I am currently sitting in the Paris airport, waiting for the next leg of my journey to Togo.
It has been a pretty chaotic last 24 hours in the states... I had a frustrating day at the airport on Friday when I was supposed to be flying out of Jacksonville and landing in Togo on Saturday evening...
However, what was supposed to be a smooth departure turned into a 2 hour fight with the ticketing agents about a new mysterious visa law for me to get into Togo. After a 2 hour battle and jumping through all their hoops, I didn't make my flight and had to wait another 24 hours to leave.
I had just gone through all the emotions of spending my last couple nights with family and friends and saying all my goodbyes. I had a few friends with me at the airport to see me off and instead had to walk out of the airport defeated and emotionally drained.
I was confused, frustrated and exhausted.
The long journey of getting to this very moment has not been easy. It's been a long 2 years or so with a lot of doubt if I would actually ever make it to where I believed the Lord had called me to go.
This was a moment of true doubt for me.
I mean, I am finally here! The day has finally come to fly out and all of a sudden... nothing.
This drove me to Mark 9 on my second, last 24 hours in the states.
"And Jesus asked his father, "How long has this been happening to him?" And he said, "From childhood. And it has often cast him into fire and into water, to destroy him. But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us." And Jesus said to him, "'If you can'! All things are possible for one who believes." Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, "I believe; help my unbelief!"
- Mark 9:21-24 ESV
This man had every reason to doubt that his son would be healed.
I mean this evil spirit in the boy had been with him for years and showed no signs of ever leaving.
I can only imagine this father hearing about Jesus and thinking, "maybe, just maybe, He could do something for my boy finally".
He ran into Jesus' disciples and figured surely they can help.
But they were unable to cast out this spirit...
Again another wave of doubt must have come over this man. This was almost his last hope.
But then the father finds Jesus himself and pleads for his help. He asks with a little bit of doubt in his question... "if you can".
Jesus immediately calls him out! "If you can! All things are possible for one who believes".
Then this man says one of the most relatable, honest things he could possibly say. “I believe; help my unbelief!"
I’ll be honest. I typically pride myself on being hopelessly optimistic the majority of the time. But it always seems to be that whenever we need the most faith to step into what He has for us, doubt creeps in like never before.
Like this man I found myself saying to God, “I want to believe you! I really do, but I am struggling with some serious doubt and fear.”
The enemy always wants us to doubt what the Lord has called us to but all God wants from us is to hit our knees and ask God to help us with our unbelief.
It’s these moments that we see God do some amazing things in our lives and the lives around us.
We get to a point where we say, “God, it can only be you because I’m not sure I can carry on much longer.”
I arrived at the airport extra early on Saturday afternoon ready for it to be a fight again. I was pretty sure I had everything I needed this time... but I had some doubt for sure.
This time when I arrived to the counter, they didn’t ask for anything... the mysterious new rule for visas was gone and I checked my luggage in less than two minutes... What?!
How in the world is that possible when the day before I spent two hours of intense battle to board my plane...
Honestly, I may not ever know why I didn’t board the plane on the day I was supposed to... but if nothing else, it brought me to a place where I had to ask God to help me with my unbelief and He did just that.
I am now on my plane and about to take off for Togo. I get to join an incredible team on the ground and be a part of some incredible things that God is doing there.
I’ll take a little inconvenience and doubt to get to see God show up in my life and those around me.
This journey may be tough but Jesus did say, “in this life you will face many trials, but take heart, for I have overcome the world.”
Who you do life and ministry with will make or break you.
That is evident in Exodus 17 when Moses and the Israelites go to battle against Amalek.
Then Amalek came and fought with Israel at Rephidim. So Moses said to Joshua, "Choose for us men, and go out and fight with Amalek. Tomorrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the staff of God in my hand." So Joshua did as Moses told him, and fought with Amalek, while Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. Whenever Moses held up his hand, Israel prevailed, and whenever he lowered his hand, Amalek prevailed. But Moses' hands grew weary, so they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it, while Aaron and Hur held up his hands, one on one side, and the other on the other side. So his hands were steady until the going down of the sun. And Joshua overwhelmed Amalek and his people with the sword.
