In this post: A testimony to God’s goodness and how His ways are higher than ours.
Hello dear ones! Sometimes our best efforts just aren’t enough. In the end, it is faith in Christ that gets us through. Even if we seem strong…even if we seem able, we are still fallible, weak, human, and in need of saving. You’d think that we’d acknowledge our weakness and accept that we need God. We need Him to save us because we can’t save ourselves. We aren’t all knowing, all powerful, or omnipresent. We’re like the dust. At any time God could pick us up in his hand and blow us away out of existence. Yet, God humbles himself and has relationship with us. Instead of crushing us like ants, God holds us like a mother holds an infant. We are like infants that refuse to be suckled or have our diapers changed ;). Seriously, we want to do everything on our own.
I say “we” because I am also like that silly baby that fights it’s parent. I know that Jesus is my life source and I know that I must abide in Him and trust Him for all my needs. Still, I want things my way and in my own efforts. I want to “make” things happen. I shouldn’t be surprised when my best laid plans fall apart. And then when they do I whine and kick and complain. I say “God, why?” Okay, no worries…this is not a sad post. Everything is still set for the mission trip to Belize. But I am seeing how my efforts to raise money and make this happen are really falling short. I have seen God bring blessings in His way though.
My Mom and I had this yardsale. I stayed up all night baking dozens of cookies and making peg doll fairies. The next day Michael tried to sell the cookies and lemonade. I had a nice table for my dolls, which I thought were awesome *cough*. Anywho, hardly anyone stopped by. The biggest sale we had, I went down on prices so a little girl could have a book. Sigh…we made ten dollars. Yep, ten measly dollars after sitting in the sun for 7 hours. Meanwhile. my gofundme account has yet to see any money. I was in bad pain on a Sunday when I felt I needed to help with our church fundraiser. I couldn’t help because I was stuck in bed. I don’t think I’ve ever had so many health issues hit me at once. Finances have went back n forth between looking hopeless and hopeful. I know God wants me to trust Him and finances ARE slowly trickling in. I say slowly because I am a very impatient person. I wanted this trip paid for a month ago. I really don’t “feel” like going the faith route. Yes, it’s whiney. I admit. I’m a whiney baby.
I guess God let’s me cry a bit so I’ll realize that I have to rely on Him. Never have I felt more weak, more frail than I do now. Whether it be finances, physical illness, spiritual ineptitude, or emotional frailty; I’ve got it all. I’ll admit, I’m scared to death. I guess I thought I’d be more spiritual by now. I thought I’d be stronger in every way so I could make this trip. Instead I feel weaker. I’m terrified. It’s not been any easier, the idea of letting my son go for a week and leaving my family to go to a foreign country. You may think me silly. Afterall, Belize is an “easy” missions trip. The people speak English and I don’t have to get any vaccinations. But for someone as sheltered as me, it feels like I’m journeying to the center of the Earth.
Plus, I’m an introvert. I like curling up alone in my room and playing video games. When the world gets too noisy and crowded, I run away and hide. I doubt I’ll be hiding much in the rainforest. I’ll be surrounded by people with a different culture than me. People that I need to love on and that I will need their love. That may seem dandy to some but it’s scary to me. Heck, I’m scared to lead VBS for 20 or so kids in a couple of weeks. Why is God using such a fearful and weak vessel like me? Maybe to prove a point? I don’t know. I keep asking him. Sometimes this faith walk feels like being in a crowd with only your underwear on. As much as this feels scary and wrong to me; I know I am right where I need to be. I know this by Faith. I know God called me because I would have never come up with this silly idea on my own (sorry, Lord). I also know that God’s word says He uses the weak things. I guess I didn’t expect to be this weak though.
My plans for prepping for Belize were to be much healthier. I had planned on having a better sleeping schedule and to drink several glasses of water a day. I had planned on being spiritually super charged. Yeah, I had a lot of plans on how I was going to be “ready” for this trip. BUT despite my failings, GOD HAS been preparing me. He’s preparing me in a different way. To be honest, it’s kind of a frustrating way. It’s like when you’re learning to ride a bike and you have to fall several times to get the hang of it. Here’s how God has been prepping me:
- It seems like every sermon I hear, read, or watch applies to my situation. This happens often but even more so lately. I’ve spent a good bit of time crying.
