Have you ever sensed that you were being sent somewhere? Being sent by God Himself? Have you felt the nudge? The pounding of your heart that just couldn’t be ignored?
Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” John 20:21
“Peace be with you” Jesus repeated. He had just spoken those same words in verse 19b.
Jesus wanted His disciples to be filled with peace as He sent them on their way. Not fear. Or clarity. Or anxiety. Or feelings of inadequacy. No. Peace.
Last month I ended my post asking if you had felt the Holy Spirit nudging you and that I hoped to share (this month) where He was leading me. Today peace is exactly what I felt when I signed up to go to Uganda with a few other church members.
When did I go from being terrified of flying to agreeing to travel halfway around the world to Africa? When did God transform this hardened heart into one surrendered to His call to go?
When did God open my eyes to Psalm 139:16:
Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.
Looking back, I can see God’s fingerprints all over this decision. I can see how He had perfectly orchestrated this adventure. He knew all about Uganda before I was even born. Just waiting (in His perfect timing) to reveal the plan.
When my two sons were small there was work-related travel that couldn’t be avoided. However, I would go into panic mode before boarding the airplane. Fear of a plane crash consumed me. What in the world would happen to my boys if something happened to me? Yep, I thought an airplane was the most dangerous place in the world to be.
Thankfully, I learned that the most dangerous place to be was in the dark. A dark world without Jesus. He pursued me relentlessly. He opened the eyes of my heart to see His hope and love… instead of fear, anxiety and hopelessness.
And somewhere along the time-line of my life, the words of Psalm 139:16 jumped off the page into my heart. If God had truly numbered my days, if He had already written my whole story before even one day came to be, there was no fear to face each day. (I must confess, that day of revelation wasn’t all that long go. I am a work in progress, and have been resistant.)
The thought of traveling across the ocean to foreign soil was not in my future, according to me. My husband had wanted a vacation in Europe for years, but this girl didn’t want any part of that trip. For some reason, I thought it was safer to stay in the USA than go elsewhere.
It must have been the Columbine massacre in April 1999 that first shattered my feelings of being safe and sound. That one hit home. School aged children, the same ages as my two sons, were the victims. And the tragedies have only escalated since.
This past January my husband asked me once again if I would consider going to Europe. I didn’t even hesitate. Of course, I would love to go!
My husband was shocked beyond belief. Me too! God had shattered my feelings of fear and anxiety. I had a sense of peace, not only about travel, but also about life that transcended all understanding.
In April we went to Italy and had a fabulous trip. But before we left on our vacation, God started preparing me for an even greater adventure.
Last month I mentioned “Gaining God’s Global Perspectives,” a series of lectures that offer an overview of how all believers can be involved in God’s plan of redeeming people from every tribe, tongue, and nation, and how we are all called to be on mission with Jesus in fulfilling the Great Commission. During one of those lectures my friend Holly, who has been going to Uganda 2-3 times a year, shared how God changed her heart and led her to serve there.
My heart was pounding as she spoke. Was He calling me too?
Actually, He had! Early that very morning, during my quiet time with the Lord, I felt the Holy Spirit nudge. I sensed that still, small voice inside of me. Uganda was the word!
I could hardly contain myself as I ran up to Holly after she spoke that Wednesday morning. She had announced that she was seeking women to go with her next fall on one of her scheduled trips to minister to the women in the village of Pader, where our congregation had planted a church.
- I asked her to pray for me.
- To pray for my decision.
- Not specifically for clarity, but for peace.
Peace is more valuable of a commodity than clarity! Jesus didn’t tell His disciples to go forth with clarity. Jesus said, “Peace be with you.”
This morning I met with Holly. We talked in depth about Pader, Uganda, and what the trip might look like.
I gave Holly, and God, my yes. Do I still have some concerns? You bet I do! The conditions aren’t going to be like home, and I am one for comfort. Like my nice hot showers and indoor toilets that flush. Plus, travel time will be over 30 hours! YIKES!
- Ten days in Africa isn’t going to be the same as ten days in Europe.
- Italy was for pleasure. Uganda is for purpose.
- Most importantly…Uganda is an opportunity to serve the Lord and His children.
Had God tried to send me ten years ago or even ten months ago, He knew my answer would not have been a positive one. My YES is nothing short of a miracle from His hands. A total transformation of my heart.
All praise and glory goes to my Heavenly Father. For His patience. For His perfect orchestration of events. All aligned to bring me to a place of peace so that despite my weakness, His strength nudged me to say YES.
*If interested, you can follow the women of Pader Uganda on Facebook