Thursday, July 21, 2011

It CAN get worse ...

As I came back home from ET, I didn't know what God was wanting me to do with what I'd seen. And I still don't. But I have a new reassurance after spending a lot of time in prayer and in His Word. Maybe we aren't expected to know our next step before we take it. Maybe He simply wants us to TRUST. Trust that He is sovereign. Trust that He knows. Trust that we don't have to have all the answers. Trust that He will be with us every step of the way. Trust that He will show us our next step at precisely the right time. If nothing else, God has shown me during this trip that He is worthy to be trusted.

I have learned so much from this trip to Ethiopia. As I reflect, I think about what is important in this lifetime. Family, of course, is important. It's important to build relationships with the people around us. It's important to provide for our families. It's important to help those in need. It's important to travel around the world to love on some orphans. These are all great things that I KNOW the Lord calls us to do. These are things that I KNOW can be done in a way that brings honor and glory to our Savior. But when I think about my next step since visiting Ethiopia, the only thing that I KNOW for sure is that I want whatever I do to count for all of eternity. I don' want to just meet a temporal need. I think about those people in Ethiopia. How horrendous their life circumstances are, and how many temporal needs they have. I think about how heart wrenching it was to see them with no shoes or clothing. How painful it was to walk away from so many hundreds of people still sitting alongside the fence with still no food or clothing as we drove away. How saddening it was to see moms begging for just a little food to provide for her children. How awful it was to know that those fifteen year old boys would never have a forever home because they're just "too old". Those things break you.

But something even more sickening is to think about those people in a world one hundred times worse. Imagine ... it actually CAN get worse than that. They could spend ETERNITY in hell. A place where sin reigns. Imagine ... all the sin in this world that I saw first hand ... poverty, sickness, disease, deceit, selfishness, etc, etc, etc, all in one place. You thought those people's lives couldn't get any worse. This world is temporary. Some day, this world will end. And there's a choice for everyone. To spend eternity in a world where sin continues to take place on a level so much higher than we can even fathom. Or to spend eternity with a Father who loves us so much more than we can imagine. A world where there is no more sin, pain, or suffering. A world where there are no more Fatherless. Because we can have a heavenly Father, who loved us SO much that He wanted us to enjoy an eternity where we don't have to suffer from sin anymore. I want that for the people I met in ET. I want that for those little children in those orphanages. I want that for my friends.  I want that for my family. I want that for me.

Because of the suffering I saw in Ethiopia, it changes my outlook now. I don't know what the Lord will do what with my heart. I don't know where the Lord will guide my family's steps. But I do know this ... I need to have a boldness with my life. I need to remember the suffering and pain I saw in Ethiopia. And every time I think of ignoring the Holy Spirit's voice that says to have courage and talk to that person about my Father, or every time I decide to live a little more in this temporal world and focus on how much money we have or what my body looks like or buying just one more cute outfit, I hope I remember that what I'm doing needs to count for all eternity. No more living in the temporal.

 Lord, help me to meet the needs of eternity. Help me to listen to your voice, and be a light for You. Help me to build relationships that will lead to eternity spent with You. Lord, help people to see that even though this world is full of sin and sadness, it actually can get worse. Help me, Lord, to have boldness because You live in me. Help me to always remember what I saw and felt. Above all, Lord, help me to trust in the Father to the fatherless, the Comforter to the comfortless,  and the Provider to the needy.


  1. So well said Ashley! It was an honor to meet you and I can't wait to see where God takes you on this journey!!
    Ashley Hogeland

  2. That is a great word Ashley! I know the Lord is already leading you.