With tears flowing down my face and my vision blurred I positioned myself before my computer screen while my fingers cascaded up and down the keyboard full of anger and discontent and this is what I wrote:
“God you have never steered me wrong, but I feel like you have forgotten about me and that you no longer care about the things that I care about. Have I done something wrong? Have I been disobedient? Did I not reflect your light enough to those who are in darkness? I don’t understand it, why am I hurting so much? I don’t think you hear me. I feel like I’m yelling and consequently, you refuse to lend me your ear. I need your help! I can’t do this on my own, but I need you to acknowledge not only how I feel, but also my desires. I need a sense of hope, my relationship, and love for you, really depend on it right now. I don’t know what to do anymore guide me, Papa I need you. Reveal something to me that is real and beyond my current reality, if not for me, for the lives that you are sending me to minister to. I need you Abba. I need you right now. Please show up.”
On January 22nd, 2018 my heart and everything I felt had been given completely to the Father and He stayed silent. The rock and the hard place that I found myself wedged between was uncomfortable, squeezing the little life I had left out of me. My heart and my desires were in, what I thought to be the right place, however, things weren’t working out the way that I had foreseen and time was working against me with less than a week before my flight to Swaziland. I subsequently lacked hope, filled with anger towards God and lacked the desire to continue to do the work that He clearly called me to do.
Looking back today it is apparent why the Lord stayed quiet and choose not to answer me. God needed me to experience loss in order to gain, which was unforeseeable to due to the rose-colored glasses I choose to wear that only showed me my preferred and distorted view of reality. Typically when the New Year rings in I feel encouraged, ready to conquer the world and remove anything that tries to stand in my way, however, that was not true for this year. The chaos and destruction, that I allowed in my life, swirled around me, kept me distracted and hindered my daily walk with the Father.
God stripped me of things I believed I needed, friends, desires, materialism all before I began my journey to Swaziland for my 2nd year of ministry. I walked onto the airplane fragmented, sobbing, damaged, seeking the closest security gate in order to escape back home to where it’s congenial, accustomary, guarded, and where I have the ability to compromise if that’s what I choose. For many years I’ve laid at the throne of grace a number of possessions that I’ve sensed God is requiring me to leave behind. After being stripped of so much there wasn’t much left for Him to take, but that wasn’t enough for Him. No, God wanted me to lay down everything that constructed my identity and purpose that was not found in only Him. Consequently, when these things were exposed and removed, I lacked purpose with no true north and was headed back to serve Hosea’s Heart feeling like a stranger in my own skin. How do I minister to young girls who have experienced trauma and are attempting to navigate through life, when inadequacy was so apparent in my life? “You have to be kidding me, Lord,” I cried out.
Three months later, it is safe to say that I’ve found myself on a roller coaster ride of emotions, feelings, and experience. God taught me that purpose does not come with the absence of chaos, hardship, or burdens. He has called me to serve the people of Swaziland out of a place of pain, frustration, and regret not out of disservice to me, but in order for me relate to his people and share in the hurt that they feel.
In Swaziland, I have the opportunity of sharing my stories of shame, defeat, anger, and fear with other people and respond with “me too.” I too want to give up, I too want to stop living this Christ-like lifestyle, I too doubt the existence of God (no matter how many times He shows up in my life), I too wrestle with sexual immorality and lustful thoughts, I too am angry that He allowed people to be stripped out of my life, I too don’t know what I’m doing or how to fulfill my purpose.
Two small worlds, that to someone else they can seem larger than life. The year has been difficult and to be honest more often than not I find myself sitting in a pit of my own despair, but God has been faithful. He has never left me or forsaken me. His mercies are new every morning and He speaks life over me in the midst of all the chaos and struggle. I don’t always incline my ear to hear, but when I do I know clearly that God is fighting for me, even when he takes the things that I’ve allowed to define me away. He’s leading me constantly towards a purpose unknown to me. Although refinement is painful, it is needed in order for one to fully achieve the destiny placed before them.
If you walk away (figuratively speaking of course) with anything from this post allow it to be these two things:
1. Even in the silence and the waiting God is still there. He knows and cares about your every need and desire although He may lack audible conversation with you He is still present.
2. Where He is taking you might cost you everything: your identity, your income, your friends, and family, however, you need to be willing to give it up. Remeber He will never force you to choose His plan.
Today I encourage you to continue or begin to risk it all, no matter how much is at stake and how much you might lose. It will be one of the hardest but most fulfilling decisions you’ve ever made, I promise you that. Choose to liberate yourself today so that can walk in freedom.