Not as those without hope

In my last post I talked about how I have grieved since I’ve been on the mission field. I grieve the loss of lots of different things in my life, but mostly I grieve the loss of the idols of my heart. The idols of safety and security, materialism and greed, comfort…I could go on and on. The idolotry of focusing on the sacrifice and not the blessing,” the mess and not the miracle”  (I totally stole that quote from somebody) sometimes can almost consume me.

There’s so much beauty in the sacrifice. But it is still A Sacrifice.

Sanctification hurts. Dying to self hurts. Being a living sacrifice hurts. And I’m going to tell you I climb off of that altar Every. Single. Day and I grieve the loss when I lay my idols down.

But I don’t grieve as one without hope. (I Thessalonians 4:13)

It’s not just for missionaries or the military or pastors and evangelists. It’s for every single person purchased by the blood of the Lamb.

The grief is ours, but the hope is ours too.

After my last post, I had a dear friend send me a message saying that she was happy to hear that it wasn’t easy for me. It wasn’t because she was happy to see me struggle, but because she just didn’t understand why it was so hard for her when she wasn’t even living on the mission field. And she thought it was easy for us. You know, us “spiritual folk”…

And it made her feel…normal.

Nope, DYING to yourself isn’t going to be sunshine and roses. I would dare say that if you aren’t feeling the pain of taking up your cross DAILY then there just might be something wrong…

Because death just shouldn’t feel good.

Some days I struggle to lay my life down again because I keep crawling right off of that altar.  And I’m not doing anybody any favors by pretending like that isn’t the ugly truth. Those idols are near and dear to my heart and to unclench my tight fists takes a miracle from the Holy Spirit.

A straight miracle.

And sometimes I grieve the loss.

But do you know what all of that does for me? It makes me run to Him.

Sometimes I even run to Him with idols tightly in my hands.

Why?

Because His burden is light, y’all. (You can take the girl out of Mississippi, but…)

Because….And I am sure of this, that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.

Because the LORD your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you.

Because the One who calls you is faithful, and He will do it.

Because the Father is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch you out of the Father’s hand.

Because His love reaches to the heavens, His faithfulness to the skies.

And because whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.

Because He covers you with his feathers, and under his wings you find refuge.

Because His faithfulness is  your shield and rampart.

And you can say “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”

Say it. Say it out loud with hope.

He began the work. He will complete it. He doesn’t use us because we’re somehow “worthy”. No, He uses us in spite of ourselves.

Its okay to grieve the loss, but grieve with hope that only comes from the One who can trade beauty for ashes.

Because He is faithful.

 

Biggest Announcement Ever

Well, maybe not the biggest…

I think I’m going to start putting that title on all of my posts, except then everyone will think I’m pregnant…and I probably am….

Okay, so big news to share. We (our team) have had a change of plans. I’ll give a little background for those of you who are new here. Our family is moving with another family to the mission field. The original plan was to go to Costa Rica for two years. During our time there, we were going to attend language school and participate in creating a training program for new missionaries going to the field. Our desire, and what we feel the Lord leading our families to do, is start a new work somewhere in Latin America where the Gospel has not taken root. We want to assist national pastors in planting churches where there is a need.

Well…

…two weeks ago we found out that there is a place better suited than Costa Rica to accomplish the training program, so we flipped a coin and decided that we’re moving to Bogota, Colombia. Just kidding about flipping a coin, we drew straws. No really, after much prayer and many conversations with MTW,  we decided that this is a much better fit. In fact we are absolutely thrilled with this change and let me tell you why.

First of all, there is a very reputable language school there that we will attend our first year. Secondly, there is a thriving team there and an established network of churches in Bogota. And if that was not enough, this is my favorite part…national  leaders and pastors are coming to Bogota from all over Latin America asking the team there to pease send missionaries to their countries because they want to duplicate what they are seeing happen in Colombia. God is moving there! Raise your hand if you want to be a part of that! No really, raise your hand!

Okay, for those of you freaking out about the drug cartel, violence, kidnapping and what not, let me speak to that. Colombia is not the place that it was 10 or 15 years ago. The team that is there now was pulled out from 2001 until 2006. The team leader told us that they feel so safe there that his wife walks alone at night. There are so many places here that you wouldn’t feel safe doing that. I think in terms of infectious diseases, not so much gangs and violence, so that was my main concern. I was very happy to hear that Bogota is not a city at high risk for malaria. Whew.

The fact of that matter is, and I know you all will agree with me here, God is in control of my life and your life. He is in control of my children’s lives and my husband’s life. “Which of you by worrying can add one more day to his life?” A hair doesn’t fall from our head without his permission. Any one of us could come down with a disease today or be a victim of a violent crime or a terrible accident. Our trust is in God alone. Our salvation comes from Him. Alone. But I get the concerns. God is teaching me this stuff.

So the last two weeks have been a lot of work. We have had to redo every single brochure, every mailout, packet, letter, card, every video, our website, every single thing said Costa Rica. Josh and Nate made a video (at midnight no less) describing what we are doing and answering questions. Some of you may not know that we have to raise all of our own support. Our plan and desire is that we are able to move to Bogota in August. We will only be able to do that if we have raised 100% of our support. Right now, we are at about 60 or 65%. We are completely dependent on monthly pledges. Please pray that the Lord leads people to give.

I’m going to link the video here. If you don’t care anything about the mission field or what we’re doing and if you have no desire to support us financially or pray for us. You MUST watch this video anyway! The guys recorded it at almost midnight and Josh is talking in his sleep. Seriously, his eyes are CLOSED the entire time. It’s the funniest thing I’ve ever seen. Go watch it. You can thank me later.

I forgot to mention one of the best things that is coming out of all of this. When I used to tell people that we were moving to the mission field, the first question they would ask was, “Where are you going?” then I would tell them “Costa Rica” and  they would get a huge smile on their face and say “Oh how fun!” like I was just going on an extended vacation. And then I  would smack them. Just kidding, I would never do that. Now, when I tell them I’m moving to the mission field and they ask me where I’m going and I say “Colombia” they get this look of intense concern on their face and immediately tell me that they will be praying for me.

Now that’s more like it.