Nearly 3 years ago I prayed for a specific opportunity. It felt a bit like a selfish prayer, I’m certain that my motives were somewhat mixed when I petitioned God for this. I know this, because I remember well the point I was at in that particular season of my journey. My straight legs and stiff neck hadn’t yet learned the deep joy of bending willingly before God. I had not yet learned that surrendering to God is always better when it comes to God’s kingdom purposes.
This was all before my breaking. Before my book. Before I learned that altars are sturdier than platforms.
Surprisingly, God answered me fairly quickly with a “yes–but not yet“.
Life kept going, and I kept praying, confessing and repenting all along the way. It was during the last couple of years that I walked through one of the most intensive refining periods of my life. All the while, I kept asking God to make a way. Some seasons I felt crazy for wanting it as much as I did. Some seasons, I needed to distance myself from the desire–it’s astounding how quickly I can fashion an idol.
Apparently, I bare the same the skills of the Israelites, who managed to make a golden calf while waiting for Moses to return from his mountain top conversation with YHWH.
I knew God had asked me to wait.
Over the last couple of years, while God worked my heart over, other opportunities came, opportunities that looked a whole lot like the answer to the prayer I had prayed. But when I’d ask God about them, he just said, “wait”.
In the waiting so far, I’ve learned that sometimes, God wants to expand our own personal borders before taking us across physical ones.
For three years, God has been steadily stretching me. It’s been a long season of discomfort coupled with deep joy and gratitude for the process. Learning to bend doesn’t come as naturally as I wish it did. Making peace with God’s purpose, timing and plans doesn’t happen in an instant, and without some grief, doubt and hard wrestling.
He has gradually been nudging me out of my comfort zone. Because I am not an island, my journey with God has also caused some discomfort for those I am connected to. For a recovering people-pleaser, and as someone who wants to be understood, this presents challenges of it’s own.
I surrender again and again.
But His ways are not our ways–they are much higher. From my own experience, I would also add that His ways are always better than my own.
Last week the wait ended. God fulfilled a promise He had given me, when I’d bent those years before, hungry for that opportunity.
I had prayed for a chance to travel with Compassion International, a ministry for which I am an advocate.
I wasn’t ready when I asked God to send me. He knew it, and deep down, I knew it too.
Now that I’ve been invited to go, I suddenly feel even less ready than before I had prayed for it. I am equal parts terrified and excited. My stomach is a churning sea of overwhelmed delight and gratitude, mixed with anxiety and a conscious awareness that I. Am. So. Small.
I am awed and deeply humbled by God’s timing and His answer in such an unexpected way.
In January 2015, I will board a plane for the Dominican Republic. I will travel along with two other bloggers and other Compassion International Sponsors to meet their sponsored children, and I will try to help tell the stories.
This is the first time Compassion is taking bloggers on a Sponsor tour. This is the first time I will travel internationally apart from my family.
Will you pray for me? Will you pray for the three bloggers going and for the sponsors who will meet their precious children? Pray for my passport to arrive quickly? For my children to handle life well in my absence? For my husband to have peace as he offers his own trembling “yes” to God, by letting me go?
Some of you have prayed for this with me, some of you have offered up my name when Compassion has been looking for bloggers. I am astounded and humbled and grateful beyond words.
January is still a ways off. I’ll share more as it gets closer, for now, I wanted to thank you and ask for your prayers.
Also?–I want to encourage you to wait on God. Whatever it is you’re seeking, wait for him. Trust his timing. Don’t give up hope. He has not forgotten you. The waiting time is so often a period of refinement and growth.
Hang in there…you are not alone.
If you haven’t sponsored a child yet through Compassion, today is the day you could change a life. Invest in a child and help give them a future. Already a sponsor? Consider adding another child. Every one of them is precious.