Tuesday, April 24, 2012

An Impossible Calling

The world dreams of progress and power, but disciples meditate on the end, the coming Kingdom, to such heights the world cannot rise.  Bonhoeffer

Photo by: Ashlee Nuest

Three months ago the Lord told me to get up and follow Him. It seemed unreasonable, and even crazy that in my last semester of college the Lord would tell me to leave. Through 3 weeks of intentionally praying about the Lord’s will I felt the Lord speak to me through Jeremiah, 1 Samuel, Esther, and John. I felt a sense of urgency within my heart to move down to Haiti and not wait until August when I graduated. Those around me had a hard time understanding this calling and even began to question whether it was something created in my mind because I wanted to be in Haiti. But the truth is, my flesh didn’t want to go to Haiti. I wanted to sit in the comfort of my classroom. I wanted to take the classes I had registered for and I wanted to graduate in May. I wanted to lead alongside my sister in Christ, Craig, and teach those the Lord had entrusted to me here in Birmingham. I wanted to spend this semester with my sister as she finished up her last moments of high school. I wanted to spend time with my grandparents as they were both very ill. I wanted to worship with the body of Christ at Brook Hills. I wanted to live in the comfort of America, enjoying my last semester of college. My flesh cried out for the things of the world and yet my heart was far away from these things. My heart began to listen to the Lord and slowly began to relinquish any rights I thought I had to make my own decisions. Then one night I had a dream that Jesus and two of the disciples were on a boat in the water and I was at the end of the dock. I looked out to Jesus in all of His glorious Light and felt Him say to me, “come follow me. Come, walk upon the water.” As I awoke from this dream I realized there was no way I could ignore that the Lord was calling me to Haiti. I felt torn between who my flesh wanted to be and the persistent calling of the Lord. With my whole heart I longed to listen to the Lord saying, “come I will make you fishers of men,” and my flesh wanted to hear what everybody else had to say.

“But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.” Gal 5:16

The next part of this blog are excerpts from my journal entries before I moved to Haiti. I did not rewrite all of what the Lord inspired me to write in my journals, but I rewrote what I felt would affirm what the Lord did while I was in Haiti, and show His absolute sovereignty in calling me for these past 3 months.

January 24, 2012 excerpts from journal entries:

Quotes and scripture continuing to convince me of my calling to abandon my own desires and go as you have called me to:

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

He must increase, but I must decrease. John 3:30

Sometimes God’s call makes no sense to man but perfect sense in Light of Eternity. – Kayla Allen ;)

My response and the internal and external struggle of my flesh to let go of the things of this world:

Yes yes yes. And when I am looking to God I do not worry. When I am alone in my room before the throne of God above, I have no doubt in my mind He is calling me to go. It’s when I leave His presence and start thinking about worldly standards that I start questioning my intentions and God’s intentions and whether I would be better used by God if I could just finish this degree. If only I could hold onto the Spirit’s Truth in my heart every second of every day, but alas my flesh brings me down again.

January 25, 2012

Maybe it will inspire others to realize their calling from you. Maybe others will step out in obedience toward the unknown. Or perhaps every body will just think and believe I am crazy. Either way, Father, may your Name be known and your reknown be the ONLY cry of my heart.

“To endure the cross is not a tragedy; it is the suffering which is inseparable from this mortal life, but the suffering which is an essential part of the specifically Christian life.” –Bonhoeffer

My fleshly will/call birthed out of your calling, but cut short by my hand: finish this semester, know all the graphic design stuff, plus have a degree in religion, move to Colorado with Kayla for the summer to work, move to Haiti in August after preparing.

Your will/call: follow me. Follow me. NOW, follow me, and do not look back.

For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin. Romans 14:23

And then the continued affirmation of His calling:

“Do not say I am only youth, for to all to whom I send you, you shall go, and whatever I command you, you shall speak. Do not be afraid of them for I am with you to deliver you, declares the Lord.” Jeremiah 1:5-8

Lord, I simply cannot lay here and pretend that this is a good feeling. I can’t even pretend to be excited about making a final decision. I can’t be excited yet because I am not on the other side of the decision. Lord I have known you have been speaking to me about this but I am scared. Am I holding on to my degree or the societal norms that weigh me down or am I being irrational in feeling you calling me to Haiti now? Lord speak, your servant is listening.

“My beloved, these past 3 weeks you have been restless in my calling you to Haiti and in my calling you, you have become sinful. You have fallen into the idea that my will, will only be perfect if you make a decision. The decision has been made for you, all you have to do is keep walking towards me. I will lead you, I will guide you, just listen to my still, quiet, voice.”

