A Change of Course

Trials and Tribulations

In church a few weeks ago, the speaker taught about waiting on the Lord. Oftentimes, when the Lord reveals his plans to us and we choose to listen and obey, we have to wait upon the Lord. During this time of waiting, we are often faced with trials and tribulations. These tests are meant to build our faith in the Lord and our obedience to Him. They aren’t easy tests, but they aren’t meant to be.

In the last month, there have been multiple trials in my life. After I applied for the 3-month long Immersion mission trip to Costa Rica for the fall, I quickly wrote and distributed my support letter for the trip, believing that if this trip was God’s will for me, that the funds would come in. In the midst of sending these letters out, I became extremely sick. I have dealt with health/stomach issues for about a year and a half now, but never have they caused me as much pain as they did the week I was accepted into the program.

I went to the doctor for blood work and the results came back a week later with news that I tested positive for Helicobactor Pylori, a bacterial infection in the stomach that is actually present in about 50% of the people in the world. However, not many people experience the symptoms of H. Pylori. Unfortunately, I did. They put me on a triple dose of medication to rid my body of the infection and sent me for an ultrasound and an upper GI, which both came back clean of ulcers and damage (Praise Jesus!).

But I still felt miserable. The sickness and the medication took a lot out of me. I also had simultaneously began taking progesterone pills to help resume my period after not having one in over a year after coming off of birth control. As you can assume, my body was a mess and my mind wasn’t far behind.

To top it all off, the initial money I needed for my trip did not come in, despite my letters and prayers. I was extremely disappointed at first, but then I thanked the Lord, realizing that if this trip had truly been of His Will (which I thought it was), then I would have had the money in, no doubt about it. I took it as a sign of protection and emailed the program staff, heavy-heartedly declining the spot on the team.

Right Where I Need To Be

Immediately, I felt a sense of relief. I knew that the trip wasn’t what I was supposed to be doing. I know that the Lord has called me to the mission field, but I know that He will lead me to where He wants me, in His good and perfect timing.

And right now, I am exactly where He desires me to be.

I have been attending my friend’s church with him on Sunday mornings and joining their youth/young adult group on Tuesday evenings, while still going to my family’s church on Monday nights for prayer and to the Wednesday night services. I am falling so in love with this new church though. There is such a pure heart for the Lord. It radiates off of every single person there. There is such unity and a sense of family that I’ve never felt in any church before (and I’ve been to quite a few). I adore the church my family attends, but for the first time in forever, I feel at home when I’m at this church and with its members. I believe that is truly how a church is supposed to feel.

Plus, there is a large group of people my age in the church. People that I have quickly come to call my friends. I am so blessed to have been introduced to a group of Christians my age who live close to me and enjoy just fellowshipping with one another – no parties, no bars, no booze, no excessive spending on hanging out, but just watching sports, grabbing dinner, taking walks and playing games. It’s exactly what I have needed, exactly what I have been searching for.

Missions on the Home Front

I truly believe that God has placed me in this new group to help me grow further in my walk with Him. I believe that He will continue using me for His kingdom, starting right here in my hometown area.

I absolutely love spending my Tuesday nights with a group of children and young adults who have such a child-like faith in the Lord. I’m able to talk to girls who are coming into adulthood and will be faced with all the worldly pressures and temptations that I was, and I’m excited to be able to be an example and a confidant to them.

Right now, God has me right where He wants me. For the first time in a long time, I’m not looking to run away to a new life or get lost in a foreign destination. I am content, I am happy, I am full of love, and I am ever-so-grateful to be here.

Acceptance

Screen Shot 2014-04-22 at 10.00.52 PMA Call to Go

As I’ve wrote before, I’ve been called to go. God is sending me on a mission to spread His love and His name. To serve the least of these for His glory. I am honored, blessed and humbled…and I haven’t even left yet.

The Process

From what I’ve heard, the application process for mission trips takes some work – lots of paperwork and phone calls and interview. Sometimes the entire process can take months. So when I began looking into mission trips last week, I had no idea that within a week, I would be interviewed and asked to join the Experience Mission 3M Costa Rica team for Fall 2014. God works in crazy ways, and sometimes, He works very quickly! I have yet to wrap my mind around the fact that in four short months, I WILL BE IN COSTA RICA!!

WOW.

