Roller-coasters…

Ever since I can remember, I have hated theme parks. Not just a general distaste…no. I loathe them. I can’t stand the crowds, I don’t like the rides, everything is over-the-top expensive, and I feel like they are an enormous waste of time and money. When I was in high school, my church youth group used to go to Cedar Point every summer…and every summer I would debate going. Was it worth the money to spend time with my fellow high schoolers? Was it worth it to stand in line with them, chatting, and then wait at the end of the ride while they rode it? I typically ended up choosing to go with my friends, and every once in a while, they would convince me to ride one of the smaller roller-coasters…to this day, I’m not sure how they would do it…I regretted the decision almost as soon as we were strapped in! The car would jerk forward and begin to make that sickening click-click-click sound that I despised and I knew what was coming. The ups and downs, the loop-the-loops, the feeling of your stomach trying to claw it’s way out of your throat. HORRIBLE! Every time I got off a ride, I told myself “NEVER AGAIN!”
Little did I know, that my future life would consist of an almost constant roller-coaster ride! I’m sure most of you can relate to the ups and downs of life. You know what it’s like. The times of feeling as though we are soaring through the heights, and the times of feeling like we are crashing into the depths. Sometimes those ups and downs appear several times in one day. Other times, you feel like you have been in the depths for ages. The last months of support raising have been a series of ups and downs…I just experienced this today! The highs of new supporters joining your team, or a church sharing your passion and inviting you to join them and share, or the news of an anonymous donation simply because God was moving someone to bless you…followed quickly by the lows of not being able to connect with a SINGLE pastor despite calling at least 3 dozen churches over the course of a few hours! My fickle heart so quickly forgets the GREAT things God is doing and more easily focuses on the oft discouraging things. I have so much to learn.
God has been teaching me much the last few months. My lifeline as I experience the roller-coaster that is fund-raising has been the knowledge that my God is constant. Unchanging. Faithful. Do you know how overwhelmingly comforting that is? Let that truth wash over you. Stand in awe of it. When we are in the heights, our unchanging God is there. When we fall to the depths, our unchanging God is there. Comfort.

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Left behind…

This adventurous missionary does not like to be the one left behind. I love the excitement of a new journey, even when it includes painful goodbyes at the beginning. What was ahead for this adventurer always helped to dull the pain of leaving loved ones behind. For most of my life, I have been able to be the ‘leaver’. When I was 18, I left for 6 months to South Africa; then I moved to KY for college, another Africa trip, and then another move – back to MI this time. My life always felt like it was moving forward…I was going places…making and reaching goals.

Well, over the course of two weeks, I have been left behind. Twice. Not fun. Close friends of mine moved to Texas for several months and my brother left for Marine boot camp for three months. As I’ve been thinking about being left behind, I realized why I was struggling as much as I was with it. My own life feels static. I feel a little stuck in this ‘fund-raising’ part of my life…adventure and achieving my current goals feels very far away right now. It’s easy to fall into discouragement and long for the day when I get to board a plane for one of the biggest adventures of my life.

Every time this temptation to be discontented with where God has me right now pops up, I remember a conversation I had with a good friend of mine in Kentucky. She helped to remind me that God’s plans are not flawed. In His sovereign plan, He has me in MI, still raising support, when I heart would long to be in South Africa already. It is not a mistake that I have been working on this much longer than I ever anticipated. God is teaching me valuable lessons right now and I must rest and trust in Him and His timing.

This song has been one that has encouraged me and healed much discouragement. I hope it’s a blessing to you all too!