My thoughts upon the surrendering of our desires:

In one second our deepest desires shall be laid in front of the King and there we shall stand Holy and Blameless by the blood of a perfect Savior. And it is at the feet of this Savior, the Holy Son of God where we find perfect peace. As our deeds are laid before our worthy King we will be made aware of all the opportunities our sinful souls have given to God for Him to show His mercy and grace. No single deed may be manifested apart from His sovereignty, and no single thought should escape the captivity of Jesus Christ. May the Lord Jesus Christ reign in our hearts today and forevermore. However may He continue asking us to relinquish our rights. I have no rights. I have nothing I deserve. And I need nothing apart from Jesus Christ.

January 31, 2012

1 Samuel

“But to Hannah he gave, a double portion because he loved her…”

Lord let me find favor in your sight. Lord I am now on the other side of this decision and I praise you! I give you eternal praise. Lord thank you for the peace and assurance that I am to go to Haiti now. I don’t understand everything but I will rest in your eternal promises. Father, as Hannah did, so you called me to, weep and not eat.

Lord my tears, as they fall down my face they weren’t out of a sadness to relinquish my rights, but to obey your will. Your will is good and perfect but it is not easy. It brings me to a place of humility and love. Lord may your peace that surpasses all understanding lead me to a place of contentment in You. There is a temptation for me to think that I may have made the wrong decision. Lord take this thought captive and place it in obedience to your commands. Your commands are good, your commands are meant to place me in a better place in the hand of your will. I cannot come closer into fellowship with you until I have given up all you have asked me to give up, and you Lord have asked me to give up school for now. Father may your Kingdom come and your will be done.

“No, my Lord, I am a woman troubled in Spirit. I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink but I have been pouring out my soul before the Lord. Do not regard your servant as a worthless woman, for all along I have been speaking out of my great anxiety and vexation.” 1 Samuel 1:15-16

Lord in the same sense people may wonder if I have gone crazy, lost my mind, or am confusing your will with satan’s temptations. And Lord I pray they may see and hear my desperation to obey what you have commanded me to do, no matter the cost.

But the cost isn’t great Lord.

The cost is nothing in comparison to the sacrifice of your Son Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior.

Lord grant me the strength to offer my children spiritual and physical, back to you as Hannah did: (this really was written in my journal on January 31, 2012, pretty crazy huh?)

“Oh my Lord! As you live, my Lord, I am the woman who was standing here in your presence, praying to the Lord. For this child, I prayed and the Lord has granted me my petition that I made to Him. Therefore I have lent him to the Lord, as long as he lives, he is lent to the Lord. And he worshipped the Lord there.” 1 Samuel 1:26-28

February 1, 2012 (7 days before leaving)

And surely my prayer is as Hannah’s:
“My heart exults in the Lord; my strength is exalted in the Lord. 1 Samuel 2:1

And Lord yet another reminder of how you spoke to me in Revelation 2:

The lamp of God had not yet gone out… 1 Samuel 3:3

And you Lord called Samuel’s name 4 times and he didn’t know it was you till the 4th time. So Father I have felt in the past 3 weeks as you called my name multiple times and spoke to me clearly and yet I didn’t ever say, “speak for your servant hearts.”

And you have responded saying:

“BEHOLD, I am about to do a thing in Israel at which the two ears of everyone who hears it will tingle.” 3:10-11

And the Lord appeared again at Shiloh, for the Lord revealed himself to Samuel at Shiloh by the word of the Lord. 1 Samuel 3:21

Lord it is as if when you call me to take a step that is directed as part of your expressed/eternal will for my life things fall perfectly into place and new opportunities to be bold present themselves and it isn’t so static.

You have created in me by your grace a rhythm, a drum beating softly but perfectly leading me to tell your story for others to be led into your eternal will.

“The created will must flow into the eternal will, there dissolve itself and come to nought, so that only the eternal will remains, to will, to want, and to be.” –unknown

Then the Lord kindly spoke to me and said, “my daughter, I am calling you to Haiti, and I want you to go now.”

And praise be to God that February 8, 2012 I got on a plane and moved to Haiti. I had no idea what it meant for the Lord to say to me, “and who knows whether you have not come to the Kingdom for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14).

After 4 weeks teaching and discipling Fritzline and spending one on one time with the special needs children at OLTCH in Haiti
Studying Esther with Fritzline.

