way and sent to chase down the other car. Oh my, God kept us safe. Nothing crazy but it took a few minutes to catch up to them. We made it back and then followed closely behind the correct car! We spent about an hour and a half getting to hear all about the history of SIM. Lots of dates, lots of names, of which I cannot remember, but what I did get out of it was how firm the foundation is that SIM sits on.

3:30pm We learned about the Core Values of SIM. Out of this talk, a lot of great conversation happened as well as some great questions.

Dinner! Beef stroganoff, vegetables, bread and salad.

6:45pm Community Hour. We talked about having a servants hearts. We did a great exercise where we were given scenarios where we were to discuss how we would respond to a difficult situation with a servant attitude. Some great discussions came out of this.

And now it's 10:45pm and there are six of us left. We started with about 15 of us in a circle and people have slowly faded to their beds. One discussion in particular I will share. Most will remain great memories in my head :) Our head guy on our floor, Ray, sat down and said, "can I share an email with you guys"...sure! A Cotton Mouth Moccasin snake is loose on our campus and we are to be aware of it as we are moving around. Oh my!!! I'm thinking this time here is really preparing me for them missions field! It has really been such a blessing to be here. I'm really trying to soak in all this encouragement. All the wonderful stories about Lyberia and the mission fields. It's now 11:18pm, I'm pretty tired. There are 3 of us. But now I am off to bed. Prayers for awakeness for tomorrow would be so amazingly appreciated. I thank God today for his confirmation. Finances are a huge fear and tonight, without asking, I received another person who said they would like to support me. That is so encouraging. Jesus is faithful, if He wants me to go, I don't think I can really stop it, if I wanted to.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

5.17.12 Faith in the face of fears

My first full day at SIMstart! I am really encouraged to be here. It is so neat to be surrounded by other people who have an want, a desire, a calling to go and serve across seas. This morning began having breakfast in our kitchen. Our cabinets and refrigerator are fully stocked with any breakfast necessity you can imagine. We get to make our own breakfast and be at morning chapel by 8:30. Today, that was a success! After chapel, we were sent in our different directions, my first stop along my personal schedule was to the medical office. My blood was taken (she got the vein on the first shot!) and I was given a tb test. After that I went for a brief walk around the campus and took the picture above as well as the two below.

At 10am, I had my meeting with my selection coordinator, Kimberly Love. We got a whole hour to discuss possibilities. She had previously sent me 10 that I had spent the last several months going through and nothing really sticking out to me. Today, we looked through the database, I printed out five (most I had already seen) and after asking many questions and her telling me about the different areas I was able to narrow it down to two. I was having a really hard time, because I want to make a decision just because I feel as though most people here know where they are going already and are able to get their specific questions about their specific areas answered. I also just want to have an answer. But I left this meeting with confidence that when the time was right (even thought I desire it to be sooner rather than later) God will tell me which one.

*Side note- in front of the entrance to the chapel & dining room is a path that has the signs shown below around each corner. The path takes you in a square around and has a fountain in the middle. I found the two signs that each have the places I am praying about going to...

At 11:30am, I had my meeting with a psychologists to go over the pysch evaluations that I took a couple months ago. I had taken 3 evaluations. I was pleasantly surprised to see how well the tests really described my personality and character, both positives and negatives. 

One of the tests revealed some interesting personality traits, that combined definitely explain my dejection of confrontation as well as my stubbornness. It also showed how balanced I was as most of the categories fell in the middle. There were a few that swayed toward one side or the other and I was able to explain how I feel in a lot of situations because of those titled words. I will be getting a 2-3 page summary of the exams and interview we had today so I may post more on this at a later date.

12:30 was lunch, Baked Potato with all the fixins'! 

Once I was done with lunch I had the entire afternoon to relax and spend some time in the Word, focusing on God and searching out His will for where He wants me to go. I had great intentions and at the end of it, I did get some good time with Him, just no definitive answer. Another attendee and I sat in the living room for quite awhile and discussed our psych evaluations and all the fun things that we had each talked about in our sessions. It was quite fun to laugh for awhile and get to share about what God was doing in each of our lives,  where God was leading us and some of the fears that go along with those. Towards the end of our afternoon break, sort of frustrated over still not having a definitive answer I decided to look online at each of the countries and see if anything not just sparked by caught fire in my heart. I must say, I did get a lot out of this time. I won't share what I found exactly, but will say, it swayed me a bit one way. 

