All of us that have been raised in a Christian home, or are a Christian now, heck probably even some non-Christians know the immediate “right answer” response to this common question. “Yes God of course I trust you. I trust you with my life.” Maybe we should stop for a minute. Think about what we just said or even better what we have just agreed to! This has literally been my life the last 8 months. Trust. We Christians say this word so nonchalantly and God wants us to know in our hearts what this word really means and what we are actually saying when we trust God with our life.
For me, a lot of my life I have attempted to take care of myself. I had to I didn't see anyone in my life that was suitable for the job. Because of many childhood hurts I didn't trust anyone, but myself and I would take on a lot of responsibilities that were not my burdens to carry. Even before I left for this new journey, which just happened to be the biggest leap of faith I have ever taken, I took care of myself I had 4 well paying jobs a plan for everyday, even a plan for the next year. I was comfortable. I was safe. I couldn't get hurt if I was in control of my life. Well folks. That is not Trust. Not even close. And without trust we have no real faith in God! And without that then what is it that we really believe?
Not only have I been on a journey of a life time, but God has slowly and sweetly been wooing me as I learn to really trust Him the way He intended me to. Not trusting Him out of comfort, but trusting Him because He is the only real thing in my life. He is the only thing I need to keep me safe. If I keep relying on myself to take care of me I am eventually going to burn out and then where will I be. A hurt, sad, burned out missionary is not going to get very far and is not what the world needs more of. He is my provider. In everything. He is in control of my bank accounts, He is in control of my schedule, He is in control of whatever I give Him. I have learned, the hard way, that I want Him to be in charge of those things because when He is not it just opens a door for worry and stress to come in, which if you read the Bible is considered a sin.
Several months ago back in Peru I was having a hard time, as some of you may know from my other blogs. I began to have re-accruing dreams about coming home to Tennessee, in July to surprise my mom for her birthday! In the dreams I was flying out and back into Brazil, but at the time when we were still somewhat on our intended schedule we would have been way finished with Brazil and in the next countries by the time July came around. Because of the state of despair I was in these dreams were so tempting. However, I knew that if I left the trip and went home without Gods say so, not only would I be disobeying God, but I would be giving up and I was not about to give up. So I stuck with it and in time a release came over me and a peace overwhelmed me and I felt as if I had gotten a second wind. I gained immense amounts of clarity about the season I was just in so I was able to understand and get through it. Over all I had about 6 dreams where I went home and surprised my mom for her Birthday so I knew I was going to get the opportunity to show honor to my mom and at the same time get a little piece of what I had been missing so much back in Peru (I also seem to measure time by country now, seeing as I can never remember dates). As time went on and it became closer and closer to July (my moms birthday month) even though I had, had all those dreams, crazy I know, but I was still second guessing whether or not they were really telling me to go home or not.
While in Argentina as time got closer and closer I was really struggling to buy the plane tickets. I bought them anyway and to be honest was kinda stressed out about it. Using the last bit of the savings I had to pay for these tickets. Sacrificing a lot of financial flexibility. Meaning I would actually have to trust God even more than I already was. Needless to say I made it home. After the tickets had been bought and I was less than a week away from my departure from my team I began to feel so overwhelmed. I did not want to leave my team! They have become my new family. With them I feel more alive, more challenged,and more held accountable than I have ever felt in my entire life. I have learned more from this single group of people than from anyone else. I didn't want to be away from that. However I knew I had to go and I had no idea why.
I arrived home on the 4th of July, good ole American Independence day. I spent my first official day in America in 8 months in the heart of Nashville, Tennessee at the river front watching one of the craziest firework shows from the roof of a building right across the street. It was amazing and totally a gift from God! That night I met a Brazilian and a guy who knows a guy on my team! God is funny like that I guess! As if He was saying thanks for obeying/listening. I was able to sleep in my own bed that night because my mom had conveniently gone out of town that night and was going to be home the next day, her birthday (the 5th). That morning I woke up extra early so excited for the surprise. As I am sitting on the chair in my living room just chatting with my little sister we hear a car door slam from outside. I run to the window and scream “She is here!!!” At that point all of us went into a panic trying to bottle up all of our excitement until after the surprise. I run into her bedroom and jump into her wardrobe. Pushing back all of her clothes and making quit a bit of noise. Within a few seconds I am settled in heart pounding! I hear and can barely see my mom and my sisters walking into her bedroom through the crack in the wardrobe door. My sisters tell her they have placed her birthday present in the wardrobe and she skittishly walks over to it slightly joking about something popping out at her. She opens the door and I spring out yelling “surprise!” scaring her half to death, but once she realizes it was me, not just some strange person jumping at her. She burst into tears! I wrapped my arms around her neck and say “Hi mom.” She continued to cry for the next hour or so, getting in a few words here or there about how I got home, what I am doing here, and how did we keep it a secret from her. To that I responded “with great difficulty!”
I had no idea what it meant to my mom that I would fly home just for her to surprise her for her birthday until I took trip to take my sister to Virginia where she would be flying out to go to Italy. After visiting some family in North Carolina on the 8 hour drive home I was able to just sit and talk with my mom about so many things, but mostly what it mean for her, for me to come home.
She told me she had never felt more honor or respect from one person in her life and her knowing me and my need to control and take care of myself she knew how hard it was for me to sacrifice the last bit of my money to buy a ticket home especially since I have no idea where I am going to get more money to continue on this journey. Something broke over her that day and she felt a new form of release wash over her and a little piece of freedom that wasn't there before.
As if I didn't need more confirmation than that, in one of the 6 dreams I had about coming home I had visited my Church (Grace Center Church). In the dream I am sitting with my mom and Jeff Dollar my pastor gets up and Says “Now it is time for 2 Thessalonians” and “I know this is the right time for this sermon.” Now at the time I had no clue what this was about. I read 2 Thessalonians several times and wasn't getting much out of it. So I decided to email Jeff and tell him about just in case it was important. I didn't think about that dream again until it was Sunday morning, my first Sunday back in my home church. I was sitting with my mom, worship was over and we sat down in our seats. The announcements were given and Jeff gets up to preach and he says “ I am a little nervous to give this sermon because I want it to be heard in the right light and to not be taken in offense. This was going to be the sermon that I gave last week, but because of something else Holy Spirit was doing I wasn't able so I am going to give it this week.” “Now if everyone could please open up to 2 Thessalonians!” Like natural I begin to freak out because it all happened exactly as it had in my dream! At the end of the sermon Jeff said “I know this is the right time for this sermon.” CRAZY! After the service I go to Jeff and ask him if he remembers the dream I sent him on the 27th of April (I had the dream written down in my journal with that date next to it!) He remembered once I told him and was very encouraged that he had heard Holy Spirit right and it was the right time to give that sermon. And for me if I needed any more confirmation that I was supposed to be home at this time, boy did that do it!
My last week home has been incredible. A little difficult at times adjusting and being in America, but God totally blessed me with this time home. I was given all the things I needed and more! Being totally blessed by the people and family I have here! As much as I loved being with friends and family I knew from the minute I got off the airplane America was no longer my home, I am not sure it ever was, but even more so now. I was more than blessed. I was spoiled. In my very last few hours of my time in the US A great friend and father figure of mine went out and bought me a brand new Ipad3. Throwing me into a whirlwind of emotions. God is really trying to teach me how to receive, which is not one of my better qualities.