There is a saying that hindsight is 20/20. It's always easier to see things once we're past them rather than in the middle of them. This is especially true when it comes to trials and storms in our lives. Or things that take us outside of our comfort zone. How many times do we worry and wonder why God is allowing us to go through certain things? Yet when we look back weeks, months or sometimes years later, we see how God was working in that situation. He was beside us the entire time!
I can remember when Cayle went on his first mission trip to Mexico. He was so excited when he came back. As he shared pictures and stories with me, I can remember saying to him, “I'm glad you had a good time, but that's not for me!” A couple years down the road, our 2 oldest daughters were planning to go on a mission trip with the youth group to Mexico. I was one of the youth helpers and though I had not planned to go on the trip, I could not get it out of my mind. I went to the leader in charge of the trip and told him that I thought God was prompting me to go. I think it took him less than 5 minutes to hand my paperwork over! That trip was the start of God stretching me outside of my comfort zone. From the plane trip (I'm not fond of flying) to going to a country where I did not speak their language to talking to strangers to playing with kids in a trash dump.
The next stretch came less than a year later when a pastor friend told me that an Epiphany team to Cuyahoga Hills Juvenile Correction Facility was needing additional team members. Once again, I felt God prodding me to say, “Yes!” I have never regretted agreeing to serve! I'm not going to say I wasn't incredibly nervous the first weekend I served because I was! However, the blessing I received (and still receive) has far outweighed any fear that I initially had.
Still, God continued to stretch me. Our youth was planning a mission trip to Ghana, West Africa and I agreed to go as one of the youth leaders. A nine to eleven hour plane ride made me nervous. Applying for visas, getting yellow fever shots, malaria pills...all firsts for me. I was excited, nervous...but we weren't in Ghana more than an hour before I knew that God was going to use that trip to change me yet again.
So, here I am a little over a year later and God has worked a miracle in my heart! He has stretched me from one extreme to another...6 years ago, I said that I had no interest in even going on a mission trip. Now, our family is planning to move to Ghana in January to work with City of Refuge and be Jesus' hands and feet to trafficked, orphaned and abandoned children.
God knows exactly how each of us is wired...He created us! He knew that it would take 6 years for me to be ready to leave everything I'm familiar with to serve in another country. Looking back, I can see how He was working in our lives to prepare us for this very thing. Hindsight is 20/20 and honestly I wouldn't have it any other way! It forces me to trust Him completely...He has His best planned for us. I think if He would have shown me His plan even a couple years ago, I would have been terrified...but He knows and loves me enough to show me just one step at a time!
Proverbs 19:21 says: Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails.