How good are YOU?

On Easter Sunday our Pastor asked a questioned to everyone in our church, “On a scale of one to one-hundred how good of a person are you?”  As I ponder this question in my head, defending myself…to myself, I turn over to my brother who barely ever goes to church and hear his answer, 15.  Here I am thinking I am a 50 and my heart is breaking for my brother who I see so much good in and he only sees a 15/100.  The more our Pastor went on with the sermon the more disgusted I felt with my thought of being a 50.  My brother’s number reminded me of something really important.  I do not have a number at all.  I cannot even obtain a lousy 1.  The only good thing about me is God.  I do not make the scale because I do not deserve a number.  God is good.  His number well exceeds 100.  I have to remember that the only reason people see me and think she is a good person is because all they see is what God has done in and through me. That is GOOD.  Me, I am not good.  

A Glimpse of A Journey to India

“But that is not fair!”

“God never told us life would be fair Diane!”

This mini conversation was spoken by my grandmother and I pretty much every day when I was little.  There were so many things that were not fair.  Each time I began to complain about my “unfairness” my grandmother so gently reminded me of the truth that this life is not fair.  That was not a comforting thing to hear.  I did not want to be reminded of the unfairness, I wanted life to be fair!

After spending ten days in India, the phrase, “this life isn’t fair” takes on a whole new meaning in my heart.  Honestly, I could write an entire book filled with sentences ending in that is not fair.  Each sentence would start with something I saw or something I heard while in India. 

Coming back to Pittsburgh, back to my beautiful family, beautiful apartment, heels, clothes, and chocolate cake doesn’t feel good, it just feels really unfair.

When I left for India, I was nervous to leave behind my life.  No make-up, heels, cute clothes, and comfy bed for ten days.  I know this does not seem like a big deal, but for a girl who has always had an excess of wants and needs kindly handed to her, taking a step away from all of that onto a plane to India was a huge deal for me.  The only thing that kept me headed to India was God’s hand in mine leading the way. 

Landing in Mumbai, all that was going through my mind was, “What am I doing here, please someone put me on the first plane back to home as soon as possible”.  I am glad that those thoughts quickly found their way out of my head.  Finally, in the crowd of hundreds of people I recognized a face!  I do not think I ever been more excited to see someone I knew than in that moment of seeing Brock at the airport, and I didn’t even know him that well!  After about ten wet wipes, chocolate cookie crumbs, and a sip of warm bottled water, I decided to remind myself of how I found myself in a car in India in the first place.

God answered my prayers that I have been praying to Him for the past two to three years.  I prayed that He would show me His will for my life.  I asked Him to give me His desires for my life and get rid of my own.  I remember the moment I cried so much realizing that Jesus gave up His life for me and I told Him that day I wanted to give up my life for Him to use me however He wants to.    

As we were driving around lots of lost stray dogs, bodies lying on the side of the street, and shops that looked like they would crumble down to the ground if you so much as blew on the walls; I noticed a big smile filling my face.  I realized in this moment that I am here, because I asked God to bring me here. 

I had no idea two years ago that God’s will for me would mean being in India, but He knew, and He has been preparing me for these ten days since before I was a “screaming grape” in my daddy’s arms.    

As we arrived at the YWAM campus in I knew I was definitely in God’s will and not my own.  I personally, would never choose to spend my “vacation time” at a place that had no comforts of home other than a perfectly placed welcome card on the table.  As I read the card my heart filled with confirmation that I am exactly where God wants me.  John 10:10 The thief comes only to kill, steal, and destroy but I have come so they may have life and have it abundantly.  This verse has been the life verse for me and my sister since she first introduced it to me about a year ago and it just so happened to be the verse used to fill the left hand side of my welcome card.  When I closed the card, I thanked God for bringing me so much comfort in this uncomfortable place.

The first night I learned just how uncomfortable living in God’s will is.  I know this sounds pathetic for a 24 year old girl to admit, but I am a little bit scared of the dark.  When I cannot see what is in front of me, I am filled with anxiety that he is going to jump out at me.  Wouldn’t you know, shortly after closing my card, the power went out.  Quickly darkness filled my sight.  I tried not to be scared, but I failed on my own.  Martha’s “candle flashlight” seemed to of saved the night, but only later as I was not sleeping in my bed; I realized God saved the night.  God was bringing my fear to the forefront.  He wanted to battle my fear with me, when I just wanted to sleep in the comfort of that candle.  He wouldn’t let me close my eyes in peace until I realized He is my light, I don’t need to be scared of the dark.  With His gentle nudging I switched off the candle (yes it had a switch not a flame) and I went to sleep in His presence. 

The first full day in India, I learned that when you are in God’s will, you still have fears.  Your fears do not go away just because you are doing what God wants you to be doing.  I thought for sure that because I was following God to India, He would make sure our path was bug free.  So, when a bug crawled in my pink shoe and all over my foot I was more than a little irritated.  I was furious.  How dare these dumb bugs try to cause to me to be paralyzed with fear.  Yes, it is true this 24 year old girl is not only scared of the dark, but also bugs.  Although, petrified might be a better word to describe my bug fear.  The moment after the bug freak out is one I am very thankful for.  God used Martha and Brock to comfort me.  They assured me that everyone has fears and it is ok.  I was reminded that God is always there through the fear.  It is all going to be ok.  And from that moment on, yes I saw terribly disgusting bugs and used the bug zapper ferociously, but I was fearless when it came to encountering a bug on our path.  Little did I know, God was not only taking care of these little fears, but the big ones too.  He is always taking care of me, and for that I am very thankful.

