I wasn't going to go. It would be the first mission trip since we returned from Ecuador almost 4 years ago. I gave myself all kinds of excuses, fearful of all the "what ifs." "What if my child can't handle all the activities? It's too far to drive. I can't do it without Larry."
I decided to seek the Lord anyway. I heard His whisper, "I will be with you Amanda. Wherever you go." " I received a message later that morning from a girl at church who wanted to go as well but needed to ride with someone. The next day I ran into a friend at church that encouraged me to go. It was the little push I needed.
I sing the songs in church on Sunday... for God to "Lead me where my trust is without borders. To take me deeper than my feet could ever wonder." Then the opportunity awaits, it's sitting right in front of me and I almost miss it. I have to really ask myself, "Is it just a song I sing? Do I really want to go deeper, or do I desire to just be comfortable?"
There's also the layer of protecting the heart. Still tender from the ministry we left in Ecuador, even though it's been four years. A part that still hurts. That wonders, "What is my purpose now Lord?" Oh how I desired for the fire to be ignited again inside my heart. The flame that used to blaze seemed to be a small flicker now. I didn't want to just survive anymore. I wanted to live again.
What a joy to teach these precious children. It never fails. When I step out to teach them, He teaches me. It was the story of Peter and how he had denied Jesus three times after Jesus died on the cross. A few days later he's out fishing in a boat with some of the other disciples. They've fished all night and haven't caught a thing. They are tired and hungry and can you imagine how guilty and shameful Peter must have felt?
As the sun comes up, a man shouts from the shore, "Friends, have you not caught any fish?" "No" they replied. "Throw your nets on the other side of the boat," he said. They did and pulled up a net of 153 fish. Peter, then recognizing that it was Jesus, is so excited he jumps out of the boat and he swims to shore as fast as he can (this still brings tears to my eyes).
Jesus is there waiting for them with fish cooking over a fire and bread to eat for breakfast (He meets their needs). Can you imagine?! The excitement and then the pleasure of being in His presence. He then asks Peter, "Do you love me?" Peter says he does. Jesus asks again a little later, and then again for a third time, "Do you love me?" Peter feels hurt that he would ask him again. But we learn that Jesus wasn't trying to make him feel bad. He was calling him out because he had BIGGER plans for him. It was time to get serious. He tells Peter, "If you love me, then follow me and feed my sheep."
Oh my goodness is all I can think to say. The Lord used this story to show me that my ministry was not over just because we left the mission field. In fact, it was just the beginning. He was calling me once again to put my heart out there, to follow Him, to feed His sheep. My heart, oh how He filled it so that it was bubbling over with such joy! No longer was there shame for all I've done to mess things up. Just love. Pure, sweet, never-ending love. The flame that was a dim flicker, just trying to survive was ignited.
Restoration. Renewal. Joy. I sought Him, He answered me. He is so gracious and good, knowing exactly what I need.