This is a story that is very dear to my heart. I have actually been very fearful of typing these words, of sharing this part of my faith journey. I have been praying and waiting for God to guide me on when the right time would be to write and share this part of my heart openly. First I have to share, do not read this if you intend to get a laugh. This is not a funny or light hearted piece of my life. This is one of the most monumental pieces of my life and I have guarded it with severity until now. Also, know that as people here on this earth we are all sinners. We are all lost sinners wondering around…until God comes into our life and we learn that He sent his Son to die on a cross-a hideous death-to save us. After we are saved, we can still get distracted, lost, and we will still struggle. My hope is this story might make you a little restless to find your anything in life and to also grow closer to God.
Life is often like a puzzle.
You have all of these pieces; some a border, others the inside. Different colors, shapes and each one of those pieces has a very specific place, or purpose have you. Without all the pieces you can never see the whole picture. In my life, I think I have had a few puzzles to put together.
My most recent puzzle all started with a blog—which is odd—until last year I didn’t even really know what a blog or “blogging” was. One day when I was feeling fairly withered, I stumbled upon a blog called Good Morning Girls (now called Love God Greatly). I started looking at their blog, at different bible studies they had, and what the site had to offer. I then stumbled upon “Anything”. I started looking at these blog post and discovered that “Anything” was a book written by Jennie Allen and they were doing a bible study along with the book. As I was reading through these blog posts…I started feeling this pull. A pull so strong I could not turn away, could not focus on anything else—I was consumed by this. The next week my life revolved around these blog posts about “Anything,” the scripture recommended to read along with it, and figuring out how I could get my hands on this book as fast as possible. This was the first piece of the puzzle. After a month of reading this book, the blog, and tons of scripture I decided to invite a few women who are in my life to join me in reading “Anything” and doing this book/bible study together as a group. I really wanted to dig in, get their take and also hopefully help these amazing women in some small way through this gift I felt like was placed in my lap.
The second piece came in the form of a missionary named Karl. I had heard a lot about Karl, prayed for is mission work in Romania and was looking forward to his visit to Missouri, and to our small Chapel family. We asked him to spend one evening with us, and have dinner with our family. I have to say, during the time of his visit here, there was a lot going on in the background—I was deep in the Bible/book study group and also was facing some of the hardest struggles I have ever faced in my life. The day Karl came to our home was a very trying day—one of those days where you feel defeated. It was the biggest blessing to have him come into our home and bring joy to our family. So, as we are sitting there talking and having soup Karl shared tid bits with us about his life, his family, and his missions. Something made him tell us about his daughter who lives in Canada. She has done some amazing mission work with women there, which had all started as a need she saw to fill a void in the lives of prostitutes. She started out maybe buying them a cup of coffee or a meal and being the evidence of God to these women. Her passion went on to be a HUGE blessing for women in need in Canada. There are 3 centers that help women and their children in crisis or need. Her story resonated with me. Something I said made Karl tell me about his daughter, and what he shared about his daughter brought something out it me. Something that Karl saw in me—a possibility or maybe a passion that I didn’t know I had yet. After that night, I didn’t think a lot about Karl’s daughter and her story until the next piece came.
Many of you who know me well, know that I very rarely EVER watch the news—and if I do it’s not by choice. So one random day a few weeks after Karl’s visit the next piece came in the form of a news story. I was in my living room, I can’t remember where my family was but I was alone picking up toys or cleaning. I noticed the TV was on and then I noticed the news was on, which I thought was odd. I wasn’t giving it any attention until I heard a tiny snippet “prostitution in Springfield.” I don’t think I have ever whipped around so fast or been so focused on the TV…EVER. I missed most of the news story but what I did get out of it was that prostitution in Springfield is much more prevalent than what most people think. I was shocked by the story, blown away by these facts, and all I could think about for the next week was the story about Karl’s daughter. I could think of little else. Mind you I am still deep in our “Anything” study and things were happening. I felt like my relationship with God was at the forefront of my mind, that He was speaking to me through the scripture, through others and through this book. I felt MOVED. I felt RESTLESS. My thoughts, actions and everything about me as a person began to take on a new light.
I feel like at this point I should take a moment to share one of the most crucial parts of “Anything” and a very pivotal moment in the author Jennie Allen’s life. Jennie’s life changing anything also started with a blog.
