Once again, my time in God’s Word today has inspired me to post in our blog. Over the course of the last few weeks, I believe God has been teaching me patience and how to TRUST in His timing. I have always been the kind of person who gets an idea in her head and then charges forward with the action to get it done. No waiting around here! Sometimes this trait is good. Afterall, productivity is a must if we are to accomplish anything, right?However, I am learning that when God has a plan, we must let HIM lead the way and never let anxiety or even enthusiasm cause us to do things in our own strength, which leads to our efforts being our own and not for God’s glory. Wow. This totally hits home with me. Those of you who know me well are probably saying, “Yep! That’s you Mickie! You work harder than anyone I know.” There was a time when I might have taken that as a compliment. But now I have come to realize that when it’s all about “our effort” and not about God’s glory, the end result is simply a job done, often not as well as it could be, and a lot of wear and tear on the body; THAT’s what I’ve been going through over the last couple of weeks.
I told the story of my hospital stay after returning from Haiti in a previous post. After 3 days, several bags of fluids, and large doses of antibiotics, I came home, gave my body two days of rest, then headed off to Tuscaloosa for Jacob’s ODP camp. I ended up staying there to watch him play, but I apparently neglected my health. After experiencing a bout of dehydration, sitting in a heatwave all day, obviously not drinking enough water, I apparently lost all of the fluid I had received in the hospital. After returning from camp, I was DETERMINED to get straight to work on preparing the house to put on the market. Job one: the garage. In one day, we emptied the garage, cleaned the walls, painted, and replaced things we decided not to throw away. In my eagerness to get this done in one day, I once again neglected my body and did not drink enough water. By Monday night, a strange thing was happening in my neck. I had developed calcium blockage in my salivary gland which was causing infection to set in. This is the result of focusing on the work and not hydrating as I should. Once again, I was dehydrated, running 102 fever, and forced to return to the bed. For two days, I slept, drank water, and fed on the Word. Yesterday, I finally began to feel like getting out of the bed, but I have not let myself feel pressured to get back to work to the point of neglecting my health. I am praising the Lord for my recovery and the reminder that if I neglect my own health, how can I help others better theirs? Afterall, that is the task He is calling us to right? In all of this, God has said to me, “Mickie, I will sell your house. Trust me. There’s no sense in killing yourself trying to get something done that I am going to do FOR you!” My response…..”yes sir.” 🙂
Okay, so back to the word God had for me today. Yes, it does tie into this overall lesson of patience and waiting on the Lord that I have been learning this summer. For my time in the Word today, God led me to the Old Testament, as He has done a lot lately, in the book of Deuteronomy, chapter 1. In this chapter, Moses is leading the children of Israel toward the promised land. They had been traveling for 40 years. They were nearing the end of their journey and about to enter into the glorious land of blessings. However, in spite of all of the amazing things God had done for them along the way, they let fear and feelings of inadequacy cause them to question God and question His plan. He said to them, “See, I have set the land before you. Go in and take possession of the land that the LORD swore to your fathers” v. 8. As their leader, Moses had even organized the people by helping them set up a sort of governing heirarchy so that they would function as a people in harmony before moving into the land. Everything was in place, and they were ready to move in. They were at the brink of a glorious promise! Sadly, they hesitated and questioned God. They refused to move into this beautiful land even after Moses sent 12 men ahead who brought back fruit from the land and reported that it was “good land that the LORD is giving us” v. 25. Everything had been prepared for them. God had led them the whole way, but they had still not learned to completely TRUST in the Lord. Because of their refusal to trust God, they would never get to enjoy the promised land. They turned around and headed in the direction of the Red Sea. Even though God did go with them, and He did continue to guide Moses as their leader, along the way they had to see how others were being blessed by God as he would take them through various places and He would say, “Do not contend with them, for I will not give you any of the land…because I have given it to the sons of ___ for possession.” For 38 years, after an entire generation had passed, they had to watch others being blessed while they continued to wander. And to think, they were on the VERGE of the greatest blessing of their lives, yet they missed out because of fear and feelings of inadequacy. Not one of them, not even Moses, ever set foot in the promised land. Moses got to SEE it, but that’s all. Oh my! What a sad, sad story! Of course, I do not have to ponder long to determine what God has to say to us through this story!
