Tuesday, February 18, 2014

On the {surface}

Sometimes when I dunk my head into the ocean water beneath me, I can see. I can see objects, little sparks of sea life rushing underneath me. I cherish these times- I love to have the gulf as clear as glass; enabling me to see the crabs before I step on them and get pinched; enabling me to see the sand dollars and gather them before these little treasures get swept away in another wave; enabling me to see the seaweed and the jellies before I get stung and uncomfortable. The clarity is beautiful.

But sometimes when I dunk my head into the ocean water beneath me, I cannot see.  The water gets murky and I get pinched by crabs and stung by jellies. The current gets strong and I cannot see where it is leading me. The water gets dark and every shadow is assumed to be a monstrous animal awaiting my arrival. In this unclarity, panicking becomes instinct. I feel as though I am drowning and I am unsure of how this current is going to ever lead me to safety. I want the jellies to stop stinging and the seaweed to stop entangling my limbs- and I want to be comfortable again.

There is one life that I used to be comfortable in where I could see everything clearly; therefore enabling me to plan the perfect American Christian dream life. I could see the treasures I wanted and I could take those opportunities before they were swept away. I could plan to go to college, and become wealthy, and get married to the perfect husband, and have my own perfect children, and go to a church with perfect people. I could see the notoriously harmful people and choices and I could avoid them before I got stung and uncomfortable. Jesus was part of this perfect life. The clarity was beautiful... On the surface.

Then I asked Jesus to be more than just a part of my life- I desired Him to be The Lord of my life. So now sometimes I look to try and see what my future will be. The view gets murky, and I am surrounded by people and experiences that pinch and sting my heart. The pull between me and Jesus gets strong, and I cannot see where He is leading me or the path it will take to get there. The view gets blurred and every turn there is evil desperately trying to attack me. In this unclarity, panicking is instinct. I feel as though I am drowning, and I am unsure how God will ever lead me to safety. I want the people to stop stinging and the sin to stop trying to entangle my heart- and I want to be comfortable again. But I am a new creation, and Jesus is transforming my heart and replacing my fleshly instincts with His. In this sanctification, I am promised that in the midst of this unclarity, He is good. He has a plan. He knows what is next even when I cannot see. I trust Him. I truly do. I trust Jesus, and I do not want to be comfortable ever again.

Sweet Jesus Christ, my sanity.
Sweet Jesus Christ, my clarity.

Right now one of the most apparent areas where I am trusting Jesus in my life is in my trip to Haiti- oh, how He is teaching me. I have been planning to take this trip to Haiti to spend a month working in a very remote premature baby medical clinic in NW Haiti. I will be delivering babies, caring for babies, and learning more and more about the Father's heart. However, the dates have changed 3 times in the last couple of days and I am currently awaiting an email from the host missionaries who live in the NW to confirm the dates so I can book my plane ticket (I have a 24 hour reservation for my ticket).... And the internet in the NW (and many parts of Haiti) is very spotty so connection and communication is rare. So I am trusting Jesus in His timing. 

This trip to Haiti requires not only the costs of flying, but also living somewhere for about 6 weeks. Along with this, I will be working at a medical clinic that could definitely use more supplies and medicines, which are expensive but life-saving. I am trusting Jesus to provide. 

This trip is also completely His doing. I am not a doctor. I am not a nurse. I am not a teacher. I don't even have a college degree. I don't even have a high school diploma for that matter. I am 17. I am not a lot of things, but I have Jesus in my heart and He keeps telling me that is enough. So I am trusting Jesus with my unpreparedness. 

Although it may seem crazy, and unconventional, and totally frightening, I am telling you, trusting Jesus with your life plans is far better than trying to do this yourself. This life that He has created for me {and you} is beautiful, even when 
clarity seems to have vanished. 

James 4... Read it. 

Monday, February 3, 2014

The {future}

The truth is that I dream about the future. But more than that- so much more than dreaming, I pray about the future. I pray about all sorts of things. I pray that God prepares my heart for my future husband and that He draws us closer to Him each day. (By the way, if you haven't read Praying for Your Future Husband, get it now- it's amazing). I pray a lot about my future husband, and I pray a lot about my future children too. God has placed an immense burden on my heart to adopt and so I know that even though I am only 17, my children may be alive right now. Even if they are not yet here, I know that the possibility of their biological parents being alive is quite high and so I often find myself praying for the mother and father of my children.  That's hard- to know that a family is going to have to go through some sort of traumatic situation to have to be eligible for you to adopt and yet still understand that you can do nothing to alleviate that trauma... Except for pray. I can do that, I can pray. And through this process God has proven faithful and powerful as He has shaped my heart to love these people whom I have never met, and possibly will never meet. But then there's salvation. So I pray for that too. I pray for the salvation of my future children's parents. Imagine this: you walk into Heaven's gates and bow in adoration at the feet of Jesus. He welcomes you into His Father's Kingdom and you are so in awe. Eventually after all the shock (maybe that will never end though), you get to meet all these people that have impacted your life and those whom you have impacted- all those that are in Heaven anyways. Imagine spending your life raising someone else's child and praying fervently for the salvation of that someone.... Then, you meet them. You meet them in the most splendid, unimaginable of places. And you get to thank them for having your child and you get to celebrate everlasting life together- that moment, that's why I pray. 

My prayers don't guarantee someone else's salvation- I don't have that power. However, I know that the power of prayer is in the One to whom I pray and I know that He can do so much with the simple prayers that He draws me in to pray. 

Elise and I pray about the future together aswell. That is simply glorious- to have a God-given friend that simply prays with you. We've been doing that a lot together lately, praying, and we have some things we need people to join us in praying for. We have many burdens on our hearts, and we feel called to carry these out (God-willing) in the near future. 

1.  We want to build a school.  I have had a dream to start a school in Ethiopia for the outcasts of society since I was 9 years old, and Elise has had an immense burden for education since she was a little girl. The school would provide free education for impoverished children and hopefully one day serve as a center for teaching adult literacy classes aswell. 

2.  We want to run a medical clinic. (Wherever the school is located).  Elise has recently felt a calling on her life for nursing and I know that God will be able to use this to care for His people. This is definitely my weak area- blood honestly freaks me out, but I am slowly getting over my fear, and it is all because of God. In fact, I am spending my summer in Haiti working at a medical clinic for premature babies and delivering babies- I have so much room to grow my heart and knowledge! 

3.  Foster Care and Adoption.  Elise and I both feel called to care for vulnerable children- especially orphans. 

These are our top three prayer concerns about the future and we would love for you to join our prayer efforts.  Please know that I am not laying out my future without any regard to the possibility of change.  These are simply what God has laid on our hearts and we are excited to see what He does with them in the future.  This may take years upon years to complete or even get close to opening; however, I love to see how God lays things out and finishes them, He has a perfect plan and we are trusting Him. 

So dream big, but more importantly, pray. He has more in store for you than you will ever understand, trust Him with your {future}. 

**A couple of photos from my most recent trip to the orphanage in Nuevo Laredo, MX**