Sunday, May 31, 2015

From Campus to Contients [& one month of support raising]

Exactly one month ago today, I waved a tearful goodbye to the kiddos I've spent the past two years with for the majority of their waking hours and cruised my way through those all too familiar hills and curves of Shadow Valley one last go round. It all felt oddly ordinary, so when my back wheels slid through that tiny black gate at the end of the curve and it all became suddenly real, I decided to pull over and weep.

I just needed a moment.

Those were tears of thousands of diapers changed and apologies made after loosing my temper at the end of a long day. Tears of a lil man's first steps and the day the twins finally learned the sound of "th" placed together in a word. It was remembering hundreds of trips to Chickfila and birthdays celebrated with the cow. Tears wept as I rocked a miracle baby girl to sleep day after day, begging Jesus to reveal Himself to her one day and pleading with Him to give me grace to trust bigger with my own too. Tears over the hunger these kiddos have to be loved and the way God entrusted them to a daddy and momma who are searching for that too. I recalled the meals I could make in my sleep and the paleo lumps that made me infamous amidst this little world that had become my calling, my people, my job, and my family through the craziness of life.

Floods of emotions and memories and struggles and joys and changes and seasons--all of which left me overwhelmed by His insane faithfulness through it all. Oh, if you only knew.

Thirty days later, here I am in continued awe of His steadfastness and my days look so vastly different. For example, in life with a 2 year old and a newborn, a successful week demanded a least 120 minutes of adult conversation to be scheduled in, for all of our sanity--and now I find myself perhaps too easily drawn away from the ones I came to visit with and find myself sitting on the floor in a pool of barbies and cars without a second thought. While 2:57pm no longer brings me to the side of the curb waiting for two big Kindergardeners to come bobbling off of the bus, that is still the time of day that my body calls for a snack--and caffeine! Funny how He allows those little reminders of His grace, reminders that He holds our days, our seasons and is fully worthy of our trust.

For those who don't know, a total chain of events only God Himself could have laid out, led me to serving as a missionary with the North American Mission Board as the International Student Ministry Coordinator for my church and a campus ministry at the University of Arkansas. If you want more details, I'd be happy to send you a newsletter or grab coffee and tell ya all about it.

Did I ever see myself here? No way.

If you told me I would agree to raising my own salary, working in ministry with college students from all over the world, and still living in Fayetteville five years after moving here I would have told you all the reasons that would never happen to me.

Praise God, that while the heart of man may attempt to plan his way, but the Lord establishes His steps. [prov. 16:9]

The four years leading up to now have taught me a deep and driving love for the nations and the students studying right in my midst from those very ends of the earth breathed out by the Creator. God knew what He was doing the very day He moved me to this crazy natural state, unbenounced to me of course. This is my dream job and then some, the story unfolding still blows my mind. It was a dream He put in me and brought to growth year after year. I'm beginning to expect Him to ask of me the very things I inform Him I will never do or be. I just picture Him, leaning back and laughing deep in His belly watching me, as I come to see His perfect plan unfold.

Oh the JOY He finds in displaying His great power through our weaknesses and lack. What a free place to be! I am so thankful that God is sovereign and yet gracious to give us His spirit and work through us!

"And the nations will know that I am the LORD, declares the Lord God, when through you I vindicate my holiness before their eyes….then the nations that are left all around you shall know that I am the LORD; I have rebuilt the ruined places and replanted that which was desolate. I am the LORD. I have spoken and I will do it!" [ezekiel 36]

These days, this journey just leaves me in awe. The mountain highs and valley lows, the curves and straight-aways of a gracious Father's pursuit of a wayward daughter, a daughter so oblivious to the greatness of His glory and the wholeness of His love, a trail that recounts His faithfulness and new mercies over and over and over again. Then, behold all things are new. He alone transformed this heart which was once stone. Now He satisfies and is fully worthy of my life. Billions are yet to hear of His name. How can that be?

And a block away from my front door, thousands are going from one class to the next, thousands from those very ends of the earth that haven't heard, ambassadors of gospel right here in our midst. May I daily be bold in faith and speaking the gospel to these students. I pray I will be faithful to journey on in such a manner to which His name goes forth and ends with nations at His throne, crying out in unison, "Holy, Holy, Holy…" What a day that will be. Lord, make that the lens through which I see today.

I'm raising my support right now, a whole salary from those He leads to give and see fruit increase to their credit. I'm learning SO much of His provision and gift in the body of Christ, my local church too, as the trail forges onward, pointing clearer then ever to the God who redeems and holds my all in all. The only message that brings the dead to life. And so many need to hear.

I set out on a one-hundred day journey, a goal to be fully funded by August 1st. Thirty days in, I find myself 60% funded and in awe of His provision, encouragement and affirmation that I am right where He has called me to be. It's a good thing too, because He knows I'm a bit thick-headed and slow to trust.

Join me in praying this journey will continue to make all else grow strangely dim in light of His glory and grace. Pray for the 1,500 students from 112 different nations finding out right now, they're headed to Arkansas this fall.

I plan to write more and tell the stories that make this support-raising journey so incredibly humbling. Stay tuned.

And because I so desperately miss this crew...

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