“Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” Matthew 10: 37-39
For the last several months, I have been praying about leaving Honduras in August 2014 and returning to the States to study, work, and travel. I have spent countless hours daydreaming about what it will be like when I return, as I had my heart set on an answer that God truly hadn’t given me yet.
But now God has answered me, and His answer wasn’t quite the thrilling news I was expecting. “Not yet.” That’s what God told me. It’s not time to leave Emmanuel yet. And if I am honest, I am not happy with this answer. I want to go back to my family and back to the comfort of the States. So I start complaining… God can’t you see how much I’ve already given? I’ve spent a year and a half in Honduras. That’s a lot. Now I want to go back. I’m tired and want to be done.
And then I remembered a conversation I had with my mom a little over a year ago. I was still a volunteer and had called my mom from Honduras to tell her I was seriously thinking about extending my time at Emmanuel. She supported my idea, but told me, “Elisabeth, you need to be sure that God is calling you to this. Because it’s not always going to be fun and easy, it’s going to get hard. And when it’s hard, you have to be able to lean on God, knowing that He has called you there for a purpose. If not, you will leave when it gets hard and uncomfortable.” And I strongly believe that God has called me to Honduras for this period of time. I don’t think I will be at Orphanage Emmanuel forever, but I do know that God did not tell me to work until it got difficult or I got tired and then leave. God told me to stay there until He tells me to leave, and to serve Him wholeheartedly and joyfully, not begrudgingly and with self pity.
If I am honest, my first several months at Emmanuel were ‘easy.’ I was playing with kids all day. I had the freedom to go to take a nap, hangout with friends, or go to Tegucigalpa for the day pretty much whenever I wanted. I had so much support from the States, people sending encouraging messages, care packages, and checks with donation money to me regularly. I was serving the Lord, yes. But I was giving out of my abundance; I was like the rich people in Luke 21.
Now I’ve gotten past the ‘honeymoon’ stage of Honduras. Don’t get me wrong, I love the small girls and teenagers in the house where I work dearly, and I still love Honduras as a country. Very much. But there are days when I don’t want to be a mother to 35 children at 22 years old. There are days I want to be a college kid and drink Starbucks coffee and go to my little brother’s basketball games and get my nails done at the salon. There are days I dream about finishing my Bachelor’s degree and going on to get my Master’s and eventually PhD, studying more foreign languages, international relations, or criminal justice. There are days I want to travel all of Central and South America and places in Europe. I want to disciple high school girls and lead Bible studies and go to church services in English. I have so many dreams, and I don’t believe they are all bad; I think God can definitely be glorified in many of those dreams.
But God tells me to lay everything at His feet. He tells me to take up my cross and follow Him, knowing full well that some of my dreams will go unfulfilled. And that makes me sad; it hurts. But it’s supposed to. I am called to give sacrificially, not just give God the leftovers of my excess.
I believe that God knows my heart, that He loves me and cares about my dreams, that they are important to Him. And so my hope is that someday, those dreams will come true in God’s timing. But I also know that following Jesus, that being obedient to Him and what His plans are for my life is so much better than anything I can dream up on my own. My life is not my own. So I pursue God’s will for this life I have been given.
I am blessed by God’s graciousness in revealing all of this to me in the last several weeks that I have spent visiting family in the States. I am blessed because I can thoroughly enjoy the time I have here, and go back to Honduras refreshed and ready to work hard for God’s glory. I am excited to see my little girls again, and excited to wake up each morning with new opportunities to serve, love, and sacrifice for them, and ultimately for God. Because God made the ultimate sacrifice for me. He sent His only son, Jesus Christ, to die in my place and credit me with His righteousness. And now I am so privileged that I have an opportunity to sacrifice for Him as a response to this grace? Wow. What a blessing.
“Jesus looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the offering box, and he saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. And he said, “Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.” – Luke 21:1-4
I love Jesus and what He has to teach me while I wander around the planet. My other favorite things include: foreign languages, yoga, hiking,
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