FINALLY, some communication from Jessica. Time flies when you're insanely busy (now at the International Camporee in Oshkosh). I'll back up a bit just because I don't know where I stopped...
Psalm 51:17, 10. “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and contrite heart…create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”
Campmeeting 2009, teen tent: Are you ready for the truth? I thought I was.
Halfway through the week, one of the pastors in the teen tent shared a message about being broken before God. I’d heard the phrase, but not really put too much thought into it. He stressed that in order to be healed and repaired by God, we must ask and allow Him to “break” us, to tear away the things that come between us. I felt especially compelled to pray for that breaking, and expected at most a bit of uncomfortable soul-searching and newfound sins to repent.
The very next morning, I received a phone message from the student missions chaplain at Andrews University. “Urgent: missions” the tiny yellow post-it declared. I borrowed a friend’s phone and dialed AU up. “Hey Jessica!” the chaplain said amiably. “I’m glad you returned my call so quickly.” Small talk continued for a few moments…the resounding crack that followed seemed to echo endlessly inside my head. “The call for Tanzania still hasn’t shown up. It’s time to move on.” Mmhmm, I answer, fearing words will dislodge the sob I was choking down. “Is it alright if I send your application to the islands?” Sure, I guess. Wherever God leads. But wasn’t He leading when I chose to apply for Tanzania?
I was broken. Joints and pieces seemed to be falling out of socket left and right. Random loose nuts & bolts clattered along behind me. I couldn’t think normally. Why did I ask You to break me? This hurts! I went through the day mechanically, worried that my smiling façade would crack too.
Four weeks later, I was still healing. I’ve realized that I needed God to break me so that I could see how much I needed His help; that though I plan my life out to a T, I can’t make it without God. I’ve been covering up all my weak spots with duct tape, claiming that what I can’t see can’t hurt me. God peeled off the duct tape, sanded my weak spots down, and put in some heavy duty God-glue. Every time I see the scars, I am reminded that this journey is not mine to govern. My sacrifice is “a broken spirit” and a sorry heart. His return on my offering is a new heart, one that is better and stronger than before.
Now what? No Kosrae, no Tanzania? I don’t know. I’ve never known. After knowing the path ahead for my life up to this point, I’m not feeling too comfortable. Check on Tanzania; are they out of the running, too? No? Oh. Ok, you’ll let me sign on. Just get your end of the bargain complete, and we’re set to go.
Isaiah 30:21. “You will hear a voice behind you saying, ‘This is the way. Walk in it.’”
You won’t necessarily see a hand in front of you guiding you, nor see “the light”, nor even hear a voice in front of you. If I start down the wrong path I’ll know it, but I still might stand at the crossroads for a while.
Tick, tick. Time’s running out. When is it time to call it quits on Tanzania? Camp’s ending and school’s beginning…do I postpone SMing until 2010-2011? Do I head back to school? Do I hold out for Tanzania? What is your will, God???
I Thessalonians 5:16-18. This is God’s will for me in Christ Jesus: Be joyful! Keep praying! And always give thanks.
Six weeks later: I receive another phone call. I’ve been emailing and calling all through the week, and the whole camp staff has been praying daily for my situation. I’m heading out to the “Indian Village” for our evening program when I receive a radio message to come to the office. Another urgent phone message…urgent is beginning to develop some negative connotations. I dial up the Global Vessels director, my fingers mechanically dialing the number I’ve dialed so many times before. Oh, hi, Jessica. You see, we have two positions here, and two have been filled. Not enough money for a third…Oh. Ok.
Subconsciously I’ve been preparing for this for many weeks, but it still hits like a sack of bricks. Time to change directions. Time to begin again. Time to postpone a dream. I’ve been broken again. Just when I think I’ve healed myself, I am reminded that I am not the Great Healer. God helped me to realize that in order for His love and joy and mercy to leak out of me, I have to be broken. I can’t do the world any good if I bottle God up and place Him on the shelf. I need to leak; it will require me to return to God daily to fill up again. The cost per gallon of this fuel is a credit: the more I use, the more I gain.
And that was one week ago tonight. Time flies when you’re busy…now I’m at the International Pathfinder Camporee in Oshkosh, and am the freest I’ve been in months. I’m still waiting to deal completely with the current let-down of a change in plans, but thankful for the long-awaited answer. Getting ready for Andrews is the next item on my plate (which seems to have increased in size as the summer progressed). Current plans are to go to school for this year and apply to TZ again next year. Please continue to pray for me as I re-evaluate the direction of my life in school as well.
Thank you all so very much for all of your prayers and thoughts and support. This has been one of the most trying summers of my life, and you have helped me through it. “I thank my God every time I remember you..."