Sunday, June 3, 2012

Break my heart for what breaks Yours!

Exactly one year ago, I was preparing for my first trip to Ethiopia and I had NO idea what God had up His sleeve. But, for the first time in my life, I was sure of His calling and I knew I had to be obedient and go. Due to my own human nature, I can admit now that had I known what He was up to, fear would have more than likely altered my life's course.

Thankful today that God is bigger. And, in case you didn't know, He is better. :) God doesn't make mistakes. He took me to Ethiopia for a reason.

So... here I am, one year later and my world is completely changed. Now, don't get me wrong. I am still the same Nicci. The same sinner. But, God is transforming my life in ways that some days still takes my breath away.

Before leaving last year, I often prayed the very simple prayer that God would break my heart for what breaks His. I wanted to know His pain. I wanted to see it. I wanted my eyes to be opened to it in a very real and tangible way. Well, let me just say that God blew that prayer out of the water. By day 2 of the trip, my heart was shattered. I was completely broken. I was helpless and I felt very alone. I just couldn't understand and I no one to turn to but my God.  And, God, in His gracious, loving way, began truly revealing Himself to me. And, in the course of that week, He showed me His heart for His people and His need for His people. It was in that short week that I was in Addis Ababa that His true call for my life really began to resonate in my heart.

After returning home, I knew exactly why God had taken me to Ethiopia. I knew it with every fiber of my being. But, I just couldn't speak it. Because saying it out loud made it REAL and most importantly, it would take ALL of me. That requirement as a Christian was something I was still working out. Ha! Who am I kidding?  What do you mean when you say that You want ALL of me, Lord? I am still working on that giving 100% of myself. My biggest fear is that I will always be working on this and always failing. I am sure thankful that I have Savior who loves me anyway.  Anyway, after a few months, I began "whispering" what I felt God's calling on my life was with a few, close friends. But, I had to be careful, because, if I said it TOO loud, it would be more real. And, more real, frankly, scares the (insert explicit here) out of me. STILL!

It wasn't until January. JANUARY! 6 months after my initial return from Ethiopia, that I was able to
speak it. (barely) For six months, I held it in. Fear crippling the best thing that has ever happened to me. For six months, I allowed fear to overshadow God's amazing purpose for my life. Finally, in late January after some serious conviction from the Holy Spirit, I had to make it real. I had to share it. And, so I did. Slowly. Very......very.....very....slowly. But, what God is continuing to show me is that it is real. His plan for my life is very, very real. So real some days that fear fills up in my throat and threatens to choke me. But, I trust Him and I want to give Him my all.

And, so, my friends, what I have been trying to tell you with teeth chattering, words stumbling, and heart racing is.... My ALL for Him is in Ethiopia. On long-term mission. Using my God-given talents to serve the street kids whom I love so much. But, more importantly, whom He loves so much. Serving Him.

I am in the "pipeline" to go full-time. There I said it. :) Whew.  God has placed a special calling on my heart to reach the street children through education. I don't have the details worked out. I don't have the foggiest clue what all this means. But, I know, with every bit of me, that He is in this and He will show me the way.  I ask that you pray that He will continue to open the doors and show me exactly what He wants. His desires for His glory, that is my prayer.  Will you pray with me?

In the meantime, please pray for our short term team that is leaving on Thursday to go and serve these sweet faces in Addis Ababa. It may be my last "visit" before I make this place my home and I am praying that God will continue dissolving the "polaroid picture" and showing me His exact plan. Also, looking forward to seeing God work in our entire team, especially the first timers. It wasn't so long ago that I was a "first timer" and I look forward to God breaking their hearts for what breaks His, just as He has mine. Thank you for walking this journey with me. Your prayer carries me.