Wednesday, January 30, 2013

How He Helped Me Say Yes

I knew He was telling me it was time to go to Africa for Jesus.

I knew when I read her words--"I would love, love, love for you to go with me for two weeks to Uganda next late May/early June."


Africa?! I never wanted to go to Africa, not even to visit. It's too far away, too outside the realm of my experience, too uncomfortable. Africa?! How could I help people in another culture and land I know nothing about? It didn't make any sense. Nothing prepared me for this. And how in the world could I come up with the $4000 I needed to go?!

While I squirmed and tried to find ways around it, God surrounded me with people who saw it clearly. My exercise buddies talked about how exciting it was and all I could say was, "I never said I was going!" but they knew. They knew what God was asking and they knew I'd eventually come to grips with it. A text from a friend concurred--"Just saying you're going and you know it and so do I!!" When I worried about how to come up with the money, my husband said without blinking, "That's not a big deal. God will provide it."

No one gave me an out. No one. I struggled to accept God's plan. I couldn't get away from the nagging thoughts. Fear sat in my gut. My heart pounded.

I hashed it out with God while cooking dinner one night, the vent fan humming, providing the appropriate backdrop to the fog in my head. Really, God? Are You really asking me to do this? I don't know if I can.

I stirred and took deep breaths and kept putting it out there.

This doesn't make any sense. Why me? Why now? What can I possibly contribute? What do I know about this?

My stomach churned and the meat sizzled and tears rested just on the surface.

I really have to do this?

And out of no where, the most comforting thought entered my brain.

I want this for you, Tami. This is my gift.

My mind flooded with images of breathtaking scenery and phrases from emails sent from the women urging me to join them in Uganda . . . I will take you on a safari, and a coffee safari, and show you the source of the Nile. There is something almost spiritual that happens when you see the Nile for the first time and think of its history! . . . I crave the discomfort because I get to see God show up in such BIG ways! . . . I promise you, a mission trip of this kind, will grow your faith exponentially. The privilege I was being given suddenly came into focus.

It IS a gift, one I can't refuse.

The next day I wrote an email telling my friend Kelly I was in, but I couldn't send it. I was still scared. If I did I was committed. I let it sit and took my daughters out to lunch.

We talked about this crazy Uganda idea at lunch and I told them about the email I couldn't send. Immediately Drama Queen said, "Mom, do we need to follow you up to your office and hit send for you?!" Princess Dawdle agreed. Even my kids knew. We came home from lunch, Drama Queen rustled up her dad and the four of us went up to my office. They gathered around me and watched me hit send.

I am in. Committed. Going to Africa for Jesus.

I still get scared sometimes. Lately God's been overwhelming me so much I'm afraid my heart can't take any more goodness. But when it feels scary and hard I remember His clear, comforting words.

I want this for you, Tami. This is my gift.

And somehow that soothes me. It makes me understand this is not a punishment, not a trial, not a test. This is a gift.

I accept, Lord. Thank You.

Photo Credit: floato

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