Before I start: Yellow Team had a great weekend at Lake Ann ministering to junior highers! Thank you for your prayers!
What a week it has been! And it wasn't even the HeartSong rehearsals that made this week so exceptional. This post isn't really about HeartSong stuff, but it is an amazing story of God's work down here on Earth, and I'm so excited to share it! But where to begin?
I started this week with the energy and motivation to get schoolwork done ahead of time, and for about 3 days I was able to wake up in the morning and say, "I have nothing due tomorrow that I haven't done." That took a huge weight off my shoulders as I could concentrate on getting ahead again for the next day, and I was able to get work done the day it was assigned. And even though after 3 days I was back to my old routine of doing things the day before, I had experienced the concept of working ahead. It was awesome! (I would definitely recommend it to the stressed college student.) What a great story of the Gospel being manifested in my life; I was motivated by grateful joy instead of by fear and insecurity.
My Tuesday this week was very...involved. Classes, work, pedagogy observations, practicing, and HeartSong took up my time from 9am to 10pm, and I ended the day exhausted. That evening, once everything was over, I checked my voice mail and heard a message that a person I knew was just sentenced to life in prison with no parole because of a crime committed about a year ago. I wasn't sure whether to be thankful that this person did not receive the death penalty, which has been a prayer of mine for a while, or devastated because this person would never be able to experience life the way I am able to. I am incredibly blessed to have a crazy amount of God's grace in my life. I was given parents who raised me to love God with all my heart, and I was given wisdom to know right and wrong so that I never thought of making the mistake this person made; and I don't deserve any of it. With this in mind, I walked back to my dorm room and was thankful for the disgusting smell of Cedar Lake, because I knew that this person I knew would probably never smell something like that again. I was in a weird emotional state for the next couple days, being thankful for the craziest things like running across campus to my room at the last minute to grab something or choosing whatever I wanted to eat in Chuck's. I would love to live my life like that all the time, constantly thanking God for the things the world would tell me to take for granted.
My Thursday was awesome! Awe-inspiring, really. For the longest time I have been tossing around the idea of sponsoring a child through an organization like Food for the Hungry, but I've never had enough of an income to commit to the specific amount of money every month. I remember telling myself, but really telling God, that once I had a steady income that could afford it, I would sponsor a child. After getting my first paycheck from HeartSong a couple weeks ago, I realized that I actually could! So I told myself, and God, that the first chance I got to sponsor a child I would do it. That chance came Thursday.
I went to a concert at Cedarville with the bands Downhere, Rush of Fools, and Finding Favor. Finding Favor opened, followed by Rush of Fools, and then Downhere came out to talk a little bit before intermission. The concert tour was traveling with World Vision, an organization that pairs sponsors with children, and before intermission Downhere asked us to consider sponsoring a child. I thought about it a little bit, but I had not seriously prayed about sponsoring a child yet, so I was hesitant. My friend took a packet from one of the Downhere members and was looking at it. As she was putting the information back in the envelope, I asked her if I could look at it (I didn't want to grab one myself because I didn't want to have to give it back if I decided not to sponsor). When she handed it to me, I saw a picture of an African girl and the words "Birthday: September 4, 2006." THAT'S MY BIRTHDAY!! At that moment, I knew I had to sponsor her. Tears filled my eyes as I asked my friend if I could keep the packet and then practically ran to the sponsorship table in the lobby to ask about payment options. (I was so happy to find out later that my friend chose another child, this one from India, to sponsor.)
I knew God was calling me to sponsor, but I didn't hear the calling that loudly, definitely not as loudly as the call to be on HeartSong. But before I even started praying about what to do, God told me what to do. As I wondered to myself, "Should I sponsor a child tonight?" God interrupted my thoughts and said, "Yes, you need to sponsor, right now. Here's the girl you are going to sponsor; she has your birthday because I meant for you to be connected with her as her sponsor. I've provided you with the income to do this, now go."
I know now that if it hadn't have been for that girl with that birthday, I would not have sponsored a child Thursday night. Even though I wanted to and had sort-of-kind-of prayed about it, in my heart I wasn't committed to it. God intervened in my life in a huge way. He knew I would have said no, so He wouldn't let me decide for myself; He gave me an obvious sign of His good, pleasing, and perfect will before I even tested and approved it! (Ro. 12:2). And He knew that only in this way would I follow Him, so He made it happen according to the purpose of His will (Eph. 1:11).
"This is the disciple who testifies to these things and who wrote them down. We know that His testimony is true. Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written" (John 21:24-25). That is how I feel right now. I testify to these things that God is doing in my life; He has blessed me with the wisdom to seek His will and the financial means to do His will. Even though I will never be able to write down everything God has done, I want to continue to tell my story, to tell more and more of it, so that the name of Jesus will be glorified!
Soli Deo Gloria; to God alone be the glory!!