I FEEL LIKE THIS:
BUT I ACT LIKE THIS:
DUH. If you liked it then you shoulda put a ring on it.
I FEEL LIKE THIS:
BUT I ACT LIKE THIS:
DUH. If you liked it then you shoulda put a ring on it.
“You don’t want to fall in love with someone who doesn’t have Jesus beating in their heart, if Jesus is beating in your heart, because then you can’t have the same beating heart.”
- Louie Giglio
Those kids are with God, I am sure.
“It is done. It IS done. My love, it is done.”
These are the words I heard the Lord whispering to me on September 26, 2012. I heard Him speak these words so gently that I had no choice but to believe them. His voice sounded so sure. Now, you’re probably wondering in reference to what was He saying this? Well you see, I had two huge, life changing things going on in my life at that moment: I was waiting on a reply about whether I had been accepted to my major or not, and whether or not I would be spending next summer in Honduras. So, I asked the Lord, “Am I supposed to get into the Early Childhood Education program?” The response? “It is done.” My next question was, “God, am I supposed to go to Honduras? Every door so far has been opened and now this one is shut. Why?” And again, the response was, “It is done. It IS done. My love, it is done. You WILL go. Just be patient.”
These words are so simple. But they are the very words Jesus spoke before His death on the cross. But I wasn’t dying (or at least I hoped I wasn’t!). In that moment, I completely gave up the worries I had about both of these things to the Lord. I had given Him the fears, anxieties, and stresses about it.
And what do you know, less than a week later one of these situations was answered. The next Tuesday I received an acceptance email saying I had been admitted into the Early Childhood program. YAHOO! I was beyond excited to start this journey Christ had set out for me. But the excitement only lasted so long before I was wondering why I still had no answer about Honduras. I had emailed multiple times and there was no reply.
So, about three weeks ago I felt the Lord laying it on my heart to fast and read through the book of Exodus - one chapter a day. To really focus on what was going on. So I have for the past 15 days. It has been a great learning experience and I truly thought God was going to/will still do some great things through this. I THOUGHT I would have an answer about Honduras at the end of my fast (what better way to spend Thanksgiving, right??). But again, I thought so, so wrong. Little did I know that this morning, after realizing I could do nothing else to make these people reply to me - I had no powers and I had done (or so I thought) all I could. I received an email this morning from this organization with an update about life there. On the email, was a line saying to contact someone whom I had already contacted if you wanted to plan a mission trip there next summer. So, felt the Lord nudging me to email her one more time before I went to my next class of the day.
I really thought nothing of it, but went to check my email after my 2:30 class and she had emailed back less than an hour later. Praise the Lord! Now all that is left to do is fundraise. I’m still in shock that this is so real! I get to spend my whole summer serving Christ’s beautiful children, teaching them English, sharing His love, and learning their ways?! I couldn’t think of any better way to spend it!
Six months ago to the day I was arriving home from my first mission trip, ever. And when I returned to Hartsfield-Jackson Airport (the busiest in the WORLD), I knew I was a different person than the one who had left. But my story does not start that day. No, it starts the June before I moved away for my Freshman year of school. And if you’re ready for a very detailed, drawn out abode then saddle up because we’re about to begin.
Coming off of graduation is a high that I can’t describe. I have wanted to attend UGA since I was only five years old, and graduation was about the only thing getting in the way of that reality. You see, I knew the Lord had called me to go somewhere, but I just wasn’t sure where. My church back home journeys to Nicaragua every year so I naturally thought, ‘Oh, that’ll be where I’ll go first!’ Wrong. That was not where God wanted me at all. Yet, I had decided I was going. I turned in my deposit and up until the first meeting for the trip (and consequently when the rest of the $1300 was due), and after much frustration, crying, and soul searching, I realized I could not go. The trip did not leave until December, but I had no job and had just graduated. Who was going to send me money? I thought that the financial part was what was holding me back, but again, I was wrong (and of course this will be explained a little later).
Fast forward one month and my mom was looking up campus ministries for me to get involved in here in the ATH. She got on the Freshley (which is just the Freshman sector of the Wesley ministry here) page and read something about a mission trip to Jamaica. Now, I had been to Jamaica once before on a cruise and had thought it was a pretty neat place, but never, and I mean NEVER could I have seen myself returning there one day, or much less falling in love with the country. But, as you’ll soon catch on to my theme here, I am so often wrong when it comes to God’s plans. Yet, I put the trip in the back of my mind just in case (I realize how ironic this is now) I would need it later.
