Sunday, October 31, 2010

Peter & I

I have to be honest, I've been struggling with doubt lately.  I KNOW that the Lord has called me to Buenos Aires, Argentina as a STINTer post graduation, but I often feel so discouraged to the point of doubting whether or not I'm to go.  I then feel scared and ashamed; scared because for those instances I really doubt that I ever heard God call me to Argentina, and ashamed because I'm being prideful by worrying about how I'll look/feel if I don't go.  Then I feel remorse for doubting God's sovereign plan.  Ministry Partner Development (aka MPD, aka support raising) is uniquely one of the hardest things I've ever done.  This is all very new for me, and while I'm raising support for something I've felt called to for most of my life, I still feel the weight of doubt.  That's really scary and frustrating for me.

This point in my life reminds me of Matthew 14:22-33, when Peter walks on the water.  Peter said "Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You in the water." (verse 28) in faith.  "But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, 'Lord, save me.'" (verse 30).  This is an illustration of what I've done/am doing; in faith I said "Here am I, send me." (Isaiah 6:8), but then I saw the number $33,000 and embarked on the task and began to sink in doubt.

How silly Peter was to freak out and doubt in the midst of walking on water and already have seen Jesus reveal His power in various miraculous capacities.  How silly I am freak out and doubt in the midst of MPD and already have seen Jesus reveal His power and provision in various capacities.

But the good news is Peter was rescued by Jesus: "Jesus immediately reached out His hand and took hold of him, saying to him, 'O you of little faith, why did you doubt?'" (verse 31).  So even though Peter doubted and worried, Jesus still rescued him and protected him from the approaching storm.  And even though I doubt and worry and try to rely on my own strength, Jesus still carries me and provides for me.  How lame of me and how wonderful of God.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Information on the Vida Estudiantil Ministry (Campus Crusade for Christ) in Buenos Aires

Hi all!  Here's a link to a blog posting from one of my teammates in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
http://web.me.com/tiffmholl/Site/Blog/Entries/2010/10/13_Vida_Estudiantil.html

Here's how to give!
http://give.ccci.org/give/View/0632929

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Reliance Upon the Lord

Sooo...first of all: sorry for not updating.  Second of all this post is a long time coming.
Psalm 56:
Be gracious to me, O God, for man tramples on me all day long an attacker oppresses me; my enemies trample on me all day long, for many attack me proudly.  When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.  In God I trust; I shall not be afraid.  What can flesh do to me?  All day long they injure my cause; all their thoughts are against me for evil.  They stir up strife, they lurk; they watch my steps, as they have waited for my life.  For their crime will they escape?  In wrath cast down the peoples, oh God!  You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in your bottle.  Are they not in your book?  Then my enemies will turn back in the day when I call.  This I know that God is for me.  In God, whose word I praise, in the Lord, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid.  What can man do to me?  I must perform my vows to you, O God; I will render thank offerings to you.  For you have delivered my soul from death, yes, my feet from falling, that I may walk before God in the light of life.

The Lord showed this verse to me this Summer, when I was struggling to depend on Him.  Reliance on God is something I've never thought about until I began raising support for STINTing in Argentina.  All my life I have depended upon others for what I needed: my parents for food, shelter, and clothing.  When I got to college, I looked to myself as provider because I've put myself through school and paid for most of what I need/ed.  Up until this Summer I really only thought of God as Comforter, Judge, Father (but not a holistic One), and Lover, but never really Provider.

The truth is that God has always been Provider in my life, but it looked like my parents were the providers or like I was the provider.  Now that neither my parent or I can provide for this next season in my life, I am confronted with the truth; and the truth is that GOD IS PROVIDER and He always has been.  I know this post seems similar to my "God the Provider" one, and it is.  But this subject is inescapable.

Raising support has this constant theme of learning to trust/rely/depend on God to bring the money in and prepare you for ministry in another culture/country/language.  And He does this anyway He pleases: for some support raising was a fairly easy and speedy process, for others it was simply an okay process, and still for others (me) it's a somewhat treacherous process that I equate to a roller-coaster ride (by the way, I hate roller coasters).

One Sunday afternoon, I was with my women's group and we were sharing our lives and I finally exploded with crying; I had been stressing and worrying and obsessing over MPD (Ministy Partner Development, aka support raising).  My sisters in Christ encouraged me and gave me words from the Lord.  Basically, what they said was that I am trying to do it all and be it all myself with no help; I'm striving and trying to single-handedly raise support and deal with other things in my life (sin, family, money for school, etc), I'm trying to juggle everything and I'm losing control.  Everything they said was true and all Summer I had been trying to take steps of faith, but I was (am) trying to control everything.  I'm not a control freak by human standards, but when it comes to my relationship with the Father, I grip tightly the reigns of 'my' life and just want Him there for love and moral support.  That afternoon, I went home and had a talk with God (well He really did most of the talking) and He told me that I was treating Him like I see/treat my earthly daddy.  I love my earthly daddy,  and he loves me, but when it all boils down to it, I am the one who provides for me.  I pay for my: school, food, gas, rent, clothes, and phone.  The only thing he pays for is my health and car insurance, which, don't get me wrong, I'm quite grateful for.  I was transferring the relationship norms of my earthly relationship with my daddy to my Spiritual Relationship with my Daddy.  By earthly standards, my providing for all my stuff (school, food, etc) isn't a big deal, I am an adult and my daddy does have four other children, a wife, and two dogs to provide for; but that's not how things work in my Father's Kingdom, and boy am I glad.

When God, the Father, tells us to do something like, oh I don't know, STINT in Argentina, He provides a means for us to follow His plan.  So with my earthly daddy, if I was going to do something (that he and I both wanted) like go to university, he would cheer me on but I would have to make a way for myself to attend.  Not so with the Father, He will provide when I am being obedient.

Back to reliance/dependence on God; I need to relax and rely on God when I am being obedient to His plan for my life.  I thought this was just a support raising thing, but I talk to some members of my team already in Argentina, I am quickly realizing this is a life thing.  They are asking for prayer to learn to depend on the Lord more, just in a different way.  They've already got the support raising process out of the way, but now they're learning to depend on Him for their language (they are learning Spanish), for their ministry (teaching, discipling) and more.  So basically, theirs no escaping it, I must depend on the Lord for any and everything.

The Lord equips us for the tasks that He's called us to, we've got to fix our eyes on Him and trust that He'll catch us when we fall, trust that He will comfort us when we cry, trust that He will come through when we can go no further, trust that He will empower us when we must fight.  We must trust the Lord with every breathe we breathe, with every step we take, with every thought we think.  That is how we can honor Him and bring Glory where it's due.