For much of the past two weeks, Jeff and I spent time with missions partners in Europe. I just don't even know where to begin to share ... I'm stumped for words. Not that I haven't been thinking and absorbing and "mentally writing" and "physically writing" and listening and learning and praying while we were away ... no, it's just that my head and heart are SO full that I need time to digest it all. I DO look forward to sharing more here, but let me start by just getting a little "out" with you today.
In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps.
This could be the theme verse for much of our recent journey. When I travel with Jeff, one of my greatest concerns is for our children at home. I need to know they are well cared for, so I can be free to minister to those we go to serve. I spent a long time making plans, arranging activities, setting up meals, and then gathering all the info onto a slick chart with all the details. I made one for each child, each helping friend, and my parents. I made copies of insurance info and had a permission form notarized. This is part of my standard trip planning ... and then I cram random things into my own suitcase and pack them around gifts for the servants we go to work with. But this time ...
It was ten in the morning when we left one doctor's office to go get an allergy shot before we went home to do my final packing and leave at 12:30 for the airport = tight! That's when my mom called to tell me my grandmother had fallen, was injured severely, and was headed to the hospital. Everything changed. In a matter of minutes, the "course" I had planned was a wreck, and the steps the Lord had for us began to unfold. From the back seat Jacob asked, "Mom, that chart you made for us isn't right anymore, is it?" Nope. The Lord gave us all a lesson in trusting Him and in appreciating the Body of believers we are a part of. Friends changed their schedules and flexed to help free us up to go with confidence. We left for the airport, believing the Lord would work at home in our absence.
At the airport repeated delays resulted in a lengthy wait. Having only been in town for about 40 hours before we left (we had been on a family trip), I was so tired and ready for a nap on the first leg of the journey. It was not to be. God seated me next to a woman while we waited, and she began to open up her life's story to me. As I listened I prayed for energy to pay attention, and God woke me up and stirred my heart. When my waiting room friend finally asked, "What made you want to spend your life this way?" I was ready to share my testimony of faith with her, beginning to understand one of God's divine reason for the flight delay. I felt like I should apologize to the rest of the waiting passengers ;)
As I finished planting truth seeds by sharing my story, my passenger friend said, "You know I've talked to a lot of religious people, but you seem like you really believe it." Then, it was finally time for the flight to leave. I felt sure that God would use the seeds planted there as we awaited our flight. Perhaps He will use YOU to water what was planted. Her name is Thea, and I hope you'll pray with me for her faith.
As we RAN to catch our connecting flight (Yes, RAN!), I wondered if God's perfect plans had always included a delay that allowed for a divine appointment. We set aside our pride as we begged to be let onto the plane ... and the Lord turned the heart of the stone faced gate attendant. Even when we arrived at our first destination and discovered that our luggage had not followed us ;) it helped to know that there was at least one kingdom reason to rejoice in the lost pieces. I wonder what else happened that we don't know about.
There's so much more to share, but for now, I pray that as you plan your course today, you'll feel confident and full of PEACE in knowing the Lord will determine your steps.