A little over a year ago after my mom passed away, God highlighted Romans 8:28 out to me. It says:
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
Since then, I have repeatedly gotten to see God work through every situation life has thrown my way. There have been many ups and downs, twists and turns, this past season. Many unexpected, some really hard and challenging, as well as wonderful and exciting things. Nevertheless, throughout each and every one of them God has shown to be faithful. He has allowed me to see just how powerfully he can take any situation and make it into something beautifully and good. Sometimes when I see God do things like this I just cannot help but stand completely wordless and in awe of our great God. I mean how crazy is it that when I am sitting in the midst of something, God is always working it out for my good. Even if I am complaining about it to God in prayer, he never gives up on me. He rather so graciously encourages me and fights for me bringing good out of every situation. He is always with us, going behind and before. As we go through the refining fire, God is there working. As we weather the waves of the storm, God is there working. As we reach joyous mountain top views, God is there working.
I just do not even know how to put my words of amazement of God on paper. How is it that I have been chosen to be part of God’s family. I am such a broken person, yet God still chooses to love and work in every situation in my life, as long as I let him. I cannot even begin to comprehend the love the Father has for myself and every person on this earth. It is so extravagant that it can mend anything into a beautiful whole, no matter how broken. I am nobody special, so I want to encourage you too. If you don’t know the love the Lord has for you, I am telling you God is waiting for you to allow him to pour it out on you in abundance. And start the refining and mending process in your life.
Now that was the longest intro of my life, but I think necessary for the next part of this writing. Like I mentioned earlier, the scripture of Romans 8:28 is a promise I have recently gotten to see God fulfill repeatedly. I feel that during this crazy time in the world that it has been especially true, in a rapid fire way. Some of you may know that I had planned to be moved over to Haiti this past May. Though, COVID came and tossed things up a bit. However, GOD IS STILL MOVING!! For me, God took the situation that COVID brought, and used it to open some pretty crazy doors. Here is a story of one of them.
I just recently returned home from an English Teachers certification program called TESOL. This was a 5 week program held at YWAM Discovery Bay in Port Townsend. How God opened this door is a crazy story that I will save for another time. Though, I will tell you this was no easy school, to be honest at the difficulty I will let you know it was actually five, three credit, university courses held in a five week period. It was so challenging. But, God provided everything I needed all the way from the financial cost (which in itself is a crazy story), to the new friends that God knew I would need. I will be honest, I did not know what God was walking me into with this school. I thought I was just going to learn some English Teaching things that I could use in Haiti. I did not realize that I was walking into, well, as my friend would call it “a refining fire”. I not only got to learn all those english things, but I got to have God work in my heart in a lot of ways. As well as see God give me keys to the next doors to open. You may be wondering, “if this school was so hard then why are you speaking so much of the good God can bring from situations?” To that I will answer that not all situations feel good and the time your in them. But if you stick through it walking hand in hand with Jesus you will have a crazy amazing mountain top view at the end. Which is what I am seeing now as I am reflecting back at the work of God’s hands. And again, I am left wordless and in awe at the greatness of the love of our Savior.
Lord thank you for crazy adventures with you! Thank you for holding the keys to the opening of new doors. Thank you for the promise of Romans 8:28 and that you work all things out for the good of those who love you. Lord thank you even though I am so broken and so undeserving you keep walking with me and making my heart to become more like yours. Jesus I love you and am so ever grateful to be part of your family. Amen.
Over the past few months, I have faced a rollercoaster of health issues after discovering a tumor growing deep in my abdomen, close to my spine. The tumor, when discovered, was thought to be a hematoma from a childhood injury, and the doctors said not to worry about it. After taking another image, the doctors said it may not be a hematoma after all; it might be cancerous. After further imaging, the doctor said it may be coming off of a lymph node and lymphoma cancer became a concern, especially with my mom having died of lymphoma six months earlier.
After more studies, they discovered the tumor was not coming from a lymph node, but was instead coming from a nerve root, which meant the odds were the tumor was benign, as most nerve tumors tend to be. They did further imaging and discovered the tumor was moving into my spine, which was concerning. But two weeks later the final images revealed the tumor was no longer moving into the spine, but was isolated in the main mass. Throughout this process people would attempt to comfort and encourage me, and for that I am grateful. However, one of the comments I would hear as people sought to comfort me, was that God wouldn’t take me home and allow my life to end because He desperately needed me here. Nothing, my friends, could be further from the truth.
