The Change in Summer Plans

I sit here in the midst of dead week composing these words because they have gone unaddressed for too long and I feel awful about it.

Earlier this year I told all of you that I had committed to a discipleship program called “Elevate.” I was going to spend ten weeks in San Diego learning how to live missionally and dependently on the Lord. Previous to this I heard the Lord’s calling me to give my summer to him, and when I heard of Elevate a few days after coming to terms with His command for my life I jumped into the program almost uncomfortably quick – I figured that if God was calling me to give my summer to him, this must be the way.

But my heart ached as I prepared to go. I sent out my support letters and spoke to my family and friends without joy because there was something amiss in my heart.The further that I progressed toward leaving for the summer the more burdened I became. It’s not because I believed the project to be poor or have the wrong intentions, but the more that I processed the less excited I was – this was the type of thing that I should have been ecstatic about! And yet, my heart was incredibly heavy. There was something about it that I felt was wrong.

So I took my concern to the Lord. For weeks I prayed and fasted and processed, begging the Lord for clarity. I was so frustrated. I couldn’t understand why something that was designed to be so great and God honoring would lay such a burden on my heart. Naturally, I tried to ignore it. The more that I heard the others talk about it I convinced myself that I would be okay, that I could be as excited as they were. They were all stoked out of their minds and I was just trying to force a smile. I felt wrong about it and I couldn’t figure out why.

I wasn’t sure what my options were. I felt awful resigning from the project when I had already sent out support letters and committed, but at the same time, I was growing more and more worried as the weeks led to the event. I knew that if I went I wouldn’t have an open and happy heart – I would have been closed and frustrated with the notion that I didn’t belong there. And that’s not what God calls me into. He calls me into a gentle vulnerability and joy, and I was feeling the polar opposite.

And in the midst of the processing and begging the Lord showed me his face in a beautiful real way, even when I fought him.

I believe that the Lord gives a choices – not because one is right and the other is wrong, or because one is better than the other; but simply because he loves us and wants to see us thrive. I believe that the Word of the Lord is alive and active. And I believe that because of Jesus’ sacrifice on my behalf I have the Holy Spirit alive and active in me.

And the Holy Spirit brings with it the gifts of the spirit, in which the Lord gives us a discerning heart. And as I prayed through the process of understanding what the Lord was calling me into I recognized his heart in calling me out to the Nations.

I believe that we thrive when we pursue our passions passionately – and try as I might, the truth is that the Lord just hasn’t set within me a heart that is as passionate about urban missions as it is for people of the nations. That doesn’t mean that God cannot use me, nor does it mean that I lack the desire for urban missions – simply it means that my heart was designed with a passion for the nations and a desire to walk alongside my brothers and sisters of different nations.

And so I have decided to back down from the Elevate project in order to take a missions internship in Burma, South Asia. It is here that I will get to walk alongside college students for ten weeks to teach conversational english and serve at a local coffee shop run by the Assemblies of God missionaries in the capital. In addition I get to work with the children’s ministry and live with the long term missionary – FOR TEN WEEKS!

I am enthralled by His personal pursuit of my heart. He pursues me via my passions and desires, and gives me clarity when I am silent and quick to listen to his call. It has been a trying couple months in deciding how to address my heart concerning my summer plans, but the Lord has been faithful to allow me to go where he calls me.

This does not mean that Elevate is bad and this internship in Burma is the only God-Honoring way to spend my summer, but rather it means that it is more suited to my own passions and desires. I am beyond stoked for this experience and I am incredibly faithful that the Lord is going to use it in a big way for his glory.

That being said, for those of you who have walked alongside me as I prepared for Elevate  – either financially or prayerfully – I am so incredibly thankful for each and every one of you. If you supported me with your finances it is important to me that you get all of your money back and I will be contacting you shortly, and for those of you considering this route, I would ask that you prayerfully consider walking alongside me in this way as I serve overseas this summer. Needless to say, I still need copious amounts of prayer.

From Ecuador to the Dominican Republic to Mexico, I can’t wait to add Burma. I’ve just purchased my tickets and made my travel plans – everything a test of faith in a huge way. Let’s continue together to reach the world for His glory. Thank you for your support!

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Dear Future Self

Dear future me,

I’ve been thinking about the woman who I hope that you will be…

I hope that you never stop craving adventure. I hope that every moment  you spend dreaming of the things that you will do and the risks that you will take never cease to bring a smile to your face. I hope that your camera never slips off your neck and you constantly thirst for the adventures that the world has to offer to you.

I hope that you travel. I hope that you realize that the whole world is yours for the taking, and I hope you realize that you’re allowed to take it. I hope that you go everywhere and do everything and make a habit of saying yes instead of no (within reason – remember that!).

I hope that you never lose sight of your first love. I pray that as the years continue you grow more each day into the woman that He has created you to be. I hope that prayer never ceases to flow from your lips and  that the hope you have in Him never escapes you.

I pray that you are a woman who is so unapologetically herself that she shakes the very foundations of the world. I hope that you know that you are not too much and you are more than enough. I pray that you embrace the quirks that God created you with and use them to love those around you best.

I hope that you never stop caring. I pray that you never let the pain of caring too much stop you from caring at all.

I pray that you begin to believe it when you are told that you are beautiful. I hope you learn to free yourself from shame and believe the kind words that others gift to you. I pray that your heart  overflows into your smile and you learn to love the laugh lines around your eyes.I pray that you learn to love your little nose, and wide hips and crooked smile. I pray that you know how deeply and breathtakingly beautiful you truly are.

I hope that you recognize the respect that you deserve and you make a habit of never settling for anything less.

I hope that you never doubt your passion. I pray that it leads you to love often and love well.

Dear future self, I hope you recognize how lovely you really are. j-mid