Come, Lord Jesus: The Weight of Waiting is now available! For the last few weeks I have invited the members of my “street team” to share their stories and reflections on the book, the topic of waiting, and Advent. (This post contains affiliate links.)
One year ago today, I boarded a plane to Kenya, Africa.
I always dreamed of serving in Africa. I always knew I’d go someday. But I never, ever dreamed it would
be so soon. You see, it wasn’t my choosing as to when, how, where, or with whom I’d travel to Africa. One
random weekday in early June, I looked at a poster on our pastor’s office wall and casually shared that I
always dreamed of serving in Africa. He promptly invited me to join a 10-day mission trip to Kenya that
was scheduled for November.
I wasn’t planning on going to Africa. Okay, let me clarify a bit, pastor. I wasn’t planning on going RIGHT
NOW. I wasn’t expecting you to ask me. Give me a couple years, okay? Give me some space and time to
think on this, yes? Give me a few years for my kids to get older. Give me a moment to make every detail
right. Let me get the timing just perfect for my husband, my friends, my family and pretty much everyone
around me. Then, and only then, I’ll most definitely say yes to your invitation. Can’t we all just agree that
five or six months is not nearly enough time to prepare for a life-changing trip to Africa?
Needless to say, I spent nearly three months thinking and overthinking that trip, and finally said yes less
than three months before our group was scheduled to depart. Given my reluctancy to accept God’s invitation to go and serve in Africa, it shouldn’t have been a surprise when I found myself on the outside, watching a group of orphaned and abandoned children worship in the most authentic and abandoned way I’d witnessed in 39 years of life on earth. I was there. Fully present. Fully immersed in their worship.
But I was sitting on the outside. Watching. Admiring. Wishing I could be one of them. Wishing I could live and linger in a place of wild, worshipful abandon for the rest of my life.
Yes, this was without a doubt, a glimpse of heaven on earth.
But I was sitting on the outside.
I must have looked sad.
I must have looked lonely.
I must have looked like I needed something, someone, to come rescue me and invite me in. Before I knew it, one of the children got up, walked my way, took my hand and invited me to take a front row seat amongst the wildly worshipful orphaned and abandoned children.
Oh my goodness, Lord. How did you know? How did you know this is just what I needed? How did you know I so desperately need to be seated among the orphans, the abandoned, the ones worshiping you wildly to the ends of the earth? What kind of gift is this, Lord? Why today? Why now? Why I am I so vulnerable, so needy, Lord? Why did you bring me to this place? Who am I to sit among the orphans, the abandoned, the ones you call nearest, dearest, blessed? Why am I worthy of such beauty amidst such pain? Who are you, Lord, to call me to this place, to invite me in to your holiest of holy grounds?
I sat and surrendered like I’d never surrendered before.
I surrender all.
I surrender all.
All to Jesus, I surrender.
I surrender all.
The children sang, praising God sweetly, purely and delightfully, for everything under the earth, over the
earth and on the earth. There I was, sitting amongst orphaned and abandoned children, a complete and utter fool as tears flowed down my cheeks. The moment was far beyond my control.
God Almighty, Jesus Himself invited me into the heart of His family that day. Yes, He invited me in.
Personally. Intimately. Without question. I was invited to join His beautifully designed family of believers.
“God knows intimately the shape of our own family tree, the crooked bends in our very own branches,
and so He sends us a rescuer from a gnarled and mighty tree of His own design. God’s inclusion of
common people who’s struggled with the same things we would inevitably struggle with, reveals a
measure of His compassion for those of us who repeatedly struggle to get it right.” – Come, Lord Jesus.
We so desperately want to get Christmas right. We want ALL the good deals on Black Friday, ALL the
beautifully wrapped gifts around the tree, ALL the tastefully dressed and behaved children at candlelight
service, ALL the yummiest Christmas cookies on the tray, all the Pinterest-perfect Christmas culinaries in
the kitchen, ALL the prim and proper conversation around the dinner table, ALL the right timing, ALL the
right words, ALL the right memories, ALL the right moments. ALL we really need is to accept Jesus’ invitation to COME.
“God with us. Right here. Right now. Let’s not hurry through this night. Let’s sit awhile beside the manger in the muck of the stable, in the mess of our actual lives and soak in the glory of this truth. Immanuel. He is here. Even as we wait for His final coming, He is present. Sit still for a few minutes where you are.” -Come, Lord Jesus. Page 118
Sit with the King.
Come, Lord Jesus.
Guest Post By
Amy Penderson is a blogger and photographer who has a special passion for missions in Kenya and Haiti. She is currently writing a children’s book series for girls and moms, and has hundreds of journal pages tucked away which she hopes to turn into an all-too-serious book someday. Amy loves using words and photographs to show people the truth and totality of who they are. Her deepest desire is to help people thrive through daily discomforts, distress and life-altering pain. You can connect with Amy on her blog at www.divineinthedaily.com, on Facebook on Instagram at or on Twitter.