- Exodus 17:8-13 ESV
I don't think there is much to add here!
I think the main question is, who are you going into battle with?
It's not a matter of if you are going into battle... I mean, if you are a part of the Family of God it's pretty clear...
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.
- Ephesians 6:12 ESV
So, it's not a question of if... The question is, are you prepared?
Who are the people in your life who will hold your arms up when the battle is long, hard and ugly?
Maybe that's why life and ministry has been so tough for you lately. You are called to fight the battle... but not alone.
"How does it feel?!"
This has been the most asked question that I have received over the last two weeks or so.
I recently became fully funded and am getting ready to take flight to Togo in the coming weeks.
I have been on this partnership development journey for just about two years now. It's been three and a half years since I committed to joining the 6 Degree Initiative in Togo.
I have been traveling and talking to people for the last two years about what we are doing and how I get to be a part of it for the last two years, but being a couple weeks away from my departure date, I am having a hard time wrapping my mind around what is about to happen.
I am moving to Africa!
I am learning a new language!
These are pretty big things and something I don't want to step into lightly.
It truly is surreal... and to be honest, I'm not sure it will hit me until after I have been on the field for a little bit.
Here is what I am learning while preparing for the launch date and transition onto the field:
1. Ask God to show you transitional struggles
I think these will be different for everyone as they transition to the field or any other new area of life, ministry or occupation.
I have been spending time asking God to reveal to me what areas of life I need to grow in as I step into the unknown of moving overseas. The best way I process through things is by journaling. So, I spend time praying and then start journaling my thoughts.
I know myself well enough to know that stepping into a new country, culture and language is going to be especially difficult for me. I am going to be in a place where I can't add a whole lot of value. I won’t be able to understand what is being said and even communicate at the most basic level until I get a grasp on the language.
That is going to be an identity shaker for me.
This is just an example of a specific struggle for me that God revealed to me. Ask God to show you those transitional struggles and begin praying through those.
Yeah, the transition process will be hard, but our God is a pretty big God and can hold you in His arms while you step into the unknown.
2. Pray... A Lot
Man, I'll be honest... ever since becoming fully funded and starting to talk about the departure date, the enemy has hit me hard with serious doubt and fear. The type that can only be prayed through.
In any major transition in life where you are stepping into something God has called you to, it is an affront to the enemy.
It has brought me to my knees most days, asking God for courage and strength.
The transition process requires you to pray a lot!
Invite some people into this with you. Bearing one another’s burdens is something that we are called to do in the family of God. Share the struggles and go to battle in prayer together.
This has made all the difference for me!
3. Say Goodbye Well
This was brought up a while back for me while I was at a cultural training. I kind of pushed it aside and thought this wasn't a big deal for me.
I was wrong...
It hit me that I will be leaving, not knowing the exact time I will be returning. I suddenly felt a strong conviction to let everyone important in my life know how important they really are. Even thousands of miles apart won’t change that, and I want them to know how much they mean to me.
I have been working on doing this by writing letters. This transition is a big step, but I haven’t done it alone.
4. Step into the Discomfort
Something that I have learned in the past 2 years is that when you step into the discomfort you get a front row seat of seeing God do some incredible things.
Any sort of transition is very uncomfortable. It is so natural for us to shy away from the discomfort for obvious reasons but let me plead with you not to run from it.
It is such a beautiful place to be when you look around you and say, " Father, this can only be by your strength". Discomfort is woven into the lives of those who are obedient to the call of God all throughout scripture... but so is Supernatural movement from God in and through those lives.
Don't shy from the discomfort. Willingly and expectantly step into it and watch God move.