God is preparing everything for us. God has gone before us and has assembled masses of people, organized great minds, hearts, and muscle to accomplish His great plan. He can do it with us, or He can do it without us. He is doing this great and mighty work for the people of Haiti because He desires to heal their land and bring revival and hope to their hearts. God is going to do this no matter what. This blessing is for the people of Haiti. And He has called US to be a part of this blessing. We will NOT miss out on being a part of this blessing because of fear or feelings of inadequacy. We will press on, letting God lead us and provide the answers and the directions, and we will not question His plan. That plan is to help the community of Ganthier by providing medical care and bringing the LOVE of Jesus to a thirsty, hungry people. Everything else along the way will fall into place by the Hand of God. TRUST, TRUST, TRUST.
As we continue to Trust in the Lord through this journey, we can expect others to question the vision just as the Israelites did. We can expect people who do not understand what it means to COMPLETELY trust in the Lord to interpret our actions as crazy or even irresponsible. We can expect people to even question the timing of it all. To some, we may be moving too slowly, interpreting God’s timing as hesitation on our part. To others, we may be moving to quickly, interpreting our steps as hasty or even moving ahead of God. However, we are committed to simply TRUSTING GOD. He has done SO much already. As I mentioned in an earlier post, God led me to study the book of Nehemiah immediately after He called Tony to go to Haiti for the first time. Through my study of Nehemiah, I learned that our God does things in a very organized manner, using the gifts and strengths of MANY people to accomplish great tasks. To this point, He has done exactly that. The West family is simply a PART of the big plan that HE will use to accomplish his will in Ganthier. And it is a BIG plan indeed! One thing is for sure, when I painted the words “Here I am, Lord SEND ME!” from Isaiah 6:8, this cry became the cry and committment of our entire family. We are committed to His plan to use us in Haiti, and we know that our obedience to Him will result in great and mighty things for His kingdom.
Many people have asked how they can be a part of this journey with us. The greatest thing you can do for us is to PRAY for us as well as the teams that are continuing to go and work to prepare the place where we will eventually go. Pray that God will continue to protect each member of our family from any doubts or fears that Satan may try to put into our heads. Pray that God will continue to guide our steps and move us toward our destination. This means selling our house, settling particulars that go along with moving, setting up provision for Jonathan as he continues his education here and follows the plan God has for his life (which is pretty exciting too by the way), and protection for our youngest son, Jacob, as he prepares to go on this journey with us. As I mention this, my heart tightens and my eyes burn a little as I realize how difficult this must be for him and yet how brave he is being. All of this cannot be easy for a fifteen year old to take in. There must be so many questions churning around in his head. As a mother, I have always prayed diligently for my boys, but right now I feel like I must earnestly seek the prayers of my faithful, prayer warrior family of believers to pray a wall of protection around both of my boys so that their faith is strengthened and any fears are held at bay. In addition to prayer, if God is leading you to GO and physically help, please do not hesitate to contact our missions pastor, Scott Ross, at Crossgates Baptist Church (firstname.lastname@example.org) or contact Barbara Gladney at FBC Jackson (haiti@FBCJ.org). There is also a great newsletter that Barbara sends out through Project Haiti at FBCJ that you can subscribe to. I will actually copy the last newsletter in another post today so you can see specific prayer needs. Lastly, if God leads you to support us financially, please contact Scott Ross at the email address above. One thing God is also having to teach me is that we cannot do this alone financially. If we were able to do that, then it would not be HIM doing it, it would be US. And because WE cannot, GOD WILL!! So we are trusting that God will continue to lead people who are able to contribute to the funding of our part in this project. Our recent trip to Haiti required us to trust God to provide $6000 in a very short period of time. Very soon the hospital bills from my illness will also begin to flow in. All we can do is pray and trust that these financial mountains will move and God will continue to forge us through on this journey. God will provide and we will rest in His assurance.
If you have made it to this paragraph, you have probably been reading longer than you had planned, and once again I apologize for my longwindedness. Thank you so much for hanging in there and continuing on this journey with us. I trust you are being blessed as you seek to know how you can be a part of the journey. Your prayers are precious to us.