My Heart. My Sacrifice.

When you feel a call to full-time ministry/missionary work, the response from others is interesting. People who don’t look to God for direction for their future don’t fully understand it, I don’t think. I love that because it encourages me and the reasons that I want to work in the mission field full time. From those people, I have gotten responses varying from blank stares with no words, to “Why would you want to do that?” I have actually gotten that response more than once, and though I understand that not everyone wants to work with the poor, I never expected someone to question my reasoning. To be honest, it breaks my heart. I wish that we lived in a world that everyone had a desire to be a part of the big picture outside of their own life and help others in need. No matter where you live or what you do for a living, God has called all of us to help those in need. I know what it is like to ignore that call and get caught up in my own little world, but the call remains for us.

While I am in this ‘be still’ period of waiting on God to open the next door for me, I find myself frustrated at times that He doesn’t already have me there working. As I wait , I believe that He is continuing to burn that passion in my heart that He placed there when I was a child to help other people. To be honest, one of my bigger struggles in life has been finding a balance of taking care of others as well as myself. I find it much more natural to help others and ignore myself and my needs, which is not what God asks of us. I’ve recently had some deliverance through prayer with some great people in my church on that specific issue. I think that God is allowing me to have this time to get me where He wants me to be in my walk with Him as well as those personal balances, as He prepares the way for me on this journey.

I think it is natural for us as humans to struggle with feeling insufficient to do His work, and I whole-heartedly relate. I am grasping onto His promises of Grace and Mercy that He freely gives us, and working hard to carry that in my heart through my daily successes as well as my failures. I am making myself and my walk with Him my focus and priority, and listening for Him to speak to me about what’s next.

I have been worshiping in my time alone with Him and I came across this song that is perfect to describe my feelings during this journey. I thought I would share this prayer from my heart and encourage you with it as well. I titled this post, My heart My Sacrifice but what my heart really feels is that this call to help the poor and orphaned is not a sacrifice at all, its a privilege.

No Sacrifice– By Jason Upton

To you I give my life, Not just the parts I want too
To you I sacrifice, These dreams that I hold onto

Because,
Your thoughts are higher than mine
Your words are deeper than mine
Your Love is stronger than mine

This is no Sacrifice, here’s my life.

To you I give the gifts, Your love has given me
How can I hoard the treasure that you designed for free

Because
Your thoughts are higher that mine
Your words are deeper than mine
Your love is stronger than mine

This is no sacrifice, Here’s my life.

To you I give my future, As long as it may last
To you I give my present, to you I give my past

Because
Your thoughts are higher than mine
Your words are deeper than mine
Your Love is stronger than mine

This is no Sacrifice, here’s my life.

This link is to this song and CD. Great encouraging worship music beautifully sung that has been awesome during this journey.
http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/faith/id498020647

Advertisements

My Third and Last Key- My Car

I have never had a nice car nor did I care about having one. I have always had hand me down or cheap cars until a couple years ago. For about 6 years I was driving a 2001 Honda Accord which I loved. The problem with driving a car with 250,000 miles on it is that piece after piece, it begins to break down and is expensive to fix. My entire life I have lived paycheck to paycheck which doesn’t allow me a savings to dig into to fix these parts. I finally decided two years ago when my Honda was not fixable and I had to replace it, that I would lease a car so that my monthly payment and gas were all that I had to worry about. That was the first time I had ever had a beautiful new car, and though I never cared about having one, it was nice. For the first time, when I drove around and went to work, I felt like my hard work showed. For years, I was a retail manager in charge of 20-40 people, most of which drove nicer cars than me. I know a nice car is not important in the big picture, but you can’t help but notice when your employees’ cars are newer than yours. I felt like, when you are leading other people, you want to give them the picture that hard work pays off. That it’s worth all of the years of climbing that ladder and paying your dues. This beautiful new car that I drove with such pride was symbolic for me in a lot of ways.

My car wasn’t a BMW, but to me, it might as well have well been. It was a 2010 Toyota Camry Sports Edition. It was so pretty. My biggest joy was that it was freedom from so much stress. Finances have always been a struggle for me and I’ve carried even more financial stress the past 5 years since my divorce. Every time that something went wrong with my car, that financial stress was magnified.

By the time I moved in with my parents, my car key was the only key left on my chain. I had stopped making my car payment the day I lost my job which was a few weeks before moving. Having no savings, I was unable to pay any of my bills after that point. After living with my parents one week, I finally heard from unemployment and interviewed to see if I was eligible to receive it. I had filled out one claim form already and those of you who have been on unemployment before, know that they ask you if you’ve looked for work. I was honest on my first claim form and stated that due to relocating, I was unable to look for work the first two weeks. The woman on the phone (who clearly very much enjoys her job) proceeded to tell me in her words, “Due to your honesty, you have disqualified yourself from receiving unemployment for those first two weeks”. I personally think there may have been a more tactful way of saying that, but oh well. She then told me that due to an error I made the last time I was on unemployment 3 years ago (I accidentally wrote down the Net amount on a claim form instead of the Gross amount), I was disqualified from 5 weeks on top of that, even though I paid back the balance last year. So because of human error and my honesty, it would be at least 7 weeks with zero income. Good times.

