Sunday, February 11, 2007

Should I go?

My grandmother is my hero. There are so many things I admire about her...she was a devout pastor's wife and mother of four...but even more so, she has been a foundational rock of support and encouragement to me in my journey into serving the Lord through her dedication to missions (leading old lady prayer groups, making quilts to raise money for missions, completely supporting a national missionary overseas...). This dedication in her actions as well as her constant prayers for me have made such a difference in my life.

On the day of my graduation, December 15, 2006, we were alone in my room. She shocked me with the question, "Are you sure this is where God wants you to go?" I had spent a summer living with her while I was a summer missionary and she saw me working with the kids and youth. She told me, "I have seen how you can relate to people and how much God is using you here. I can't see why He would take you to another country where you don't know the language or the culture, when He's using you so much here, where you do know how to relate to people best."

I was flabbergasted. I hadn't expected this from someone I respected so much, especially someone so concerned about people coming to know Christ.

I assured her this was where God was calling me and kind of put the thought out of my mind. That is, until a few weeks ago.

The past few months I have been involved in several ministries in my hometown...teaching a discipleship class for new believers at my church, leading a discipleship group with four high school girls in the evenings, and helping with a Bible study for women at our local jail. God had been blessing me so much and using me in incredible ways! Those in my class, in my girl's group, and in the jail all had significant spiritual growth and were amazed at the things the Lord showed them through me. Shelly, a lady in the jail, even accepted Christ last Sunday.

That night I lay in bed thinking, "Wow! God has been using me so much here! I understand people, how they think, and I feel I can really communicate the Word of the Lord really well!" And then those questions of my grandmother's came to my mind again. If God is using me so much here, why should I go overseas where I don't know the language and the culture and how to connect with people and communicate like I do here?

I started worrying that maybe I shouldn't be going overseas. However, the moment I began to question God with this, He gave me my answer.

God assured me, I used you when I took you to Indonesia, I used you when I took you to Ecuador...look at all the people's lives I revealed my glory to through you, even though it wasn't your culture and language. I had's not me sharing Christ with people and revealing God's glory, it's God! He's the one doing it! All I am is the vessell He chooses to use. And He can use me anyway He wants, anywhere and in any language. How silly of me to think that it had anything to do with my own abilities!

"My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." 2 Cor. 12:9

He also reminded me that if I don't go, how will they ever know? There are so many people who have never even heard the name of Jesus, and yet so many unwilling to go tell them.

"How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!"

Thank you, Lord, for reminding me that this is where You're taking me...not because of my own abilities, but because You yearn for them to know You. You're going to use me...not because I have learned so many things and am good at this, but because You are the one drawing them to You and speaking to them.

Monday, February 5, 2007

I was hit by a car yesterday

While in Carthage yesterday, a huge Avalanche pulled out from a gas pump and plowed right into the side of my little Ford Ranger. Crazy as it is, this is the third time I've been hit by another car!

The first two times I flipped out, started crying...worrying about what my dad would say or how we would pay for the damage (the insurance of the other guy never fully covers this stuff). I can honestly say I was reacting in my flesh: I was not depending on the Holy Spirit to lead me in truth, but reacted on my own.

Yesterday was different.

I began my morning with the Lord and He really spoke to me through a Psalm. By the time I was hit, I was just rejoicing in the Lord! Though I was hit by a car, I found myself being thankful in my situation! I was thanking God first and foremost that it wasn't my fault! Also, that I was okay. He gave me an amazing peace and calm assurance. I can definitely say I took claim to His promise:

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, with prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:6-7

After the cop filed the police report and I was driving away (knowing full well this guy was completely at fault), God began laying something else on my heart.

I've been learning a lot about what forgiveness really means...not just from God, but also to others. As I was driving, God really layed that on my heart. I felt the strong desire to forgive this guy. Not that I was upset at him, but to REALLY forgive him.

I decided that I wanted to write him a letter with the estimate of getting my car fixed, to not turn it into the insurance company, and to pay it myself. Yeah, it was his fault. True, the law says his insurance must pay to have my car fixed. Yes, I don't have to pay for it.

However, Christ died for my sins. It was my fault. I should have paid that debt. And yet, I don't have to pay for it. I want this man to know that. I want him to know that even though he deserves to pay for my car to be fixed, he has been completely forgiven for more than what he deserves. I want him to know and experience in a physical manner the forgiveness Christ offers him.

My father is thinking about whether he's going to let me pay for it or turn it into the insurance company. We'll see what happens...ultimately, I will submit to my father and do as he desires, but I also want this man to know that kind of forgiveness, and if paying to fix my truck would help him understand God's forgiveness of what he owes...than it's worth it, by golly.