Getting Honest With Fear

How Slavery to Christ Sets Us Free…

Isn’t it funny how seemingly small things can jar us into a real tailspin of fear? Sometimes HUGE daunting things are pretty easy to keep on the backburner simply because they are too mammoth to wrap your brain around. As if we think “yes, that will probably be scary. Good thing it’s a long way off.” But as that thing gets nearer and nearer to you, a single word like “immunization” or “Visas” will light your fear up like a match to gasoline. The phenomenon of a distant reality becoming tangible and practical can be terrifying for me.

As many of our family members and friends know, Sam and I are leaving in September to live as short-term missionaries in Chad (North-Central Africa) for a year. Yesterday we got our “country specific information” in our inboxes. We read through pages and pages of “to-do’s” for before we leave for our new (temporary) home. Many of these to-do’s had to do with preventing disease before we arrive and cultural taboos after we arrive. As I read page after page of what needs to be accomplished, a deep dark sense of terror landed on me.

“I can’t handle this.”

“What are the side effects of THIS shot?”

“What do they mean I can’t hold Sam’s hand in public? I can’t even eat with him?? For a whole YEAR?!”

To be totally honest, as deeply scary as these different tasks and cultural regulations are to me, they would not be the most difficult things to handle. But that is not all there is to mission. Without a doubt, my biggest fear about leaving to go so far away for so long is am I even going to be of any use? I can’t emphasize greatly enough how terrified I am of going to the mission field unprepared and unfit for the task. What if I waste this time? What if I waste (heaven forbid) other people’s money?

Sam and I love Paul Washer. A missionary\pastor and a godly man. While watching one of his sermons on YouTube last night, he uttered some words that totally rocked me:

“People do not need your life…and they do not need your zeal…and they do not need all your well-meaning endeavor. Don’t go to the mission field, unless when you go there you can open your mouth and instruct them in the things of God.” 

This is my biggest doubt–that I will actually be able to lead the lost to a God that they do not know. That I will be able to instruct them in the way by which they may know HimI do not even know Him as well as I might, or as well as I ought. What right do I have to place myself in the position of leadership for others?

This is my fear; my deadly iceberg lurking beneath the calm, confident surface.You, no doubt, are dealing with your own. Loved one, as children of our loving Father, how do we live with this? How do we press on in the face of debilitating fear?

There is another quote from Paul Washer that has left a lasting impression on me. This is a rough paraphrase, but it carries the same impact:

“Slaves don’t have much to worry about.”

If you identify yourself as a SLAVE TO CHRIST, you have nothing to concern yourself with. He is a perfect Master. A kind Master. A loving Master. A Master Who knows “when you sit down and when you rise up” and “understands your thoughts from afar” Ps 139. Not to mention, He owns all of creation. There is nothing that exists that doesn’t lie under His reign and His dominion. All things belong to Him. He holds the keys to death and hell. All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Him. If you have submitted yourself to Him as a slave, then it is His responsibility and His ALONE, to care for you and provide for your needs.

THIS sheds light in my darkness. THIS brings me hope.

I don’t have to know the details.

I don’t have to know how this will turn out.

If God has called me to this task, I’m going to trust that He is GOOD, that He is FOR me, and that He will surely fulfill what He has ordained, and provide what is needed to complete it.

All you and I have to do is trust and obey.

“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He Who did not spare His own Son but gave Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?” Romans 8:31-32

Love, Grace

 

 

 

Don’t Fear the Flame

Refining Fire in Young Marriage…

I cannot be the only one in a brand spanking new marriage to be experiencing some of the flames of the Refiner’s Fire. When Sam and I were engaged, I assumed that there would be a lot of things that I was not expecting once we got married. Because, as a not-yet-married-person, you almost constantly hear older and wiser people telling you…

“Marriage is the hardest thing you will ever do.”

“Just wait ’til the fighting starts.”

“You realize he’s not going to be prince charming, right?”

I took those statements to heart. If you’re anything like me, you go into a new situation expecting the very worst. (Because, if that’s your attitude, you can’t be disappointed, right?)  I dove into the ocean of marriage expecting things to be extremely difficult, and assuming that I was totally naive. I don’t necessarily think that was an unwise way to go about it, but it definitely did not reflect a deep trust in God’s goodness. I can definitely say that it failed to prevent me from being burned.

Living life with Sam has been SO TRULY, TRULY GOOD in hundreds of ways. Honestly, so much easier at the outset than I had even hoped. We joke together about the above statements regarding marriage that we were force-fed. “Psssh, marriage is EASY.What were these people talking about?”

I was expecting fights on fights on fights. Today we have been married for exactly six months and have never had a “fight”. I guess what I was not expecting was that I would be confronted with so much of my own sin. I find that we are typically very blind to our own faults and secret inner-workings. As a wife, these things that were once hidden have been highlighted in ways that I never expected. The same is true for Sam. We have come face to face with sins against one another that were shrouded in the dark. Bitter tears have been shed over our own inner ugliness and how it has hurt the other person.

Seeing your loved one weep over how you have hurt them is indescribably painful. I really, REALLY hope that you never have to go through that. I wish I hadn’t. But when it happened, it felt like things got REAL. Like we were being tried by fire. And God has used it for good. For progress.

What I want you to know (married or not) is that you shouldn’t try to steel yourself against the inevitable flames. If you love the Lord, and long to seek His face, He will bring to light your sin and your spouse’s sin. But how GOOD He is! He does not leave us to deal with it ourselves. His intention is to refine and purify so that you can both be better conformed to the image of His Son. To teach forgiveness. To purge out what is evil and replace it with His character. I would not trade that for anything.

If this is what you’re going through, TAKE HEART. Trust His goodness. Kill sin. And enjoy the eternal benefits of a purified heart. “…everyone who thus hopes in HIM purifies himself as He is pure.” 1 John 3:3 [emphasis mine]

“When through the deep waters I call thee to go, the rivers of sorrow shall not overflow\ For I will be with thee, thy troubles to bless, and sanctify to thee thy deepest distress\ When through fiery trials thy pathway shall lie, my grace all-sufficient shall be thy supply\ The flame shall not hurt thee, I only design, thy dross to consume and thy gold to refine.” (How Firm a Foundation)

 

Love, Grace

 

Purpose Statement

New wife, new missionary, totally unqualified, but He is totally sufficient…

So happy you’re here 🙂

This blog is intended mainly to document the events and thoughts and growth that unfold in my life so that close friends and family can catch a glimpse of what God is doing.

If you do not already know me, I’m Grace.

  1. An aspiring disciple of Jesus.
  2. A brand new wife to Sam (8/20/16).
  3. A daughter, sister, and friend.
  4. Probably the most unqualified person ever to dive into cross-cultural mission work!

 

I want this site to…

  1. Be a place to write things that are placed on my heart.
  2. Document what God is working in me as a new spouse and missionary.
  3. Ultimately to highlight God’s glory and worth in the seasons of life He brings.

This blog probably won’t explain how to make a DIY chalkboard mason jar, or “How to Improve Your Time Management in 5 Easy Steps.” There are a plethora of other resources available for those things if that’s what you’re looking for.

But, if you think you and I have anything in common, if you’re hoping to read something that will help you set your eyes back on eternity, if you’re hoping you’re “not the only one” who deals with certain struggles, then maybe follow along!

Love, Grace