*I want to start off with a great big thank-you to my followers. I’ve taken the last month off from blogging, and since this is such a brand new blog I really thought my audience would drop down to nothing as soon as I stopped doing the social media work that brings most of my traffic. And while my daily page views dropped significantly, I was so thrilled to find that there have still been a small group of you coming and reading every single day. I don’t know who you are, but you are appreciated and I pray that God is using what you are reading here to encourage you and draw you closer to Him. I apologize for not posting an update here – I really believed that my entire audience was social-media based and I did post a few explanations and updates there, but now I realize I should have left a quick note or two here as well. I hope this update will remedy that oversight and you will all feel caught up on our story as it stands right now.
There are so many multi-pronged forks in the road we walk throughout our life! I prefer to look at it as a massive building with more rooms than we’ll ever have time to visit; each room connected to others by long hallways on all sides – an intricate maze that’s impossible to map out and difficult to navigate. How do we ever decide which doors to open and which ones to pass by? It’s an impossible task without a guide! Thank God, He offers us His hand and we need only take it in order to be led through that labyrinth with purpose and plan. That’s why, when God opens a door, it’ s so important that we charge through it. That we never stand in indecision upon the threshold, but walk with confidence and never look back.
When God Opens a Door
I’ve had a heart for missions all my life. I spent my early years on the mission field with my parents, and I believe that experience softened my heart to the vast array of people all over the world. Though we are so diverse, deep down we’re exactly the same: each one of us either lost and in desperate need of a Savior, or found and part of the family of Christ. There is only one God, and there is only one church. We will all share the same heaven. When I was a child I always believed that I would end up on the mission field myself one day, but God never opened that door. Every time our church sent out a missions team I longed to be a part of it, but circumstances never allowed it. As our children grew that longing deepened as I wanted so desperately to expose them to those same lessons I had learned as a child. I wanted them to see other people around the world in a way that only first hand experience can truly convey. I wanted them to meet brothers and sisters across the globe in order to see a more accurate picture of the body of Christ – what she really looks like – not what just this one part of the world has painted her to be. I wanted them to look into the faces of the lost in parts of the world where the gospel is not as easily accessed as driving down the road to one of the 5 churches in the neighborhood, or opening the app on my smartphone and having 50 different translations of the Bible in my language at my fingertips. These people need Jesus too and someone needs to tell them! I wanted my children to see that. I wanted them to feel it; the weight of it; the responsibility of that knowledge. But alas, the dream seemed impossible since I knew it was very unlikely to ever get my love to agree to go. I couldn’t seem to get him to catch my passion, no matter how hard I tried; no matter how hard I prayed. Trip after trip after trip passed us by.
Then, life hit us hard. As you’ve likely already read in the previous chapters of Our Story, getting my love to agree to go on a missions trip with me became the least of my worries. Our marriage was hanging by a thin, ever-unraveling thread and we were both fighting the spiritual battle of our life. But our faithful God pursued us with His fierce love and initiated an opportunity for reconciliation and healing. He proved His love to me and offered my love the opportunity to start again; to be made new. His work over the past six months has been remarkable, and we are in awe of Him! Then, about a month ago, He did something truly unexpected. He opened a door we didn’t even know was in our hallway right then. He laid a trip to a country in west Africa in our laps and asked if we’d go.
Don’t Stand Upon the Threshold in Indecision
My love’s sister, her husband, and their children went to the mission field in west Africa about a year ago. We love them dearly and their kids are about as special to us as can be. We’ve been talking about going to visit them since they left, but to be honest I never believed it would actually happen. I knew there would always be a reason it wasn’t the right time. But when God started his mighty, changing work in my husband’s life one of the things that happened is that he suddenly developed some courage and a willingness to obey when God asks something big and scary. Completely unexpectedly in light of recent events, my husband got a large bonus at work. It’s an annual bonus, but we really didn’t think he’d get it this year after everything that unfolded. For that reason, we didn’t have it earmarked for anything. We really didn’t think it would come. When it did, my love looked at me and said, “Well, I guess God decided to give us Africa money. I guess we should start looking for tickets.” I was floored!
We were sort of thinking that we’d go in December over the kids’ Christmas break, and began praying for God’s leading over the trip. We came up with a dollar amount for the tickets and said that if we saw the price drop to that number we’d buy, but every time we looked the price was much, much higher. Then, on an impulse, we decided to start looking in June too since that month would also work out with both our schedules and his sister’s. It was only a month away at the time and we knew the chances of finding a good price were slim, but we decided to just keep our eyes open. My love checked ticket prices every day and out of nowhere, the first weeks of June dropped by hundreds of dollars and the price on one airline fell just below the mark we had set. We had a decision to make. Would we accept that this was of God and buy, or would we talk ourselves out of the completely crazy idea of going to Africa in less than a month? Praise God, we clicked that box and bought 5 tickets. We were going to Africa… in 26 days!
Charge Through and Never Look Back
I knew right away those 26 days would be a whirlwind. The kids would be wrapping up the school year, my love had a lot going on at work, we would have to pack and prepare in so many ways, and we wanted to find ways to bless our precious family while we were there by bringing gifts and preparing ways to serve them throughout the trip. There was no way I would be able to keep up the blog too. So I made a quick decision. I would take a month off. No social media work, (which takes up the bulk of a bloggers time) and no new posts. (Apart from Hope For Today which I already had written a ways ahead and wouldn’t take much time to get set up for the whole month.) If I had time to work on the blog I would use it to write and get ahead in my content planning.
You guys, I’m so glad we did it. I’m so thankful that God opened the door and provided the means to walk through it. I’m so thankful that my love is now a man who grabs my hand and charges through that door. He hasn’t looked back and over the next few weeks, I’ll tell you so much more about what God did while we were there. It was truly a life-changing experience for all of us! I have stories and testimonies from some of the amazing believers we met, and I have so much to tell you about what God did in our own hearts. I hope you’ll come back and read them all because I’m sure you’ll be challenged and encouraged by God’s mighty work!
So I ask you, what door has God opened for you? Are you stuck in the hallway, standing on the threshold, or are you charging through? Please never be afraid to go where God is leading. Go! Never look back! You won’t regret it.