I was drawn to the Immersion program because rather than focusing on completing tasks, they are focused on building authentic relationships. You live with host families, interact in daily, local life and work alongside the tribes to make their community a better place. It isn’t a trip based just on doing, but on living and loving. And I really like that.

Here’s a video for the Immersion program that shows scenes from Costa Rica. I cannot watch it without tearing up and smiling. I cannot wait for August.

If you would like to know more, or to make a monetary donation, feel free to take a look at my prayer and support letter — A Call to Go.

A Passion for His Name.

A Desire to Be Passionate

I always wondered why I lacked passion. I watched the people around me pursue their passions and I oftentimes sat back and wondered why I didn’t have anything I was passionate about. Sure, I liked a lot of things. I enjoyed writing, being artsy, taking photographs, fitness, health, traveling…but as far as being so in love with any of those things that it consumed me? Not so much.

I have a friend who is passionate about fitness. She is a gym manager, and she does everything she possibly can to help others reach their fitness and health goals. She puts in extra, unpaid hours, goes above and beyond making class workouts and answers any question she is asked. She loves it. She is passionate about it.

I have another friend who is passionate about event planning. Weddings, baby showers, church gatherings, softball games, birthday parties – you name it, she’ll do it. She has a “take charge” personality, is organized and creative. She just started her own small business to promote her name and gain more event business in the area. She goes the extra mile to make sure that the event is perfect. She is passionate about what she does.

So where was my passion? I liked all the things I have done. I even loved some of them, at least for awhile. But eventually, I lost interest and didn’t do them as much. My camera only gets pulled out for extremely special events (I also blame my iPhone for that, as snapping decent-quality pictures with my phone makes lugging around a DSLR slightly pointless), my arts and craft bin stays stored away until a project comes along and my “health kick” falls off track when I find another new way to add chocolate into my life.

Ever searching, but ever failing to find it, I became dispassionate about finding my passion.

A Word to Describe Me

While in the car on the way to Starbucks yesterday (now there’s something I’m passionate about! Or addicted to…I think there may be a big difference there), I was again thinking about my passion, or lack thereof. The thought of it came and went like it normally does, so I didn’t put too much time into dwelling on it or getting upset over it.

Then last night, as I was filling out my application for Experience Mission‘s 3 month Immersion trip to Costa Rica, it asked me to list three words that my friends would use to describe me and why. I blanked. I also just wanted to know what they would say, so I text a handful of close friends who all know me fairly well, some more than others.

The first three responses I received were:

1. Friendly, warm, passionate

2. Passionate, motivated, compassionate

3. Passionate, loyal, generous/kind

WOW. Wow, wow, wow. These responses stopped me dead in my tracks. Passionate? Me? Really??? Surely they were kidding.

But here were their reasons why:

1. Halfway doing something just isn’t really you.

2. Because when you commit to something, you give it your all.

3. You put 110% into everything you do, even if you hate it (haha, this one came from my gym trainer…).

I spent a good amount of timing thinking on their words and reasons, and then I realized, they were right. These friends, who ranged from knowing me one year to nearly twenty years, know how passionate I am about one thing – LIFE.

If there is something to be done, I will do it. If it’s something I enjoy, I will do it. If it’s something I hate, but know it needs to be done, I will do it. I am passionate about doing and about living.

A Passion for His Name

As I continued filling out the application after Wednesday night church service, I realized why I had never before found anything that I was passionate about. I hadn’t found my “thing”, my niche, because I hadn’t yet discovered it. Not until God called me to missions.

Missions was always something I knew God had for me, but I was never ready to fully take up my cross and follow him. He was never my one and only desire. I wanted His love, but I wanted to live my life in my way. Francis Chan’s book, Crazy Love, talks about being a “lukewarm Christian,” and that is exactly what I was. I was living with one foot in the church and one foot in the world, which the Bible says is an absolute “no-go”.

“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” – Matt 6:24

“If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.” – John 15:9

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.” – Romans 12:2

In Matthew 13:44, it says, “The kingdowm of heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.” Chan writes that, “In this account, the man joyfully sold all that he had so that he could obtain the only thing that mattered. He knew that what he had stumbled upon- the kingdom of heaven – was more valuable than anything he had, so he went for it with everything in him” (Chan, p.66).

We are called to be so consumed and joyful in the Lord that we are willing to give it all away in order to pick up our cross and follow the Him. We are called to be a people passionate for his name.

I am so happy that I have discovered my true passion.