Am I Willing?
One of the ways God has been working on my heart recently has been to develop a willing heart. Last month we traveled out to a village and saw the difficult living conditions out there. When we returned I was convicted by what we still cling on to in our lives. I started realizing how much I say to God, “I can do this, but I CAN’T DO that”. I started stopping myself each time I would start to tell God , “I can’t handle it if …”. I was astonished how often I found myself saying that. Yet the reality is that I could handle it or somehow with God’s help I could. The truth is that I just don’t WANT to experience that sacrifice. Camp was one of the times that I really started to work on this. The first night I was lying there on the top bunk, next to Ethan, in a room with only two small windows and 30 other kids. I couldn’t sleep because the heat was stifling. I sat fanning myself and watching the others who were struggling to sleep as well. I started thinking about what we could do to find different sleeping conditions for the next night, because certainly God knew that I was of no use to anyone without sleep. “God I can’t handle 5 nights like…” Stop…no that was not true, I could handle 5 nights like this, but it would be miserable.
God is teaching me that I need to be willing to sacrifice. God never promised a straight easy path, but he promised to walk by us each step of the way. I have seen it over and over again these past 2 years, how God has taken our hands and led us through difficult times that I never thought we could have made it through. These past two years have trained me to not freak out (or maybe to freak out less :))when we are stranded in a situation outside of our control, because somehow God always pulls through. However, all of those occasions came without warning. Now God is challenging me to willingly walk through suffering and trust the same thing. The questions that keeps coming to my head when I start to say I can’t is “Are you willing?”. I am a work in progress, but I am learning to say “yes”. God doesn’t always ask me to walk through the hardships, but he always wants me to be willing.
The beauty of it is that then sometimes (not always, but some precious times), God gives me back what he asked me to be willing to give up. And then it becomes a perfect special gift from him just to me. We are a recipient of one of those huge gifts. 2 years ago we said goodbye to all our family and friends and moved to Africa. Any missionary will tell you that it is one of the most difficult things about our ministry. However, God has given us back part of our family and he has worked it out in a way that only he can. Next year, Joel’s parents will be moving to Senegal! They will not only be moving to Senegal, but they will be moving right into our house. It has been a decision that they have been considering for a while, but they have finally made it public, which allows me to share it with all of you. God has directed them in this stage of life to a new ministry and that ministry will take place right here where we are. We can’t tell you what joy it is to all of us and it should be a joy because it is a gift from above.
What you Might be Wondering…
- Are you crazy? Maybe, but if you knew my in laws and how awesome they are, you would be excited too.
- Is Your House Big Enough? When we looked for our house we knew this was a possibility and so we got a bigger place to have enough room for us all.
- What effect will this have on our ministry? Living life here takes up a lot of time. Working together we will be able to cut down on that time and have more time for ministry. This opens up so many doors and options for ministry and we are excited to see how God continues to work in it.
- What will people here think? It is very normal to live as a big family and it is usually also with the husbands family, so in many ways it makes us even more culturally relevant here.