Let me be clear, God does not need me, and God does not need you. In our culture today, with the COVID-19 scenario, we are learning about essential and non-essential workers, which will help make this point. In the kingdom of God, there is one essential worker and one essential position: God, and He will hold that position forever. Outside God, there are no essential positions available; everyone else is non-essential. Don’t for a moment think the Creator of the universe, the one who spoke and a hundred trillion stars appeared, needs us. God lacks absolutely nothing, and God can build His kingdom with or without us. Harsh, isn’t it? People are trying to be nice when they say God needs me, but He doesn’t…not one bit. He is perfectly content and capable in His omniscient, omnipotent, triune nature.
Actually, this is quite a blessing. If God needed you and me, it would imply God does stuff for us because He needs us for His work. If God needs us, maybe He just shows love because He’s using us when He can’t get something done Himself. But such a belief is absurd! The limitless, infinitely powerful God does not need you or me, but He does want us, and that’s much better.
God loves you and desires to use you in His kingdom work, but not because He needs you, because He loves you and wants you. When Elijah told God he was the only one left who hadn’t bowed the knee to idols, God quickly informed him of thousands of others, unknown to Elijah, who were still following God. There is no one in the kingdom of God who is irreplaceable except God Himself. Don’t ever, ever look at ministry work or service to God as you meeting a need that God wouldn’t be able to otherwise meet. Ministry is not about you doing God a favor and helping Him accomplish His plans as though without you He would be hopeless. Ministry is about God allowing mankind to take part in His master plan and be part of the fulfilling, purpose-giving work of the Kingdom. I am not essential in God’s kingdom, but I am wanted. May my mindset never be that God needs me, but instead that God has given me an opportunity to serve Him and be part of His divine plan, and may all glory go to Him.
What does Frozen 2 and the past year have in common?
Well... If you are super analytical, a lot. But personally, I'm referring to this:
ok, ok. It's a bit dramatic. But in some ways...fitting
So the past year has been…. trying.
My husband and I began directing our first Discipleship Training School Last September. We had carefully planned for it for over a year, teachers, students, staff, all the things. Then, 2 weeks into the school, the political unrest that Haiti has been in since 2018 reared its ugly head and we had to change many many plans. Most of the teachers couldn’t come, we had to re arrange the whole schedule, and we had to stay on campus for weeks on end.
Fast forward to outreach. It wasn’t what we wanted for our students. Most of the outreach was close to home, we never got the chance to leave Haiti.
Then, In March we were optimistic. After an emotional few months, our family came to the US for a much needed break and to get paperwork in order for the future Port of Peace campus. A week after arriving in the US, most of the country went into quarantine. And then Haiti closed its borders. And then our daughter’s passport renewal got help up. And then, and then, and then.
Seriously, it was like that book series “A Series of Unfortunate Events.”
So what does this have to do with that song from Frozen, you ask? I’m almost there, promise.
During this whole time, I’m not going to lie. I was an emotional mess. Stress, anxiety, frustration, anger, sadness… you name it, I had it. But, I’m only human. With human emotions.
But with each unfortunate event, God gave me the strength have all the emotions, stop and talk to Him, then just do the right next thing. Was it easy? No. Did I probably sit in my emotions a bit longer than I should have? Sometimes. Could I have done it on my own? Oh heck no. The only way I was able to find that next right thing was to seek God and find confirmation in what that “right thing was” And guess what? He completely blessed even single event.
Our DTS was amazing. We were able to love, disciple, and become family with our 12 students. Being in such circumstances brought us closer and helped us to be vulnerable with each other, and God moved powerfully in their lives. Some of the students decided during the school to become our first four staff members!
Yeah, we were hoping to build Homes in both Haiti and Jamaica, but we were able to serve and impact our own home town in profound ways during a difficult time, and show those we impacted the love of God in real tangible ways. We were able to visit Port de Paix in the new year and worked on what would be the template for our future ministry in the town, and made connections that will be so important later on.
When we came to the US, we didn’t exactly realize how much the previous months had tired us out, and we were VERY burnt out. But during the past few months we hav had time to pause, reflect, regroup and were able to start having virtual meetings with our staff. Plus our staff were able to use the time to build skills that will helpful when we return to Haiti. ALSO, during our stay we discovered that my sister was expecting her second baby, and we had the opportunity to welcome our little niece into the world yesterday.
So, even though the circumstances were rough over and over again, being faithful to God and asking Him what that Next Right Thing is allowed the blessing of this looooonnngg season of things being changed and different than we expected, He blessed every moment.
So, maybe next time you feel like you a living out a Series of Unfortunate Events book…
Have the emotions, be human. (Its ok!)
Then pause, talk to God
And do the Next Right Thing