I woke up this morning and I remembered... it was five years ago today.
I’ve always been one for remembering dates. I love to look back at the journey You’ve led me on. It always leaves me in awe. This morning was no exception.
I remember being so awed on my baptism weekend at the ways You had worked in my heart up until that point. I remember telling a dear friend that I felt like a different person to the little girl I’d been a few years before. You were changing my selfishness into a love for right… my self-dependance into a recognition of my need for You… my little world of pretend missionary exploits into a realization that I could actually serve You in real life. I remember the surealness of that day and wanting to pinch myself into realizing that this was really happening… that You had really given me the courage to stand up and tell the world what You’d been doing in my heart in the years preceding. I remember the conversation around the piano that evening and how we had somehow started looking at our globe and the many countries that didn’t know anything about You. I remember listening to my friends’ excitement about how we could share our love for You and determining deep down that I wanted to be a missionary— whether that was here in the states or abroad. It really was the most special Sabbath of my life.
This morning I went back and watched the video of that day (if you want a quick glimpse click here). And again I was awed as I looked back. Five years ago I was amazed at the ways You had changed my little heart. Honestly, today I am even more amazed at the way You have changed my heart since then.
How could I have ever known that You would allow trials to come a few months later that I didn’t understand or know how to deal with but that in the darkness I would learn a deeper level of commitment than I ever could have learned in the light?
How could I know that our move away from everything that was familiar would stretch me far beyond my comfort zone but cause me to lean on Your arm in a way I had never done before?
How could I have expected the joy and love for people I would find half way around the world ministering with my family when sickness had half of us in bed?
What would I have thought if I had known that after my prayers to go deeper than ever I would be surprised with an illness recurring from when I was little that would leave me utterly exhausted and often in pain for seven months but teach me a trust in You that endured the most painful of days?
How could I have understood the contradictions of pain and joy that ministry would bring… of emptiness and fullness… and the ways You would lead me so gently to understand Your real purpose for me and that being a missionary didn’t mean half the things I thought and a hundred things I didn't?
How could I have ever dreamed of the way You would win my heart and my love beyond my wildest imaginations and that life would turn into a beautiful journey with my best Friend?
Truth is, I couldn’t know. And I’m glad. I think it would have been a bit much for my 14 year old mind to comprehend.
One thing I know now. Your plans were perfect and I wouldn’t have them any other way.
I look back and it strikes me how much I didn’t know. How much I hadn’t experienced. How much of Your heart I didn’t even know existed.
And I have to wonder where I’ll be in five years time. How much of You there is still to find that I don’t know about… how much deeper there is to fall in love than I could even dream right now.
I don’t have to know. I’ve seen enough to know I want to sign up for every last little bit of it.
That while my future may remain unknown, I can look at my past and see so many fingerprints of grace that there need be no fear for the future.
Whatever storms come…
Whatever valley floors…
You see them. And You see me. And You know. I don’t have to.
So Jesus, sign me up. Your ways are beyond my understanding. That you would want to take a little rascal and turn her into your little princess is beyond me. Of everything you have done in the last five years, your wild love and friendship to a girl like me amaze me most. I don’t understand it. Or why you chose to pursue me. But I love it. I love you. And you’ve won my heart lock stock and barrel. Here’s to another five years… to a lifetime together… no matter what darts the devil throws.
Because you first loved me.
Forever your little girl.