Saturday, July 2, 2011

The First Step

The last few months has been a journey of taking many little steps. I have learned on this journey that the Lord only requires little steps. He doesn't require us to take giant leaps. He gives us His Word, and He gives us His peace when we are wondering whether to take any steps at all. Psalm 27:11 "The Lord will give strength to His people; The Lord will bless His people with peace." 

The first step on this journey happened many months ago after finishing the book, Radical. Jeremy and I had a strong sense of urgency to open our eyes to the fact that the Lord was calling us to do more than just "live the American dream". As I neared the end of the book, I read this quote. "You and I stand on the porch of eternity. Both of us will soon stand before God to give an account for our stewardship of the time, the resources, the gifts, and ultimately the gospel He has entrusted to us. When that day comes, I am convinced we will not wish we had given more of ourselves to living the American dream. We will not wish we had more money, acquired more stuff, lived more comfortably, taken more vacations, watched more television, pursued greater retirement, or been more successful in the eyes of this world. Instead we will wish we had give more of ourselves to living for the day when every nation, tribe, people, and language will bow around the throne and sing the praises of the Savior who delights in radical obedience and the God who deserves eternal worship. Are you ready to live for THIS dream? Let's not waver any longer." Now if that doesn't awaken your senses, and make you ask, "Lord, what would you have me to do?" than you're crazy! :) This is where Jeremy and I found ourselves taking the first step of prayer. What would you have us to do, Lord? You've entrusted us with raising Wes, but is there MORE we need to do? Show us how we can further your kingdom. First step. 

The second step on this journey started happening within my heart. The Lord started stirring in me this compassion that I've always had,  but now is a hundred fold stronger because I'm a mommy. Something in my heart started to awaken to the reality that there are over 140 million orphans across this world who are just as sweet, innocent, needy, and wanting as this little baby the Lord has decided to bless by bringing into our family who loves him with HIS great love. But, for whatever reason those babies aren't placed in a family who will love them unconditionally, and show them the love of Christ. This just melts me to think about, but it's a reality. What if something happened to Jeremy and I and for whatever reason, we didn't have an amazing family who would literally fight to take them into their home? What if Wes had no one? Wouldn't I want someone to step up and provide him love? Wouldn't I want someone to tell him about Jesus? Wouldn't I want someone to give him food, shelter, and clothes to wear? That could be MY baby on those streets. Lord, what do you want me to do about it? Second step.

The third step happened when I was enjoying a girl's night out with some of the greatest women! We were casually talking about my friend, Rachel's, upcoming trip to Ethiopia. She was returning to Ethiopia after the Lord did a work in heart last year. Two of my other friends, Holli and Lisa, had just received word that week that they too would be traveling to Ethiopia! WOW! Since Rachel had gone last year, I have had this nagging feeling in my heart that this would be my DREAM mission trip. Are you kidding?! Love on hundreds of orphans?! I would love it! However, the trip was full. Plus, could I really leave Wes for 9 day? BUT! It would be amazing! So, I casually commented that if they heard of any more cancelations on the trip to keep me in mind. Little did I know this may be a reality. I went home that night with a feeling of the Lord beginning to stir something in me. Could I really go? Does the Lord really want me to go? What will Jeremy think? Could I really leave Wes? Is this the very thing we've been asking the Lord for? Is THIS how He would have me to step out of my box and further His kingdom? When I got home that night, I was very anxious to see how my husband would respond. I knew that the Lord would have to work in his heart if there was any possibility of me going. With little hesitation, Jeremy was in full support. He knew that this is something that would use my love of children PLUS show them God's love. We embarked on prayer. However, by the time we were finished and God's peace the trip was full again. We were in perfect peace in knowing that if the Lord wanted me to go, He would provide a way. The prayer continued, but peace took over in knowing the Lord's will would prevail. Third step. 

The fourth step was taken weeks later when we were in Pennsylvania for my brother's wedding. We returned home from a fun evening spent celebrating my brother and his new wife to find an email acknowledging I had been added to the team. Let the roller coaster of emotions begin! Did I mention it was 1 o'clock in the morning?! I don't know about you, but my emotions are a little heightened at 1 o'clock in the morning! Not a good time to find out you are going to AFRICA!!! The emotions set it ... FRIGHTENED, excited, hesitant, and did I mention FRIGHTENED?! Would the Lord really ask me to do this when Wes is such a little boy? Is it silly to even think that I would be a good mom if I left him for nine days at 9 months old? Am I forsaking my duty to him if I left? But in the back of my head, I knew that Lord was providing a way to do exactly what HE wanted me to do. As I sat and listened to the sermon Sunday morning, I felt an overwhelming peace. The Lord sometimes asks us to make human sacrifices in this world in order to show HIS love. Yes, it will be hard to leave Wes for 9 days. Yes, it will be hard to leave your home land to visit a strange land. Yes, there is sickness there. Yes, it's going to take a lot of work to get my shots, paperworks, etc all done in 7 weeks. But God was asking me to do this. So, God will provide a way to do all of these things. So, the answer is YES, Lord. I will go.  Yes, I will make a sacrifice in my temporal world in order to focus on my eternal home. Yes, I will step out in faith. Fourth step.

And, so begins a journey of stepping out. I don't know what the Lord has in store for my little family. I don't know what will be accomplished on this trip to Ethiopia. But, I do have complete faith that if we focus on HIM, His perfect will indeed shall be fulfilled. As the journey to Africa continues and the leaving actually takes place, I rest in this verse. "Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to HIM be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen." Ephesians 3:20-21 My dad always quoted this verse, but it has new meaning to me now. I am a sinner. I am worthless. I can do nothing without Christ. But the Lord can use ME in even some small way.He is going to exceed what I even think is possible for this trip because He lives in me and works in me. All I have to do is keep my eyes on HIM this trip. Give HIM the glory. And He can do more than I even imagined possible! 

And so ... I'm stepping out.


  1. Love it. So glad you are stepping out! So thankful and excited to witness this jorney. Love ya!

  2. So exciting Ashley! Can't wait to see what the Lord does through you and the others on this trip.