Over the past few months, God has been preparing my heart for something totally new. I have been really longing for geographical stability. Although I am truly grateful for all the traveling I’ve been doing, it can be exhausting to get to know a new place and community every few months.
During the Family Ministry School I did in Hainichen, Germany, God helped me get over the idea of staying home in northern VA. The idea had especially grown on me as I started to think about the fact I already had an established community there and could live comfortably. I was also thinking about earning money, which was especially appealing to me since I was coming close to zero dollars in my bank account!
But then God started teaching me about this thing called procrastination, which I tend to do in life. I procrastinate on what seems to be a difficult challenge, as well as hard decisions, both small and large. And what I learned was that procrastination never fulfilled what I thought it promised, which was the complete avoidance of pain. I learned that I just had to suck things up and go through whatever it was I dreaded, in the correct timing.
Along with other impressions from God, this lesson culminated in me deciding to finally make the move to where I felt God was calling me longer term – to Germany – almost immediately following my graduation from the Family Ministry School (and not in another six months as I had originally planned when I first sensed God calling me to Germany).
God made His will very clear to me, which is pretty cool because it was in response to my fearful plea to Him: Please God, if you really are calling me here, which I think you may be, please make it VERY clear to me that Your purpose is to send me back to Hainichen. Unlike other YWAM bases, there aren’t too many single people my age for me to hang out with, and I realized I had really missed that during my FMS. Plus, it’s a pretty small town, unlike the very exciting and beautiful Amsterdam where I was last year, and it will probably get very cold in the winter. My blood is warm and I prefer Tahiti’s humidity to Europe’s frosty winters.
In His graciousness, He made it so that I had no doubt this was where I was supposed to go, which is actually rare for me. Most times He has called me somewhere, I questioned myself and wondered if I had made the right decision. Now I know that these doubts are from the enemy, and God doesn’t speak to me in that way. For me personally, He speaks to me in peace, and I have learned I can trust that instinctively.
After the FMS, God gifted me with an amazing time back home seeing family and friends. My twin brother, Kevin, had graduated from school and was home for most of the time I was. This was such a special gift from God, having not spent much time with him in years.
And then all the sudden, I found myself needing to learn to let go.
First of all, I love this store called Trader Joe’s. It’s amazing. And I bet many missionaries and/or expatriates miss familiar foods.
Second, I would be selling my car. My car to me represented control, independence, freedom, and a carefree youth (although this is a mere illusion, my youth was never carefree).
Third, I would have to humbly rely on others as I slowly learned the German language and culture/lifestyle. And the thought of not being able to immediately connect with others through language, humor, etc., pained my heart.
Of course I would be missing friends and family and the comfort I found in them as well. I knew I couldn’t expect to connect with Germans in the exact same way I could connect with Americans.
So all of these things accumulated in my heart, and I got so resistant to the idea of finally agreeing with God to make the move. Perhaps sharing this all makes me look like a soiled brat. And like a brat would, I cried out to God one day in my parked car waiting on a friend for lunch.
It’s not that Germany is such a bad place to go to, but I was focusing so much on what I was leaving behind (for what this time is more permanent).
This is why I need God. He reminded me that He has the higher perspective and He knows what lies ahead, and I don’t. I just have to trust Him with the unknown. But that is impossible without putting my faith in Him. Without this, I would settle for what is good but not what is best. This is because I could never dream of on my own what is best for me. I totally need God if I want to live to the fullest, which includes serving Him and His creation in the place that He decides.
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life…”
And as soon as I cried out, and got real honest with all of my “petty” issues with God, that is when I experienced His peace and comfort like no other. It was real. I felt it. And it completely freed me of the pain I felt.
Perhaps this is just a part of what Jesus meant when He says that Christians must become like children:
“I assure you,” He said, “unless you are converted and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
If you really want God to allay your fears, just be honest. No matter how silly or wrong the feeling or thought is. Get it out. It has to. It’s an act of faith that pleases God. If you sugarcoat everything for God, or be too diplomatic and say all the “right” things, I’m pretty sure that’s manipulation, and I’m pretty sure God doesn’t really respond too much to that.
…let us continue to come near with sincere hearts in the full assurance that faith provides, because our hearts have been sprinkled clean from a guilty conscience, and our bodies have been washed with pure water.
God is love, and there is no fear in love, because fear has to do with punishment. God is not going to punish me for having this “silly” thought that letting go of Trader Joe’s is too great a sacrifice (He already knows that thought is there anyway, so there is no use trying to in hide it). He created me and knows that I just have a penchant for personal comfort, perhaps more so than other types of people who are called to places where you really have to “rough it,” like in Africa, Asia, etc.
If you are really struggling with a decision or some kind of fear or negative thinking, just say your real thoughts out loud to Him no matter how silly they seem, even if it is in regards to “smaller” things in life, like doing the dishes.
But this “whining” must be done in desire and in faith that He will give you something new in return for your negative thinking (so you actually have to be willing to let Him change your mind and believe He will). Otherwise, it’s just complaining and makes you and any innocent bystanders worse off.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding,will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
And for the record, now that I am here in Germany, I still have a ton of peace about being here, and my fears of loneliness and discomfort have not come true. I am full of joy as He continues to reveal His unconditional love for me and continual presence that surrounds me at every moment in every situation. Plus, I know the most of the families here, and they really are so friendly!
I am truly excited to grow in new ways and point people to my Jesus. I feel honored to serve those who are giving six months of their lives to do this Discipleship Training School in Hainichen. My life has never been fuller since deciding to follow Him wholeheartedly seven years ago – He is faithful!