I said no. No to go to a place where my heart desires to be. No to what I desire most. I said no to going back to Haiti this summer. As I think about it, my heart hurts. I stinkin’ love Haiti! I really want to go and truly love the people that make up that nation, except a part of me knows I shouldn’t go. Of course, it couldn’t hurt by going back to Haiti and loving on all of the kids and people who are there. It isn’t a bad thing to go. So why not? Why did I say no?
It was more than me just saying no. In everything I do, I want God to be the director of my life. I want Him to be a part in all of the big decisions I make in my life. I prayed about it and asked others to pray with me as I sought His guidance first. Then as time neared for me to make my final decision, I didn’t want to. Hours before I had to decide whether or not I was going, I cried (literally) out to God for Him to answer me. To tell me what He wanted me to do! Why couldn’t I hear Him? I had been seeking for awhile and I different things were happening in my life to the point where I thought I should go. I was convinced I should, but something always pulled me back. I wrestled with the idea of going. My heart was in a turmoil. I was fighting with myself and it was exhausting.
I have always done mission trips ever since I started going to my home church. Every summer, and months in between, I was actively involved in the missions. Missions have captivated my heart. I love missions so much that it’s my minor. I am trying to make missional living an everyday thing; it’s a one-step at a time process for me. So saying no, this summer, is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. It was so easy to say yes to going on a mission trip when in high school because it’s much easier then … it’s not so easy when you’re in college. (Please note, I don’t doubt that God can work through me while I’m in college to go on this mission trip. I don’t doubt that He can provide and will continue providing for me my entire life.)
I said no because I felt as if it was something I shouldn’t do. I don’t think God necessarily is against me doing this mission trip, but I don’t think it is what is in store for me this summer. Among my frantic tears, as I was crying out for God to please direct me, I searched online. I looked at Adventures in Missions and found a trip that captivated me. It was a World Race Exposure trip. One month in Africa, with actual World Racers learning about what they do and how they live their lives. The World Race interests me. I think about it frequently and always wonder what it would be like if I were to go one day. I wonder about the things that could be revealed to me within those 11 months. The trip is for this summer and cost $4000. That’s a lot of money to raise and a lot of heavily relying on God to bring me through. So I processed and came to a conclusion.
The World Race means more to me than going to Haiti this summer (though Haiti is much more engraved in my heart). Though I don’t believe in holding out so strongly for a future, I believe it’s important to keep it in mind and live for today as well as hopes for tomorrow. I’m hoping for a summer 2013. I’m hoping for a summer 2013 in Africa. I’m hoping for a summer 2013 in Africa on a World Race exposure. What does that mean for today? That means I pray for that summer and say no to Haiti this summer (I’m saying no to a good thing for a great thing). I think more than anything I wanted to go to Haiti because I love it so much as well as I’m so used to doing missions every summer and raising funds before. It’s time for a break. There is always the opportunity to go on a mission trip. My future, and past, is full of them. It’s time to be stretched once more by God and allow Him to work through me in new capacities. This summer, I hope to work at a camp where I will be invited into children’s lives to share precious moments with them while they are there. In my own mind, it’s sort of a mission trip in it’s own way. I’ve never done anything like this and it probably will be very foreign to me. I’m looking at it as training for Africa. I’m looking at it as a new way for God to mold me and make me into a better servant for His cause.
My worth is not found in what I do or don’t do; in what I wear or don’t wear; in what pass or fail; in what I feel or don’t feel. I am defined by You.
to hold children in my arms and have them drift away into a peaceful sleep. As they cling and cuddle to me, I feel so secure although I am the one providing them with the comfort. There is really no feeling to describe having a child, whom you barely know, fall asleep in your arms. Pure love. Pure innocence.
I’ve been struggling with what God has planned for me. 1 Corinthians 2:9 says “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him.” It’s not that I doubt the words written, I wonder where it is I belong. What does God have planned for me? While exactly what haunts my mind, I know that no matter what I do as long as I live to fully service Him - in my marriage, finances, through the people I meet, etc. - I will bring Him glory.
Whenever I learn about how important socialization is and for people to feel connected and loved, I go back to this: orphans. It is not their choice that they were abandoned, either on purpose or by death. Why should they suffer from it? Why should they not develop as fully as others or experience love? It compels me. It drives me. It makes me want to hold all orphans everywhere in the world if it is the very last thing I do. I hate injustice like that. To think that it could have been me orphaned, born in a third world country and then understand that it isn’t me and there is something I can do about it makes me yearn to do so. All over again, I’m taken back to a little over a year ago when I learned about this. All over again a passion ignites in my heart. I don’t know where I will be, what my life will look like or how this will even happen. One thing I know for certain this this: I desire to hold children as they fall into a deep slumber in my arms.
“I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.” Jesus