I walk meadows this morning and think back on all the years building up to this moment.
I remember arriving at our little piece of AZ countryside and taking long walks up and down our road talking to Jesus. I remember all the conversations we had about my future and where I would go and what I would do and who I would be.
Sometimes the days seemed to drag by unbelievably slowly and I'd tell God there was a world to reach and people dying and I should be able to go already. I'd try to convince Him that I didn't need to be sitting around in the backwoods of nowhere studying when I could be loving and serving people. With all of my being I wanted to go and do.
And He smiled. And He let me stay. I look back and smile too. Because I'm so glad He did.
I was all enthusiasm and energy, but I hadn't yet learned the lessons that sickness and suffering had to teach me. I hadn't sat quietly at the feet of Jesus and fallen in love with His gentle heart. I hadn't become so consumed with simply being His friend that all else paled in comparison. I hadn't learned to say no (or even realized there were times I'd need to). I hadn't learnt what it meant to be drained dry of anything power of my own and lean on Him alone. I hadn't learnt what true friendship and deep communication meant.
If you'd asked me then I would have convinced you that the backwoods of nowhere was not the place to learn such lessons. That they must be learned through activity. And yeah, I would have been wrong.
But my Jesus knew. He walked the road with me and listened to all my reasons why I was needed in some remote part of the world. And when He was done listening, He gently sent me back to my little home.
Slowly I began to see. Slowly being the operative word. It wasn't overnight. Or over-month. More like over-years.
I started to find my joy and fullness in friendship with Jesus instead of activity. I started to love Him more than action. I started to crave time in His presence more than anything else... until it became a passion.
And then something funny happened. I carried on taking those walks. But I stopped praying to go. I stopped begging Him to send me. And I started loving where He'd placed me. The wilderness I'd thought was barren became a solace from the craziness of the world. A place I wanted to come back to-- because He was there.
I still cared about the starving kids on the other side of the world... the kids starving for a different kind of filling in my very own country. But it was about Him now. Not me. Not my plans. Not my goals. He became the dream.
And yeah, you know how He works. I walked and smiled because I'd found peace and contentment in this place. And He smiled too. Because now He was ready to say "go."
I wonder at the contradiction of it sometimes. All those years of begging Him to send me, and His quiet no. And then those quieter years of telling Him I was happy to stay and Him preparing the way for me to go.
Maybe that's how it works. Maybe we can't be sent until we are willing to stay. Maybe we can't be of any use to the world until we realize we aren't the ones doing the miracles. Maybe we can't change the world until we've let Him change us.
So yeah, this morning I walked my meadows for the last time. And I said yes. Yes to go. Not because I'm begging for it. But because He's asking. I said yes to loving. But only if I can love Him best. I said yes to the life I'd dreamed about on those first walks with Him. But only because now He is my dream.
I don't know all the places saying yes will take me. I don't know what it will look like or how it will feel. But then again, I didn't know when I said yes to quiet days in sunburnt countryside. And He more than topped my expectations. And I know He can do it again.
Because it's not just about me learning to be a yes girl. It's about Him being a yes God. Yes to my dreams. Just not always when I want Him to say it. But always, always, when it's best.