Sunday, October 23, 2011

I'm in Over My Head....

                                                                                      I'm right where I wanna be

In preparing for my GO! assignment, again and again I’ve been reminded that I AM in over my head.
I am leaving 40 days and I’m still almost $4000 short of budget, I don’t  have my apartment packed up, I have no idea how I’m going to fit all my supplies into 2  suitcases under 50lbs… and the list goes on.  And let’s be honest, at times the idea of moving to the bush (even if only for 6 months) seems a little crazy, even to myself. But I am convicted that I serve a God who is crazy in love with all his people (no exceptions!), and I’m passionately devoted to the calling He has given me to reach out and show them.
In his hit single “Over my head” Brian Littrell proclaims “I’m in over my head, I’m right where I wanna be… my soul has found a place to rest, I’m in over my head”

Though being in over my head is uncomfortable, humbling, and downright scary at times, it IS right where I want to be. I’m not sure if this is exactly where Littrell was going with his lyrics, but this is how God used his song to speak to me this week. Yes, I’m short on financial support, I’m tired, I’m not packed, I don’t know the language, I miss my team… in most ways that I can imagine I am totally and completely in over my head. However, that is not only where I want to be, but exactly where I need to be. It is at these times when I quit trying do (any or all of) it on my own. It also seems counterintuitive for the lyrics to suggest that you can be over your head and rest at the same time, and yet this is exactly where God is calling me. It is in my moments of brokeness that I cry out "Lord, I don't think I can do this..." and he says "shhh, my child, of course you can't, but I can." In this process, the worry of deadlines, weight of insecurities, and crimpling effects of fears are lifted from me, and I find rest. From what I've been told, Guinea-Bissau is no place for the weary, and I'm thankful for the work God is doing now in preparing me!

Father, this is beyond me but not you, Lord. Lord you have called many who weren’t equip. You called a small boy with a sling to defeat a giant. You chose the husband of an old barren women to be the father of nations. Lord I know you have called me here and I believe you will provide in a way only you can. Teach me to rest in this assurance. Teach me to give thanks in all things, situations and frustrations. Most of all, Lord, I thank you that you are a loving father who does not grow impatient as you remind me of these lessons again and again.
 “You see me for who I am, you did reach out Your hand, You made me understand, that Your love has always covered me”    –Brian Littrell

Monday, October 17, 2011

Let the Preparations Begin!

Its 9pm on Monday evening, and as I sit here mulling over what this first entry should include I can’t help but return to the simple fact that it was only 2 short months ago that I was officially offered a GO! Assignment with EMM. I can humbly admit that it was just a short time before that when I learned there was even a country named Guinea-Bissau! But God is good and as we whole heartedly, and sometimes pain steakingly, seek after and long for his will, He gently guides us there, already possessing all the love, encouragement, patience and wisdom that the entire adventure will require.

As easy as it is to become quickly overwhelmed with all that’s left to do in preparation, I am marveled at all God has done so far.  As I reflect on the past few months, it’s clear that God has been preparing me for this, in fact not only for months, but for years. After two short mission trips to Malawi my heart longed to help them, to love them, and as indecisive as I am (to which many of you can attest!), something in my spirit knew with great certainly that I’d someday return to Africa in a fuller capacity. I struggled for a while with what that looked like, and even attempted to seek out opportunities to make this happen myself. At one point I became frustrated, wondering why, since God had given me such a longing to serve these people, that he wasn’t leading me in the next step. However, as the weeks and months passed I became so thankful that I had taken a job in the Emergency Room, realizing the great value of the experience I was gaining, and feeling God speaking to me, saying that He needed to further prepare me, in more than one way.

Therefore, when just a few months later I found myself faced with the opportunity to serve in Guinea-Bissau I was hesitant at first wondering if I was ready. After all, He needed to prepare me and though the year prior I was jumping out of my seat, I suddenly felt terribly inadequate and unprepared. I wanted to be sure this was God timing and not my own. I didn't get the loud clear voice I was looking for, but God opened door after door His gentle nudges said “Go”. Again and again I deliberated and sought counsel and prayed and prayed. Many said “but what about your career, how will you find a job..”, and “what about settling down, and a house,” or even “what if you get sick!” Yet week after week as I prayed I felt God saying that all these things were not from him and were purely rooted in fear. I prayed that if He was not guiding me here that He would give me a reason that was not rooted in fear… and so I go. I never did come up with a reason that wasn’t rooted in fear. God in fact has orchestrated things in a way that has eliminated or lessened the impact of even those worries that were rooted in fear. God is so good!

 And so the “church camp high” began. But, as many of you know, this enthusiastic obedience absolutely infuriates the enemy and he finds it an invitation to reek havoc. As the story goes the last 2 months have been chuck full of things which can be viewed as speed bumps or road blocks, and at times not much short of chaos. Yet God is faithful. He has been ever present and turned all of these attacks into Soul Shaping moments. In just the last 2 weeks God has graciously provided almost half of the financial support needed, and for that I am immensely grateful! But what is even more amazing is all he’s been doing in my heart, soul, and mind in preparation for Guinea-Bisssau.

Lord, you are good. I give you thanks for all of those you have placed in my life who have supported and prayed me through some of these tough times. I’m thankful that you are a patient and loving God who never grows impatient when I am weary but rather lifts me up. Father, teach me to live a life of Eucharisteo.