“…Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand…When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue is parched with thirst, I the LORD will answer them; I the God of Israel will not forsake them. I will open rivers on the bare heights, and fountains in the midst of the valleys. I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water…that they may see and know, may consider and understand together, that the hand of the LORD has done this, the Holy One of Israel has created it.”
The Lord has brought me to these verses many times during the last year of my life. This present season in the “waiting room” has been a difficult one. I’ve found it to be extremely unsettling. It feels like the ground beneath my feet is completely unstable, constantly shifting and moving. Think days of endless, pounding waves threatening to overtake you, or a ship, battered and beaten by the storm, sure to sink at the next wave. Think hard-pressed; intense, uncomfortable, incessant squeezing. In all honesty, the best way I know to explain it is that it has felt much like death.
Recently, God has been showing me that He has been stripping away false anchors and false layers of identity. There’s a painful tearing in the removal process and truly, it feels like a death. What I’m finally beginning to see is that this painful, dying experience is one that is making room for abundant life. It’s the grace of God allowing me to be stripped of these false anchors and identities so that real life can be produced in their stead.
Six years ago I felt strong and ready and able. Even then, I sensed God calling me to cross-cultural ministry, and at that time everything in me wanted to jump right in. I was rearing and ready to go (or so I thought), but God said, “not yet.” Now, years later, God has said, “Go. Now is the time.” The only thing is, I feel more weak and unqualified than ever before. On a human level it doesn’t make sense. I’ve proven over and over again that I am not strong enough, that I have nothing to offer; nothing but a hungry, willing heart. This, I’m continually learning, is right where God wants me. He chooses the weak and foolish things of this world. And, it’s here in the face of my great need that the last verse of Isaiah 41 is realized in greater measure:
“That they may see and know, may consider and understand together, that the hand of the LORD has done this, the Holy One of Israel has created it.”
There is a sweetness to the reality of knowing there is no way any of this could happen apart from God. This way, when it does happen, I will know that it is be because the hand of the Lord has done it. I’ve known all along that this season of waiting, with all its challenges, is necessary and good. But, I’m beginning to appreciate it in a much bigger way. Through the trials and suffering, I meet the glorious grace of God, and for that I am filled with thanks. He loves me. Weak, needy, exhausted, unqualified—He loves me.
As I encounter the grace of God in greater depths, the longing in my heart for others to encounter the same amazing grace grows deeper, as well. Even though I am halfway across the world, I see, perhaps more clearly now than I did six months ago, that God’s desire is for the people of Hungary and He is actively pursuing hearts, moving powerfully by His Spirit. The work in Hungary is the Lord’s. It begins with Him and is carried by Him. Through His grace, He invites us to join in His love-venture, bringing light to the darkness and setting captives free.
I long for the day when I can return to my Hungarian home and jump into life and ministry there. But, for now, I can wait in peace because I know my God. I know that He loves the people of Hungary more than I ever could, and I know that He is doing great and mighty things. I know that He is working for their good, just as He is working for my good. I know that today and tomorrow, even if they include more challenges and more “dying,” are purposed by God. And I know that God will be faithful to fulfill all that He has promised.
The stretching and the challenges are just marks of a gracious and generous God who has laid some amazing opportunities in front of me—the opportunity to entrust my life and the lives of those I long to return to, to the Lord; the opportunity to encounter His abundant grace and faithfulness; the opportunity to share with others about an amazing work that God is doing in Hungary, in Pécs; the opportunity to continue to find people who want to partner with the Gospel going into all the world, who will come alongside me in prayer.
Truly, this season is a gift.
Presently, I am still in the middle of raising monthly support. If the Lord has placed the work He is doing in Hungary on your heart and you feel led to give, you are welcome to click here to become a financial partner. My monthly needs (including rent, food, transportation, language study, insurance, etc.) are $1600/month. I will be able to head back to Hungary once I have enough monthly support raised. I am praying for a May launch!
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