Here we are, this almost feels surreal. As I write this, there are only nine days until we hop on a plane to the Philippines. I wish I could accurately describe how I’m feeling but, if I’m being honest, I’m not even sure I understand. Lecture Phase has FLOWN by, it feels like yesterday that I showed up to base, timid and uncertain as to what in the world I had signed myself up for. But the past few months have comprised what I can confidently say has been the most special season I have ever experienced; and I mean that wholeheartedly. In the past three months I was challenged week after week, I made friends that quickly became family, I experienced the greatest joys I have known thus far, I walked through intense growing pains with the Lord, I cried and cried and cried (whether that be from laughter, gratefulness, homesickness, wrestling with God, etc.) In the past three months the Lord has completely deconstructed the cracked foundation I had built my life upon. He revealed and uprooted the false beliefs I once held about Him, about myself and about the world around me. The past three months have wrecked me, but IN THE BEST POSSIBLE WAY. As I type this now I have never felt so free, so peaceful, so joyful, so established and confident in my God. In His mercy, the Lord has walked with me to truly help me understand and live in the sweet simplicity of His gospel for, what feels like, the first time. I am so abundantly grateful, in fact tears are streaming down my face as I write this.
I am so ready to go introduce the people of Philippines and Thailand to this God. Actually, “ready” doesn’t even begin to describe it, I am more than ready; and we take off in just NINE DAYS!!! But don’t get me wrong, I am not walking into Outreach with a self-confidence. Actually, it’s exactly the opposite, I am walking into Outreach with confidence because of what I am reminded of in 2 Corinthians 4:7
“But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.”
The jar of clay, that’s ME y’all. The treasure is the gospel. God has put His treasure (the gospel) in jars of clay (weak, frail, feeble, perishing human beings) so when HE does what only He can do the world will look past the jar of clay and see the treasure. When HE heals the sick, when HE raises the dead, when HE casts out demons, HIS name will be glorified and HIS kingdom expanded because HE has chosen to do God-sized miracles through jars of clay. There is no room for boasting in the kingdom. I am confident in what I know my God can and will do.
Just to quickly update you, a few weeks ago, my team and I went to Haleakalā National Park! Let me just say, it was the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. I know I’m just a girl from Ohio who hasn’t traveled much further than Florida, but I believe you would have felt the same way if you were standing there with me. We bundled up in our winter clothes and began driving up at about three o’clock in the afternoon. By the time we made it up to 10,000 ft elevation, the temperature had dropped thirty degrees and felt even colder with wind chill. I won’t lie, I got a little homesick from the cold weather. From the parking lot, we quickly hiked up to the summit and I found a wall to sit on and dangle my feet. As I sat there, I was filled with such adoration and affection for the God who created the view in front of me, the God I have given my life to. I began to reflect on how big He is, how all powerful, how sovereign, how much He doesn’t need me. I am so small compared to the One who spoke the world into existence, who authored all life and knit together creation with such beauty and perfect order. It made me think of Psalm 8:3-5
“When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them? You have made them a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honor.”
God made all of this, and sustains all of this, and it all shouts His glory; yet, He wants me. WHAT IN THE WORLD?? The God of the Universe knows me, and wants my heart, and calls me to Himself. What kind of God is this? Who holds all authority and rightfully deserves all praise, but who desperately desires relationship with us. He boggles my mind every time, this God; and every time I reflect on Him I want to give Him more of my life. Even when I think He already has it all. He shows me things I have yet to give, and with joy I lay it down at His feet; because He is worthy and because He is just. that. good. I want my life to look like the woman in Mark 14:3-9, who came to Jesus and broke her flask of expensive ointment to prepare Him for burial. She brought Jesus her best, her first fruit, and she poured it out (not only that, but broke the jar) for Him knowing that He alone was worthy of it. To those around her, it looked like a waste. They voiced their disapproval and offered their critiques, but Jesus silenced them. He said, “‘ Leave her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a beautiful thing to me.'” That’s what I want my life to look like: a constant, never ending cycle of bringing my life, my plans, my desires, my first fruits, my everything before the Lord and pouring it out at His feet. I will, most likely, encounter opposition, some may even look and call it a waste; but, the only one worthy of my every breath is the One who gave me breath. My life is by Him, to Him and through Him alone so I will pour it out before Him, asking Him to use this jar of clay for something greater.
Right now, that “something greater” looks like cleaning up my room here at YWAM Maui, packing my hiking backpack, and saying some of the hardest goodbyes I will ever say. I cannot explain how grateful I am for my time here this fall, in fact, I cry every time I think about these past three months. But He’s worth it, the “something greater” is worth my goodbye. So I will say goodbye. Again, and again, and again, I will say goodbye if that’s what He asks of me. I am confident that He will use my goodbye for His glory and the expansion of His kingdom. There are only nine days until I get to go and tell the people of the Philippines and Thailand about the God who made them, knows them, wants them, and calls them. The best part is that I’ll get to watch them begin the same cycle of falling in love with, and pouring out their life before this God. The same way I did. I’ll get to watch their freedom increase, their peace increase, their joy increase, I’ll get to watch them experience the fruit of knowing and loving their Creator and Savior. I AM MORE THAN READY. I hope you feel and can share in my excitement. T-minus nine days, y’all.
Soli Deo Gloria.