5:30 was dinner. Parmesan chicken, a vegetable medley, zucchini casserole and bread. 

At 6:30, we returned to our residential floor for community hour. Each floor has a regional director who stays on the floor and handles any issues that may come up. He, Ray, led our hour time together as we discussed fears about the missions field as well as how that is countered with faith and trust in Jesus. I was really encouraged to hear other share very real and similar fears that I too have been struggling with. After a period of time of sharing our fears, he then had has share some of the scriptures that we have used to combat fears those fears or one's we have faced in the past. 

I shared a piece of scripture that was revealed to me by a dear friend that I have read constantly for assurance and peace. It comes from Exodus 3-4:17. It is Moses' encounter with God through the burning bush. During this encounter with God, Moses' hears the calling that God has for him, to go to Egypt and rescue God's people. Ex 3:7-10 says, "the Lord said, 'I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slaves drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey...And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them. So now, go. I am sending you to Pharoah to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt." Moses received the call, I too received the call to go.

But like Moses', I too have concerns. "But Moses said to God, "Who am I, that I should go to Pharoah and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?" (Ex 3:11) God, who am I that you would call me to go and preach the gospel in Africa?

And God responds with a simple promise to Moses' that I too cling to in verse 12, "I will be with you". Such a few words and yet there is so much hope in that fact that God promises to always be with me. Fears fall away as promise after promise is revealed that I am in the hands of God, I am in the will of God. Bad, difficult, challenging things will come my way, but God promises that through those times, He is strengthening our faith and trust in Him. 

But like me, Moses' as human as he was, continues to doubt and says to God, "Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, 'The God of your fathers has sent me to you, and they ask me 'What is his name?' What then shall I tell them? God says to Moses, 'I am who I am' This what you are to say to the Israelites: I am has sent me to you." (Ex 3:14) God, what do I say when these people ask why I am here, who sent you? A good question that Moses posses I must say because, as I'm sure Moses thought about, was whether the people will believe you. Whether they will respond with cheers or with rocks thrown your way. In my case, my question is more, how do I communicate to them that I am willing to work alongside them to not only care for orphans but to show them God's unfailing and perfect love. God, what do I say? I am has sent me. I'm on a mission for Jesus, one that I shall not be ashamed of. 

But Moses isn't done, and during my rant of fears, neither was I, and this was a big one for me, Ex 4:10-12, "O Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue. The Lord said to him, "Who gave man his mouth? Who makes him deaf or mute? Who gives him sight or makes him blind? Is it not I, the Lord? Now go, I will help you speak and will teach you what to say." Jesus, you send me, okay I'm good to go, but what do I say? How do I share you with them when I don't even know the language? Why are they going to listen to me? Jesus, I can never come up with the right words in English that I want, how in the world am I going to do it and in another country? It's is in this passage that I find my answer, and where to look but back at him. Jesus of course, Jesus who not just sends me but works in and through me to share His love with others. All I have to do is be willing to go, Jesus and the Holy Spirit do all the rest. 

However, Moses' has one last plea, "O Lord, please send someone else to do it." I'd be lying if I say I hadn't said those very same words. Why not someone else, someone who's gone to bible school, someone who has the gift of evangelism, someone, anyone, just not me. But with this plea, came conviction. Who am I to ask God, what do you want for my life, and then when He tells me, say no, I don't like that one, how about another? God doesn't work that way, for Jeremiah 29:11 says "I know the plan I have for you..." The, one, single, mono plan. Not plan A or B or C. It may be my plan B, but whatever I end up doing was always God's plan A for me. And in the next few verses of Exodus 4, God tells Moses that He will send Aaron, Moses' brother to go with Him and that He, God will help them to live out His plan. And throughout the rest of the Bible, God keeps that promise. 

I too must cling to the promise that God is always with me. Even when I doubt my own capabilities, I must remember that it isn't my mission, my goals, my work, but rather God's, I only get to be a tool. Just like a hammer or a rack can't do the job on it's own, I too must trust the person using me to conquer something bigger than I could ever do alone. A hammer can only hammer things, it can't do the job of a rack. And neither can accomplish it's given task without a hand driving the tool in the way it is to go. So it is with God, we are tools, used by God to create masterpieces that are so much bigger than anything we could ever begin to creatively think up or try to accomplish. 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

5.16.12 Praise God

Lots of praises from today!
*I made it to the airport on time this morning! (Me driving at 5am and roadwork doesn't mix)
*On my 2nd flight from Chicago to NC, I sat by a Christian who shared her whole story with me.
*Upon arrival, I called the driver who said that one of the psychologists was on my flight. I called him, he didn't answer. I sat down and overheard the man 3 seats down from me say, "well I'll just start asking around...what was her name again?" and then his phone cut out. I turned and said, "are you Tom", he says, "Are you Danielle"...I had found not only someone I knew but the right person!
*Food!! They fed us an amazing dinner, I was starving, at that point I might have eaten anything. 
*We had a short orientation and then played a fun game to get to know the other people who are here. Memory game, my short term memory is intact!
*The "second floor roomies" split into 6 rooms have migrated to the common room and are having a computer party (one of the girls just brought out her computer, doesn't even have it open)

So it's been a good day. I'm really excited to see what God is going to do over these next few days. I still can't believe I'm on the other side of the states. I think I'm just more excited to see God work in these next few weeks. I'm praying for an open heart to obey Him. All the conversations around me are discussing where they want to go, for how long, what they want to do. It is so encouraging to be surrounded by people who all have the same desires. Jesus is so good.

The Trial of Faith

"Faith as a mustard seed..." -Matthew 17:20

Faith by its very nature must be tested and tried. And the real trial of faith is not that we find it difficult
to trust God, but that God's character must be proved as trustworthy in our own minds. Faith being worked out into reality must experience times of unbroken isolation.
Never confuse the trial of faith with the ordinary discipline of life, because a great deal of what we call the trial of faith is the inevitable result of being alive. (Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, Oct 31)

Faith. We can place our trust in anything. But ultimately, God asks us to place all of our faith in Him. But what does that look like? For me, being here, is walking by faith. I have absolutely no idea what God is going to do with this. And as I have been thinking about this from awhile, I really liked what Chambers said, "that God's character must be proved as trustworthy in our own minds." God is faithful all the time. It is us, our hearts, our minds, our souls that have a hard time constantly placing our faith in Him. With missions, I have been asking God to work in my heart, to help me to have faith. What does that look like these next few days? An open mind. With every conversation, with every new person I meet, with all the knowledge I gain, I want to only cling to my faith in Jesus.

Jesus. Faith. Trust. Obedience. 

Friday, May 11, 2012

Seek me, learn my ways, talk to me and I will hear you.

Fellowship in the Gospel

Fellow laborer in the gospel of Christ... -1 Thessalonians 3:2

I must learn that the purpose of my life belongs to God, not me. God is using me from His great personal perspective, and all He asks of me is that I trust Him. When I stop telling God what I want, He can freely work His will in me without any hindrance. He can crush me, exalt me, or do anything else He chooses. He simply ask me to have absolute faith in Him and His goodness. (Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, Nov. 10)

Pretty sure He crushed me today. And I've also come to the conclusion that my death may be near. I really don't like having a phone. Being away on vacation is so nice because I never even use my phone. But for some reason, living in San Diego, every man who drives by looks like a predator and I just get freaked out. Over the past few weeks, my phone has decided to become possessed. It will be fully charged one minute and dead as a doorknob the next. Once it becomes dead as a doorknob the chances of bringing it back to life are very slim and often takes hours of patience. And I'm sure you all know, a phone with no service you can still use to call 911 in an emergency. A completely dead phone is useless. Over 3 hours spent today in the Sprint stores and online with their customer, tech and insurance support and I have absolutely nothing changed. I must say, God's patience completely overwhelmed me the whole time and I truly sang His praises as I was transferred to person to person. When the last bit of news came, which of course was not what the previous person had said, they attempted to transfer me to someone else and it just rang and rang and rang. At that point I came to a conclusion...if I die because I'm attacked or something happens to me in the next 2 weeks and I can't use my phone to call for help, sue Sprint...and I say that in the calmest voice I possibly can. *Tears*

How frustrating this life can be. The run-around. Without God on your side, life can very well feel like my 3 hour experience with this company today. And let me tell you, I surely would not want to live in that state of frustration my entire life. I choose instead to live my life with a purpose. What is my purpose? God knows. All I have to do is keep my faith in Him and understand that He is good. My life doesn't have to feel like the run-around, I get to live a life with a purpose and I rest in the safety of that promise. God has a purpose for my life that is put together not based on keeping me happy but rather for His glory. Jeremiah 29:11&12 says, "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you."

