Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Weight of the World

I have been thinking about the phrase, "The weight of the world is on my shoulders." I've felt like that a lot in my life, in the past, and to a degree, even now. Ever since I was divorced, I have bought into the idea of "pulling myself up by my bootstraps." After awhile, I realized that the body of Christ is ready and willing to help with those things that I can;t do or am clueless about; things like fixing my computer or a ride to and from the airport or doing a web page for me or even fixing stuff in my apartment that needs fixed or even making me chicken soup when I'm sick.

There have been times since I have been with The Mission Society that it seemed that I had to do everything myself. Since I am single, there is no spouse to help with packing, unpacking, getting stuff ready for visas, raising support, speaking, writing letters, making phone calls, fixing meals, cleaning the apartment, helping with income, taking care of day to day life stuff so I can have some relaxed time for myself, grocery shopping, language learning, and the list goes on. Some days can seem so endless and so hard. And, yet, because I am alone, if I need to stop what I'm doing to do something else that "just came up" I can do it. There's pros and cons to it.

Right now, at 7AM on Wednesday, November 17th, I feel as if I have that weight on my shoulders. I am getting ready to move to Ghana. My moving sale is December 4th. I have to decide what to keep and store for ten years, what to sell, what to give away, what to pack keeping in mind that I am only taking three cases with me. I do have people helping here and there at random times. And, some stuff others just can't do. I have to practice going out of my comfort zone and call people, asking them to come and help for a couple of hours. I can't do it alone. I need the body of Christ including my "Home Team" to help me with various projects.

Part of the problem is that many people are not available when I am. The other problem is that I feel as if I am imposing on people if I call and ask for help. (My problem, not theirs!) When I can't sleep, I'll get up and do odds and ends that need to be done, like empty a book shelf or a dresser drawer. Then, I'll get ready for the day, have my quiet time with the Lord and continue with what needs to be done. By the time people are home from work, I'm ready for bed!

The solution? Give it to God. Let Him carry the weight. Make phone calls. Ask people to help at specific times. And, keep on keepin' on, relying on the strength that comes from Him. God's hand print has been on all of this so far. I know He will continue to lead, guide, strengthen and give wisdom. And when all is said and done, I will praise Him!

Friday, November 12, 2010

The Difference a Year Can Make!

A year ago I was hoping to be in Ghana by the end of June 2010 at the very latest. Obviously, that didn't happen. God had other plans. And, as usual, He knew what was best for me. This past year has been a a year of preparation for my move. But, it has also been much, much more.

In July 2009, I took the Holmes and Rahe stress test. I quit counting my score after I passed the 700 mark. Anything over 300 indicates that there is a possibility of having a stress related illness. I was a prime candidate. And, I could see how the stresses in my life were affecting me. I was behaving - acting and reacting - in ways that were foreign to my natural, God given personality and characteristics. I didn't like who I was at times. And, I knew I needed to do something about it.

So, I spoke to my pastors. I asked for help, for ideas on how to deal with the things in my life that gave me a 700+ score. I spent more time with God. I breathed deeply. I exercised. I learned how to relax. I tried to make better food choices. I took time for myself without feeling guilty! I spent time with family and friends. I began to see the importance of a Sabbath rest. I continue to learn to give things to Christ and leave them at the foot of the cross instead of worrying about them. All of these things, plus more, over the course of this past year, has made me a different person.

The person I am today is one who knows that the weight of her world is not on her shoulders, but on God's. And, if He is truly leading me someplace, He will absolutely provide for me. That doesn't mean it will be easy. But, I know I can depend on His words in Isaiah: "I have called you by your name; you are Mine. 2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you, and through the rivers, they will not overwhelm you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned or scorched, nor will the flame kindle upon you. 3 For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior; "Isaiah 43:1-3 (AMP)

I have no idea where this great adventure that I am on will end. I know I am excited, energized and ready to embrace what God has for me. And, as I prepare to move, I will be taking with me the lessons of this past year. A new, improved, more mature daughter of the Most High will be boarding that plane in February. May He receive all the glory!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

"Homeward" Bound

It's "official." When I first arrived in Ghana in October 2007, I felt as if I were "home." I had such a peace in my heart even though I did not know what lay ahead. And, now, for what seems like forever, my prayer has been that I would return to Ghana, not just for two months, but for an extended period of time. The time has now come! Praise God!

