The little girl’s wild, wavy hair danced with the wind as she sat quietly on the sandbank. The gold in her locks glistened against the brilliance of the sun. A few feet away, the waves crashed, crawled slowly onto the land, and then retreated.
“Daddy?” Bluer-than-sea eyes turned towards her father. The girl looked up at the strong, wise man who seemed to always be there. To always know.
He knelt down beside her and gently tousled the unruly ringlets that surrounded her angelic face. “What is it, my dear?”
With a furrowed brow, she shook her head and looked down at her fist. Sand was spewing from both sides of her dimpled hand and from between each of her chubby fingers.
“Daddy, I don’t understand. Why can’t I keep this sand in my hand? I’m holding it as tightly as I can. But it just keeps falling away faster and faster.”
A rumble of laughter left the father’s wrinkled, smiling mouth as he watched his daughter do her best to clutch her little handful of treasure.
“That’s just it, darling. You’re trying too hard to keep it close.
The father reached beneath his daughter’s tightened fist. He cupped his two weathered palms together and carefully caught the glistening specks of dust that fell from her hand.
“You see? The more you try to control, to constrict, to constrain, the more you’ll lose. Instead, open up your hands like this. And keep them open. It’s the only way.”
The only way.
All to Jesus I surrender,
All to Him I freely give.
I will ever love and trust Him,
In His presence daily live.
Isn’t it funny how certain memories stick with you over the years? Often, the seemingly insignificant moments are the ones that resonate with me the most.
Growing up, I remember sitting in church three times a week listening to my dad preach. As a little girl, I was most interested in the illustrations he’d tell between the points in his sermon outline. One of Dad’s stories has continued to impact me throughout the years, and I draw on its principle often. It goes something like this:
A farmer was visiting his friend one afternoon, but he happened to stay at his friend’s house til after dark. As the farmer prepared to walk home, his friend gave him a lantern so he could find his way. The farmer stepped outside, but he quickly returned. He told his friend, “This lantern isn’t any good. I can only see far enough to make it one step.” The wise friend said, “That’s OK – take that one step and you’ll be able to see far enough to make the next one. Keep doing that, and pretty soon, you’ll make it home.”
This simple story has grounded me in the midst of uncertainty over the years.
Oswald Chambers once said something similar: “When you don’t know what to do, trust God and do the next thing.” What sage advice from a man of God who experienced life on several different continents during such a pivotal point in history.
Today, this world seems to be spinning right off its slanted, little axis. To look at the circumstances – in my home country and in my own community here in the DR – is unbelievably overwhelming. How do I respond?
I must remember: my sovereign God has a perfect plan that He’s allowed me to be a part of. And then I must take that next step and do the next thing.
Not long ago, a missionary here asked me, “What do you really enjoy about your job?” I talked a bit about the teachers and the blessing it is to be a part of their lives. While that response is absolutely true, I think I’d expand my answer if I had the opportunity for a “redo”.
I’ve had the incredible privilege to work in several areas here at Freedom over the years. And with each passing day, the Lord is teaching me that no matter what I’m doing, keeping in step with Him is the most rewarding and precious experience this world has to offer.
By nature, I’m a perfectionist. Taking risks is hard for me. To fail is one of my biggest fears. And yet I’m learning that God, while He wants my best, is ultimately responsible to work out His perfect plan. I’ll give an example of how this recently played out in my life.
This past December, I was sitting in Jason’s office one afternoon, brainstorming some fundraising ideas. We’re behind financially in regards to sponsorship numbers, and we hadn’t met our end-of-the-year goal. Our “Change a Life” program is super important for us. It essentially keeps things running at the school. We’re able to bus in our 410 students because sponsors’ monthly donations cover costs like food, transportation and teachers’ salaries. How in the world were we going to find so.many.new.sponsors for the new year? As we bounced around a few ideas, this campaign push just kind of popped up. We thought a good goal would be to find 60 new child sponsors in these first three months of 2020. It was a solid direction, but instead of running after it, fear of the unknown initially began to creep into my mind. Are there really 60 (!) new people out there, willing to give their time and money to this cause? I started to think about all the ways a campaign like this could fail, and I shied away from the idea of putting together anything at all.
But as time went on, God quietly and consistently whispered to my scared little heart, “Just trust me.” I thought, Ok, Lord! You’re giving me this opportunity to walk with you. Even though I think this goal is terrifying and ambitious, You’re in charge…
Well, here we are. Halfway through the campaign. (The Lord has provided about 20 kiddos with new sponsors! That is amazing!) To be honest, I still wonder if we’ll actually hit our goal. I pray we do. It’d certainly be amazing to see this campaign successfully finished on March 31st, but ultimately I’ve been trying to allow the truth that God is in control to soak down deep in my heart. The Lord is doing a work in my life, and I’m doing my best to simply rest in Him. I really don’t have to worry so much when I choose to abide.
Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.
There is this beautiful balance to be enjoyed in my relationship with Jesus: my humble efforts combined with His perfect plan and powerful provision produce such bliss. Joy to the fullest is found in walking with Jesus – no matter my weaknesses, no matter the circumstances, no matter the outcome.