Hanging out with Catinie.

 on March 5, 2012 a little 10 lb, 16 month old, pneumonia-stricken Wilna came into my hands,

The day Wilna arrived March 5, 2012

and the Lord showed me a completely new world. I experienced for the first time the endless love of a mother, and the unfathomable sovereignty of God. I looked into the eyes of a perfect creation, and I wondered in amazement at the intelligence of our God in creating such a perfect little child. And I was told she would be mine. I was told that this precious little girl was going to be cared for in my arms. And for 6 weeks I witnessed a miracle baby work her way back to health. I saw her begin to talk for the first time, and laugh. I witnessed a smile that brought joy into the hearts of those who held her. I saw her try to stand and try to crawl. She even began to kiss me back as I kissed her sweet lips. She rested upon my chest and there was no greater love in the world that I had experienced then the love of her resting peacefully on me.

I had not known it was possible to love a soul so deeply, and to cherish the very Name upon which that soul was calling. People say there is no greater love on this earth then the love of a mother to a child, and I feel for once, I may now understand this love.

Ella Grace gained 2 lbs. while she was with us, but the entire time I had her she was never completely restored to perfect health until she walked into Heaven’s gates. She was constantly fighting some sort of sickness. She would have a fever, then fight the fever off.  She would have diarrhea, then fight it off, she would eat a lot, then not eat a lot. Her body was so up and down we were never sure what exactly she was fighting. But in between the moments when she was in deep pain she was the most lively happy 17 month old baby. She enjoyed playing games with me on our floor, and her favorite things to play with were the things that weren’t toys: pens, paper, and her headbands. Every time I fed her she would attempt to grab the spoon and feed herself, which just meant she would get her food all over her. Then, whenever she was done eating she would pick up her foot and chew on her toes. She was so flexible!

There was not a moment in the 6 weeks I had with her that I doubted the Lord would heal her. We all knew she would be restored to perfect health we just never dreamed it would be away from us. But now as I continue to read back through the blogs and journal entries I had written, I realize it was not me at all that was writing them. He alone, consumed me from heart all the way to my finger tips, so that nothing was written apart from His sovereignty. He knew. He knows. And He will know. And I rest upon the sovereign grace of God in calling me to abandon my desires, move to Haiti, and become the mother of a beautiful little girl named Ella Grace.

And today, as I fall upon my knees back home in Birmingham, I can’t help but kneel in amazement at how ALIVE the Lord our God is.

People may say to me, “yea that’s all just a coincidence,” but I shall respond in a loving manner, “you fool, LOOK and be AMAZED at what the Lord has done in the lives of His children, this day, and forevermore. BEHOLD His glory and taste the sweetness of a perfect loving Savior. He is good, and His love ENDURES FOREVER.

Other quotes which affected me as I was praying about moving to Haiti:

“Die before you die. There is no chance after.” –C.S. Lewis

“What would happen if we began to live like we serve a God that can make ALL things possible?”  –unknown

“Personal ambition is the enemy of spiritual leadership.” – unknown

“I have seen those in this world who really need and because of that I do not “want.” –Ragamuffin Life

“The more we plead to feel like strangers in this world, the more we are addicted to the praises and worship of our God in all His majesty.”

“Human pride will be brought down, and human arrogance will be humbled. Only the Lord will be exalted on that day of judgment.” Isaiah 2:19

“ For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised.” Heb. 10:36

“Wake up from your drunken stupor, as is right, and don’t go on sinning. For some have no knowledge of God. I say this to your shame.” 1 Cor 15:34

“God is looking for people through whom He can do the impossible what a pity that we plan only the things we can do for ourselves.” – unknown

Once we come to understand that natural moral excellence opposes or counteracts surrender to God we bring our soul into the center of its greatest battle. It is the good that opposes the best. The higher up the scale of moral excellence a person goes, the more intense the opposition to Jesus Christ. Those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh. The cost to your natural life is not just one or two things it is EVEYTHING. Jesus said, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself” (Matthew 16:24) That is he must deny his right to himself, and he must realize who Jesus Christ is before he will bring himself to do it. Beware of refusing to go to the funeral of your own independence. The natural life is not spiritual and it can be made spiritual only through sacrifice. –Oswald Chambers

Ella Grace's Life in pictures

The day baby Wilna arrived at OlTCH March 5, 2012.

She always took the opportunity to sleep on me when given the chance.

And again, sleepy baby in mommy's arms.

Can you tell she wanted me to pick her up?

Irresistible smile

Annabel (4 months) Ella Grace (16 months)

So peaceful

Beautiful child.

She knew Whose hands she was in.

But it took her a while to start to enjoy baths :)

Her first full meal.

Hanging out on mommy's tummy after having a bath, a priceless look.

Practicing standing for the first time, building some muscles.

Her first time swinging, wasn't sure she liked it.

Her strawberry outfit, one of my favorites :)

Eating mashed potatoes with mommy.

Then she started enjoying bath time so I started putting toys in her bath with her.

Happy baby.