Just three days until our mission trip to the Dominican Republic with Joni and Friends ministries begins! I am filled with anticipation, as I have been for several weeks now. I wish I could stay that it’s an excited anticipation, but in all honesty, I have been weighed down with busy-ness, sadness, anxiety, and fatigue. Sometimes I think that anticipating must be harder than actually going. Soon I will know….
I can’t even remember the last time I posted on this blog! But hopefully soon, this will be my way to share pictures and stories from the Dominican Republic. I know that God is going to work in a mighty way. That is the hope that carries me through these days of doing laundry, packing, taking time for last minutes details, and saying goodbyes.
Steadfast. The much-needed encouragement that God brought to me today came through the word “steadfast.” The devotion that I read this morning from Jesus Lives reminded me:
“I am teaching you to depend on Me alone – content with whatever I provide. Relying solely on Me is a way of rich blessing, even though it may lead you along paths you would not have chosen. If you are truly content to live with my provisions for you – now and in the future – you will not be plagued by anxiety. Instead of worrying about “what-ifs” your heart will be firmly fixed….”
How I need my heart to be firmly fixed! I confess that the “what-ifs” have stolen my joy. Last night I held my little girl as she sobbed, and my heart was broken. After I left her bedroom, thinking that she had finally fallen asleep, I heard muffled cries. She is afraid. Knowing that the Dominican Republic is next to Haiti creates fears in her mind of earthquakes. What if there is an earthquake? she whispers. What if there is a tsunami? Are you coming home?
My own what-ifs don’t have me thinking about natural disasters so much. But I don’t like to fly, so sometimes my anxious thoughts wander there… Last night my what-ifs were focused on the disaster within my own heart. The swirls of self-doubt, with strong blasts of guilt. What if I can’t do this? What if I break down while boarding the plane? What if I am totally ineffective? What if I can’t sleep? Can’t eat? What if these sacrifices are just too much for my family?
God whispers it to my heart. I can be steadfast because He is sovereign. I can be steadfast because He is sufficient. I can be steadfast because He is secure.
You will keep in perfect peace
those whose minds are steadfast,
because they trust in You.
Trust in the Lord forever,
for the Lord, the Lord Himself, is the Rock eternal (Isaiah 26: 3- 4)
Surely the righteous will never be shaken;
they will be remembered forever.
They will have no fear of bad news;
their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord. Their hearts are secure, they will have no fear (Psalm 112: 6 – 8)
I may not feel it at the moment, but I will believe it. My heart can be steadfast. Not because I can conjure up the courage, but because peace is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. He is my source, my strength, my help. And not only for me, but also for my precious family.
A few days ago, I was thinking about jars of clay. The Bible tells us that we are jars of clay (2 Corinthians 4). As I studied what this means for Christ-followers, I learned that in biblical times, people sought out cracked jars of clay because they made effective lanterns. To me, this is so comforting. It’s okay to carry some broken places in my heart to this mission trip. Through those cracks – those places that remind me that it’s not my ability that counts but the Spirit’s power – the Light shines.
Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me. (Psalm 51:10)
… be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the Lord’s work, because you know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord. (1 Corinthians 15:58).
– Jesus Lives is written by Sarah Young