Someone once told me an acronym for the word “Busy”. Busy: Being Under Satan’s Yoke. About a year ago, I set out for this year to be a year of preparation and reflection. I slimmed down my commitments significantly. Taking out any ‘extras’ I had in my schedule. Saying no to coaching our girls basketball team, and backing down from leading any of our short-term missions trips the school I work at takes each year. I even contemplated whether I should teach or not this year. I wonder if business is a means of Satan to keep us distracted from reflection of life.
These past two weeks I have had off from school on our first ever ‘two-week Spring Break’ has served as a beautiful time of reflection and preparation. I was blessed enough to join a family on their vacation for one week away. During that week of sitting on the beach and reading 2 ½ books and this week of preparing by getting a physical, immunizations, etc. The Lord has used it as a tender reminder of His Faithfulness in my life. Looking back on my 27 years of life, the one characteristic I repeatedly see is His Faithfulness.
Ten years ago, I was a 17-year-old kid contemplating where I would spend the next four years of my life playing college sports and getting an education. I remember the day my mom and I packed up my little truck and uhaul trailer and moved into a dorm room in Lynchburg, VA at Liberty University 17 hours away from everything that I had ever known as home and not knowing a single soul. I remember dropping my crying mom off at the airport and then getting in my car scared and teary eyed realizing it wasn’t any fun growing up! Even though my confidence wavered and fear was in my heart, I was confident that the Lord had called me there. The year and a half that I spent at Liberty was one of the best years of my life. Every year since college I take a trip with three girls that lived with me as a freshman on that dorm hall, and I’m assured we will remain friends forever. I’m confident that the Lord called me there. I also remember as a 20 year old kid feeling the urge that the Lord was calling me away from this place I loved to a different university to finish out namely my sports career and my platform as a Christian Athlete at a secular university. In a matter of three days in December, I visited, signed, flew out to Virginia, drove all my stuff home, moved into a dorm at Kansas University, and started school as a Jayhawk. I remember my family being a little confused and maybe disappointed. Even though I doubted what in the world I was doing there, my confidence wavered, and fear filled my heart, I knew that the Lord had called me there. And He did. My greatest years of ministry and greatest use of my platform as a Christian Athlete was not my year at the best Christian University there is (in my opinion) but my 3 years at the University of Kansas.
Five years ago, I remember walking down the Hill at the University of Kansas as a proud Jayhawk receiving a college degree and thinking ‘What in the heck do I do now?!’ I vividly remember driving to my first day of work at my first real job in downtown Kansas City at a world renounce Cardiovascular Hospital. I remember working with one of my first patients as a Health Fitness Specialist, a 94 year old women who had multiple open heart surgeries and who captured every piece of my heart. I remember thinking, Lord are you sure? I was scared because she was fragile and my confidence wavered, and fear intimidated me, but I knew the Lord had called me there. Then I remember a little less than a year later quitting that job feeling like I should devote a year to ministry and Biblical Studies. I remember my family being a little confused on why I would quit such a great job and an income to start something that was going to cost me money. I had no idea how I was going to come up with $7,000 dollars that year to study at the Kanakuk Institute and help out with Kanakuk Christian Sports Kamps. Working two jobs and being a full time student, I graduated paying off all $7,000. The Lord used that year to instill in me a huge heart for missions and a desire to nurture, train and equip the next generation for Christ. Realizing timing was not right nor was I ready to be a full time missionary, I did not know what to do next. Our women’s director told me she saw the gift of teaching in me and that I should consider applying to a couple Christian schools to be a high school teacher. I remember taking the names of those schools and filling out applications feeling incredibly under qualified. I had a science degree, no teacher licensure, no previous teaching experience, but I applied anyway. My feelings of not being qualified were confirmed when I got my rejection letter from the top school I applied too. However, this school named Valor that I knew nothing about, out in Colorado pushed me through to the final round and three weeks later I was on a plane flying out for a face-face interview. I stayed with a Kamp family I knew and the dad and I went on a bike ride the afternoon I arrived. He was talking to me about Valor and how prestigious they are around Colorado. Since I had never seen the school, he decided we should bike over there so I wasn’t shocked walking into my interview the next morning. I remember biking over a hill with him and starting at this massive place that looked like a mini-college thinking Lord, what in the world are we doing here?! I remember the next day, walking in for my interview wearing a leopard print skirt (I don’t know what I was thinking…!) and a 30 minute interview turned into much longer. I remember getting a call from this guy that I didn’t meet in my interview thinking, ‘Oh great, he’s the rejection guy…calling to tell me thanks but no thanks!’ Over the phone, I remember him saying, If you want the position you applied for, that’s fine you can have it, but I am the department chair of the Bible department and we would like to hire you for a full-time teaching position in the Bible Department. I originally applied for a student life- yearlong position. I think I asked him if he was sure! I remember loading a uhaul truck and moving out to Colorado in a one-bedroom apartment not knowing a single soul. I remember thinking about how unqualified I was, and with the fear of failure I began begging the Lord to help me out if this is where He wanted me to serve Him. I also remember reading this sweet reminder, that a heart set to do the Fathers will need never fear defeat. The Lord does not call the confident and equipped, but he equips the humble who are called and willing to go wherever He has called them to be. That was three years ago.
About a year ago, I remember getting on a plane to fly out to Peachtree, GA to Africa Inland Mission Organization’s headquarters to spend a week figuring out if it was time to fulfill this calling that I have felt for a long time about doing mission work full-time. I remember this summer being assigned to my team, and also feeling those familiar feelings of wavering confidence and a mixture of fear an excitement, and this assurance that this is what the Lord has called me to do next in life.
These last two weeks have served as a much needed reflection and preparation to anchor me in the reminder of the Lord’s faithfulness and of Philippians 1:6 when Paul reassures us that one thing we should always be confident in is this: That He who began a good work in us will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. There is still a lot I have left to do before I board a plane in 5 months and head out to another unfamiliar territory with the only confidence being in knowing that this is what the Lord has called me to do.
I am so incredibly thankful for these past two weeks and for the reminder of 1 Thessalonians 5:24:
“He who calls you is faithful; He will surely do it.”
To God be all the Glory forever!