He gives me a promise, that He knows everything. To argue with that would not make sense. He has ultimate understanding of everything happening on Earth right now as well as what is going to happen in the future. And because of that promise, He goes on to say..."Then you..." God does His part, knowing the plan, having it all figured out, and then tells us our part. Talk to Him so that through communion we can come to know Him better, better understand who He is, and therefore align His plan with our thinking. He only promises to listen, not to respond, not to do, but to listen. He hears me. In a lot of ways that is backwards thinking to how the world operates. My run-around with the cell company is very proof. God says, don't tell me what you what and then expect me to do it. Instead, seek me, learn my ways, talk to me and I will hear you. And have faith that when I hear you, I will do what is best not just for you, but for all. My soul, my heart, my body calms. I relax. God heard me the entire time. I know I must trust that His greater plan involves me not having the security of my phone. He's more powerful than a phone call and I just pray His protection and continue to keep my faith in Him.

Missions. Minus the fact that I may not have a dependable phone to travel with come Wednesday, I am really looking forward to going to SIMstart. I have received an individualized itinerary of my time in at this traning that seems a bit intense but have been reassured that I shouldn't worry. I'm praying for confirmation and direction if this is what God wants me to pursue. Each life change that has took place has been one that made no immediate sense but could only have been worked out by God. As Jeremiah 29:11-12 says, He has a plan and just wants me to follow Him and keep my faith in Him and His goodness. Is missions what God has for me? So far no doors are shutting, no "no's" have been said. My perspective remains open and excited.                                                    

Prayer Requests:
I will be at SIMstart from 5.16.12 thru 5.20.12
Some specific meetings you can pray for:
10am Mtg with my selection coordinator
11:30am Psychological interview
9am Staff interview
10am Staff interview
Closing interview (at this meeting, I will be advised if SIM recommends if I move on to further steps toward serving with SIM. If so, I will be discussing those during this meeting)

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Submitting to God's Purpose

I have become all things to all men,, that I might by all means save some. -1 Corinthians 9:22

All of God's people are ordinary people who have been made extraordinary by the purpose He has given them. Unless we have the right purpose intellectually in our minds and lovingly in our hearts, we will very quickly be diverted from being useful to God. We are not workers for God by choice. Many people deliberately choose to be workers, but they have no purpose of God's almighty grace or His mighty Work in them. Let Him have His way. (Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, Oct. 25)

When I came across this devotion, I knew it was the one I needed to write about. I couldn't have written a better encouragement than the above paragraph. If anything, the idea of submitting to God's purpose and will for my life has been one of deepest struggles I have been facing lately. I sense no real direction. All the doors seem open at the moment and each one of them seem very possible. Each of them also have their own unique challenges. So with all the worldly knowledge that I can attain, none of it compares to the knowledge that Jesus holds for my future. I don't want to get caught up in the task, even though at the moment I feel as though I am doing just this. Instead, I want to see Him work within me and through me in order that the greater good can be attained, people will come to know Him as their Lord and Savior. 

Let Him have His way. So few words and yet a whole lot of meaning wrapped up in that sentence. Let Him have His way. Let Him... I must surrender. I must let go. I must stop trying to figure it out myself and allow Him to work. ...have His way...and allow Him to do what He wants. I must let go of my stubborn, prideful, controlling, and planning self and put on faith, trust, willingness, and obedience. 

Dear Jesus,
 How exciting I am to see what Your plans hold for my life. I am so thankful for all the blessings that You have bestowed upon me. I realize that each moment, each breath I take, every conversation I have, every job You give is a blessing from You. Good or bad, I want to be thankful for what You have planned. For You do not give bad gifts, even though I may see it as such, for You are working for a greater good, and I am only able to see a finite piece of the puzzle. Help me to see through Your eyes how beautiful Your Creation is from animals to plants to people. Jesus, work within me to do Your will, whatever that may be. Help me to walk step by step with You and not attempt to run ahead. Thank You for being my God, my Lord, and my Savior. 

