I can’t keep track of the number of times I’ve heard (or said) the phrase “God opens and closes doors,” but last night the Lord challenged me with a question that rattled my brain a bit:
Why do I limit Him to the confines of a house?
I have kept God in a metaphorical “one bedroom flat” my entire life. The flat has two doors and one small window incase of emergencies, and it has limited His power and His ability to work in my life for years. But, last night while I was lying in bed having a minor panic attack about how my money is running out and how my plans for the future keep getting screwed up, God told me to burn the metaphorical flat down.
So, I did. I set a fire to my expectations, my fears, my worries, and my 5 year plan. I set a fire to people pleasing, to following the crowd, and to stereotyping Christianity. I set a fire to who I thought God was and to who I used to be. Now, I stand out in the open – vulnerable to the world – ready to be used and lead by my Awesome Dad. There’s no turning back now.
It’s a really scary place to be, but when I look back through the bible at all of the other crazy people who decided to follow God in reckless abandonment, I am comforted by the fact that I’m not alone. Abraham almost had to kill his only son after God promised him decedents that would number the stars, Gideon had to fight a battle against over 100,000 men with only 300 soldiers, and Paul was thrown in prison and beat up because of His hope in Jesus. If they can move forward in faith, so can I.
I moved here 8 months ago, and within this past year God has turned my entire world upside down. I came to coach soccer and impact the lives of little kids, but He had something much greater in mind. I’ve worked with the training4changeS after school futsal program to keep kids off the streets and to equip them with life skills and a safe place to play and grow. I’ve partnered with STOP human trafficking South Africa to teach kids about love and purity along with the dangers of sex trafficking and prostitution. I’ve spent time in Drakenstein Prison building relationships, sharing the Word, and playing soccer with the boys from Ambassadors Football. Not to mention, I’ve been given the amazing privilege of playing the sport I love for a team that has become my second family.
Whew. Ok. Fast forward to today.
Well, a lot of things have changed. Firstly, I am no longer coaching, and to be honest, I never saw that coming. However, as more stepping stones are being lit up on my path, I’ve realized that the road looks a bit different than I thought it would. But, it’s a road that is better than anything I could have imagined, and God knows the desires of my heart better than I do, so my only responsibilities are to be willing and available.
I am investing more and more of my time working with the youth, especially girls. God keeps putting me in situations where He uses me to speak and teach about the things I struggle with most, and it is absolutely insane. Purity is a huge area of weakness for me, yet He has me working and speaking at girls conferences and churches and schools about sex and love and lust. Every time I speak, I know that He’s really the One doing the talking, and every time I feel accused and judged by the enemy for not being “good enough,” “pure enough,” or “holy enough,” I am reminded that Jesus loved me even in my darkest times. His power is made perfect in my weakness, and His grace shines brightest in the darkest places of my heart. And that’s enough to make me fall on my knees in worship.
I am going to be spending much more time working alongside STOP human trafficking who’s aim is to save girls who are being sold, abused, and used for sex. I have been given the opportunity to write STOP’s blog posts and to speak in front of the hundreds of kids we reach out to when we present the Valuable to Jesus and the Traffic Proof Prevention programs to them. Also, (and this is a HUGE also) I have been asked to join the STOP team on a week long trip to Uganda next March to help train up the army staff and their wives in human trafficking prevention. We are also going to do an outreach to a refugee camp in the North of Uganda, and I may even get to teach the girls soccer!
To help equip me for this adventure, I am hoping to attend an International Human Trafficking Conference for Africa in October in Simon’s Town, SA. It’s a three day long conference that will teach us about Illegal Migration, Human Smuggling, and Trafficking. I am pretty pumped up about the opportunity!
The more steps I take forward while holding the Lord’s hand, the darker and riskier it gets. But, the beautiful thing is that the tighter I grip my Fathers hand, the softer my heart gets. I am led into places where most people would never dare venture, but I am comforted by the fact that I don’t go there alone.
Alright, now this is where one of my biggest steps of faith comes in. I need your help. As you guys know, I am here in South Africa on 100% donations. I cant work because I am on a charity visa, so I need to be supported by my friends, family, and anyone else with a giving heart. I am planning on coming back to South Africa in January to finish what God has started, so here are practical ways you can help:
Or send a check payable to Shepherd’s Staff by mail to:
Shepherd’s Staff Mission Facilitators
6739 Academy Road NE, Suite 320 Albuquerque,
(Put my account number #6020 in the memo section)
I never would have made it here if it wasn’t for you all. I wouldn’t have had the courage to step out of my comfort zone and move across the world if it wasn’t for the constant love and support that I have received from my family and friends. I am so grateful for the army of loved ones I have standing with me. I want you to be blessed by what God has been doing, because without your financial support, none of it would have been possible. I know that things are about to get hectic, so please keep me and the ministries (especially the STOP team) in prayer! Even if you don’t have the means to support financially, prayer support is something that I will need even more!
I’ll end this letter with these honest words…
The plans I have for my life will most definitely quite possibly come to fruition, but even though I can’t and won’t put my faith in my own plans, I can and will put my faith in a God Who’s love will never fail, Who’s plans are for me to prosper, and Who’s never going to leave my side.
My Heavenly Dad gave me these verses to hold onto in tough and nerve-wracking situations, and I want share them with you. Hopefully they will encourage you as much as they have encouraged me:
“I have called you back from the ends of the earth, saying, ‘You are my servant.’ For I have chosen you and will not throw you away. Don’t be afraid, because I’m with you; don’t be anxious, because I am your God. I keep on strengthening you; I’m truly helping you. I’m surely upholding you with my victorious right hand.”
Love you all.