Well As of, April 21st, I am officially going on a six month long missions trip to Australia. No big deal, just half way around the world, by myself for a whole new adventure. I think God has a sense of humor because a year ago exactly was when I surrendered my life to Jesus. I like to think of it as him whispering gently to me that He has a plan for my life and that I can trust His timing.
I am not really quite sure what I’m feeling. Predominantly excitement. I mean God so clearly orchestrated the events leading up to this and in the past two weeks opened up door after door for me to walk through. How could my heart not beat a little faster and my smile not get a little bigger knowing and seeing God bring it all together? Yet excitement most definitely isn’t the only thing I’m feeling.
Joy for the new adventures to come.
Slightly nervous because I know I will be way out of my comfort zone.
A dash of fear because its six months away from familiarity.
Butterflies in my stomach.
My mind is a chaotic entanglement of thoughts trying to sort themselves out. I am still processing it all. A couple weeks ago it was more of a vision, a far off dream. Then when I opened my email Tuesday morning these three words,” you’ve been accepted” spoke into existence all I’ve been praying for and turned all my thoughts and emotions into a reality. God works in crazy ways; so let me attempt to explain just how evidently He has been directing my steps.
In January I felt the Lord inclining me to do a DTS (discipleship training school), which is a six-month intensive time of seeking Jesus and learning more about Him as well as incorporating serving others. I am at a point in my life where there isn’t much holding me down and as I fall more in love with Jesus every day, the longing and aching in my heart to make a difference and love others becomes more and more apparent. I originally discovered this specific DTS, but decided against it because well, to be honest it terrified me. Not only is it a twenty-five hour plane trip, but also it specifically focuses on sex trafficking. It scares me because even hearing stories about young girls or kids and the heartache they’ve experienced never fail to bring me to tears. Hearing about young girls sold into slavery, abused and beaten tug at my heart and if I can’t even keep my emotions together as those words pierce through my soul how could I go experience that brokenness firsthand? So I chose the safer option, a slightly shorter one in England that focused more so on personal growth and seeking Jesus. Not that that is bad, it’s just I can totally picture Jesus watching me from above, smiling as he shook His head because His plan is so much greater then what my small mind can comprehend. After a lot of praying, I submitted the England application and two months later I was still waiting for a reply, which caused me to get slightly restless. Yet just when I started to question myself and what God had for me, Jesus would of course step in an invade the plan I had so carefully laid out. Within a week and a half my precious thought out plan would be crumpled up and cast aside leaving a blank canvas for Jesus to paint his plan for my life.
I feel like so many of my stories about Gods work in my life take place in coffee shops. Perhaps it is because coffee shops are the perfect mixture of a quiet atmosphere for me to process life while filling page after page in my journal as well as a place to meet new people giving me a little touch of socialization. I always feel so at home in little local coffee shops, whether I’m curled up with a book the smell of coffee swirling about in the air or in my own little world as words pour from my heart turning empty journal pages into living breathing stories of Gods grace and love. Last week I was at starry night and the barista lent me his book called Just Courage, which talks about pursuing Jesus, and emphasizes on dealing with sex trafficking. As I got farther into the book, sipping on my soy latte and occasionally visiting with the barista, I could feel my emotions starting to find roots in the stories. I could feel them nudging at my heart, trying to find a home. One story in particular about the rescue of this five-year-old girl really pulled on my heart. No child should have their innocence ripped away from them, their screams of pain and suffering evaporating into the night. Lets just say the next morning when I saw the five year old twins I nanny, I hugged them a little tighter and gave them more kisses then usual. Later that evening, the leader of the Australian DTS randomly added me on Facebook, messaging me about the school and telling me about herself. Even though I knew it wasn’t a coincidence, I was still rooting for the England trip to come through because I felt more comfortable and prepared for that DTS. God still had a lot of work to do in my heart. Yet He so faithfully would break me down and gently show me how stubborn I was being.
The following Sunday, the pastor spoke on letting go of our plans and asking Jesus open mindedly to show us His plan. My heart was very convicted, because I knew deep down that I wasn’t truly being open minded. That even though I told God I would go where He wanted, I was trying to nudge Him in the direction I wanted. And let me just say, if there’s one thing I’ve learned about Jesus this past year it’s that He will never fail to bring me to a point of surrender showing me that I have to let go of what I want and truly have an open heart. That night I spent a solid two hours doing just that, as well as journaling more then is probably socially acceptable because that is how I process everything. Jesus slowly but surely brought me to a point of complete brokenness. I was honest with Him about my fears and laid everything at His feet. I asked Him to clearly close or open the England door and to take my hand leading me wherever He wanted. This time when I said wherever, I truly meant it and wasn’t attaching any strings or implying what I really wanted. Jesus couldn’t of spoke much clearer then me waking up to an email from the England leader saying they cancelled the trip. Within two days of this, I talked to the leader from Australia on the phone and officially applied. Then one year to the day that I accepted Christ into my life and acknowledged my life belonged to Him, those words in that email confirmed that Jesus has called me to Australia. I am still blown away with his compassion and love towards me and his relentless pursuit of my heart even when I am so adamant on having my way. The way He reminded me that when I placed my life in His loving arms He truly would in His own timing give me a passion and a future. So even though I am slightly terrified, unsure of what to pack for six months, let alone how to fit it all into one backpack, and slightly nervous about flying all alone, I know that Gods grace will be enough for me. I know without a doubt He will hold my hand and pick me up when I stumble and that He will be with me as I take this step of faith into unknown. So here’s to a whole new season of adventure, seeing new places and being 100 percent out of my comfort zone while learning and growing as I seek Jesus wholeheartedly.