What a journey.
I have been outside my comfort zone, and The Lord has blessed me.
I would do it all again in a heartbeat if He asked me to, because He has changed my heart, for the much better.
He has shown me what it is like to walk solely with Him, without having anyone or anything else of comfort to hang onto. Risky, but fully worth it.
I read this in My Utmost for His Highest a few days ago and thought it so true and timely for me:
"If you yourself do not cut the lines that tie you to the dock, God will have to use a storm to sever them and to send out out to sea."
"If you believe in Jesus, you are not to spend all your time in the calm waters just inside the harbor, full of joy, but always tied to the dock. You have to get out past the harbor into the great depths of God, and begin to know things for yourself -- begin to have spiritual discernment."
"Beware of paying attention or going back to what you once were, when God wants you to be something that you have never been. 'If anyone wills to do His will, he shall know...'(John 7:17)."
This past year, I have been outside my harbor, and The Lord has shown me greater depths of His faithfulness, provision, and love.
As I think about returning home to Mississippi, preparing to get married to a wonderful, godly man in just over a month, the excitement is almost overbearing! As we move to a new city, find a new church, have new jobs and school, meet new friends and neighbors, I pray that The Lord will use the lessons He has taught us both in this year overseas to bring glory to Himself.
I want to "beware...of going to back to what I once was..." because God has willed more for my life.
It is no accident that He placed both Miles and I in Honduras/Ecuador for a time to deepen and grow in our relationship with Him so that we could come back home as married couple ready to serve Him in ways we would not have been capable of before this time.
In my last newsletter, I wrote the following:
On this journey in Ecuador, The Lord has shown me that most of the things I have thought so important my entire life really aren’t that important after all. He has shown me through the lives of people in Macas that there is so much more fullness to a life of simplistic devotion to Him, not clouded by the roar of busyness and the desire for more things. Taking time for personal relationships, discipling, conversations about The Lord with co-workers, students, roommates, and friends is where growth and reaching out takes place. This is a big change that I want to be aware of in my walk with Him as I come home.
It will be difficult to leave the beautiful country of Ecuador, waking up to the mountains outside my window, watching the sun rise in the morning from my room, long walks to school in worship time, being called “Teeeacher Laura!” all over town, sweet hugs from my little students and nods and smiles from my high schoolers. I will miss walking to the fruit market and talking with the sweet lady about why I’m in Macas, and all the funny stares from people as I’m running around town.
What a precious time of growth I have had with The Lord this year. What an opportunity He has given me! Although it has been difficult to be so far from family, friends, and fiancé, it was worth it. When The Lord takes us away from our places of comfort, which we hold on to for security, we have no choice but to cling to Him. And that is where a true, deep relationship with Him is found. That is the reason we are on this earth: to grow full and deep in Christ so that we can’t help but pour out His Glory on everyone around us.
Thank you for your prayers as I finish strong this last week in Macas! I will be traveling to Quito on Friday afternoon and flying out to Mississippi on Saturday night midnight, arriving to Memphis 8am Sunday morning!
To God be all the glory for what He has done in my life and the lives of the people in Macas this year. He is SO WORTHY to be praised with our every breath, and I pray that you will be encouraged and challenged to step outside your comfort zone to serve Him in any way He is asking.
Know that the gifts you will receive from your obedience are well worth any sacrifice you make. But not out of a desire for a reward do we serve Him but because He deserves and commands our obedience.
He is Mighty God and I am humbled in His Loving Presence.
All for His Kingdom,