“As with all uniform dinner conversations, we moved from the weather to kids to the interesting events and people we had recently encountered. One friend told a story about a young woman with whom she was connected in Uganda. Nothing about that moment hinted that my life was about to change, that God would use this story, this woman, to obliterate my current comfortable existence. She told me the young woman, Katie Davis, was twenty-one. Katie grew up in one of the wealthiest parts of Nashville and visited Uganda with her mom when she was a junior in high school. She went on to graduate high school at the top of her class, sporting a yellow convertible and a cute boyfriend, and had the capacity to go anywhere to college. But Katie, against her parents’ desires, felt called to go back to Uganda for a year before college. In that year God moved her heart to a place where she could not go back and carry on the normal life of a college student. She tried but she was miserable. She knew God was calling her to Uganda, and this time for good. She left everything. Today Katie lives in Uganda with thirteen young girls whom she had adopted off the streets. As my friend went on describing this girl’s life, my heart started beating out of my chest. My head spun with so many questions…These questions reveal how far I was from the place where I’d do anything for God. I was still limiting God by my understanding of how life should work-safe and comfy and not so costly. I don’t remember anything else about that dinner from that point on…I don’t know what I ate or what else was said. My mind was transfixed with this twentysomething, and I was just counting the moments until I could get home and pull up her blog…Now I was wrecked. At some point I started crying, hard. My heart was broken. Every god I had build and stroked and justified fell on to the bathroom floor that night with my tears. The life I was building was crashing before me. I grieved….I almost got away with a wasted life. What if I had blown off the interruptions he was offering? I might be stuck with the mediocre life I was so afraid of losing at the time. But it was like he lifted my head, while I was in a puddle on the bathroom floor, and let me see into his heart, into heaven, into the brokenness of those suffering, into my own soul. And in a moment what had never occurred to me made perfect sense. So much sense that I was willing…desperately willing…to do anything.” -excerpt from Anything
The next piece of my puzzle came when I had breakfast one Saturday morning with my dear friend Martha. Martha is this amazing, special, beautiful person whom I cherish so much to have in my life. She was also part of my bible study group and so she knew a bit about what had been going on in my life. I shared with her that morning what had come about with Karl and the news story. After I was done sharing this…she looked at me very seriously and said, “You are never going to believe what I am about to tell you.” Martha told me that she had found out at her church that week that a new women’s crisis home was opening in Springfield—very soon. They were looking for staff and volunteers. My chest felt tight, I was happy, sad, and also so overcome I had no idea what to think. That was the moment that I knew my “purpose”. I knew God had laid a calling on my heart for women’s ministry. I had this overwhelming need to chase after this new found purpose. Things were becoming clearer. I then understood why I heard the story about Karl’s daughter and the news story. I am so grateful that God brought Martha and I together that morning and I am so grateful for Him giving me this piece through her.
There was then some waiting, looking, lots of prayer and listening. I sat anxiously awaiting the next piece—some direction or guidance as to what I was supposed to be doing. The next piece was gradual. It happened in baby steps, after many hours of prayer over many weeks. I began to feel led that I was not to be working at the bank where I was currently working. I had up until this point in my life felt that I needed this SAFE place that was a 8-5 job. I began to feel imprisoned by that 8-5 and I felt lost there. I had to get out, but had no idea how. I felt that if I walked away I would be jumping off a cliff to my immediate demise. This was processing and working and it was so scary, big scary for me. The unknown is what is scary. During that time the glue that held all of this together was Arbonne. I wont share a lot here, but Arbonne has been a vibrant, constant blessing in my life for the past three years. The business and the relationships are irreplaceable to me. Without them I would be lost. So they held me together through the unknown and kept me going. I already knew that it had sparked all this, very early on-and would also be the vehicle to allow me to fulfill my purpose. But I was still terrified! During the unknown, waiting period a friend of mine introduced me to another friend. That friend is Jeanene. At the time I had no idea why I was introduced to Jeanene or what purpose she would have for being brought into my life.
Jeanene was the next piece. As I began to get to know her, and learn about the path God was leading her down—I discovered that God had led us each down a path to a fork where she and I met. God asked me to step out in faith, blind faith and be willing to fall face first in the sand—for Him. Wow, is that a sweaty thing. It was all unknown. I had never stepped out in faith like this, to join a person I hardly knew—that God had put in my life for a very specific reason. So I prayed, trusted in Him, and I stepped out. I had to—I was restless, there was no other way. I stepped out, knowing I could eat the sand, but not long after being in the air—God caught me and I knew I had done His will. It was amazing to see God work in my life in such a big way. Seeing God work in me and for me to trust Him so completely even though it was sweaty and scary. Jeanene was being called to start a non-profit, a ministry that would support women’s crisis centers all over the U.S. and potentially all over the world. She has been a gift from God in my life. Being brought to a person with such a similar vision, drive, and passion is a very good feeling. Neither of us knew how deep the similarities went in the beginning. They have unfolded into this beautiful photo, a vision, a complete puzzle.
That puzzle was made complete for me, God brought me to a place in my life where I was willing to do ANYTHING for him during my time here on this earth. The bigger puzzle is still being put together. Everyday there is unknown. I talk to Him, pray to Him, and listen for guidance on what the next leap of faith will be. I still fail, I still struggle and its never EASY. But it is WORTH IT. Worth it to know that my time her is short, and I only have so much time to do His will. I wont stop running, until I meet him. Until then, I will do ANYTHING.