7 months ago God revealed to me a remote fishing village on the southern coast of Haiti and whispered His purpose for me there.
I was not impressed. I was not willing, and I was NOT going.
For the past 2 years I have lived in a place that is comfortable. The weather is mild, my daughter goes to a wonderful school, she attends a ballet class. There is a huge grocery store, with everything I could ever imagine wanting to buy just a few miles down the road. I meet my friends for drinks and dinner at beautiful restaurants. Yes, I live in a country that is far away from the home of my youth, a country full of poverty but I found a little corner where I am comfortable and secure.
Then God told me to give it all up.
I will tell you now, my reaction was not graceful, it was not loving, it was not obedient.
The first time I heard God calling me to leave this place and go to Belle Anse I replied with an out loud and stubborn hell no!
I am not going there. I won’t do it.
That’s right, I swore at God, which basically means I am like, the shittiest Christian ever.
Then I realized, that great big grocery store with everything to chose from, had taken over my heart.
The good schools, the fun restaurants, the “blessings” and comforts, were all fighting for my soul, for my focus. Every single one of them was becoming a security net that allowed me to forget that I do not have this figured out, I do not get to be the boss.
I let my material comforts become my god instead of turning to God to be my only true comfort in life.
During the month of July I fasted from some things that I really, really love in order to open up my heart up to what I knew God was calling me to do. My gosh, what a month it was! If you could imagine anything that could toss a challenge into my life, July threw it at me. I faced the death of a child that I loved dearly, betrayal by people who I trusted and the stress of finances that never seem to stretch far enough. I walk out of July having added 2 more little girls to our family for the next several months or more, making me a single mother of 4 children under the age of 3.
Through it all, amidst all the distractions, God spoke so very clearly to me that it was impossible to ignore. Over and over again I was brought to the story of Jonah. The symbolism was obvious to me, Jonah was a guy who God had told to go to a city, who refused and ran away.
I was Jonah.
I was being called to a place I didn’t want to go and just like Jonah, I had chosen to refuse. God did not send a fish to get my attention but He sure did some other big things! As I studied the book in every version that I could find God began to show me signs everywhere. I met a little boy named Jonah one day and another the next. I walked into a room to see a huge painting depicting the story hung prominently on the wall and finally, the kicker of them all… I faced a knock on my gate one morning from a man who I had never seen before, who said he had received a word from the Lord for me. That word? You guessed it, the story of Jonah.
I wrote a few days ago about a dream that I had, a dream where I found myself standing on a beach. That beach was the very beach I stood on 5 months ago when I visited Belle Anse for the first time. God’s calling was clear and the time had come for me to deny myself and follow Him.
Am I scared? Out of my mind! I am scare of my kids getting sick, I am scared of living in a place that I don’t know or understand. I am scared of how hard I know it is going to be, I am scared of uncomfortable. Yes, I am scared but I am going to do it anyway. I have been blessed the most in the scared moments of my life, I have learned the best lessons in the scared and so I will do it scared.
In early 2015 our family will be moving to Belle Anse, where we will learn really hard, really beautiful lessons. We will rely on Him more than we ever have before. We will grow in ways that I can only imagine and we will come out on the other side far better for it. We will give the small things that we can and we will receive so much more than we deserve. Belle Anse doesn’t need our family but God has called our family there for His purpose, the things that He will do in and through us are beyond what I can imagine.
My daughter will not learn to plié in a class filled with pink tutus but she will dance her heart out in the dirt with the children who will become her best friends, the ones who will teach her to be humble and serve with abandon. My son will not attend a classy French preschool but he will learn lessons far beyond what books can hold, while he walks life in a place that is filled with opportunities to become a strong, resilient, brave, loving man. I will not have a beautiful house filled with beautiful thing but I will have simplicity and I will find joy in the challenges because that is when Jesus reveals himself the best.
I am Jonah, but I am done running away. I am turning my face towards His plans and turning my heart towards His grace. Heaven knows I’ll need it now more than ever.