Friday, May 23, 2008

It's a process!

Have you ever been to a service where it feels like the speaker is talking directly to you? Somehow everything they say is so true to what you are going through and you wonder how on earth they can know where you are at without knowing who you are. Well, that's been me over these past few weeks. It hasn't mattered where I find myself, but it seems like every time the words hit me dead on. From the altar call at the Starfield concert, to listening to words from a new cd while driving into town. Everywhere I go, I feel like these outside voices are connecting with my heart... And even a seemingly insignificant activity of going to watch the latest Narnia movie (Prince Caspian), I left with the words from Aslan the lion (who symbolizes God) resonating in my mind. Reminders of love, acceptance, freedom and hope... All things that I have been hungry for this month.

Since I finished my last day at school three weeks ago, I've been thankful for the chance to reflect and prepare for this new life step. However, during this time, I've really began to understand the magnitude of the commitment to Haiti I agreed to earlier in the year. Those of you who know me well, know that I am a very structured person. I like to be organized, in control, and have a plan for what is coming up. Indeed this is a good trait to have when it comes to school and work, however, it often poses as a weakness to the rest of my life because it causes me to miss out on spontaneous opportunities that the Lord brings across my path. It also causes a lot of worry and stress when things in my life aren't perfectly laid out to how I think they should be.

My future year in Haiti is an example of this. I do not really know what to expect... At all. I have committed to teach 3 children, but that's about the extent of what I can plan for. I have never experienced the climate, the food, the people, the lifestyle, the language... I'm afraid because I'm assuming the worst... What if I get sick? What if I miss my family too much? What if I can't pick up the language? What if I'm a bad teacher? What if I can't do it? What if... I fail?
These are all very real fears I have, and despite the truth that I was called to Haiti by the Lord, I have to admit that I have doubts and thoughts that this really isn't what I should be doing. After all, I've never been away from home for more than 2 weeks, I haven't taught professionally for more than 7 weeks, and I'm just not the adventurous type... I'm definitely not cut out for this... It must be a mistake.

It's the lies that I start to believe about my weakness and my insufficiencies, which make me forget that the mighty power of the Lord can help me overcome them with the truth that His grace is enough. I've experienced how He has helped me in the past, and I need to cling to that once again.

This brings me back to the messages that the Lord has been speaking to my soul in unexpected ways... Over and over again He is whispering His promises of strength in my weakness and the call to more than just living... A call to LIFE. Yes, there is a life for me here in Wainfleet, but there is a world out there with so much more. There is a plan for me beyond my little Niagara bubble, and I can feel it in my heart... I need to break out. I need to go beyond what I know... And it's there where I will truly find life as God intended. Living in His grace and love.

I've also been reminded this month about the need to make Him NUMBER ONE in my life. It's so easy to get distracted, and let myself latch onto the things of this world. Especially people. I have been blessed with some amazing friendships, but they fade so dim when compared with the relationship I have with my Savior, my King, my Father. It's when I let the things of this world become my foundation, that I lose my footing and fall. But, when I put my feet on the solid Rock of the Lord, even though the things around me fall and crumble, I will stand strong.

As you can imagine, this isn't a one-time battle, it's a process. The lies keep coming, and I have to hold tightly to the only One who remains. The only One who can hold me up. It's not too late for me to stand.
What peace I find in knowing Him, in claiming His promises and trusting in the only Source of stability in an unstable world. This gives me freedom to break out of the lies and into LIFE as He intended.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

So, I'm a blogger...

I have to be honest: I'm not a tech-y person. My dear friend Darcie started blogging months ago, and she's been encouraging me to start, but it's never happened... until now. If you are reading this blog, you probably already know about my plans to go to the Mission of Hope (you can get more details about this in the 'About Me' section), and by -attempting- to update this regularly, I hope to provide you with a link to my life in Haiti.
That being said, it is becoming apparent to me that the growth and challenge in a step like this will not begin when I step off the plane in Haiti, but began the moment I accepted this new opportunity. Already I have experienced the Lord speaking to me and revealing fresh truths as I prepare for this new adventure, and I want to be able to share them with you as they arise.
Before I go any farther tonight, I want to expand on the title I chose for my blog. As I was pondering different names, I was searching for something meaningful that would be kind of like a 'theme' to this new opportunity that has arisen in my life... The word that stuck out to me was HOPE.
Hope is a word that carries meaning for me in a few different contexts, which I will expand on:
First of all, Haiti has been identified as one of the most impoverished countries in the world... a country desperate for hope. Disease, violence, unemployment and death are a fact of life where families struggle not only for peace, but survival. The Mission of Hope was built to offer exactly that... hope. Hope for families, hope for a future, hope for peace, hope for life. Exciting expansions are taking place within the hospital and orphanage and I feel honored to be a part of it. At last I can use the immeasurable blessings that have been poured out on me, to overflow onto others who are so desperate.
The second reason I chose hope for my title was because of the peace I find in it as I venture away from this place of comfort. It is very easy for me to feel overwhelmed with fear and doubt as I look ahead to what the future holds. I know without question that this is the call the Lord has placed on my life, but I struggle to break away from the security I find here in Wainfleet. In these times of struggle, I have to focus on where I've been and the Lord's presence I have experienced in the past. He has carried me through so much already, and as I reflect on His faithfulness, I can be confident in the hope that He will never leave me. Despite the storms that will come, His unfailing promises of love will endure.
And above all, Jesus has given me so much hope by paying the ultimate price and sacrificing His life for mine, so that I may have freedom to live and be with Him forever someday. There is no greater peace or hope than that.
These thoughts about hope give me courage not just to accept what's ahead for me in this life, but to willingly EMBRACE it.
I want to thank you for journeying with me through this time. It is my prayer that the stories and thoughts that come out through my posts in the months ahead would be a testament to the faithfulness of the Lord. And also, that you would be encouraged and reminded of the everlasting love and grace we share together when we put our hope in Him.