Beth Moore~ Pressing Past Our Fears part 2 (email sub. please come to my blog to see the video)
- Faith~ I’ve had to trust in God for the simplest of things and often humbling things. If you’ve dealt with the health issues I have, then you know that one’s own bowels can humble like nothing else. It takes faith when most of the bones in your body ache and yet you need to minister. Money will also test one’s faith. Homeschooling a strong willed & emotional child will also do the trick. And then there’s the battlefield of the mind, which is ever so brutal. Not surprisingly, my church Bible study group is studying “faith”. We’ve been on it for several weeks.
- Opportunities to minister and encourage. God has allowed me to minister to those who are also feeling called to impossible things. He’s given me the words to say. It amazes me that God’s words can flow out of a mangled mess like me. God can do anything and He continues to prove my insecurities wrong.
- Weakness~ This seems to be the opposite of being prepared but it’s not. Yes, in man’s reasoning, weakness is bad. God has a whole ‘nother way of doing things. You see, God likes to use weak things. It confounds the wise, the prideful, and the strong. It brings glory to God because it’s an obvious miracle when a weak thing accomplishes greatness. It’s obvious that it’s God at work, not the weak vessel He chose. It’s almost like He has fun finding all the impossibles we throw at Him. As much as this frustrates me, I also love Him for it. I love that nothing is too hard for God and I love that He lets me be apart of His miracles. I love that God does that for His children.
- When I was little, my Dad would let me sit in His lap while he drove around the parking lot. I had my hands on the wheel but he was pushing the gas. I had no knowledge of how to drive but I thought I was driving. Really, my Dad was doing the driving but he let ME think I was driving. It’s a beautiful memory. I can also remember my Dad letting me stand on his shoes while he walked. I LOVED it! I felt like I was the one taking those gigantic steps. God is so much greater than my earthly father was. Father God lets us think we are driving and doing the walking when really it’s ALL Him. But we get to feel like we are taking God’s steps. For a moment we get to see God’s view. That happens when we minister. We think WE are the ones ministering but we’re not. God is driving. We’re just sitting in His lap as he lets us put our hands on the wheel. So it doesn’t matter that we are weak. Weak or strong, we rely completely on Jesus. If He gets out of the driver’s seat then we are gonna crash! At least in weakness we are aware of this Truth.
- Prayer~ The greater my need, the more I pray. If I had every thing I needed for Belize months ago, then I would not have spent so many days on my face crying out to God. Prayer is simply talking to God and usually laying petitions before Him along with Thanksgiving and praise. Need has a way of reminding me that I NEED to talk to my Heavenly Father.
- The Kindness of others~ I’ve seen people who have little money, give a lot. I’ve been so blessed by the generosity of God’s people. I’ve also been encouraged by the prayers and support of others. There are people who believe God has called me yet they barely know me. I have friends who believe in my ministry and support me in prayer. The day of the “failed” yardsale, my Mom encouraged me and we had the best talk. She told me that I must have a big calling if the enemy is attacking me so much. I needed to hear that because I was very depressed that day. Had everything been super duper, then Mom wouldn’t have had the chance to minister and see through God’s eyes. I would not have been able to receive such a gift from God through my mother. You see, this Church thing we do doesn’t work if we are self sufficient. We have to need people. They have to need us. And we all have to need God.
- Bible Study~ I’ve been able to dig deeper in God’s word. Honestly, my flesh is a bit scared of the intensity. I almost feel like I have to take breaks and I’ll admit…I often do. I have a bad habit of running from intimacy. I’m finding that when I get to the point where I’m apathetic and my flesh wants to take over, that I have to listen to preaching to spur me on. The preaching recharges me and then I’m able to spend time worshiping and abiding in God’s word. I’m more aware of my tendancy towards complacency these days. I have to be. I should always be aware but it’s easier now because I know I’m about to enter a spiritually taxing time. I don’t mean that things are going to be bad in Belize. They’re just going to be intense.
- God winks~ Whenever God speaks to me in the little every day moments, I call it God winks. Sometimes I’m listening to a song, a secular song even, and I hear God speak something to my heart. Here’s an example:
“Keep Looking Up”
by Landon Pigg
Round your little neck so closely to your heart
So shall I be forever
I know you’re going somewhere new
And I know it’s never gonna feel like home to you
But this time the only way around is throughSo keep looking up, on past the birds
And keep looking up past the clouds
And when you reach up and clear away the stars
I will be there where you areLike a little locket hangs
Round your little neck so closely to your heart
So shall I be forever
And even if you run away
Put on all your dark clothes, hide in shadows
Just remember one thing …”
Here’s another God wink: the day God made it clear He wanted me to go to Belize, I saw this movie, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. It’s about a daydreamer who learns how to really live. Every time I see it I want to cry. It’s also part comedy. Anywho, here is the trailor. It’s rated PG. I highly recommend it.
