Isaiah 53:1-12 (Follow this link to the scripture for today–It is a long one)
This is an Old Testament reading from Isaiah that professes the coming of the savior who will suffer for the sins of the many and do so with grace and love. I am so grateful that I have found my way to Christ. It has been a long road with many twists, turns, flips, and just straight up chasms in the path. Once I found this path I found peace and grace, comfort and happiness beyond my imagination. I became happy and content with what I had been given, something that was not always as easy. I found myself letting go of things that I couldn’t control and became calmer and mare at ease. I found a peace that I had never known.
My path has been an interesting one for sure, from growing up Roman Catholic to Atheism to the path I now walk with Christ by my side (and sometimes carrying me). There really was no real reason for my departure from my Catholic background other than at the time religion and God did not make sense. I could not explain it and there was no “proof”, so I just could not bring myself to believe it. I just did not understand how one could put their faith and life into something that no one could “prove” actually existed. I mean there is no scientific proof that God actually exists, nor is there proof that He created our world the way Genesis describes. It all just seemed too far-fetched for me; so my atheism seemed to grow and flourish in this reality. It wasn’t until we had our first child, Anjali, that I appreciated religion and the church for the fellowship and support they could provide a family. Both Jeff and I started exploring and reading more about various different religions, from Taoism to Buddhism to Judaism to Christianity. We read more books than I can count, including two that I think really lit the path for me, Where God Was Born by Bruce Feiler and The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel. After reading both of these books I found myself wanting to believe in God, but I still didn’t have the faith. But nonetheless, Jeff and I joined the Presbyterian Church shortly after having Anjali.
My faith was confirmed when I was at one of my workout classes with Anjali in the stroller while I exercised for an hour. I was 7 or 8 months pregnant with our second child when I left Anjali in the stroller with some of my friends from the class while I went to the restroom. I came back to find everyone gone and Anjali sitting in her stroller, all alone, with an older man who appeared to be homeless just staring at her. My heart just sank with all of the “what ifs” and “what could have been”. I was so shaken by this, I could not finish the class, so I went home and called Jeff to tell him all that happened. But in telling him the events of the morning, I felt this overwhelming notion that the old man staring at her was not as creepy as I first thought, but my mind shifted to the thought that he was actually watching over her to keep her safe. I was on the phone with Jeff and I can still feel that shift in my heart from a desire to believe to an “all-in” faith and belief in God’s power and will. I was still in control of my world, but He always had my back, just as he did with Anjali. This was my tipping point and I have never looked back.
Now here I am, doing what some call radical, crazy, irresponsible, etc. and others call wonderful, exciting, and amazing. We have taken our children out of school for one year to volunteer and serve others around the world. This journey has come with a lot of sacrifice and risk. Jeff left his career, we are homeschooling our children (neither Jeff or I are teachers), we are taking our children to live and serve people we have never met and in places we have never been….all because we believe this was God’s path for us. A random Facebook post sent us spiraling down a conversation of “what ifs” that ended up being “ok, now go”; and little did we know that things would completely fall into place the way they have. Yes, the planning of this journey has been a lot of work, but honestly, it has not been that difficult. Every time we hit a road block or a snag, we stopped to pray and then things just seem to work out. We agreed from the beginning to not push this. If God wanted us to go we would, but if He put up road blocks that kept us from something or somewhere, we accepted it and moved forward.
This whole journey has been a wonderful lesson is God’s steadfast love for all of us. We may not all be believers our whole life, and quite frankly I think most people aren’t. But what I do believe is that we are on our own individual paths for a reason and when you are ready to find God, you will. He will always be waiting for you to just stop and look, and then see. Everyday I give thanks that He was patient with me. I had been a non-believer for a lot longer than I have been a believer, but He just waited until I was ready. What this tells me is that everyone’s path is different and unique; there is no right way or wrong way, it is His way. We may not always see His hands in our lives, but He is there, patiently waiting for us to see Him. This though reminds me of a song I have always loved by Garth Brooks (sorry for all you non-country readers) called Unanswered Prayers and my favorite line from the song is “some of God’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers”.
This journey was definitely God’s hands at work, we just followed where He led us. We are currently in northern Thailand teaching English to preschool and primary school children and we could not be happier. We have been welcomed at every stop on this journey and Thailand was no different. Today we led an English Camp at the preschool, playing games and learning about animals, an art project and a cooking class. We all had such a wonderful time and are so grateful for the hospitality shown to us by these great people. God has surely blessed this journey.
Here are some pictures from the camp today: