Peru, Pain, Priorities, and Perseverance

"Thank you, Jesus, that You are GOD enough to save us, and MAN enough to relate to us." - Josh White

My pastor began his sermon this past weekend with this prayer of gratitude.  His message was from Hebrews, and he used a beautiful (and timely) analogy of faith and a fear of flying.  He discussed how many of us have enough faith to get on the plane, and even trust it to take us from Point A to Point B, but we lack the faith to enjoy the journey.

He reminded us that Hebrews 4:14-16 offer two challenges: 1) Hold fast 2) Draw near

You see, in spite of the challenges we face, we must hold fast to our faith.   Perseverance serves as evidence of our saving faith to a hurting world.  Faith must be active in order to be effective.  In order to persevere through life's trials, we must continue to draw near to our Heavenly Father.  We are always as close to Him as we choose to be.

As is often the case, this message was particularly relevant for me in my current life chaos circumstances. I'm staring at a bank statement which reflects a credit card charge for airfare to Peru that far exceeds the amount of money left in my rapidly dwindling bank account.  Who knew answering God's call would cost so much?  I just downsized my life from a large, two bedroom townhouse to an air mattress and some duffel bags in my sister's office/spare bedroom.  Talk about an exercise in prioritizing.  (And talk about incredible generosity on the part of my sister and her husband for welcoming me into their home where I am blessed to stay for free-ninety-free and save rent $ for Peru; and for my wonderfully patient father, boyfriend, and friend, Pat, who graciously offered hours of their time to help me move; and for my mother and step-father who are loaning me some storage space free-of-charge) This morning I packed the final boxes in my boyfriend's over-stuffed car and watched him drive away from my life...indefinitely.  Will our short-lived-but-intense foundation be strong enough to withstand the test of time and distance?

And so I leave you with a final, personal prayer of my heart.

Lord, I'm terrified.  I leave for Peru in less than two short weeks.  How will I afford it?  Where will I sleep when I land?  Will I be safe?  Will I be fed well?  Will I get lost?  Will I be effective?  Are Garret and I going to survive this sudden, extreme distance? When I return to the US, where will I live?  What will I do for a job?  What is Your plan?

I'm losing confidence that this is all from You and I know that is due to my own faithlessness and failure to press into You daily.  I talk a good talk, but OH MY how my walk is failing.  I'm stumbling. Losing myself in uncertainties and insecurity and to-do-lists which overwhelm me to the point of paralysis (as evidenced by an entire day spent curled up in bed).  

Free me from this burden of doubt. Help me to step confidently forward in the direction You have laid out for me.  Carry my heart.  Hold my hand.  Lead me.  Nothing else matters.  Not money, not Garret (no offense if you're reading this), not material junk I'm worried about packing... none of it compares to the beauty of serving You.


Natalie, you will ALWAYS land on your feet because you have an amazing brain and an even more amazing heart. I will continue praying. I love you.
it's just "M" said…
I have so much admiration for you doing this, Natalie. I know that you are going to do, see and experience some amazing things while you are gone. Praying for you now and as you go. God is with you. Always. Isaiah 40:28-31

Carol J. Brown said…
You'll do fine -- and have a great time in the process. Already looking forward to having you back and hearing about all your adventures.

Love, Aunt Carol