The following day, my Mom saw a man writing a ticket for my car that was parked on the street in front of their house. I ran out to see what was wrong and he pointed out that my registration had expired in April. Somehow the notice never got to me even though it was now almost August. So, that was a $75 ticket on top of registration and fees from being overdue. The following day the notice came in the mail that they had canceled my car insurance due to no payments. And the hits just kept on coming.

I obviously stopped driving my car that day, and in the couple weeks following, I realized that I would never be able to afford the almost $1,500 it would take to get it up to date on payments and such to drive it. I decided that it would be better to voluntarily surrender it to the dealership before they could repossess it. I never thought I would get to this day. God has always provided for me, including money to pay bills, which I took to mean that he doesn’t need me to have that car.  Of course, if He is sending me to another country for ministry I won’t need a car at all, it’s just hard to let go. To let go of that final key; the final thing that I had that physically represented the years of hard work, as well as my freedom as an adult.

God has so much more to show me and for me to learn. I’m enjoying the process of being molded into a new beginning. A new journey; and even without anything that I started with, I’m excited about this journey the most.

My Second Key-My Home

I love my home. I grew up in a household that we worked hard for what we had and we appreciated it. I’ve always tried to make a home that was not only pleasant for myself to live in, but also to invite people too so that we can create memories and relationships together. I love decorating and would probably rather buy something cute from Home Goods for my house than a new outfit any day. The past year I was blessed to live in an adorable apartment in Huntington Beach. This was by far my favorite place that I’ve lived in to date, and I’ll add that I’ve lived in 9 different apartment/houses in the last 9 years. It was right off the 405 freeway but less than 10 minutes from the ocean, complete with a full gym, and gorgeous Pool/Spa areas with bbq’s. My happy place. Though I had great roommates, our lease was coming up mid-July and we were going to go our separate ways because of different life changes. I had a best friend that was planning to relocate to the HB area at that time and live with me. We had been making plans for months to stay living at my complex and share a place and that was exciting. God obviously had different plans and that was one of the hardest things for me. I’m a SoCal beach girl all the way and I would love nothing more than to stay there for the rest of my life. I’m 31 years old, I’ve worked since I was 16, sometimes 3 jobs at a time and I felt I deserved to make a decent living, live in a lovely city by the beach, and enjoy my time. Well, when God puts a call on your life, none of those things matter anymore. I was lucky enough that God started working in my heart long before he took this key from me.

I had a great friend come visit me for an evening of relaxing and bbq-ing by the pool which turned into a therapy session and prayer meeting. I love those nights!! I was voicing to her some of my personal struggles with the call that God had recently renewed in my heart, as I mentioned in my first post. I was really struggling with not feeling worthy of serving, and that I’m not good enough for God to really use. Though I try really hard, I mess up….a.lot.  While I want to follow this call that He has placed on my heart and it’s makes me very excited, I was really struggling with the thought that I would have to start letting go of these things that I have gained over the years and downsize, or possibly give it all up. I have never been a very materialistic person, but I worked really hard to live there and create my life. My lovely friend was not afraid to give me some truth that night by the pool.  She reminded me of the Grace that God freely gives us if we will accept it. She was also very honest in telling me that though she loved to visit me there by the palm trees in the gorgeous 70 degree weather, she looked around and said “this is too easy for you. I’ve known you for over a year and this is a great place for most people but it’s not you. It’s too easy and that doesn’t suite you”. Even though, that sounds harsh, it’s true. I was never created to be in that place, and I’ve always known that. It was nice for a while though. 🙂

When God removed me from my job, I knew that I had no other choice but to move in with my parents in La Crescenta. By the time moving day came, God had done so much in my heart that there was no mourning. No disappointment that my freedom, my evenings of spending time alone just cooking and doing my day to day routine was gone. My master bedroom and bath, perfectly painted, decorated, and organized to my liking, was going to become sleeping on a guest bed in a room with nothing but my clothes. I had given away most of my things before I packed and the things that I kept, I looked for anyone that I could find to bless them with. When the time came and I ‘loaned’ out my bed, TV, my whole kitchen, and other furniture, I told them that my prayer is that I will never need to ask for them back. I am so grateful for my amazing parents that, luckily, I really enjoy and get along great with, for taking me in and being so gracious. It’s crazy to the think that I would literally be on the street without them right now.

God continued to encourage me through people in the church and words/pictures that He gave to them to give me. The Sunday after I lost my job, my pastor’s wife came up after church and said that she sees me purposefully anchoring myself to this foundation and coming out of it is a huge canopy covering me and everything around me and that she just sees LIFE in front of me. That was such an encouraging word.

My life’s verse coming out of this time is 2 Corinthians 12:9 which states “My Grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness”.

On July 15th I said goodbye to Huntington Beach, to my beautiful home, and moved into my parent’s house. I have a small moment of missing it every now and again, but I can honestly say that as a whole, I don’t. He has made me content and I’m feeling blessed by the people that have been there to carry me, with a smile on my face.