by - November 18, 2012

I finished my last blog entry shortly before going to bed on the Friday night before the Saturday training. I had reported that I felt totally acclimated to the Indian time zone, and then only got 3 hours of sleep. I am not an operates-well-on-little-sleep kind of girl, but I was wide awake so I decided to get up, get coffee, and get the day started at 3:30 am.

Through this blog, I don’t keep secrets very well. My desire is to be authentic and transparent, which is constantly a direct assault to my pride. My pride automatically wants to hide my insecurities and failures in an effort to appear righteous, content and sanctified. I don’t want to share with people that I’m prideful, awkward, feeling alone, or afraid. A couple of times, I have hit send and then sat back and cried, because frankly sometimes I wish I were telling a different story. How’s that for righteous and cool? But, hypocrisy seems to be a word that gets thrown at us by those who are looking to see what a relationship with Jesus is about. So I don’t know what God is doing with me, but I know what he is doing in me, and I know He is calling me to share it and be transparent with my weaknesses, so that His strength is apparent. It is through the humanity of the Faithful in the scriptures, through their transgressions and frailty that I can most identify with, and then seeing how God chose them, used them in his plan, and loved them in spite of their sin that most encourages me. Even though...God still… I can try to overcompensate for my pride, awkwardness, loneliness or fear and run from anything that may trigger those struggles, or run to anything that would alleviate them, but instead I take them to Christ, my living Savior. Lay them at His feet and allow Him to write my story. I do that by saying yes. I will not say no to what He brings to me out of fear of my tendency toward pride or or of the unknown, they will not lord my life. I will just keep saying "Yes, Lord." You lead. I follow and will tell the story You give me. Here it is…the new verse again: Hebrews 12:1-2. Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (New American Standard Bible)

(We rejoin our story in Hyderabad, India) Thanks to Starbucks VIA, and bottled water, I still enjoyed a great cup of coffee each morning. Even though I had outlines from the two International Trainers from our ministry, and I have worked here for almost 2 years learning the heart of this ministry, I kept saying “I have no context for how this should go, I’ve never even seen anyone present this!” I also said several times, “this is maybe the first time I’ve truly been able to understand that I have nothing in my own power to give. I can’t try hard enough, or work long enough, to feel like I know what I’m doing.” It’s like having the blessing of being able to see the truth; to know my weakness, and experience His power. I do nothing in my own power apart from the sovereignty and equipping of God, but when the task is in our own context, sometimes it’s easier to feel confident in our abilities, as if we created our abilities. We pray that He bless us, and give us wisdom, but still somehow feel like the burden and outcome is on our shoulders. My freak out moments before the trip were evidence of that, and everyone kept reassuring me He would do it. Handing 1 Thessalonians 5: 24 to me, as I have handed to them…but there was still a “yes, but” down in my gut that surely I was failing somehow. It can’t be so easy as to just go, and He will dot it. But never have I prayed so hard that it would be just that.  That I would just go and HE would DO it. India has taught me to pray "YOU DO IT!"  And know that I can trust that He will. And He did. Every mile, every moment.  The evidence of His faithfulness isn't that I arrived home safely, or even that the trainings went well.  Sometimes we won't, and sometimes they don't.  God's Presence in spite of all circumstances is the evidence of His faithfulness. He never leaves, nor forsakes us. The evidence is the peace and joy and the guidance He gives us for the way we should go, right when we need it.  His Presence was with me throughout this trip.   As soon as we lifted off from DFW we were at the end of my percieved abilities and strength, and I was able to see Him more clearly.  In my heart there is an altar of rememberance built out of stone in India. 

Going alone was a blessing I wouldn’t trade for anything now. I had the gift of relying on Him totally for peace and security. His word for encouragement, like the morning when I was to share about our ministry before the church of a much larger congregation than I anticipated when I first agreed to speak. In Jesus Calling for that morning one verse it pointed to was Deuteronomy 33:25 “…and as your days, so shall your strength be.” He would give me the strength and ability to do whatever he calls me to do. Moses didn’t part the red sea, God did. But Moses had to say yes and show up. Through His still small voice He guided me what to say. I read His word, Philippians 4:8-9 as an example of practical biblical counsel and then encouraged them to connect with their cell group leaders who were all being given a copy by their Senior Pastor who was introduced to Hope For The Heart the week before by the Rev. Dr. David. God knows our heart, hears us when we pray, and equips us when He calls.

We held a luncheon on Monday and introduced 30 Pastors to the Counseling Through Your Bible Handbook. Helping them understand that it can be used as a resource for them, and as an equipping tool for their leaders so they may feel confident in the encouragement and guidance they are providing their congregation. I think of it as being Counseling when used in response to an issue that is occurring, but it is discipleship at its core. When used proactively for discipleship, there is less likelihood it will have to be used as a reactive counseling tool. Either way, learning how to apply God’s word on the everyday struggles we face = freedom. And if that is where our freedom comes from then…John 8:36. There is a widget on the right side of my blog with links to brochures from Hope For The Heart on some of these daily struggles. Forgiveness, Anger, Grief...maybe those would be helpful for something you might be going through.

God made it all be what He wanted it to be. Which is probably why He tells us not to worry, I certainly wasted some time ahead of this trip worrying about it. Whatever He wants me to do, whatever He wants you to do, we don’t have to give him a list of all the reasons why not, and how come, and what for’s that we can’t or shouldn’t do it. When we just say yes, He WILL do it. He has already been working in us, preparing us, so He may work through us (Philippians 2:13). Don’t miss out on it. It’s kind of awesome. And awesome happens wherever God has us. We just have to focus on Him, not on our circumstances. He has allowed me some awesome in India to share with you, graciously outside of my normal circumstances so I can truly focus on Him and share what He's done.  But, the story isn’t about India…The story is about God.  Our living God.

Even though…God still…

Pride. He shows me the truth, forgave me, humbles me, comforts me, and sets me free so I can be transparent for Him.

Alone. I never was.

Afraid. His love cast it out.

Awkward. Some things are not going to change. Embrace it.

Begin practicing saying yes to Him, and see where it takes you, your marriage, your family, your home, your job, your friendships. Lay down whatever encumbers you, say yes to whatever He begins (or has been) calling you to, then run like Phoebe in Central Park. Anyone get that? Do it for the Joy set before you.

Thank you to everyone who prayed and supported this trip.  You went with me.

Here are some pictures of our time in India:

And now for a few pictures of Awesome Angry Man:

Clearly Awesome. Even when blurry.  I think my camera couldn't handle the truth.
 The answer is yes.

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