Some time ago, I wrote a blog entitled Bearing Fruit and I encourage you to read that post, as it was a pivotal moment in my life and the basis for what I’m about to share. It was at that time that I realized I was languishing. It was a do or die moment for me and has been ever since. (Hope your curious enough to read it now… cliffhanger for your enjoyment.)
It’s been a long season of silence for me. I love to write and for anyone who truly knows me, talking is no problem, learning, teaching, praying, helping, helping, helping wherever I can… But honestly, as I poured myself out into ministry, I was feeling empty inside. Suddenly, the passion for learning, teaching, praying, ministering was fading and fading fast. All of the things I had thought were “it” for me, weren’t “it” at all. They were only part of “it”. Like the dot on the i part. (And my disclaimer here is that “it” is ever-expanding as God reveals “it”.)
There was something I was neglecting. Many years ago, God dropped one word in my heart.
That’s it. That’s all He gave me one day in prayer. I didn’t even know where Uganda was, let alone what I was supposed to do with it. So, I got out the map and found it and God never let me forget it.
It made no sense. Was I just to pray for that place? Would I go there? Who, what, when, where, why, how? I wasn’t short on questions. And it seemed ridiculous. I’m just a girl. An imperfect (really imperfect) girl, who grew up in a place called Finzel for crying out loud! Finzel is exactly what it sounds like. It’s the smallest form of “small Ville”. Like way out the ways way. OK? So, what did I have to do with anything, anywhere else on God’s map?
But as time went on, God began to whisper secrets to me and my heart became full for that place. Full to the point where I thought it would break if I didn’t do something about it. So, my husband and I talked about it. Prayed about it and then, began to take the steps to move forward. And then life caved in. Like really caved, depleted the atmosphere of oxygen and nearly snuffed me out. Seriously… the oxygen mask dropped and my seat belt was buckled and I was holding on for dear life. None of what God said looked like it could ever come to pass.
And no one even knew it. Except God. To this day, there are very few who know what died that day for me. But my one hope it this… John 12:24, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.
It was from that time on that survival mode kicked in. I wasn’t going to just vaporize. God had truly strengthened me with might in my inner man. I was moving forward. Regaining my momentum. There I was like that fig tree, all robust and green! And suddenly I had an encounter with my Lord like never before and He was hungry. And in all my service and in all my “fruitfulness”, there was one thing He was hungry for, and I had nothing to offer Him.
He had planted me… integrated me… in a place I had never known. A place called Uganda. He had set aside ground for me there and I was doing nothing more than taking up His ground. I had conceived something and was refusing to bring it to bear. It was time.
No excuses. No “But God’s!” It was do or die. Produce or be removed.
It was a hard Word but it saved my life. Again.
Since that time, I’ve now had the utmost privilege of serving in Uganda, Africa, some of the most beautiful, humble people I have ever known and have learned a love like no other. I’d like to say it’s all been one-sided. That it has all been about loving them. But it hasn’t. I went there to be loved in return by a Daddy who loves like no other.
I’ll leave you with a thought on “short-term” mission work that resonates in my heart. Those words are hard for me to swallow because to some, it’s now checked off the list. Mission trip completed. My Christian duty is done. The words “short-term” some how give me permission to come and go as I please and forget the realities that are not my own or easily understood by the “world” I live in. But the truth is, I’ve left half my heart in Africa and I can no more come and go as I please… even if I wanted to. If I never return, I would be living a half-hearted life. If I never return, I am unfulfilled, the Lord’s work is not finished and someone is left unloved… even if just for a moment. ~ Stacey Blubaugh