Only after praying about it, did I decide to post this blog. I felt it would be prudent to bring you along for the ride as I figure out my life, instead of journeying alone and then informing you of the outcome of my struggles after they are over. The more prayer cover I have the better anyway, and who knows what God can do with my openness with you all. So here you go, the newest struggle and season in my life...
Written on October 15th:
It was such a simple phrase, one that I have heard before. But this time God and Satan both had something to say about it: “There are more missionaries in Haiti than there are cockroaches.” Hearing that, especially from a Haitian, was like a load of bricks thrown on my heart. The load is still there days later but I am starting to see the dead weight of those bricks take shape into something productive.
Let’s go back to this past Thursday night (10/13/11). A new missionary couple, who just moved here from Florida, came to eat dinner at Ventana by invitation of Carrie Vomsteeg who is in the wife’s bible study in Ensenada. I was extremely excited for their arrival since the husband, Theo, is Haitian and I couldn’t wait to talk with him all about Haiti. Theo’s ancestry is amazing, stemming from one of the first missionaries to Haiti who married a French plantation owner’s daughter, all the way down to him, his lovely Puerto Rican wife and their three beautiful blond daughters, who we offered to take off their hands whenever they would let us steal them. The family is such a wonderful testament of what it looks like to serve and follow the Lord and they were amazing to say the least.
I was intimidated by this family who travels to Haiti a few times a year to visit Theo’s family in Port-au-price and who call Haiti home. My love for the country seemed small and strange in comparison to people who know Haiti in a whole different way. So when Theo said that “There are more missionaries in Haiti than there are cockroaches” I felt like I was an outsider invading on the Haitian’s homeland and that my heart for Haiti was stupid and unneeded. There is where I identify Satan working in the situation. But that one line has continued to rock my world this week for reasons bigger than the feelings of inadequacy and awkwardness that Satan tried to sneak into my heart.
God is doing something in my heart that I am not sure I want to let him do. He is trying to change my stubborn mindset of, “I am going to live in Haiti for the rest of my life” to the flexible, trusting attitude of, “I am going to live wherever God chooses to send me.” But I don’t want to live where God wants to send me... unless it is Haiti. Just writing that makes my throat close up and my tear ducts spill over. I can’t imagine being sent anywhere else. I even told God when he brought me to Mexico that I would come on the condition that I get to go to Haiti next year. I refuse to stay here, I refuse to go home, I refuse to be sent to any other country. Because those were my conditions and I am sticking to them.
I feel that, just to get me down here, God let me think that I could determine where WE would go and that He would just follow ME wherever that is. But I also think that he brought me down here to break me of that mindset. I am here, in Mexico, because God wants me here. But I am also here, in Mexico, because I told God where we were going to go next. It scares me that even with the knowledge of my stubborn heart I am still not willing to give up Haiti. I am, at this moment, not willing to follow God anywhere else.
You may wonder how my brain went from hearing Theo’s one phrase to processing all of this. First, God. He intended for me to think through this. Second, I thought, if there are so many missionaries already working to lead his flock in Haiti, why would I need to go to Haiti? Wouldn’t it be better for me to be sent somewhere where there are less people who know about God and where there is more of a need for missionaries? Because let me tell you, even though my heart daily longs for Haiti, it would be a sacrifice for me to move there. I would be giving up a lot of comfort and a lot of things my heart loves and longs for in America. So if I am going to trust the Lord and sacrifice my worldly desires wouldn’t it be better for me to sacrifice for a place that needs me more? This idea is what really got my brain going.
Maybe God just wants me to be willing to serve him anywhere and then he will give Haiti back to me. Or maybe he is challenging me to trust him so that he can send me somewhere entirely different. I don’t know the answer but then again I don’t need to know the answer. I just need to trust him. That’s it. Just trust him and place him at the forefront of my life instead of my plans.
Here is the real problem that God has just revealed to me as I write... I love Haiti to the core of my being: the culture, the people, the landscape, the language, the kids. But do I love Haiti more than I love God? Since I am only willing to serve God if he takes me to Haiti, does that mean I love the country more than the Creator of that country? More than the Savior of those people? My heart weeps at the thought of that being true. I don’t enjoy crying but this week I have been brought to my knees in tears every day wondering if I have forgotten who I serve. It scares me to think of my stubbornness and lack of trust in the Lord. But it also rips my heart in two to think that loving the Lord might take me elsewhere than Haiti. This sounds dramatic, but for me to give up Haiti feels like I am giving up my family, never to visit or talk to them again. (I also feel that I should take my parent’s off the pedestal I have placed them in my life. Because, believe me, I would have just as hard of time letting my family go as I would giving up Haiti. This also shows a lack of trust in God’s sovereignty and reveals a lot of my sins of idolatry. He is giving me a lot of food for thought today.)
Processing through this by writing it out has brought clarity to my thoughts as I let God guide my fingers, and I am sure reading this over again will reveal even more to me, but I still feel so far from acquiescing to God’s call on my heart to follow him. He never said “follow me for I will make you fisher’s of men wherever you want to go most.” He said “follow me... leave your homes, your businesses, and your families, and follow me. Put your hands to the plow and don’t look back. Pick up your cross and follow me wherever I send you, for my burden is easy for you to bear if you trust me.” (Luke 9:59-62; Matthew 4:18-22; 11:28-30; 16:24-26)
[Quick side note: Those verses were all just given to me from the Lord and I am amazed at this moment that He spoke those into me that way. His words really are powerful and I guess you never know when He will use them! Gracias Dios... Gracias.]
Anyway, it seems that I am caught between serving God and serving myself. What I once saw as good, my heart for the Haitian people, has now become an idol. What God once intended to bring me closer to Him in prayer has now become something I define my life with. What I was once stubborn about letting go is now something I am still stubborn about letting go...
I guess for now that is it. I’ll leave being as stubborn as ever but with proof that God is working in my life to show me where I have been sinful in ways I never would have seen on my own. I’ll leave this letter not knowing if I will ever post it on my blog but knowing God spoke to me personally through it in more ways than anyone reading it will know. You have no idea how scattered my brain was before this and how burdened my heart felt. I have some direction now and I feel a tad more peaceful with you Lord. Meci Jezi.