Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Last To Know...

Over the last several years I have struggled with singleness and wondering why The Lord hasn't brought anyone to my life.  I also fought the ever changing world around me wondering why I was still in the same sort of stage.  Funny thing is, I've had it pretty good but I tried to put myself on a timeline based on worldly comparisons and expectations.  I made so many mistakes out of selfishness, anger and sometimes just flat out disobedience.  Mistakes that hurt others and ruined my effectiveness as a witness and a believer.  Thankfully, those didn't make the blood of Christ null and void.  Thank God that while he is just, he is a redeemer, restorer, healer, father, pursuer and so much more. Are there consequences to our choices?  Absolutely!  The good thing is, they ultimately end up being for His glory and our joy.  He makes all things, yes...even the vilest being...new! This whole time, I somehow began to believe he was preventing me from certain things because of the sins I had committed but that was a lie straight from the pit of hell.  He wasn't prohibiting or preventing, he was protecting and preparing!  How glorious is that?  In spite of my bratty laments or foolish and selfish sins, He was still preparing and protecting me for something.  Oh what love!  I didn't see the big picture and still don't but I know that His plan is good, His love is deep and His grace never ending.  I'm thankful that I'm single and have no kids because there is a freedom that I have currently that I'm honestly not ready to give up.  I long to go, long to love, long to push others to Christ and to show them that there is worth to their life because of who He is.  

Last Summer, my family and I went to Costa Rica and coming home was difficult.  I don't feel called there but it broke my heart to leave the girls we met and got to love on there.  There was something stirred in my heart while we were there.  Getting to have that happen with my family made it all the more incredible.  It was after that, when Bea asked me to go to Russia because she didn't want to be the only girl.  I said no multiple times but my sister told me I should pray about it before actually saying that.  She made a good point and as God would have it, I joined the team and went to Russia with the Earl Brackin Band.  OH.MY.GOODNESS.  It felt like home.  Not the place necessarily but what we were doing.  We got to really talk to people and find out who they were, what they were about and show them positive attention and get them connected to church plants around the world.  I'll admit that the group I was with made it all the sweeter due to the laughter and was constant and the teamwork that was fluid.  I will always cherish that trip and those people.  I kid you not, I'm tearing up right now as I type because of the memories.

Coming home was harder than I had anticipated because I realized more about my purpose while in Russia.  It's something we are all called to do on a daily basis but in various forms.  To love people and to point them to Christ.  There are different ways to show that love such as the 5 love languages and even some extras like sarcasm.  Yes, that is one.  You'll never convince me otherwise so don't even try.  Ok, back on topic....missions.  Talking to strangers has always been pretty easy for me.  As a toddler I asked a total stranger for a bite of their ice cream and that led to my parents purchasing a wrist leash to make sure I stayed near them at all times.  Those of you who have met me aren't the least bit shocked, are you?  Heck, even my own sister took me with her when she would run errands so I would be her buffer of sorts. 

This may make me sound like a horrible person or a "bad Christian" but I never wanted to be a missionary.  I thoroughly enjoy a life of comfort and the occasional massage and pedicure.  I like being able to go out with friends and just make the most of my time with them.  I love to get dolled up occasionally and just go out on the town or catch the occasional concert.  It's not about my wants though.  That's a lesson I'm learning daily...sometimes minute by minute.  Since Russia though, there has been a void of sorts.  Why?  Because I was doing what I was created for.  Some may ask why I can't push people to Jesus in the USA and I'll answer that by saying it's something I strive for and have felt an urgency to do with life in general.  I just know there's a call for cross-cultural missions so that's what I'm moving towards.  That's one of the coming steps...I was just the last to know.  :)

Apparently mom has known for a while this is what I would do.  Dad said he didn't know for sure but isn't shocked and Tammy has consistently encouraged me to pursue God's calling and to apply with the organization I'm in the process with for placement.  There are so many other people that I have sincere respect for that have encouraged me in this and affirmed it and I have to admit, it has been like a common grace and has comforted me as I try to navigate this whole journey (I would love to list them all but fear I would accidentally leave someone out). I even have friends that aren't believers who have said they aren't shocked.  Like I said...I was the last to know.  In the coming weeks and months, I'll be posting about the next steps and the goodness of God with this process as things become more solidified and official.  So here's to the life, death and resurrection of Christ, the pursuit of The Lord and the aid of The Holy Spirit as we all press into Him.