Please welcome Amy to Joy in the Small Things. Her story will move you, as it moved me. So thankful for Amy in my life.
Love. When I’m told to think of love, I think about warm feelings and a tender emotion. Such as the feeling when a beautiful relationship takes place. But I have found that love is so much more. It is a complicated word that has a ton of different definitions, but to me it is a command, an action and a reason, a very conscious decision. We are commanded to love our neighbors and love our God. When you decide to love someone, whether you feel like it or not, you do the action of loving them. The reason that we care for our friends, family, and the ones we do not particularly like is love. To show God’s love.
The reason that I have decided to pack my bags and be obedient is love. If we love God and claim to be a Christian, than we need to be ready to obey what he says. Somewhere around last year, I felt the country of Africa being laid on my heart. I had no idea why and so partly ignored it. But every time that I pushed it away, it came back stronger. There was a love growing in my heart for a country that I have never visited and for people that I have never met.
I still had no idea what to do with this longing, but was hoping that I wasn’t being asked to spend an extended amount of time there. The thought of leaving the comforts of America wasn’t something that I wanted to think about. Since a young age I knew I wanted to be a teacher, have a nice little normal family, and live in a nice house. But God started taking these dreams away from me.
Mysteriously, I started feeling uncomfortable by my life. I knew God was breaking me of the desire for a comfortable “me” centered life. I felt him gently asking me to give up the thoughts and dreams that I had created and to let him take over. When the pen of our lives is in our hands, our life no longer is a beautiful offering to God. And as I handed over to him my life, I changed. I was broken of the need for comfort. Often times, because we become so comfortable in our lives, we lose the need to trust God. For many Americans everything that we need and want is at our finger tips.
At some point, I knew that this was no short term trip God was asking me to do. It wasn’t going to be a quick little drop in and visit. It was long term. I was being asked to go and live in the need. To transform wherever I was told to go with his love. To show love, where love is uncommon. I was being asked to trust. With blind faith, trust that God would take care of me. That all of this was for my good. I responded with blind faith’s answer, “Yes.”
I do worry, though. What if some days I have to go hungry? What if I never meet a man to marry? What if someone tries to kill me? Or what if someone tried to kill my children? What if a man tries to take advantage of me? What if no one takes me seriously because I am white? And though these are all realities that could happen, God gives me peace, once I decide to give him my worries. Peace that makes me remember that everything is for my good, that he will never leave me or forget about me.
Today I long for Africa, for the people, and the country. I long to grow spiritually every single day. I long to be stretched and emotionally exhausted every day. To love the people who have never experienced real love before. I know that God is not asking me to leave for good yet, but I felt him telling me to go and travel there. Experience it, touch it, talk to the people, and hold the children.
I began looking for trips, but wasn’t finding anything that wasn’t extremely structured. Then, an opportunity showed up to take a 3 week trip to Swaziland, Africa. Nine days would be spent with a team, and then we would spend an additional twelve days as a family with a missionary. We decided this was perfect for us, and decided to sign up. I was/am beyond excited. We will be leaving on June 12th and returning July 6th. Just thinking about stepping off the plane in this country makes my heart beat faster.