Sunday, March 27, 2011

No Worries

When I was younger I had a tendency to worry.  I may be understating that a bit - I think I worried about everything even to the point of absurdity.  My mom likes to tell the story of when I was in junior high in full-blown meltdown because I had gotten a "B" in gym class.  I was so worried [read: hysterically crying] that that horrible grade was going to keep me from getting in to the college of my choice.  As it turns out, throwing a football through a hula hoop was not part of the application process for any of the schools I was applying for.  I sailed through college without ever having to throw a football.  Or take out a student loan, for that matter.  Take that junior high gym class teacher!

But there is a larger point here.  During my career as a worrier, my parents did their best to talk me down.  I vividly remember my dad coming to my room to pray with me on many occasions and, as he so often did, he used the truth of scripture to help bring guidance and peace to the situation.  He always used Philippians 4:6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything through prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, make your requests known before God.  All I could think was, "He just doesn't get it!  I'm not anxious for this stuff to happen - I don't want it to happen."  Eventually, I learned what the scripture meant - both the double meaning for anxious and how essential it is to "cast my cares" on God.  Maturing is a process...

I have learned - ever so slowly - that worrying about something does not help it, fix it, change it, or keep it from happening. It doesn't even make that something easier to deal with.  Even the Bible tells us to chill out, "...don't worry about what you're going to eat or wear; don't even worry about tomorrow because tomorrow has enough worries of its own."  I think it was when Shawn and I were first married and had no money that we fell asleep one night saying this verse over and over - that's when I had a worry breakthrough. It wasn't so much that I learned not to worry, it was that I learned to trust. 

On Thursday, we had our appointment at the Travel Clinic for a debrief on all the diseases we could pick up while in Africa and then to get vaccinated for any and all of those diseases.  In case you are unaware, there are A LOT of diseases you can get in Africa.  We were offered vaccinations for everything from typhoid to rabies.  And for better or for worse, the kids are too little for some of the vaccinations so we just have to be careful that they don't eat poorly cooked food or get bitten by a monkey.  I'll be honest, there was a wave of worry beginning to wash over me.  This trip was suddenly getting a bit too real and I had been in an ignorance-is-bliss sort of mode (about getting sick and especially about spiders.  I have purposed it in my heart not to think about the possibility of spiders until there is an actual spider) right up until the nurse slammed me with the double whammy of dengue fever and yellow fever.  I don't mind putting myself at risk, generally, but putting my babies in harm's way is a whole other story.  Because the kindness of God is unending, I felt him whisper, "Trust me. Just trust me."  There are simply too many things that are out of our control - in life in general, but especially with this impending upcoming trip.  We can do our best to plan and prepare, but when it comes down to it, if our trust is not firmly rooted in God, we will fall apart long before we print our first boarding pass.  

I'm not making any medical recommendations here, but we walked out of there only updating our Hepatitis A vaccinations.  We opted out of all the non-required shots, especially the rabies one, because even with the shot if you're bitten by something with rabies you still have to get more rabies shots.  Why do they even offer that??

Anyway, on the drive home, with my shoulder throbbing and the kids putting the stickers the nurse gave them all over the van,  I absolutely felt the peace that passes all understanding.  My brain is quick to remind me that this is a crazy adventure we're on, one full of potential danger and logistical snafus.  But, my spirit is confident that God is in this.  I know that I know that I know that this is the next step on our journey with God.  I am leaning my whole self into God, into his power, wisdom, and goodness.  I know that whatever he has on the other side of this experience is worth everything.  He is worth everything I am and have.  That is where I have put my trust.

My dad always said that someday I would write him a letter thanking him.  Well, consider it written, Dad.  Thanks for hiding God's Word in my heart and thanks for teaching me how to sweep with one hand and hold the dust pan with the other.  I'm going to change the world.

Monday, March 7, 2011

No Plan B

I had intended on naming this whole blog "No Plan B," but that blogspot name was already taken.  Ironically, I was able to come up with something else...

While I was packing up our house in Ohio, without any idea of what we were going to do next, I told God, "We have no plan B.  It's you or it's nothing.  All we can do is trust you and know that you are good."  We had just experienced a major financial kick-in-the-pants which necessitated all the packing and moving. Both Shawn and I felt like we were just to trust God and wait - don't pursue the money, pursue God.  In the back of my head I was sure - I just knew - we were going to get one of those "eleventh hour" saves  - someone would leave a stack of cash on our doorstep, we would strike oil, or something - something spectacular would happen.  But, things didn't work out like that and we loaded all of our stuff into a trailer and left it at Shawn's parents' house.  At that time, God spoke to my heart the verse in Psalm 121 -...where does my help come from?  My help comes from you, the maker of Heaven and Earth.  I needed to remember - to hang on to for dear life - the truth that my help, my salvation, is God and nothing else.

That's how it is for me, it's got to be God.  If God isn't there, I don't want to be there either.  So imagine the hot mess I became as I'm chipping my way through the stack of required readings for Harvest School when I get to page 11 of one of Heidi Baker's books.

Since moving to Mozambique, we have learned to depend on God for everything. If God does not show up there, we are dead. We need to be totally dependent on God showing up.  We need his pure presence.  If God doesn't show up, no one else will either.  If God does not heal, we will be dead.  If God does not deliver, demons torment the people to death.  We have no back-up plan if God does not take care of our children and provide for our needs.  We can't and won't go on.
~ Compelled by Love, Heidi Baker

We have a long list of books, articles, and sermons to read before we get to the school and everything I've read so far is something I can't wait to pass on.   Judah was asking about all the books I was reading and I taught him the word "required."  Later, I found this stack of books on the counter.