Several months before I went to Zimbabwe, I started praying daily that God would use my life for his purpose. For something, anything to happen to me that didn’t end in heartache.
The Sunday before I heard from World Vision, Sam and I were at church. We hadn’t gone in a while and of course the Sunday we decided to was missionary day. So I sat and listened to couple after couple talk about their lives in the mission field, giving it all up for Christ and changing their world.
It was August. Our second adoption had fallen through with over 2k paid out in living expenses we’d never see again. Things were not good, our money strained, Kaden’s first birthday had passed, the one year of his death was coming up…
I sat there, so envious and confused. My heart just ached to do what they were doing. I was so angry at God that I bowed my head slightly and let my thoughts roll as we all prayed:
Not everyone has the desire to adopt. Not everyone wants to go to a foreign country and serve. I’m not asking for fame or fortune but it would be really, really great if something that you’ve placed on my heart since I was a little girl actually worked out for me. Why bother making me with all these passions if you won’t do anything? You take adoption away, you take my babies away, my life is such a mess. What are you doing? DO SOMETHING.
And then we all stood up and filed out.
That following Friday evening I sat down to check my email after Bella was in bed and saw a message from World Vision. I wrote about it in detail here, but in short – one of their staff had put together a team headed to Zimbabwe in a few months for a Vision Trip and after reading my story, wondered if I might want to go too? We would be learning about infant and maternal health there.
I cried so hard I could barely tell Sam what had just happened.
After that, things didn’t go smooth. My passport had just expired and WV needed it in 3 weeks to get me into their system. Sam couldn’t take the nearly 2 weeks off work I’d need to go, and my mom wasn’t sure if she’d be able to come out. I tossed around the idea of going to them with Bella, but knew that jet lag would KILL me on the way back – trying to fly or drive home from Colorado to Texas after. (So glad I didn’t try to do that.)
I couldn’t find a doctor to give me the right vaccinations, I couldn’t remember what I’d already had when I went to India – the list went on and on. Several times I thought, “Maybe I just shouldn’t go, because if I should – wouldn’t this be smoother?”
So when Sam and my mom took me to the airport to go, I hugged them both in gratitude and disbelief that I was really going. Then I cried so hard about Bella, but I knew she and my mom were going to have so much fun (and they did). I was really and truly going across the world to meet people I’d never even spoken to and peek into lives that were about to blow mine away.
Talk about surreal.
About a day later when I stepped off Air Emirates into Dubai, and headed to where my WV team was waiting, I felt like I’d stepped into a book of my life instead of being in it. It was hard to wrap my head around.
“I’m here. I’m in Dubai. I’m heading to Africa tomorrow. I am on ANOTHER CONTINENT.”
Things happened there that I haven’t shared about here yet. Giving my testimony under a huge tree to three churches that joined together to meet all of us.
Having women share their stories of loss, heartache, and healing with me.
Having a man come up after I talked, wanting to tell me the verses God put on his heart to give me while he listened. I can barely type that without crying. He was so eager to encourage me in my faith about God’s plan, which is something I didn’t experience from men when I went to India, so I didn’t expect any different in Zimbabwe.
My whole life changed in those days. It didn’t feel like it at first; I came back searching for a meaning, a reason that I’d gone. On fire to help and with my giant mess waiting for me at home. I’ve had to slowly weave Zimbabwe into my life here, just as I did with India all those years ago.
Slowly, slowly God is preparing me for whatever lies ahead. I look at our life now, and oh there’s so much many of you don’t know that I can’t share about at the moment. We’ve just had so much heartache – sometimes I want a break from it even on here. But even when it seems impossible, when my life seems like it just can’t possibly be of any use to anyone, I remember Moses – who had to leave all the power behind for God to use him. Gideon – a whiny little mess who continually tested God’s orders. Jonah – who ran away. Paul – a murdered of Christians. Peter – afraid to tell the truth. Mary – in a rather compromising situation.
I’m not them by any means, but I am human and I have faith that God can use my life – mess and all – to carry out His will in ways that He might never be able to – should I have it all together. I can’t think of one story where someone said, “Then my life was so perfect that I felt it was the right time for God to use me. Thank goodness I waited till I was sinless and had several million in the bank for God to work with.”
Always a mess. Just faithful. Still praying for God to continue to use me, here at home and wherever else He may lead.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.