Sometimes I learn things that change my entire being. . .this is one.
I got my travel vaccines for Kenya and like any normal human being I didn’t pay any attention to the side affects of the vaccine. 5 hours later, the only energy I had is to ponder why I’m the one to get the side effects. I said – if I have God’s favor and I covered all my bases in prayer then why the side effects. Of all things Jesus why this?
I think God says to us in these kind of situations – Don’t you think I want the best for you? Of course I don’t want to see you in pain.
I was humbled at this kind of response. Do I always think God is out to get me? If I am His daughter, He would always, always be doing His best to keep me from troubles and hurt. So if this happened for a reason, then what do I have to learn. Maybe to learn that I thought He wasn’t on my side in everything. To learn that even in the smallest tasks and pursuits, He wants to weave in His love and mercy.
To learn that lesson it was worth the couple hours of sickness. Because I got the vaccine, instead of the virus infecting me, the truth of God as a protector, fighter, and father can infect me instead. Let it run through my veins that He is always on my side. I hope and pray that each day we can ask ourselves what God is trying to do in the ordinary.
I have done the hardest thing in my life to this point. I gave up the only thing I wanted in life and the dream iv had since I was a child. This reminds me about the verse in Matthew about giving up everything, laying your life down to follow Jesus. With that in mind here’s my story:
In the fall of 2015 I started dating. Which for me is kinda a big deal because I am a little naive and idealistic, I had never had a boyfriend before and this was a whole new experience. At the time the circumstances didn’t permit any relationships but I tend to be a rule breaker so we ignored it and started anyways. The young love was blooming and everything was roses and happy (besides the no-dating rule) and in December we had gotten quite serious and I received a promise ring. Ten months later both our living situations changed and we were now doing long distance. This was okay because we both kept busy and saw each other every couple months but of course it strained our relationship. The more months past, the more our relationship grew apart, we started fighting and giving less attention to making an effort. Now we both loved each other and cared deeply for one another but something had to change. In January I started the conversation about possibly moving or getting married but I only got resistance. Come April I was done talking about idea’s and what if’s and wanted decisions. We talked daily about this but nothing, so we decided ending our once “rose-colored glasses” relationship was the only way. I was devastated. Life seemed to end, nothing to look forward to anymore. All my plans, hopes and dreams where nothing anymore. As I worked through my grief I still held out hope that we’d get back together someday and everything would be good again.
Recently we met up to get closure and talk without letting feelings get in the way. I walked away feeling like I wanted to fight for us, this was the one thing I wanted in life and if that meant I had to fight as hard as I could, I would do whatever it took. . . But the feelings weren’t mutual. As much as I fought, I knew he would never fight for us. So I had to lay it down. My most prized possession. I had to give up my everything to choose what God had for me.
I have a good understanding of what it means to lay down your life and dreams for your walk with Christ. As we sacrifice and push the bounds of our faith we become more and more like Jesus. When I thought this was going to be the end of the world, it was just the begging for the Lord to bless me. Sometimes God wants to give us a bigger gift but we have to let go of this one in order to hold what He has for us. I know that as this relationship was once a gift, that He will give both of us both new and better gifts.
Recently I came back from a canoe trip in Ontario and in my opinion I did not have that great of a time. I wouldn’t say it was bad but I was cold, worked really hard and had very little down time. Sometimes I need to learn that It’s not all about me. Wait. . . Everything’s not about Robyn Pruden! What’s going on!
I have been taught as a leader to do a “check in” to see how the group is feeling emotionally. We do this at the beginning and end of each day, calling it First and Last Lights; A simple number out of 10, a low light and high light. As we were doing the final Last light, the trip summery. I heard two people comment about how the trip would not have been as good if I hadent been there. Here I felt so miserable about my trip and thinking that it was a failure, and they said that it was important that I came. I just wanted to go home but God had me there for a purpose. To speak into a respectable, influential man’s life and to show love to a 10 year old. We see life so much from our perspective when maybe we should be thinking and being thankful that God’s perspective is the one that wins.
