So much has happened in just one month that it is hard to put in words the enormity of God’s presence in my life. The depth of my despair in those days in October continued, stretching into a few of weeks of heavy sorrow. This journey is like that, ups and downs that threaten to wear down your hope. Even now, I find myself in yet another new phase, depending on God DAILY to keep me focused on HIM and my DAILY purpose rather than fretting about the Unknown future.
I have to say that the ONE THING that holds me steady is the power of God in my life. Without HIM carrying me, I think I’d be curled up in a ball somewhere. Even now, as I look toward new things He is bringing into my life, I look to HIM to steady me, guide me, and give me the peace I need to face the Unknown. These last couple of days have brought tremendous and profound confirmations that God IS using every season of my life and every broken piece for His glory.
“He determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.'” Acts 17:26-28
First, back 30+ years – God has used my “painful advantage” and my testimony to God’s power in sharing the yoke of burden with one of my best friends from high school who lost her husband to suicide a couple of months ago. The fact that He has chosen to bless me with deep friendships in the first place overwhelms me. That He would answer YEARS of prayer and woo my beloved friend to Himself in her pain astounds and thrills me. She is seeking Him and has begun a journey of faith.
10+ years back – I received this Facebook message today from a supporter and Facebook friend, “I have never met you personally but you have greatly impacted my family, especially my #3 child. The story goes back to when she was just a few months old. I was changing her clothes when I had a vivid picture in my mind and feeling in my heart that this tiny baby was some day going to be a missionary. I was an emotional wreck……so I gave it up to the Lord and chalked it up to the baby blues. Fast forward 3-4 years. Our kids received money for Christmas and we let them pick something out to spend their money on. My daughter picked a brown skinned baby doll. I thought it a little odd that she would want the brown one and not the white one, but it was her choice. Fast forward a couple more years, she was painting and she decided to paint her whole hand brown. She held up her hand and said, “Mom, isn’t brown skin beautiful?” I was starting to get a hint. Around that same time my husband went to San Diego and visited with you guys right around the time you were either going or had just been to Amani Baby Cottage. We got a couple Christmas letters from you, which was a highlight for us. At that time we started sending a little money to help support Amani. It was and is always fun to look on their website at the pictures. Four years ago, I told my daughter about short term mission trips and she started saving right then and there. This past spring she started working for the camp and her savings started to grow quickly. I realized that she was going to have the money soon and I better get busy raising money. This summer we started sewing cute zipper pouches and selling them. They were a hit and we are selling them at craft fairs. We have almost sold enough to pay for my trip, her trip and my other daughter’s trip. The other daughter asked if she could go too because she was helping make the pouches too. So, all that to say, we bought our tickets TODAY! We are going to go to Uganda and are volunteering at Amani Baby Cottage March 9-26th. The Lord used your Christmas letters 11ish years ago to plant a seed in our family. I have followed your journeys through the years, through the tears and smiles, and I just wanted to say, Thank you for being obedient to the Lord and living a life that serves him.”
I know crying isn’t unusual for me, but each of these confirmations (BTW – I cut THREE out!!) has caused me to weep with joy, purpose, and praise for a Heavenly Father who reaches down and speaks life into me so that I, in turn, can reveal Him and His character to those around me. You know, He doesn’t HAVE to use us, He CHOOSES to!
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. for just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-5
May you have the same sense of His presence as you reflect on His blessings in your life this Thanksgiving. We’ll be with good friends on that day and are looking forward to being “Home for the Holidays” with family for the first time in FOUR YEARS!!
For His glory alone,