Now jump ahead to about the end of September of my Freshman year here (wow, it has already been one WHOLE year!) and we’ll see that I was indeed loving this “Freshley” ministry; I loved my small group and my leaders! The whole ministry had just returned from our retreat and they had begun endorsing Jamaica. There it was again. Jamaica. But all they would ever say about Jamaica was that ‘it would change your life’. And I would think ‘well duh, isn’t that what mission trips are supposed to do?’ But they kept putting a plug in, and I kept hearing it, so one day I started thinking about it a little more. Then I started praying about it (which inadvertently means, the trip got REAL in my mind) and seeking the Lord’s Will. I felt like I could feel Him telling me to go, but I wasn’t sure. Again I thought, ‘$1,500 is a lot of money and I just graduated. I have no income, my parents can’t pay for it, how in the WORLD am I gonna be able to go?’ And, let me just tell you, it was in that moment when I heard God whisper sure as day, “Go and I will show you.”
Now I don’t know about you, but I am not one to argue with God when He makes something so clear. So, what did I do? I signed up. And what did I do next? I told my parents. Maybe not the order I should have done things, but hey, it worked. They were excited, but (as was I until God practically screamed in my ear) were skeptical about the money issue. But, I assured them this was what the Lord wanted and He would provide. I paid my first deposit from my savings and was slowly on my way there!
So, fast forward to January 1st, 2012 (HAPPY NEW YEAR). The FIRST Jamaica meeting was January 8th, 2012 and our second payment of $500 was due at that meeting. For anyone who knows me, you KNOW I am the biggest procrastinator on the face of the earth (I mean like, I could win an award) so if you thought I had already sent out support letters seven days in advance of this deadline, you would have had really high expectations for me! I in fact had not, nor had I told my parents that so much money was due in seven days. And as you can imagine, when I finally told them, they WEREN’T happy. Yet, I had faith that the Lord would provide. So, I sent out letters and within two or three days I got about 3/4 the amount I needed, I had half of the rest that I needed from babysitting, but I was still short about $60. Every time I think of what happened next, I get chills and/or cry. But, it was January 7th and I was still short $60 and my grandparents had agreed that they could pay it if it didn’t come by the next day. Anyways, I was in my basement with my sister and friend watching a movie, when my parents returned home from dinner with some friends at about 11:45 that night. My mom called me to the stairs and said, “Caitlin, I’ve got good news…Jim and Shelley just gave you a $100 check for your trip!” I immediately bursted into tears. Not ONLY had the Lord provided, but He had over provided. And let me just go ahead and say, every money deadline, something like this happened. In the end, God ended up over providing me with more than $250 than I needed! Talk about a blessing!
So, this story is not over, I will continue about everything that happened while I was there, just not tonight (I have homework, school, and other pressing issues to deal with..bleh). But, it is safe to say that the Lord DOES provide more than we could ever need if we are in His will. He is forever faithful. Now, I will leave you with my favorite picture from my trip. This is, from left to right, Nikkel, Me, and Ricardo. They are so precious and I miss them so much. And fear not, there will be stories about them on here soon!
“It may take place in a foreign land or it may take place in your backyard, but I believe that we were each created to change the world for someone. To serve someone. To love someone the way Christ first loved us, to spread His light. This is the dream, and it is possible.” - Katie Davis.
I read this quote and I think, ‘Man, oh, man. How convicting is this?’ Then I read it again and the words foreign land immediately pop out at me. Foreign can mean a plethora of things: out of my neighborhood, New York City, Jamaica, Africa, or Honduras. And I realize that more often than not, I and so many other Christians see the words foreign land and we immediately think the only way we can share the Gospel is to go out of this country. To go across the country. To go anywhere that is not where you are/I am. We, for some reason, think we are more adequate to share His word when we are somewhere that is not our home. But, we go day to day seeing the same people, doing the same things, and going to the same places. We often times know who of these people need to see the love of Jesus, need a kind, encouraging word, a hug to ease their pain, or an ear to listen. We so often forget that right here, in our own town, community, and for some even in their apartment, is a mission field. A HUGE mission field.