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (email sub. please come to my blog to see the video)
God is speaking. Are you listening? It’s funny the ways He will reach out to us.
- Life lessons~ Sometimes the best lesson I can get on faith, is through parenting. I learned a ton about having faith in God and not listening to fear, when my son was struggling with a bee phobia. It was a trying time because he was too terrified to even go outside. I’ll have to write about that sometime. As I helped Michael work through his fear and trust God, I also learned how to trust God. Even my parental mistakes have a way of teaching Biblical truth. I have to rely on the greatest parent, to even attempt this parent thing.
- Social opportunities~ I’ve already mentioned that I am an introvert and that this trip to Belize will put me around people all the time. Now let me mention that I have social anxiety to the max. I just do a good job of hiding it, though it may come out in stutterings and slips of the tongue. I get sick to my stomach every time I go to church. I love hearing God’s word but groups are hard for me. I even get queasy when I’m preparing to talk on the phone. I usually rehearse what I’m going to say. I even write notes to make sure I won’t slip up. Do I give in to this anxiety? Usually not but every now and then I hide from the world. God’s been expanding my borders so to speak. He made a way for me to share an Easter play I wrote with a group of children. I’ve been more involved in church Bible study than usual. People have laid hands on me in prayer. I’ve helped at church fundraisers (yard sales & dinners). Now, I’m getting ready to lead about 20 kids in VBS Bible study. I thought I’d be helping with snacks or something. I didn’t expect to be asked to lead a Bible study.
- Now, I’ve did all kinds of ministry before. Choir, Sunday School, even a dance team…It’s not that I’ve never did it. I’ve just been in my own little corner for awhile….my own little corner where my social anxiety could grow. It’s much easier to be a hermit when you don’t go out into the world. I was getting to the point where I felt I didn’t really like people. I was afraid that my love had went completely cold. I was afraid that I was too comfortable to change. I didn’t think I’d ever get back to being the girl who’s hands were bloody & dirty with ministry. I was safe but not alive….frozen. So of course, God threw me out of my comfort zone and I do mean threw!
- I used to love getting to the heart of people. I was anxious but still I could easily talk to the broken. I hung out with the Special Ed kids, the handicapped, and even people of different religions (point: diverse people). I grew up around drug dealers and such. I saw the people bleeding and I would bleed with them. I’d rush to hold them but then…I found just a few people to protect (at least I tried to). I poured into just them and it was good but I learned to tune out the masses. I forgot that other girl and decided I was someone else. Then I had a terrible fright. If I lost my few people, would I have any purpose? Well, God showed me that the old girl wasn’t dead. He reminded me of dreams I dreamt. He showed me that I have a big purpose, even though I feel small. It’s not because of me though. It’s because I serve a big God. Every day I have to be reminded of this truth.
- I was ready to die in a dusty corner.I just did not care. God hasn’t allowed me to do that though. I still feel like dying in a dusty corner, especially when the world gets too big. I feel like God calls me to jump off cliffs. My faith tells me that God will either catch me or give me wings. Fear tells me I’ll fall. The butterflies in my stomach are having a field day! Please continue to pray for me. I tell you all this because I have Faith that God is going to do a mighty work through this broken vessel. I want you to know that God is doing miracles.
- Short-term Missions Workbook: From Mission Tourists to Global Citizens by Tim Dearborn~ I’m enjoying this workbook. It’s packed with scripture and things to think about before going on a mission trip. Two points from the book, that I want to share are:
1.Walk with humility. Remember you are showing up late to a meeting. God has been at work among these people long before you arrived!
2. Live with vulnerability. Don’t be afraid of weakness- it’s normal.
(From section 3 of Short-term Missions Workbook)
I pray that as I continue to bare my heart that you will be encouraged. I pray I won’t discourage you in any way but rather that you will see that God uses weak things. I pray you will find hope in your weakness and in your humanity. Thank you dear ones for continuing to read and for continuing to support me with your prayers. As the time gets closer I am waiting and expecting God to blow me away. I have faith that He will show himself big (again). And when He does…I’m going to continue to share it with you. God bless & remember the High King lives! ~Amber Dover