Monday, March 10, 2014

Living by Worry?

Growing up, George Muller was one of my favorite missionary biographies to read. Why? Because He lived by faith. In other words, He trusted God. I mean REALLY trusted God. Like when he had NO food to feed the 300 kids at his orphanage for breakfast one morning. But he prays in faith, believing that God will provide for them. And out of nowhere the baker shows up and says he got up at 2 to make bread for them. And then the milkman's cart breaks down right in front of the orphanage and he gives all the milk to them!

This was not an irregular occurrence for George Muller. Hundreds of times, he would have no money or food. But he had faith. And God always provided whatever he needed.

Or take, for instance, when I went to Thailand. The orphanage we stayed at was started and run by a Christian man named Pasa Simon whose story was very similar to George Mullers' - he trusted God for everything. Like when God brought him to 3 kids in the middle of the jungle, and told him, "You will adopt them." He has no money. No land. No house. "God, if this you, please provide for us." 2 days later, 3 guys from Samaritan's Purse show up and give him $36,000 to buy the land and build a house there!

This was not an irregular occurrence for Pasa Simon, either. Hundreds of times, he would have no money or food. But he had faith. And God always provided whatever he needed, and more.

Every time I hear stories like this, it stirs my heart. I want to be like that. I want to live like that. I want to trust Him like that. I want to have faith that he will provide for me even when I have absolutely nothing. This has been a desire of my heart as long as I can remember.

I always thought I would start "living by faith" when I moved to some remote village in the middle of nowhere. But today God flipped my perspective upside down.

I came home from DTS. I thought I would get a job to earn money for more YWAM schools and/or other mission work. But it's been 4 weeks and I still don't have a job. Sure, I've had a few occasional things, but I've made less in the last 4 weeks than I normally do in 1 week.

And I'll be honest. Until this morning, I was worried. I thought I would come home and get a job. I'm doing everything I can to get a job. Why don't I have one?? What if I don't have enough money for whatever God calls me to do next? I'm home, I have time... why can't I get a job?!?!

But in the desperation, in the frantic, in the uncertainty and worry, He spoke to me in a gentle whisper. "If you want to live by faith, you can't have everything planned out or know where money or jobs are always going to come from. Living by faith doesn't start later. It starts now. Are you going to live by worry or by faith?"

My jaw dropped and I sat in silence for a few minutes, stunned. Wow. Yep, I'm sorry, God. I've been living by worry. But I'm done with that. Starting now, I'm going to live by faith. By believing that you are enough. That you satisfy. That you will provide for me. It's not really about the job or the money. It's about You.

And so I ask you, dear friends. Are you going to live by worry or live by faith?

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Deep in my heart... {Our story}

New Year’s Day, 2014

I lay back on the couch and sigh, and realize how glad I am I have time just to rest. I’m still a little tired out from last night. As I lay back and relax, my mind goes back to it – New Year’s Eve, not 12 hours ago...
The crowds of people… the floating lanterns we let off… the awesome fellowship with friends… getting lost in the city together… the fireworks that nearly killed us…
It was a fun night. I do miss home a bit, though. I miss being home with my sisters and dear, dear friends that we have a sleepover with every New Years. I remember how every year we would always take time to write down memories… memories from the past year, good or bad; things we’re thankful Jesus brought about. I remember how we then always flip the paper over and write down what we hope or anticipate will happen in the coming year. It’s a way to reflect on and thank Jesus for the last year, and look forward with anticipation to what He’s going to do next.
I don’t want to let New Years pass without taking time to reflect, so even though (technically) it’s January 1st, I start reflecting on the past year. And of course the first thing I think of is YWAM – this crazy place He’s brought me to, where His Presence is so blatantly obvious, and the community is so dear, and wow – how do I even explain ywam?!?! And I reflect some more… and then it hits me.
I dreamed about doing this – almost 10 years ago.
The second year we were homeschooling, our curriculum was all about different countries of the world, their cultures, and religions. I read so many missionary biographies that year (which ironically were published by ywam), and heard so many stories of innumerable places and people who had never heard the Gospel before. Even to my 9-year-old brain, that seemed crazy. They’d NEVER heard about Jesus before?! Well, SOMEBODY’S got to tell them! How sad – how horrible – how heartbreaking – that they’re going through life, day in and day out, living and dying – without EVER hearing about Jesus! It blew my mind. And it’s not even that they chose to not follow Him – they’d never even HEARD about Him!!
And that year, Jesus began to stir something in my soul. A passion. A longing. A desire. Stronger than anything else I’d ever felt before, this seed – so small, yet so incredibly powerful and full of potential – this seed of a dream was planted by Jesus himself in the very depths of my soul.
Sometimes this seed saw the light, and my dream would grow bigger; like when our missionary friends from Indonesia would come home and tell us their stories – and my heart would explode with joy hearing about how another tribe had met The One. Or when I would read yet another missionary biography about an ordinary person who followed God to an extraordinary destiny – and I would think, “Wow. I want that to be me someday.” And in those moments, my dream grew and grew.
But I’m not perfect. And there have been times when I’ve wondered if He planted the wrong seed; like when I would talk with friends who knew exactly what they wanted to do, where they wanted to go to school, and what they wanted to major in, and they had a good, secure life in front of them – and I would just sit there, wondering what in THE WORLD I was doing choosing a life of not knowing, of uncertainty, away from the comfort of home. Or when I would think that this dream was too unattainable, too much of a cloud in the sky, something that I could never actually reach – and I tried to bury the now-small-plant of a dream growing inside my heart.
But praise God that His plans are greater than our doubts!! For though I didn’t realize it, and though I sometimes tried to bury the seed, or wonder if He had planted the wrong one – all the while, He was making it grow; even when I couldn’t see, He was watering it. And every time I tried to cover it up, it would only come bursting out even greater than before!
Like when I went to Ukraine. For two summers in a row, I traveled to Ukraine and helped run an evangelistic English Language Camp. I taught English, played games, formed relationships with the kids, directed skits, and ultimately shared the gospel - and witnessed over a hundred kids meet their Savior. I think that was when I looked down, deep into my heart, and was awed to realize that this seed had not only grown into a plant, but a precious bud was sitting on top, waiting for the right time to open. That this dream might actually become reality - because I have a God who so desperately wants to see it fulfilled. Who wants to see this seed He planted twist and turn and grow stronger and stronger and higher and higher until it becomes everything it was created to be.
And so I said yes. I said yes to moving to the top of a mountain with complete strangers; yes to giving up college and a “normal” life; yes to follow Him wherever He leads. And thus my YWAM journey began. And throughout the 3 months in Denver, He continued to grow me, and prune me, and water me, more and more.
And now I’m here. I’m living my dream. Yes, let me repeat that for you: I’M LIVING MY DREAM!!! I’m here, loving on people, being the hands and feet of Jesus to His precious children in Thailand. And you know what I’m also doing? Sharing the Gospel with those who haven’t heard.
I gaze down, into the deepest part of my soul, and I smile. A deep, joyous, contented, peaceful smile. The rose has blossomed. I’m living my dream. And it’s only just begun.
This is my story. This is Jesus' story. This is OUR story. <3 font="">