I am personally learning this a lot more than I ever thought I would. Earlier this spring, I went to Port Maria, Jamaica and absolutely fell in love with the country and its people. They were some of the most precious children of the King I have ever met, and their love for those who have not done a thing for them is insurmountable. For a land that is not even a nationally “Christian Land”, they sure know how to show the love of Christ a lot more than I do sometimes. Upon my return, I heard about an opportunity to go to Honduras next summer to teach English. The Lord has so faithfully opened a ton of doors to this opportunity, but there are still a few more I am waiting on. Yet, I have come to this conclusion: He is trying to teach me a few lessons; some I know and some I do not. I know that he is trying to teach me compassion for the leader of the organization who has recently been diagnosed with cancer, patience for why they have not told me a cost of the trip so I can start fundraising, and how I can still be an effective sharer of the Word here in America.
This leads me to my current situation. I am a second year student at The University of Georgia (GOOOOOO DAWGS), I live in an apartment with three great girls, and I can’t say “no” to anything. Anyone and everyone who knows me could tell you this, and they could probably also tell you they spend a lot of time trying to get me to say “no”. I take on too much, I worry about my grades too much, and I stress out too much. I sometimes snap too quickly because I’m under so much stress. I sometimes loose my temper with the people who are closest to me and get frustrated with everyday life too easily. I find it hard to keep a positive attitude sometimes. Yet, even though I have all of these things against me, God has chosen me for something I never saw coming. He has chosen me to be a light RIGHT where I am. No moving involved, no plane ticket, no fundraising at all.
You see, the Lord has given me a heart for the nations and I trust 100% that He’s going to lead me where I’m supposed to be. Whatever country, nation, or city He leads me to, I will go to. But until those journeys begin, He wants me here. And He’s trying to teach so much in the time before I leave my home here. He’s is trying to prepare me for the times in these nations in which I will be ‘alone’, without my family, teaching foreign children without resources, with no-one else, only Him, and I am completely frustrated with myself. He’s trying to show me that spreading the Gospel wherever I am will be hard. It will NOT be easy no matter where I am. It’s a matter of either dealing with: people who like to get drunk, cuss, be negative, condone sleepovers with the opposite sex, judge people to no end, and yet still proclaim themselves as Christians or dealing with people who have no resources and who don’t understand the Gospel (And no, I am NOT a saint..I have my share of failures every single day). So if I said that my life was easy, I’d be lying. If I said my living situation was all roses and butterflies, I would be lying. If I said coming home to negativity was not discouraging, I’d be lying. If I said there are more days than not when I feel utterly defeated and the only thing getting me through is listening to Worship music, I would be completely pulling one over on you. And if I said loving those who I am with the most through everything that happens on a daily basis wasn’t hard, you might as well just call foul play because I would be 100% bluffing.
And yet, where am I? I am in America. I have running water, electricity, indoor plumbing, food to eat for every meal, I have a bed to sleep in, parents and a family who love and support me, I have clothes to wear in every season, and I am able to go to school to further my education. Why do I think my life is “so hard”? “Why can I complain and people agree with me?” “Why do we not see all that we DO have and all that IS good in our lives instead of the latter?”
My answer simply comes from the fact that the Christian life is NOT easy. There are trials, tribulations, and sufferings, but they are made to refine us and see if we will persevere through the trouble. The road to follow Christ and fulfill His will is not an easy one. You may come to a point where you feel it’s too much, that you can’t go on, and you may question why God is allowing what is happening to happen. But take heart, for He has overcome the world (John 16:33). And he wants you to come to Him when you are weary and you feel that you just can’t do it anymore (Matthew 11:28). And remember, God put you in the situation you’re in for a purpose much greater than you could ever imagine. He saw that you were ready to be tested in your faith by the situation He has placed you in. He knew that you would trust Him completely and find your meaning in none other than Him. He knew you would call on Him when there was trouble, but that you would also praise Him for it (and for the good days, too). And He knew that you would have the right people in your life to encourage you and lift you up, to remind you of your purpose in the darkness you are in. And He also knew that you would never say ‘no’ to Him. He knew that your answer would never be to run way from the storm, but instead you would run straight into it; Bible in hand, praise music on high volume, and unceasing prayers reeling in your head.
He knew that no matter where you were, whatever you were doing, for whomever you were doing it for, that you would change someone’s world in some way. So, I leave you with this quote, “To the world you may be one person, but to one person you may be the world.”