It's no secret that I lived my life for many years saying "no" to God. Or saying "maybe later" or "I can't" or "I haven't had enough of MY will yet." Now that I have been trying so much harder to say 'yes' to God, and I have seen the unbelievable blessings I have recieved as a result, I look back on those 'no' times and wonder what blessings I missed out on becuase of my stubborn, unwilling, and selfish attitude. In Chapter 3, God spoke loud and clear to me through this statement : "We need not fear what our obedience will cause to happen in our life, we should only fear what our DISobedience will cause us to MISS."
The author of the book goes on to give an analogy in the first chapter of planning a surprise party for a friend...... You've worked so hard to decorate, prepare food, invite guests, etc. The party is all set, guests are hidden ready to jump out and surprise your friend, and you know that your friend will be so overjoyed at feeling so much love. But then your friend goes to the back door, and you try to redirect her to come in the front, but she is stubborn, or tired, and misses all the glory and surprise that is planned and waiting inside at an exact space. The author says God must be feeling the same way when we miss "the surprise parties" that he has planned for us. Too many time we we don't hear him redirecting us becuase we are too stubborn or tired to listen more carefully.
The book has also talked a lot about how we have to step out of our comfort zone many times in order to recieve the biggest blessings. That has certainly been true for me in the last year. Travelling to Haiti was WAY outside of mine and my husband's comfort zone in September. Then travelling back alone in December was even farther from my comfort zone. Then travelling with my mom and dad this summer was way outside of theirs. But oh the blessings we have all recieved as a result of saying "yes" to God to take those journeys. This mission has filled me with such passion. The faces of the beautiful children we are helping fill up my thoughts during each day. The friendships I have developed both in Haiti and here at home with people who share this passion are so special to me. I long for each return trip to show God's love to the precious children in Haiti in any way I can. The feeling I get from improving the education and living situtations for God's children in Haiti is pure JOY! What a blessing indeed.
In the first chapter of the book, the author tells a story of how she felt God telling her to give away her Bible on a plane to a stranger. She was reluctant because that Bible had so much meaning for her. But she said yes to God and gave it away. She goes on to tell how that act has caused ripple effects in so many ways. She tells how she got a letter from that stranger later that explained that he has gone on to share the gospel with others, bring others to Christ, and change lives by helping others to see the joy of the Lord. I pray that God is using me to begin ripples too. Ripples to change lives in Haiti. Ripples that I may never even see, but our Father is orchastrating behind the scenes.
This morning I learned of some ripples being made here at home. My Sunday School teacher served formerly with the military in Haiti in hard times of turmoil and danger. As a result of all the time he spent in third world countries during his military career, he has been very hardened about serving on mission trips. He shared this morning with me how our current mission, has softened his heart to the country of Haiti and its people. Those are ripples I didn't even think about, and I am grateful that God revealed them to me today. It has been an overwhelming week as we look ahead to the projects that need to be completed as the school reopens for a new school year and we prepare for our October trip. I have had a strong sense of worry about raising the funds needed. Then today, the Lord allows me to see these ripples here at home. And He floods me with a peace to know that those ripples are travelling even farther in Haiti.
Pure joy, passion for helping others, softening of hearts, improved conditions for sweet children..... because I finally said "yes." Lord, give me the strength to continue to say 'yes' daily, in ALL areas of my life. I have seen the blessings that 'yes' can bring, and I don't want to miss a thing!