Truth be told, I've been struggling. Struggling in a way that I've never struggled before. You see, when you are NOT walking with Him, life is easy. It's easy to not care. To not have a purpose. To live life as if it's all about you. But it's not. We were created AND commanded to share the Gospel with all nations. How, you ask, can that be hard? Simple. Have you ever prayed and prayed and prayed, only to be met with obstacle after obstacle? No? Well, I hate to be the bearer of bad news but the closer you walk with Him, the further away from Satan you get. And make no mistake about it, Satan HATES this. He hates to see us rising above everything he has thrown at us in a futile attempt to make us turn from the ONLY One who can save us. So yeah, Satan has been trying to keep up with me for some time.
If you have been following me on Facebook, you already know that I have been in contact with my church about one of the 20+ short term (one week) mission trips that are available this year. The only problem is that the Summer ones are full and the Fall ones are filling up quickly. All I really need to do is decide on one and pay the $100 deposit to secure my spot. So what's the big deal? Sounds simple enough, right? Well, the ones available a few weeks ago were Thailand, India, Cuba, Sudan, Indonesia, Guatemala, or Romania. Since I feel that the compass in my heart points to Africa for a number of reasons, I immediately started praying about the Sudan trip. After much fasting and prayer, I emailed Brooke in the Global Disciple-Making department at church. For safety reasons, the trip required a 1:1 male/female ratio and the female portion was already filled. Bummer. She emailed me back and told me to contact Sheryl, another member of our faith family who, along with her husband, have started a ministry and had already let her know that I would be contacting her. I emailed Sheryl and found out that they had a trip available to UGANDA but would need the money for the ticket by June 1st. Uganda?!?! Seriously?? I was literally moved to tears when I got the email. The same Uganda through which my heart was first stirred for the plight of the orphan? The same Uganda that forever changed my life? It was. It took me the whole next day to catch my breath. Think I'm exaggerating? You have no idea. So, I checked the website to find that the trip she was talking about would be $4000 for 2 weeks. 2 weeks? I would do ANYTHING for one week, so 2 weeks really got my heart to fluttering :) But not so fast. I only had $1500 and it took me 4 months to get that much. So, I caught my breath and took a break from Facebook so I could fast and pray about Uganda.
Satan was quickly catching up. He met me several times, right around that "it's never going to happen" corner, right down the "I'll never get enough money for this trip" hall, in the "I don't have the kind of friends it takes to help me" room. He was there the whole time. But my Savior is bigger! Uganda was on my heart in a whole new way. Almost a refreshing spin on the trip itself. I felt that I wasn't trusting God enough to provide and that broke my heart. My heart burned every time I thought about it. What was even worse is that after I decided that Uganda just wasn't His will, I got back on Facebook. I kept noticing a pattern in my news feed. My adoption/orphan advocate friends that are also fundraising were posting their triumphs and showing how God was raising their money for them. They would ask one day and within a couple days, meet AND exceed their goal. Where did their help come from? Where were my friends that were willing to support me? I couldn't give up on Uganda. That just wasn't like me. I realized then that it would be a full blown fight for Uganda but it would be His fight. I would just be His warrior :)
I decided that if He wanted me there, He would make it happen. So Saturday, I posted my note on Facebook again and let Him do the rest. Yesterday marked my 5 month anniversary since I lost my life and found my soul. I shared my story again and this time, God showed up and showed out! Do you hear me? Yesterday was a good day!! Last night I was talking to my friend Tymm, who along with his awesome wife Laura, started Brighton Their World in honor of their son, Brighton Asher, who passed away at his orphanage in Ethiopia before they could get there to bring him home. He is now resting peacefully in our Father's arms. I was telling him about how I wanted to do some sort of drive to collect formula to take with me wherever He sends me. God spoke right to me through Tymm. It's true. Tymm told me that they would be THRILLED to send formula with me!! After all, that's what they do! I honestly about fell out of my chair! On a daily basis, I am in awe of who God puts in my path to help me. But He didn't stop there. While I was chatting with Tymm, another friend-that-I've-never-met popped up on chat and said she really wanted to talk with me about Uganda. Turns out she had been praying about giving me a donation and cheerfully said she would send me the $700 needed to bridge the gap between what I had in savings and what I needed to make the first down payment for the trip (the $2250 plane ticket). The only problem was that I wasn't sure when Sheryl would buy the tickets. I contacted her last night and they bought the tickets yesterday. She took a team to Guatemala earlier this week (read more about their trip on their blog) and will check to see if they can get me a ticket when she gets back on Mon or Tue. Sounds like everything is falling into place . . . or am I just getting my hopes up to be let down again?
I went to bed on cloud nine and guess who came to visit this afternoon! Yep, Satan's there when you least expect it. Rewind a little bit to yesterday. The money needed to close out my bill with my apartment was due (I am "radically living in my sister's basement" to save money) and I had her go by and finalize the move yesterday for me since I don't have a car. So, when Derrick got home from work today, I went to the bank to transfer the money from my checking acct to hers to get her paid back. Small problem. Well, a problem that left me sobbing as I drove away. I had $1400 in my savings acct (what I passionately call my "Africa Fund" - even to the teller) and what I thought to be $900 in my checking acct. But NOOOOO, the lady tells me that I have $275 in checking. How could this be? I was in TOTAL SHOCK! I sat there in the drive-thru with a car behind me trying to rationalize how I could have been so wrong. She finally opted to print me a detailed report and I finally mustered up the nerve to let the words "just take it from my Africa Fund" find their way across my lips. I drove away and pulled into the parking lot where Melinda's office is and I absolutely lost it. I called her and she could tell that I was crying and all I could say was just...come...out...side. She did and I got the tears to stop long enough to discover that although I'm making $300/wk and THINK I'm not spending any of it, I am. I had to buy a storage unit this week ($130), pay a credit card bill ($80), pay my power bill ($100), pay my phone bill ($80) . . . all the while completely forgetting that I didn't get paid my unemployment 2 weeks ago. So with all of that taken into consideration, it's a wonder I even had $275 in my checking account.
I made the drive home from her office feeling like a complete and utter failure. Satan was right there in the passenger seat. He kept telling me that this whole mission trip business wasn't for me. He told me that I'd already failed God and that everyone would be so upset that I spent my coveted "mission trip money" to keep myself from getting my accounts referred to an attorney for collections. He told me that I just needed to give up and find a real job and get my old life back. He told me things that I can't bear to repeat. The 7 mile drive home seemed like an eternity. I tried to give it to God but I felt like even HE didn't want it. I will get $300 tomorrow from my unemployment benefits and the $700 from the angel I've never met but that still leaves me $400 short of what I THOUGHT I had. This weekend I am having a yard sale both Saturday AND Sunday but what if I don't get the money? I will also have another $300 next week from unemployment but time is not on my side. So, you see, Satan will always find a way to try to bring you down but our God is BIGGER. It's still His fight. I'm still His warrior. I'm just waiting to see what He's up to. Either way, it's all for His Glory.