A while ago, I started documenting my journey in learning how to trust. I only made it through Part 2 of what I had planned to be a 4 part “series” before life got busy. I neglected to finish writing the story which was already complete in my mind: the third blog was going to be about waiting and the fourth about God knowing and bringing to pass the desires of our hearts. Many times I’ve planned to go back and finish them and each time something else has come up. Little did I know that God had a different ending in mind. The events of the last few weeks have excited me, challenged me, humbled me and convicted me as I’ve seen God’s hand so clearly working. I stand not only on the brink of a new chapter, but of a new book and now realize that what I thought was happening and was planning to share was only the tip of the iceberg.
Although I don’t like to leave things incomplete, I’m not going to finish my series. To go back now would only serve to distract from the work the Lord is doing as we speak (or as I write!) Instead I will try to wrap in the principles I’ve seen and lessons I’ve learned and hope that it will serve as an encouragement to anyone who may read this.
For many years, I’ve known that part of God’s plan for my life is to include missions. After years of running from it, arguing with God about it and battling complete surrender of my life to Him, I finally came to the place where I could honestly say, “Lord, wherever you want me to go, I’ll go. However you want to use me, I’m willing.” It was more of a struggle than I can ever share…in part because I was so scared of what it could and would mean. But God began to work in my life and I followed Him on my first mission trip to Guatemala in March of 2002. I knew without a doubt that I was supposed to be a part of that trip, but my heart wanted nothing to do with it. Maybe it was fear, maybe it was stubbornness; looking back I’m not really sure. The ONLY reason I did go was because I’d heard God more clearly than I ever had in my life and was scared of NOT obeying. To make a long story short, I went and God graciously opened my eyes to the fact that what I had run from my whole life was something that would make me truly happy. I saw firsthand the truth in the lessons my parents had always taught me: ” You will never be happier in life than you will be when you are doing what God has planned for you. God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.”
Excitement set in as I realized what I was created for. My love for adventure, independence and spontaneity weren’t traits to be suppressed but were a part of God’s plan for me since the beginning of time! I began to pray that God would open the doors and guide me to where He wanted me because I was finally ready to go. And I waited. And waited some more. For 6 years, “wait” was the only answer I heard when I prayed. I’d love to be able to say I accepted that answer and trusted that there was a reason for it, but I didn’t. More often than not, I was angry with God. I felt “led on”, I cried, I tried making things happen on my own, I complained quite a bit and envied those around me who seemingly had the freedom to do what they wanted. I ignored what God said and at times listened to those who said that God wanted me to be happy and if I knew He was calling me into missions then to pursue it. That good old American attitude of Just Do It. Doors slammed in my face and that increased my frustration, not with my friends, but with God. I questioned everything and refused to accept that God had my best in mind. All of that changed in May of 2007. One morning as I was getting ready for work, the Lord showed me why I had been waiting.
Since then I let go and decided to trust God and believe that His plan was best. And in the past several months I have been overwhelmed. I am no longer hearing “wait” when I pray and keep catching glimpses of what God is about to do. Doors have opened that lead to more than I could have imagined. Secret desires of my heart that I have told no one, have dropped into my lap. Impossible scenarios that I dreamed up and couldn’t have orchestrated if I tried have been presented to me. Several years ago in thinking of my future and career, I came up with my dream job. The most perfect job that I could imagine for myself involving missions, adventure, travel and discipleship. And it has been offered to me. EXACTLY. And only God knew what that was. I never imagined it could or would actually happen. And I know I don’t deserve any of it. I look at how I doubted, how I fought the Lord and it makes me so sad.
In the midst of the dark times, God was working. While I was fighting Him, He was silently preparing a beautiful gift for me. He’s gracious even when we’re ungrateful and if anything I’ve learned the depth of His love. I look back now and clearly see the reason God allowed me to struggle, why He wanted me to wait and what He wanted me to learn. And even if God has something different in mind for me than the exciting options above, I have been so blessed by seeing firsthand that He hears those secret prayers and knows those secret longings from so long ago. Faith is a walk in the dark. He asks us to take His hand and trust Him enough to follow Him, even when we can’t see where we’re going. He delights in blessing His children and His blessings are beyond what we could ever wish for. I now see the light at the end of my tunnel in this area of my life, but in other areas, I’m still in the dark. Only now, by God’s grace, I want to “Trust in the Lord with all of my heart and lean not on my own understanding” (Prov. 3:5). As I continue one part of my journey in the dark, I realize that I have a God who is faithful. A God who wants what’s best for me. A God who asks me only to trust.