I Am Ready And So Are You

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G_AM

I’m taking a step tomorrow. It may look small, but feels like a giant one! I’m meeting with a self-publishing program in the hope of making good on hours of research and years of work. It’s exciting, but terrifying. What if no one is interested? If I’m being honest, I’ve avoided this step. It’s going to take courage and a strength I’m not entirely sure I possess.

As I was thinking about fear and courage, I started thinking about the summer I was on welfare. Remembering that time I so wanted to forget has reminded me that when I have nothing and no one, I am not alone. I have a hidden strength I’d forgotten about.

Before that lonely summer years ago, I’d had this strong, multi-layered vision for service that required a Master’s degree. Graduate school was the next step. I was sure of it. It all went wrong, almost immediately.

My back went haywire and has never fully healed.

My dad, who’d been dry for a long time, started abusing prescription drugs. I would get these calls: “Your dad was on a tour in California. He’s disappeared. Do you know where he is?”

Then the envelope finally came in the mail. Drum roll, please? I didn’t get in.

I couldn’t understand why I didn’t get in. I had all the qualifications: all the schooling and volunteering and languages. Later I found out many qualified people were rejected that year, but I didn’t know that back then. I remember walking around that large school and thinking I’d never be one of those students.

I found a low paying temp job—still shocked and not sure what to do with all these plans that ended in a brick wall of rejection. I had another vision, clearly affirmed, of China. China? But I speak Spanish! Obediently, I went to China for a year to teach.

When I got back from China I re-applied to graduate school. Hi, it’s me I’m still here, still qualified, still want to give my best to those who come to my country with the least. This time the news was much better. I got in! Yay!! Finally, it felt like I was on my way to the next step in the plan. Only  we’d had almost no protein to eat. I was so very thin. Fatigue hit, then the chronic fatigue, and the fevers.

I had a few short months to get well before starting my program, and was much too sick to work. I needed a doctor, but with no work I couldn’t afford one. So I went down to DSHS (The Department of Social and Health Services) and stood in line until they called my name. I got a caseworker and she gave me healthcare coupons. I remember going to doctor’s offices and being refused service. The coupons don’t pay much. Finally, a lovely doctor took me on. The fevers calmed, and my sleep improved. I stopped crying from exhaustion every day. I started school, glad to walk those halls as a student.

When I look back on that time, I think of myself as weak, just limping through. But is that reality? I didn’t limp through. I got great grades, and I landed a job at one of the best programs in the area. The dream job appeared when I had absolutely no time or energy for it. I was still in school and teaching two classes, but I took it. Finally, the degree was done. It took a full six months to recover.

My students stuck with me while I learned how to teach seventy people all types of English. I loved looking out over the large classroom of immigrants chatting together, or with their heads down working hard to get the skills they needed. I felt an immense sense of contentment.

That degree, that job, they were so hard won. With God’s breath and guidance, and the help of friends, I was able. So why am I doubting with this new thing? I’ve put the time in—alone and with others—week after week, year after year. The outcome is not in any way guaranteed, but the ability to stay with it to whatever end, is.

Challenges and hurdles present themselves almost as soon as we resolve to take the step toward a better reality, or to stand in the gap for those who need us. But we are ready, friends. We are fit for the task. We have been made so, created so, for whatever we are being called to do. In some small or large way, we’ve already rehearsed this.

We are ready.
Yes, we are.

We may be dismayed, get sick, set back, not understood, criticized or even. But we are not defeated unless we agree to be so. Tomorrow, I’m getting out the keys. I’m going to put on some nice clothes, and drive up there. I’ll find out what it’s going to take and then mark out the steps.

I’m so grateful for all of you and this community as we roar and pray and weep and walk it out together. Whatever it is. Let us go forward, not submitting to the things that would stop us. Let us walk in “yes.” We do not give up.

“We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.” —2 Corinthians 4:8-11 (NIV)

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Image credit: halfrain

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