Isaiah 55:8-9 (KJV)
8. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.
9. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.
I remember May was quickly coming to an end and I hurriedly, but with a poor attempt, tried to finish up each subject for my junior year. I remember my thoughts kept drifting off to what this summer would hold.
I remember the tense rush of excitement that filled my soul when the thought of camp and being able to reunite with old friends came into view.
I remember lingering in my imagination for a bit longer than I should have been while my schoolwork was left untouched and my mind whirled with ideas and thoughts of all the memories that would be created over the next three months, but mostly I remember praying for God to use this summer in my life as one I’ve never experienced before.
When I prayed for that, I couldn’t have even begun to grasp how vividly God would have answered it and be at work throughout the summer. I had faith that He would be, I just didn’t realize how much so.
I could never describe the depth nor meaning behind God’s perfect plan, because its far greater than my mind can comprehend.
It was by the end of a busy-filled July, that I found out that I was about to step into a whole different life.
From in-between a few moments to words spoken, I felt my heart shatter and watched as my world seemingly fell apart. It seemed as all my plans tumbled to pieces in a matter of seconds.
For a mere moment, it was a dream come true and a nightmare all at once.
My family would now be living in the country I was born in. I would have a ‘normal life.’ I would have friends in a few mile radius. I would be part of an active youth group. etc…
I knew the pros far exceeded the cons, yet that dream of a semi-normal life, that dream that I never really allowed myself to dream of while being a missionary kid turned out to not be as glamorous as I had always imagined it to be. It didn’t bring much comfort nor joy, for that matter.
Because despite how many times I had traveled, moved, experienced change, and lived in diverse cultures one thing had always remained the same to me and that was being a missionary, third cultured kid.
In my seventeen years of life, that had never changed and there was never any threat for it to change, until that one Friday afternoon when I felt like I had lost the person I had always been in only but a mere moment.
I thought and felt like it had slipped right through my fingers. And right in that moment, I struggled immensely.
A war against flesh and spirit was happening right in my own heart.
I remember sitting there, stunned, and with tears pouring down my cheeks, as a question in need of a firm assured answer drifted out in front of me. A choice that I dared not begin to question because deep down in my heart I already knew the answer.
I struggled. I felt vulnerable and weak. I felt completely human and it was humbling in a way that only brought more disappointment upon the version of a put-together, faith-filled person I had wished I was.
I was left with a choice to turn bitter towards God and my parents, to miss out on the blessings this new chapter would bring, and to live in misery or to accept His perfect plan, trust that my parents only want His will for their lives, to serve and be a blessing no matter where in this world God’s placed me, and to live in beautiful joy knowing and believing that I’m exactly where He wants me.
It’s difficult to have a question lingering right in front of you and already knowing the answer in your mind and heart, yet having no desire to believe it. It was for a few, long days that I realized how miserable it was to not trust God, to allow the enemy to taunt me at every moment, to let disappointment fill my life rather than how much sweeter it was to fall on my knees in complete surrender.
It really wasn’t until I was at a youth conference in Cleveland, Ohio that God touched my heart. I heard a powerful message about forgiveness and right in that moment, I recognized the bitterness that began to form deep down in my heart.
I recognized the need to surrender to His will and perfect plan, although it wasn’t until a few weeks later that I surrendered my everything. However, I did realize that surrendering was something that had to be done every single morning when I rise at dawn, but also throughout each day when the enemy swiftly shows up and attempts to take hold of everything I was and am.
I’m learning that it’s in my weakness, that He gives me strength. In my bitterness, that He offers forgiveness. In my struggle, that He hands me peace. In my insecurity, that He gives me security.
I spent this past week at Northwoods Baptist Camp, in Michigan and it was Wednesday night during chapel that I truly realized how much I was holding back from God and decided to resurrender my life to Him, completely.
I realized that simply because God had a different plan than I had imagined, it didn’t necessarily change who I was and who He created me to be all along.
I would always be a missionary kid at heart. I would always have a love for missions, diverse cultures, and different people groups.
It would just be in a different way than it had been before. It would be in a country that I was supposed to call home, but didn’t always view nor feel it as that. I would be in a place, that throughout this season of life, God needed me to be in and as soon as my heart was aligned with that truth I knew that I could find joy in this new chapter of my life.
I would learn to adjust. I would learn to humbly serve and love people who aren’t much different than I.
By the middle of August, when the heat was beating down and my heart held onto summer time ever so tightly, because inwardly I knew the consistent truth that it would be over soon, just like each season has a beginning as well as an end. The fact that summer is ending was becoming more of a reality with each passing day, it was then that I remembered asking God to move on one of the last days of my junior year in May, but also that it wasn’t only about Him working but about me responding, living, serving, and accepting His perfect plan and not my own.
I don’t know if you were able to be encouraged or even resonate with any of these words, but I hope if anything that you could see how much each and every one of us, even me being a missionary kid and growing up in church, needs Jesus’ grace every single day.
His grace is not for the worst of us, but for each of us from the worst to best and I pray that pride would never blind any of us from that truth. I pray that our hearts would always remain tender to His will, even when our hearts feel shattered and our worlds a little broken. There is always healing and the gift of surrendering everything at His precious feet. I hope you can wholeheartedly believe that He knows best even on our worst of days.
Love and blessings,