On October 19, 2012 I shared the following fear of mine in one of my posts for an online Bible Study for the book, A Lady In Waiting.

I have had thoughts of going oversees to work in a ministry I have come to love but I stop those thoughts from being anything other than thoughts because I am scared if I let that thought flourish and even start praying for that thought then I will end up far away from my family helping women who hurt so badly find Jesus; instead of having the dream wedding I have always dreamed of.  That was really hard for me to write, but it is or was should I say unfortunately the truth.  Today I decided to pray for that thought.

Eight months exactly after that first prayer for India, I find myself arriving back home from the very place I was fearful of going.  Now, five more days later, I find myself craving to go back!  It is amazing what praying God’s will for your life will cause you to do, especially when you do not fully realize what it is you are doing.

When I first decided to go to India, thanks to a very prominent sign from God, I had no idea what we would be doing.  After we met to discuss plans for the trip, my heart was once again filled with confirmation that I really am supposed to go to India.  Everything we would be doing in India, putting on a retreat for young girls who are victims of human trafficking, loving on girls we pray for every day, sharing God’s love with ones who are desperately in need of Him, now this is what God has been preparing me for since that wet May day when I rededicated my life to the Lord.

Before I left for India, God opened my eyes to see that He has been using every little and big thing in my life from the first scream to the last tear He hasn’t let anything go to waste.  The trouble I found myself in when I thought I was with the man who held the key to my heart is being used by God to minister to young girls who are now literally holding my heart.

The first day of our retreat, I honestly had no idea what to expect.  From the instant our table had to pick a name and together chose “Freedom in Christ” I knew this trip surely was going to bless each and every one of us involved far more than we could have ever expected. 

To Be Continued…

 

 

 

 

 

INDIA

When I was in therapy I held onto a scripture, tightly.

You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.  Genesis 50:20

I trusted with my whole heart that everything that Satan used to try to harm me and destroy me, God could use for good.  Even if I did not see or understand the good, I had faith, I put my trust in God.  

This was one of the hardest things to come to terms with…because I had no control over the “good” that would happen, I only had control over my relationship with Jesus.  This process of trusting God brought me extremely close to Him.  As tough as it was, looking back these moments of trusting God blindly have been my favorite moments we spend together.  

Slowly but surely God’s promises proved to be true over and over again.  God was bringing GOOD from my past harm.  He was using everything that was intended to destroy me and He was turning it all around for His goodness and glory!  I would sit back and be in awe of God and how faithful He is.  

I remember the day He put the nudging on my heart for India.  I was sick to my stomach.  I tried so hard to convince myself that nudging was not from God.  I was fearful of that nudging.  

My thoughts were consumed with lies…

I cannot serve You in India, I am a nobody, no good “Christian girl”

What do I have to offer to anyone, especially someone in India?

I cannot go to India, what will others think of me for going to India?

The thoughts went on and on.

Then one day I decided to pull out my helmet and remember the TRUTH of what God was trying to tell me.

I have been preparing you for this moment Diane, to share ME with the hurting souls in India.

All of the yuck you went through can be used to help others…in India.

You are right, you are no good on your own, but with ME flourishing in your life, you are complete, useful, loved, and guided to exactly where I want you to be.  I will continually give you MY STRENGTH AND MY QUALITIES to accomplish exactly what it is I want you to accomplish….the saving of many and many lost souls.  

Do you really care what others think about you??  Those people you are worried about are the ones that need me the most.

After a complete God sign that I surely am supposed to go to India, I am so thankful to God for His patience with my heart!  Since that sign, life has been a little out of sorts, but I choose to hold onto God’s sword.

I am blown away because I see that verse I held onto tightly coming to fruition.  I love seeing God’s promises reign true in my life.  I am so thankful that all of my awful past pain is not wasted.  I am thankful for the power my testimony has to bring others to Jesus, after all it brought me to Jesus so I know it can bring others to Jesus too.

I am mostly excited about India because this trip is all Jesus.  I am nowhere to be found.  

I anticipated my “good” to come out of the horror story I went through to be a love story with the man God has handpicked just for me.  God is showing me where my true love story is with Him, and the chapter to India is the “good” He has been anticipating for me all along.    I am praying so many we meet in India will meet Jesus through us, and are able to find their GOD “goods”.     

Final thoughts:  “People” learn about my past and explain how deeply sorry they are that I had to go through such an awful time.  My response is always the same: “I would go through every single detail of my past all over again if it had the same outcome every time; a closer relationship with Jesus Christ.”  I know first hand why we are to consider trials of all kinds to be pure joy, because in every trial is the opportunity to grow closer to Jesus.  All we have to do is trust in His Word, and hold tight to each one of His promises.  

Heavenly Father,

Thank you for your goodness.  Thank you that we are able to experience your joy in the midst of trials.  Thank you that we are able to grow closer to You always.  I thank you for this opportunity to go to India.  Thank you for the good you have brought out of my past.  I am excited to help others find the good you have planned for them, even if it is out of the worst experiences we could ever imagine.  Thank you for your never ending promises.  I love you so incredibly much!

Love, Diane