In Your name I pray,

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Gracious Uncertainty

Gracious Uncertainty

It has not yet been revealed what we shall be. 
-1 John 3:2

Certainty is the mark of the commonsense life- gracious uncertainty is the mark of the spiritual life. To be certain of God means that we are uncertain in all our ways, not knowing what tomorrow may bring. We are uncertain of the next step, but we are certain of God. As soon as we abandon ourselves to God and do the task He has placed closest to us, He begins to fill our lives with surprises. (Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, April 29)

Uncertainty. Not the greatest feeling in the world. But then again, as a Christian I claim to be 'not of this world'. Gracious Uncertainty. I'm suppose to be thankful for not knowing what is up ahead??  I have to admit I have a really hard time with this. I love making lists and then crossing things off when I accomplish them and during the process knowing what I'm going to be doing in an hour. With this challenge, Chambers is asking me to be thankful for not having a list for life. I get no reward in crossing things off a list because there is not list! But even with all the planning I try to come up with, do I ever really know what tomorrow will bring? no. Most times the thoughts I have for the next day usually go somewhat as plan, solely because I usually put together a skeleton of a list. But God wants us to not know. He doesn't want me to plan my days. Because in His Word, He has promised a perfect plan for me. That's why, in the last sentence of this devotion, I found hope.

As soon as we abandon ourselves to God and do the task He has place closest to us, He begins to fill our lives with surprises. Abandonment to God, how funny that I was just giving this advice to a friend and now I am being forced to look into my own life and see if there is something that I need to let go of. I love to fill needs. I love to be available, to say yes, to be able to make things easier for others, even if it puts me out. But in this devotion I am feeling challenged to just be content with the work that God has placed in front of me. I want to be a Jesus. I want to focus on the task He has placed closest to me and not try to plan what else I can add, what else I can accomplish, what else I can do. 

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight. -Proverbs 3:5-6

A verse that I have been memorizing in a group of thirteen and this one keeps coming back to me. "...and lean not on your own understanding..." Most nights I lay in bed, falling asleep, trying to come up with all the ways that my future could turn out. But God asks us to abandon ourselves to Him, to trust Him with all our heart, and He will reveal to us, He will make our path straight, what our future entails. I need to let go, I must let go, and yet I cling for dear life. What must I let go of? My future, a husband, children, the possibility of the missions field, finances, and comfort. I must lay these dreams down at the Cross, abandon my understanding to the Lord and allow Him to fully create my tomorrows. I say it, but it is so hard inside. I want nothing more than to be married, to live life with someone, someone who looks at me and knows whether something is wrong. Knows when I am frustrated, understands what I am about. I must let it go. If you can't tell I'm having a really hard time with it. For now, I will continue to repeat Proverbs 3:5-6 in hopes that God will align my heart with His will and His timing. 

Dear Jesus,

 You know the desires of my heart. And I believe you also see the way I attempt to plan my future in my poor understanding of pleasure or priorities in this life. Jesus, so much greater is the plans that you have already planned, the one's that you can see from start to finish, and at the same time can see me in my stubbornness at this very moment. Help me Jesus to see what You have for me right in front of me. Help me not to worry about what is 5 steps ahead but rather what the next step should be. Help me to be thankful for what I do not know. Jesus you are good, all the time, you are good. You are on your throne and You are God alone, from before time began. And you are my Strong Tower, shelter over me, beautiful and Mighty, Everlasting King...fortress when I'm weak, your name is true and holy and your face is all I seek. All I seek Jesus is You and who you are.

I am thankful for You in my life. Thank you for the relationship that I have with You that allows me to come to You, to poor out my heart, and have confidence knowing You hear me. I do remember what it was like to not have You in my life. How lost I felt. I am thankful that You took my punishment as You hung on the Cross. . . I am thankful that You conquered death and are alive within my heart. I am thankful for choosing me to be your child. I am thankful for my brothers and sisters in Christ that encourage me to seek You always and in everything. I am thankful for Your love that is abounding, grace that is sufficient, peace that surpasses understanding, power that can move mountains, and truth that sets me free. I am thankful for You. I love you Jesus and seek to make you smile.

I lift these prayers up to You knowing You hear me,
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