I think those were my exact feelings… although my words were a little less abrasive that night. You see I had been in the midst of preparing for my very first mission trip. We were headed to South Africa to work with some counselors of a children’s camp, to support and encourage them, to give them a much needed break. Over the past few months we had met as a team and were preparing through prayer and time together to go on this trip, when out of the blue there was a huge shift in plans. Due to an unforeseen issue our trip was being cancelled. I just had to assume that there was a reason God was not allowing this. Maybe it was a safety issue, maybe there was a reason I needed to be home with my husband and girls at that time. In a tiny way I was relieved because I was going to be missing my youngest daughters 7th birthday. Maybe it just wasn’t my time. That Saturday evening as I was making my way up the hall into the sanctuary at church, my dear friend who was on the team as well reached out to give me a hug, and in a very quiet voice he whispered, “We’re going to Iraq.” My reaction was a quick laugh and a “Say what??? Not me!!” to which I just received a smile and a nod. Unbeknownst to me, God had been working behind the scenes and as quickly as our trip to South Africa had fallen apart, a need arose for a small group of missionaries to travel to Sulaymaniyah, Iraq. I went to the follow-up meeting that week where we discussed what was going on and what the needs were. I went home fully #Say What?
expecting my husband to agree with me that I was definitely NOT one of those from the former team to be going on this new trip…but I got just the opposite. He truly felt that I was meant to be there. Now the funny thing is 2 years prior, this opportunity came up for him and he had to decide between Africa and Iraq. I made it very clear that I could handle the Africa trip but there was no way I could go along with him putting himself in any type of danger and putting our family at risk of losing him. I just love Gods sense of humor- He KNEW I would never say yes to Iraq, yet He prepared my heart for South Africa and then when He had me right where He wanted me- He changed locations. I knew there were going to be issues with this trip. Satan isn’t happy when we choose to do something to further Gods kingdom. I struggled for 3 months wondering if I could really follow through with this. It was completely out of my comfort zone. I had well meaning friends and family members questioning my decision…I was told I was too fragile to do a trip like this, that my job here was to raise my three daughters and be here for them. We had all sorts of situations arise at home from an old jaw problem that flared up and required surgery, to a very scary and painful emotional issue with one of our girls. For goodness sake I even got ringworm! If there was ever a time in my life that I understood Job, it was then. My biggest fear was something happening to me and my children being left without a mom and thinking that I cared more about going there than I did them. It was suggested that maybe these things that were happening were signs from God that I wasn’t to do the trip- that I needed to be home and care for my girls. But in the back of my mind I just kept thinking about Abraham and Isaac…was God wanting to see how much I trusted Him? Was I willing to let go of the tight grip I had on my comfortable life and step out in faith? I had always been good at telling others how strong my faith was, but when the time came to show it would I have the strength? I shared my struggles with a close friend and Pastor and what he said to me made my decision crystal clear. He told me to picture my life 30 years from now…as my children looked back on our lives and what we did. Would I want them to look back and say “Yep, Mom had a great opportunity to serve the Lord, but she played it safe and stayed home with us”, or would I want them to say “Remember when Mom stepped out in faith and went to Iraq?”. My desire is to raise godly girls who trust the Lord in all that they do and I know that actions speak so much louder than words. I love the saying that “more is caught than taught”, and I have watched how this trip affected my children. Besides the fact that it was the most amazing thing I have ever done (other than give birth to 3 babies) I LOVE to see how my children are when they talk about my trip. I was asked what I would do when one of them came to me one day and told me she wanted to do a trip like this….my answer? I will support her 110% if it is truly something she has prayed about and feels that God is leading her in that direction. I truly believe that the safest place in the world is when you are in the center of Gods will. What I learned on that trip was what I had been searching for years to find here…but that will have to be for another time. I just want to encourage you~ you can stay safe… you can hang on to the shore, but you will never know what you are capable of until you let go and swim to the other side. When you say “yes” to God, others may not agree, you WILL have struggles, but please remember that it’s not others we are trying to please…it is God and He has amazing plans for us when we take that chance and trust Him enough to say yes.