Monday, January 26, 2015

Fix My Eyes

"Trust Me and don't be afraid, for I am your Strength and Song. Do not let fear dissipate your energy. Instead, invest your energy in trusting Me and singing My Song.  The battle for control of your mind is fierce, and years of worry have made you vulnerable to the enemy. Therefore, you need to be vigilant in guarding your thoughts. Do not despise this weakness in yourself, since I am using it to dray you closer to me..."  June 11th devotional by Sarah Young, Jesus Calling  
I just returned from time in France and Gabon serving with E4 Project in both places with Sarah Lewan.  In the next couple of weeks, I will write more specific posts about the awesome things that God did on this trip, but first, I wanted to share about my journey.  I want to share with all of you that God calls us all to hard things - even when we are extremely passionate about our faith, causes and ideas. God called my husband and I to start E4 Project and led me again to Africa on this most recent trip.  I am scared of flying, not having control in life and public speaking. Those are pretty much my big 3. God and I have many discussions - well, I do most of the talking - about why He has called me to this ministry when I have these huge fears.  It seems like He could have prepared me better for the road He was putting me on since I have to do those three things a lot.  The hard things that God places before us provide an amazing opportunity though - a chance to be completely obedient to Him and draw closer to Him because He is all we have to get us through and those are the times we cling to Him and grow in our faith.  The above quote from Jesus Calling is one that I read over and over regarding my worries and fears.

What I continue to learn and was able to focus on during this trip is that God can use me to do whatever He plans to accomplish as long as I continue to fix my eyes on Him continuously. I believe that I have to rely on Him even more - every day, every hour - because I have these anxieties and fears.  I had a lot of anxiety before traveling and even in France as well with more flights ahead of me to Africa. The enemy knows exactly how to get to me and he tried his hardest to get me to believe that I could not do any of this.  My anxiety would start to creep up on me and so I was very deliberate about only looking ahead at that day - the day God placed before me.  He promises to give us the strength we need for today, not tomorrow (Matt 6:34).  It is a daily decision to trust Him and guard my thoughts from the enemy.  I also listened to the song by For King & Country a lot called "Fix My Eyes".  A portion of the lyrics are below and these are what I cling to daily as I serve through E4 Project.  This is my goal in everything that I do and it was awesome to have this reminder daily.
"I'd love like I'm not scared, Give when it's not fair,
Live life for another, Take time for a brother,
Fight for the weak ones, Speak out for freedom,
Find faith in the battle, Stand tall but above it all,
Fix my eyes on you"lyrics from "Fix My Eyes" by For King & Country
So - I spoke at a luncheon fundraiser in France put together by a good friend of mine from Colorado. I spoke to over 50 people from all over the world - my friends are part of a large international community in the south of France.  Many people there had spent more time in Africa than I have.  There was even an Ambassador from France there.  As I met everyone and learned about their backgrounds before speaking, I grew more and more anxious. I felt inadequate to share in front of  all these people. Again - I fixed my eyes on Christ and was able to deliver a fairly decent portrayal of what we are doing in Gabon and DR Congo and share our heart for serving the people that God loves.  It was very successful and we raised over $2,000 in just that afternoon.  All the glory goes to God - I know He spoke through me to share His vision.
Luncheon in France, photo courtesy of Mike Slone

I had to take 8 flights to get to France, on to Gabon and back home.  The flight from Paris to Libreville, Gabon had awful turbulence for a short period of time (with people screaming on the plane) and this gave me more fear for the flights home - and more conversations to have with God. Those all started pretty much the same way with "Are you serious God?  I am being obedient and trying really hard to trust you - can't the flights at least be somewhat smooth?"   I also had to give up any sense of control that I think I have when I fly and travel.  The time in Gabon was amazing.  We had wonderful meetings with all of our ministry partners and continued to work on our plans to serve with them to advance their ministries.  We had an awesome time with the team that was there from Grove City Alliance Church and I was so blessed to have them welcome us in as part of their team.  It was such an honor to spend time with people who care so much about our ministry partners.  The time flew by and God had every part of it held in His hand.

The Grove City team with Sarah and I

I am learning so much every day as I spend time with God that all He asks of me is to be obedient to Him and to trust Him with each and every day.  I have the passion and the love to do this - I just have a lot of hurdles to cross each time I step out for Him. However, each time He rewards me beyond my wildest expectations and it encourages me to continue to step out in trusting Him and giving my whole life to Him.

Photos of our meetings with Bon Samaritan Ministry to widows and the Sarah with kids at Avea II
“I want to go barefoot because it’s holy ground; I want to be running because time is short and none of us has as much runway as we think we do; and I want it to be a fight because that’s where we can make a difference. That’s what love does.” - Bob Goff, Love Does

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