I wanted what I wanted. This trip was not for me to be nurtured, but for me to do the nurturing. To my embarrassment, I ask myself why It took till we were going home for me to figure it out. Thank God for grace, that allows us to be used even when we don’t know it.
Let me then ask you, Is there something in your life that He is trying to use you for? Maybe you aren’t reaping the seeds that you have sowed right away but you will eventually harvest them.
“Headed, I fear, towards a most useless place. The waiting place. . . for people just waiting” Dr.Seuss
Contrary to popular belief waiting is one of the hardest but most important skill that anyone needs to learn. Not in fact useless. Harnessed right and you can have peace about every single aspect of your life, dating, marriage, travel, school, kids and death. Waiting to know that when you make a decision it’s the right one at the exact time.
Now don’t get me wrong, I am in the waiting place and not very happy about it. I tend to be impatient. But how sweet would something be if we did not have to wait for it. Anything good is worth waiting for. All this to say – Be encouraged as you go through waiting periods of your life, that as you wait God is preparing something very good for you. Use that time to help yourself, sharpen your skills and prepare your heart. I have started painting and sharing my story with others. The waiting is hard but you will not stay there forever. Have faith and you will find the bright places!
To continue the story. Ever since I had done a Dts with Ywam 2015 (Youth with a mission), it was always my desire to go back and have some time with one of the families in Ontario. So when God told me to go back because i wouldn’t have time later I hardly even gave it a second thought. I jumped on a plane one week later. Have you ever experienced those people who just make you glad you’re alive? The Chimaican (Chinese + Jamaican) mother of this family one day was talking to me about doing missions in Africa, and something about Africa hit home. I didn’t want to get too excited that it might be the where I had been looking for. I needed more conformation. God reminded me a couple days later about a painting I had done a year before (see adjacent picture) that I until this point had not known why I painted it. Jesus said to me “That painting is a picture of you in Africa. I had you paint it for this moment” I was astonished at how God uses things in our past to bring clarity to the future. That is when I knew my where. My heart became filled when i Started to pursue information and look at pictures of the country. My mother-friend questioned me as to where in Africa i would go. I had no idea, and still don’t. I’m trusting in God to show me the specific place but am grateful and thankful for the country.
I can’t help but praise the Lord for the call from small-town country girl across the world to a place with some parts with no running water. I really believe this might have been the reason that I have dreadlocks. God is always preparing us for what is next.
You must have figured out already that I want to go Africa. I have recently figured this out to so were pretty much on the same page, this is the beginning part of the story.
This summer I served at a camp leading canoe trips. This was a big step for a small town girl but I knew this is what God had me doing. When I finished all the trips and looked back at the experience I saw so many things God had brought out in me. It reignited my love for teaching young adults and the outdoors. I gained some valuable tools but said to God that I did not want to go back to my normal boring life. A short while later He answered my plea to not be average.
Some people are taken aback by my outright trust in what I hear from the Lord. I have mentioned this story to a fair amount of people and I usually get the response “well okay then” in that lovely sarcastic – you’re insane -kinda voice. But its honestly not that big of a deal. So I wanted to do something useful with my life besides the normal ‘Thank you, come again’. So I asked. God responded with a word that made me excited but impatient. He said “I will take you somewhere but I won’t tell you where or when just be ready”
How excited can I be about something that I know nothing about? A few weeks later nothing had come about, so I started to get discouraged; maybe I heard wrong. I decided to go to a worship and teaching conference because surly I would hear somthing there. After the conference had finished I got a call from my mom. She gave me a plethora of information for a job working outdoors with youth. I had a job number, telephone number and a contact person. This seemed like a golden nugget but so outta-the-blue. I was following up with the job untill I heard God say that this job wasnt for me. This job was only to be an example that God can make something outta nothing, So I wasent to lose heart about the words He spoke. I was encouraged but getting impatient, I wanted to know what was next.
Lesson learned in the first part of the story was to not doubt when God says something. I know that God wants to give us the desire of our heart but sometimes we need to be ready for them.