I will begin my journey to the Upper West Region of Ghana sometime between mid February and mid March, with the preference being mid February. So, I am finally on my way "home." I can't wait to see the faces of the children whom I love. I can't wait to return to my Ghanaian "home town," Ankaase. I can't wait to see my friends, Mary Kay & Charlie and Anne & Cam and Ritchie & Maggie and their families. But, most of all, I can't wait to be Jesus to the children at the Lawra Orphanage and to the Dagaaba people in the Upper West Region.

I know there is a lot to do between now and then...documents needed for my visa, housing concerns, raising some more support, a moving sale, Thanksgiving, Christmas, moving out of my apartment, and even dealing with being homeless for a time. But, I can't remember when I have had such peace, such joy. I imagine there will be bumps in the road, too. But, as it says in Isaiah 58:11 "The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame." Obviously, God is in control. He has scripted this and, it WILL come to fruition.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Wish List vs. Faith List

I have friend, a colleague, a "coach" who works at The Mission Society office. His name is Ron Beatty and he has been such a blessing and an encouragement to me. He keeps me focused on truth by a simple well placed word spoken here and there.

Several months ago we were talking on the phone about my upcoming move to Ghana. I was talking about a few things that I would like to have to take to Ghana with me. Since he is a "computer geek" and is the tech person for the office, we talked about my computer. He asked if I was planning on buying a new one before I left. I told him no, I didn't have the funds for a new one. Then, I said, "I'll put it on my wish list." He responded, "No, put it on your FAITH list. Believe God will provide for you." Every time the phrase "wish list" comes to mind, I think of that conversation. I do have to admit that in my mind, I dropped the idea of a new computer.

Well, (rhymes with Dell), on Sunday, my adapter chord died. It was the second one in less than three years. I've also replaced the mother board, hard drive & speakers on my present computer in less than three years. As I was talking on the phone with a friend (because I couldn't email - I couldn't recharge my battery) she said, "If someone were to donate money for a new computer, would you use it for that or for something else?" "I'd use it for a computer, if the funds were specified." "We'll donate to The Mission Society, to your account for a new computer for you, so you'll have a good one when you move." WOW! Praise God!

I had forgotten about the conversation with Ron from several months ago. God didn't forget. He knows what I need. And, He showed me what FAITH, not wishing can do. Do I still have a "Wish List?" No way! But, I do have a "Faith List" of stuff that I want to pack. When the time is right, God will provide!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

I am so Blessed!

Monday, as I was driving home from the Home Group I belong to, my mind began to wander as it often does on an open road. Since my computer was not working, I had checked my email at my friends house before I departed. My messages included one from a church in central Pennsylvania which wants to support my ministry at $100 a month and this was the message to confirm that commitment. I was also asked to speak to the congregation in January.

As I drove, I thought about the lack of "stuff" I'll have. I was thinking about cooking over a fire some of the time, and not having water some of the time, and having very little in belongings with me. And, I was so excited. I was excited because my dream is slowly becoming reality. "I am the luckiest person in the world" was the thought that crossed my mind. Then, I corrected myself, "No, I am the most BLESSED person in the world." The Bible doesn't mention luck, not even the "Luck of the Irish!" All good things come from God.

And, I see living among the Dagaaba people group a good thing coming from God. How else can I see this situation? The Dagaaba people group are an under evangelised people group. Most still believe in traditional or animistic religions. They don't know the love and hope of Jesus Christ. And, many times, when one accepts Christ into their life, the new beliefs are mixed with the old ones.

In Genesis it is written that we are blessed so that we can be a blessing to others. The blessing spoken about is not an American way of life, or a certain monetary income, but the blessing of salvation. And, to share that blessing with others who don't have the opportunities to hear about it as we do in the USA...well, it doesn't get any better than that!