“Behold, I am doing a new thing…”

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“Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”

Isaiah 43:19

            To say that this verse has been an anthem for the past week (and past few months, unbeknownst to my little self) of my life would be a vast understatement. I stumbled across this verse in my quiet time about a week ago, and the Lord has continued to speak it over me…through devotionals, His soft whispers, glimpses of His beautiful creation, and encouragement from friends (this exact verse…which of course they had no idea at the time), and it has honestly been so overwhelmingly comforting to my heart and soul. It felt like God was reminding me, over and again, “Hey little one. I see you. I am with you and I am for you…”

This week was the first week of having my precious preschool students back after their three-week “term-break,” and man was it sweet to be able to hug and love on them again! We spent this week adjusting back into our classroom routines and even wrote this verse on our little whiteboard, as we are entering into a new term, with endless possibilities, dreams, and “new things” to be accomplished. Dreams of being able to write our names, to correctly write our letters and numbers, and for some, to read sight words!

I know it sounds crazy, but in just three short weeks away from them on term break, it is mind-blowing how much my little ones have seemed to grow up right before my eyes. Not only physically, but maturity-wise and academically as well. Some students, who before could not even write the first letter of their name without guidance, are all of a sudden now able to write almost every letter of their name correctly and seem to have this new excitement and motivation to learn! And it is so beautiful to be a part of!

           But in this season of serving the Lord across the world, it has felt a lot like letting go of control and holding my hands open to God and what He has for my life. Having left my community of friends in Greenville to not only move here to Uganda, but also just closing on a house with my fiancé (eek! – while currently on opposite sides of the world) in a new town (where I will have to start over and make a whole new community and find a new job), while entering into a new season of preparing for marriage… I have had no choice but to live my life fully surrendered. Learning to truly believe that God has it all under control, and He is doing a “new thing” in my own life as well…

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            But I think this crazy season is honestly the most beautiful place to be. Because I have been so sweetly reminded, over and over again, that my life is not my own. That I am a daughter and servant of the King, and I can trust Him…with all that I have and all that I am. When the world around me is changing, Jesus is my constant. He always stays the same.

Hebrews 13:8 – “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”

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             He may be leading me on a whole new path, full of unknowns and so much change, but being in His will is the safest place to be of all…

“Safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But He’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.” – C.S. Lewis

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            It was a blind leap of faith to say yes to Jesus in this season…having no idea how hard and trying it would be at times to leave everyone and everything I love and know for 6 months of serving Jesus in Africa…maybe some would even call it naiveBut no doubt it was God’s plan all along. He made it clear before I committed, and has continued to affirm, through both the highs and lows of being a missionary in a foreign country, that this is His will for me. I am right where He wants me…and this is just the beginning of what He is doing in this “new thing” ahead of me…that I can’t even begin to see or comprehend, because He is the guide…I am just doing my best to follow Him one step of obedience, one “yes,” at a time.

Philippians 3:13 – “Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead…”

            Sometimes, actually a lot of the time, I think our culture has a way of inadvertently teaching us to “play it safe,” and follow the “cookie-cutter American Dream.” But you know what? I don’t want to play it safe. We aren’t promised tomorrow, or even the next hour…so I want to make sure I am walking in steps of obedience to my Heavenly Father during my time here on Earth, because His will is the safest place to be.

            In one of my daily letters from Wesley (yes, he made a journal for me with 158 letters, one for me to read every day during my time overseas in Uganda), he wrote,

“But can you believe God is going to use us for His kingdom one day?!” 

            And you know what? Yes. Yes I can believe it. If I have learned anything in my 24 years of life thus far,and especially during my time here in Africa, it is that God is all that truly matters. My faith is my anchor. It is the basis of my time teaching here in Uganda…the basis of my upcoming marriage…and is going to be the basis and foundation for the rest of my life.

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The new little home we just closed on in Spartanburg, South Carolina! Eek! 🙂 

            Whether God calls my fiancé and I back to the international mission field one day, or to stay put in our new little house in Spartanburg, South Carolina, and faithfully love and serve our community there, I trust that He will use us to build up His Kingdom, but it doesn’t mean it will always be easy or comfortable. And that’s where we want to be. Living for God’s glory, not our own. It’s not about where you are or what you do…what matters is the why. And, as believers, the why should always be the same… Jesus Christ.

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Psalm 139:5-10 – “You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain. Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.”

            This past week, our living quarters were heavily infested with termites, so we ended up having to pack up everything we own and move out for the next week or so, while the termite men literally spray down the entire house and get rid of the termites that have slowly been taking over the house, and would have, ultimately, destroyed it. But isn’t that how God works sometimes, too? He has to literally uproot us out of our sin and what seems “comfortable” at the time, in order to “make all things new” and restore fullness to our souls. He will “make a way”…always. It just may not be “the way” we would have picked, but since God is the one behind and before it, we can trust that it is best. His ways are always better…

Isaiah 55:8-9 – “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways.”

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            Whether it is moving to a new place, a new home, or a new season, we can trust God when He says, “Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” (Isaiah 43:19)

I read in a Proverbs 31 Email Devotional the other day something so powerful…

“The battle plan for Joshua to take the Promised Land was as simple as it was strange, complete with marching for seven days around the city of Jericho, a whole army shouting and priests blowing trumpets. (Read more in Joshua 6:1-21). Now, that was a strange plan. God’s infinite ways often don’t make sense in our finite mindsSometimes you have to be willing to look ridiculous and be radical to live a remarkable life. The choices you make when you feel God’s nudge will become the hinges on which your destiny swings. Jericho was “tightly shut” (Joshua 6:1). Sometimes it can feel like our promises are “tightly shut” as well. That doesn’t mean we give up. That means we suit up, step up, and keep moving forward.”

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            Following God into a season of change may be scary, and not always “safe” or comfortable, or even always make sense, but it is worth taking the risk. Worth stepping out in faith. Because it is in these leaps of faith, following God in obedience and letting Him do this “new thing,” that He can work the most in and through us…because He is the one directing our steps.

Jeremiah 10:23 – (Jeremiah’s Prayer) “Lord, I know that people’s lives are not their own; it is not for them to direct their steps.”

            When I said “yes” to leaving my fiancé and everyone back at home to come here and serve in Uganda, I had no idea how God would use this time to grow me and bless me beyond measure…through the people I would develop relationships with and give my  whole heart to, while at the same time, learning how to place Christ’s desires above my own. But I am thankful. And if I hadn’t taken the risk, I would have never seen the fruit that has come from this leap of faith…fruits of the spirit that not only affect me personally, but affect those that I love and care about as well. 

            When we let God do this “new thing” and make us who He created us to be, we are able to accomplish far more, because it is the King of all Kings doing all the work..not us. We are not our own…

Isaiah 64:8 – “Yet you, LORD, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.”

            No matter where we go or what we do, we have God on our side when we trust in Him. He will never leave us or forsake us.

Joshua 1:9 – “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

            So I choose to trust Him with both this season serving His people here in Jinja, Uganda, and the “new thing” He has up ahead on the horizon…

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“Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”

Isaiah 43:19

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