Something that I learned in school over the years of my childhood and early adolescence, was a practice I at first resented but I eventually came to realise is so vital – almost as important as absorbing all the new information: getting into the habit of revising previous lessons every now and then to refresh the memory and make the piece of information easier to recall in future.
I’ve been searching again for confirmation about this decision to travel. From my perspective, I’d had confirmation enough. I was already convinced that it was God telling me to go to Cambodia, and I was a few hours away from paying for plane tickets when one of my parents told me that they hadn’t received the same feeling of confirmation. I sort of halted and the pace of everything changed as now I had to consider the possibility that I in fact hadn’t heard this from God, but perhaps I was chasing after some crazy idea, or perhaps their uneasiness was just a concerned parent’s worry. Those who were with me at our home group last Tuesday night would have remembered that we prayed together with my family as we asked for God to settle our hearts if this was right, or close the door if it wasn’t.
As the days crept forward and airline tickets grew more expensive, I sat impatiently waiting for an answer, for my parents to feel some kind of peace, some kind of deep-down “yes” in their spirit, so that I could book the tickets. I wanted something definite.
Dad, in passing, commented that it would be a real confirmation if someone I knew were to accompany me on my way there. Of course, this would be impossible, as signing up to go on a Global Interaction Short Term trip takes longer than four weeks to fill out all the paperwork for, as well as all the documentation outside of that that I’ve been trawling through for the past few months.
In revisiting old lessons, I’ve had to remember that if God isn’t seeming to respond, it’s either because the timing isn’t right and he wants me to wait, or because I have already been given the answer and I haven’t acted upon it.
If God was expecting me to wait any longer to go, then this ministry in Cambodia would be wrapped up and I would have nowhere to serve (Christian Care For Cambodia’s partnership with Global InterAction finishes up in October, and I hope to be out of everyone’s way before that time so they can focus on tying off loose ends). If I was ever going to go, it would have to be now. So the only alternative, I figured, was that God wanted me to remember what he had already told me in the past. During the week, while I was frantically digging and searching through my old things trying to look for my RTA Driving Test guide (yes, I finally went for, and got, my P1 Licence last Wednesday), I happened to come across an envelope given to me at my Year 12 Graduation, containing a letter from each of my parents, and several small messages from various teachers who had taken my classes over the years. It was my mother’s letter, this time, that was the thing to captivate me.
“The Lord Himself has given you the gift of “choice” and as you already know, it doesn’t really matter what you choose to do, as long as you do it bringing glory to the Lord, your spirit will ALWAYS be content and satisfied.” Thursday, 23rd September 2010
I spent the latter part of 2010 in a state of stress, not about exams, but about having to make the “right” decision about what I was to do with the rest of my life. I spent a great deal of months continuing to fret, well into the new year of 2011. This indecisiveness was exactly the thing that caused me to want to enrol in Plunge Gap Year, as at the time I saw it as a way of putting off the dreaded career decision for another year. What my mother wrote in this letter was a truth that had still taken until many months after my graduation for me to finally understand and accept; God doesn’t “give” me a path, he offers me choices, and I can say “yes” to one path and have a glorious, wonderful adventure, or I can say “yes” to an entirely different path and still have a wonderful life and be loved and blessed by God through wherever that path takes me.
God had made me an offer, and it was my choice whether I wanted to take it. I can’t vouch for whether serving in Cambodia will be a long-term thing. At the moment I look at the possibility with slight distaste, as it means leaving my life here. And I have a really good life, when I look at how many are here to support me, and how fortunate I am to have a family who love me. But for now, I’ve been given a first step, and I had chosen, so far, to say “yes”. When I deliberated over whether it was what God wanted, all I had to do was ask, does it honour and bring glory to God? If the answer was yes – which in this case, as long as I went with the right motivations, it was – then of course I could choose to go. In late 2011 God promised me, in his own words, that he would take me on an adventure. And so far it has been quite a run. I can’t say it’s been great so far, particularly lately, but it has been an adventure, and I am very aware that it’s only the very beginning. This journey overseas is the next step, and on Friday 17th May 2013 I decided for certain that I was going to take it. I put my money where my mouth is, and I paid for my flights all in one go. That evening, when I got home, I found an envelope on the dining room table in my mother’s handwriting.
My darling Eleshia,
Whilst I still have not received the “Whizz Bang” Word from the Lord that I was hoping for, I am a little more at ease about you going.
This morning, I was wandering around Westpoint picking up various bits & pieces when I had (what I thought was) a feeling of peace come over me. I think I’m comfortable enough to say it was a peace about your Cambodia trip…
… So Eleshia, in as much as I can’t wait for you to come back and that I’ll never really be truly settled until such time as you ARE back, I’d also like to say, go in the Name of Jesus, be blessed and be a blessing to others. Be super sensitive to His Word and may it be very much His Word of Truth & Knowledge that will guide and protect your spirit in every step you’ll take…
… May every word you speak be inspired and generated by the Lord’s Spirit of Life Himself. May He be your comfort and strength. My prayer is that he will carry you through the lonely times – that you’ll learn to rely on him in a deeper, richer and more real way.
You are my firstborn present from Jesus. I love you dearly. Having you safely back home is what I would really like.
I’ll be eagerly awaiting your return home from this trip.
Be blessed and bless others in Jesus’ Name.
I could very well end this update here, with the grand news of my mother receiving that feeling of peace (which is a tremendously big deal for a mother, especially for her firstborn daughter), my finally graduating off my Learner’s License (after four lazy years, on the first attempt),and my flights finally being booked and confirmed (I leave on Monday 10th June). However, as I was drafting this post today it became apparent that God wasn’t finished with this story just yet.
Work has been a bit frantic lately as both I and another coworker scramble to get as much work in order as possible before both of us leave to go to different parts of the world for a number of weeks. Her for a holiday in Europe, me to serve in South Asia. As such, our conversations have frequently returned to the subject of preparing for our imminent departures, new luggage bags we’ve purchased, which bank card gives the lowest fees on currency conversions, and exactly what time we need to be at the airport in order to get GST refunds on recently purchased photography equipment – we are both avid enthusiasts. In passing, today, my coworker mentioned that it was exactly three weeks until she left for her holiday – to which I remarked, “Oh, it’s three weeks for me too! We must be leaving on the same day!”
“Oh yes, but my flight leaves in the afternoon.”
“So does mine…”
“Mine leaves at 5:50.”
“… what airline did you book with?”
“Oh, some airline. Not the same one as yours. We’re stopping over in Singapore. Not the airline you booked… We’re on Singapore Airlines.”
“Rita, I think we’re on the same plane!”
“Oh. Are you sure?”
Turns out, my father’s idea of someone accompanying me on my flight out to Singapore wasn’t so impossible that God couldn’t utterly surprise me. My coworker and I had not discussed specific flight plans or dates, but I had picked the 10th of June as a date that was long enough after my 21st birthday that it would allow me with time to clean up and get last minute affairs together before leaving the country. My coworker had booked her flights months in advance. I booked mine last week.
Dad’s prayer was answered.
Thank you, to those who prayed for me and my family in the past week and a half particularly. God seems to love to surprise us with the seemingly impossible, and I have a feeling that this won’t be the only “impossible” thing he shows me in the coming months. May he continue to work in your lives too, and shower you with surprises, big and small, that cause you to remember why he is such a wonderful friend to have.