Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Easy to Praise!

On a day like today it's super easy to praise. It's the kind of day where I just want to throw my hands in the air, jump up and down and dance for joy. Today around 2pm I received a call inviting me to go on an all expenses paid mission trip to Haiti. I'd applied for the trip by writing an essay. I had to answer the question: "How are you personally challenged by Jesus' invitation to live more fully and love dangerously, and how could this trip be part of that?"

At some point I'll post my answer to that question for you to see. I will say that in part I wrote about the conflict that is in me. It's a conflict that I feel almost every day. I can't help but wonder -- am I supposed to be on the ground, living as a missionary somewhere? I love missions, I love people, I love other cultures. I long to have a more simple life, to get rid of stuff I don't need, and be filled more by God and relationships than anything else. And there is a part of me that at any given moment would like to just sell everything and move to some distant land and live among the people there. And if I had my way, I'd probably globe-trot the world that way.

But then there's this other part of me -- the part that wonders if I'm supposed to be here where I'm at right now. If as much as I love the people of the world and want to be with them, if I'm not supposed be here at home getting other people as excited about loving the world as I am and showing them how they can make a difference. It's a hard call. There are days where I lean one way and days where I lean the other -- and ultimately, all I can do is lift my hands to God and say, "Make me open to your will whatever it is. And give me the grace to move if you ask me to move or stay if you ask me to stay. But, help me to hear your voice and not mine." Honestly our voice can drown out God's if we're not careful. And just because something is easy and agreeable and what we want doesn't necessarily make it God's will for us.

I believe that I started my company World of Difference Ltd. because of a dream that God put in my heart. All of my life experiences helped to make me who I am and to put this passion into my heart. I don't see my work as work so much as a ministry. I want to touch people every time I perform. I want to help them to see that the United States is not the center of the universe and that there is so much that can be learned from other people. And yet, I've had a hard time reconciling my need to create as an artist with the thought that maybe I'm not doing enough for God -- or that what I am doing isn't "ministry-oriented" enough. I've felt confused and frustrated about it.

And then at Urbana, the missions conference I attended, for the first time I heard someone say that if God made me an artist -- if he put that passion into me and gave me the ability for it -- than maybe that was my calling. The speaker said that God wanted to redeem everything in our world -- not just people but education, art, medicine, science -- and the only way to do that was by having committed Christians in every field. That was a liberating thought to me.

So, I do believe I have digressed, and yet, what I want to say is that God continues to amaze me. This summer I will be doing a folktale from Haiti for the summer reading program at libraries across Ohio and in Michigan as well. I chose this folktale last fall, before Haiti was in the news, before many people even knew where it was. I chose it because of its connection to a modern day issue -- the global water crisis and how everyone deserves access to clean water. I became excited about using World of Difference not only to teach about other cultures, but to teach about modern day issues affecting people in the world.

As many of you know, I was supposed to go on a mission trip to Africa last summer. Going to Africa is a long-time dream of mine. At the last minute, the trip was cancelled. I was crushed. This year, I found out that the trip to Africa was being re-scheduled. I really wanted to go but it didn't seem the right time. I knew my husband couldn't go and I didn't want to leave him for 2 months. At the same time, I felt like I was supposed be at home telling the story from Haiti. I felt like it was important for people to know. And yet, it stung -- wanting to go to Africa, knowing the opportunity was there, and that I wasn't even going for it.. .

And I prayed about Haiti. I wanted to go so badly for so many reasons. I get antsy when I haven't been overseas to serve for awhile ( I can't help it! It's just my personality!) And I wanted to know more about this country that I was going to teach about. And today when I got the phone call that I would be going, I was so emotional that I wanted to cry. I felt like God had brought everything together. I felt as though He were saying -- "You are supposed to tell this story this summer." And not only that, I saw that God is capable of opening doors I can't even imagine. . that He is always behind the scenes working things out even though I often know nothing about it. And to be honest, I felt something else -- I felt God's great love for me. I felt like His daughter today and I felt like He was saying, "See how much I love you. I know what's in your heart, and I care about it." He is so worthy of my praise!

1 comment:

  1. I will be going too. Looking forward to meeting you.