The Unexpected Waters of Obedience

For many years now, I’ve kept some form of an online blog as a place to let my journals overflow into the hands of my friends and family (and the occasional stranger). It’s been a strange experience to see the places those once-private thoughts have landed, but I believe that the Lord gives each of us stories of grace, redemption, hope, and imperfection that are longing to be told to display His glory. Since being back in Thailand over the past few months, I’ve found that my blog has stayed silent while I’ve hashed out my thoughts through my social media accounts. Despite many of my posts turning into mini-blogs, I’ve felt the stories crying out to be told fully, and so this week I’d like to invite you into the uncut versions of my social media feed, in hopes that the words of the Lord find you and lift up your weary or discouraged hearts.


The Unexpected Waters of Obedience

Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus.

Matthew 14:28-29 (ESV)

MondayNearly two years ago now, I was jumping on a plane to Manila, Philippines, and had no idea where it would actually take me. Before that first plane ride that would begin a round-the-world journey, I felt the Holy Spirit asking me to release the plans I had for myself and trust Him. I said yes, and spent the next year of my life meeting and serving with brothers and sisters in countries I had never dreamed of stepping foot in.

The funny thing about obedience and trust and faith and this whole journey with Jesus is this: in the beginning when we’re simply dipping our toes into the waters of obedience, we hope that this is the biggest step we’ll have to take, only to find ourselves submerged and swimming deeper years later.

The taste of obedience, even if it may be bitter or painful at first, is one of the sweetest things we can experience on earth as it draws us closer and closer to Jesus Himself. And so, one step turns to two, turns to two hundred, and on and on until you find yourself in one of the last places you expected. For me, that place is sitting on the floor of a classroom in Thailand, wondering when in the world this became a part of my 5 or 10 year plan.

Spending time in churches and the homes of believers around the world has shaken my life and faith in ways I cannot begin to describe. Being back in a country that claims religious freedom yet sees anything other than Buddhism as an insult to the king and the country invokes a mix of emotions to swirl in my heart – fear, hope, joy, burdens and more. I’m learning though, that part of what makes this whole journey so beautiful is recognizing that I have no idea what’s going to happen next. I don’t have all the answers; I don’t even know all of the questions!

None of us do, which is why it is so important to embrace and fully live in the places God has called us to and placed us in. Living cross-culturally and living missionally aren’t limited to visiting or moving to foreign countries. It’s not about grand experiences or great photos, or even miraculous stories. It’s about learning how your neighbor lives – your neighbor across the street or across the globe – and joining them, walking the streets they walk and listening to the stories they’ve lived.

We consistently see Jesus meeting people where they were: Zacchaeus in a tree, the woman at the well, and more. Let’s follow his example and take notice of our neighbors around us seeking His love and acceptance.


Armchair Advice for a Significant Life: Eighth Day of the Week

English proverbs are short, concise sayings that express traditional truths. Many of them, religious and metaphorical in nature, offer sound, uplifting advice and consist of repetitive consonant sounds that make remembering them effortless. This week, we’ll focus on five traditional armchair convictions that connect with scriptural truths and encourage virtuous living.


Eighth Day of the Week

“Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring.”

Proverbs 27:1, NIV

“Never put off till tomorrow what you can do today.”  

TRELLISWhen my husband and I pulled into the driveway after our workout at the gym, I noticed that the ivy around the garage window still needed to be cut back. I’d mentioned it to him several times before, so when I pointed it out again I said, “Maybe it’s time for us to move to a smaller place.”

His quick response was, “I think it would be easier to cut the ivy.”

If you want to make an easy job seem hard, just keep putting it off. Today’s proverb from Thomas Jefferson is wise advice, but I must confess I’ve put off following it! The stark reality of my philosophy is more like that of Scarlett O’Hara in Gone with the Wind: “I can’t think about that right now. I’ll think about that tomorrow.” In fact, I was going to write this devotion yesterday, but I put it off until today. I wanted to write it last week, but this week seemed like a better time. Now I’m only a few days away from my submission deadline, and I’m feeling the time crunch.

Scripture tells us,

“Whoever watches the wind will not plant; whoever looks at the clouds will not reap”

(Ecclesiastes 11:4).

If we wait for perfect conditions, we’ll never get anything done. We’ll just keep putting things off.

God gave the Promised Land, a land flowing with milk and honey, to the twelve tribes of Israel. Over a year later, seven tribes had still not entered into the land to receive their inheritance. In their eyes, the enemy seemed too great. It was easier for them to remain in their comfort zone on the opposite side of the Jordan River. In exasperation, Joshua asked, “How long will you wait before you begin to take possession of the land that the Lord, the God of your fathers, has given you?” (Joshua 18:3).

SKYBefore we judge the Israelites too harshly for their disobedience, perhaps we should take inventory of our own lives. What has God asked you to do? What has He asked me to do? Will we press Him to say, “How long will you wait?”

Procrastination is a thief. It not only robs us of time – a precious commodity we cannot retrieve – it robs us of God’s blessings, the blessings obedience brings. God gives us seven days a week to get things done―Sunday through Saturday – but for many of us, the eighth day – Someday – is our most heavily scheduled.

Is there something you’ve been putting off? Let today be your Someday. Today is the day to make that phone call. Start your diet. Find a church. Write that letter. Say I’m sorry. Join the gym. Clean your fridge. Dine with a friend. Write your book, or simply say, “I love you.”