Thursday, April 8, 2010

Real (Part 1)

PhotobucketI once heard someone say that Satan is in the counterfeiting business; For every good thing God has made, Satan has a counterfeit. Often this immitation seems to be authentic but anyone who truely has studied the prototype will recognize the deception . If we are looking for what is real then the counterfeit will satisfy only temporarily, if at all, and will ultimately leave us defeated in expectation and hope. The immediate period of my life before I met my husband was full of counterfeits.

My days in college were rich with spiritual growth but at this moment in time I was sort of just plugging my ears with my fingers and singing my own song. There were things in life that, contrary to what I had once thought, God had declared to be good (like relatioships with the opposite sex, for example) and I desired them, but some how I felt like God was toying with me; "This is good, but not for you." Uh yeah, gee thanks. Then there was the long-hoped-for-mission-trip that God gave me the thumbs down on. Releasing that to Him stung primarily because I had the funding to go, but only if I went within a certain window of opportunity. I could not see having a chance like that ever again.

True, I was being fatalistic (not that I would ever be known for doing that ) and you might even say that I was pouting (though not without a good pair of protective shin gaurds). Regardless, I decided, if ever so breifly, that I would be better off taking things into my own hands. If God would not give me a good Christian man, or let me go on that YWAM trip to Mexico, then I would really show Him; I would simply date a Non-Christian Mexican. Brilliant! Two birds, one stone.

Okay, to spare you some time for the good parts, the God-showing-off parts, and to leave at least a little of my reputation in tact, I will simply conclude the telling of that short woeful tale with, "it ended." I got smart. The last time I ever saw that person was the moment before literally running out of his house mumbling in a Holy-Spirit inspired epiphany about how " I get it!" I'm sure the poor kid thought I was crazy, but it finally clicked. God did not set limits on me simply because he loves to tell people 'no,' he says 'no' or 'not now' or 'wait on me' because he loves us and does not want to see us repeatedly doing stupid things that cause us pain.

Shortly after this revelation (within the week) I found myself returning to my home town, something else I had not been willing to budge on. I still told everyone within ear shot that it was just for the summer, but God knew different. He just snickered and let me have my silly conditions for a little while longer. On the drive home over the mountain it was just me in my little-car-that-almost-could. I had a great time singing and praying and being free from myself. I prayed most of the way there. I prayed for my dad, and for my future husband (should-you-chose-to-give-me-one-please!),for my trip to Mexico which I knew God had for me, but had not been willing to wait on Him for, and for many other things. Surrender never felt so good.

What I truly did not expect was what happened when I got to Central Oregon. While staying with my former Young Life leader's family I decide that it would be important to plug myself into fellowship some where. I was resistent to attending their church because I always had felt it was too big, but one day I decided to give it a go. While there I thought I might just check out their young-adult group. My first night in attendence I ended up hitting it off with several people, one of which had just that week returned from her YWAM trip in India. We started hanging out often and I was having a blast. We were all very like minded and it was so refreshing. Soon I found that the summer was ending, and *GASP* I was still there! It was a good thing I stuck around too because it was precisely the end of summer that I met the chap who would become my husband. While he was away working at Yellowstone for the season, I had weaseled my way into his group of friends. Sneaky. I already mentioned how quickly things moved from that point here, so I'll spare you the re-run.

It is the rest of the story that was the real fun part anyway. When Steve proposed to me in February (with an entire box of candy hearts that had but one message; marry me) it was with the secret hope that maybe, just maybe, my trip to Mexico might be postponed. It was only two weeks before I was suppose to be leaving and though I had already given notice at work, I still had NO money for the trip. There was NO money for a wedding. In fact, I did not even know how I was going to buy groceries after giving my $40 tithe, but I felt like I was suppose to be obedient till the very end and allow God do the rest. I had the impression of God being my father, assuring me that he had already seen to the details of both my trip and my wedding.

During a quite time later I had this random but very specific thought run through my head: "I will give back to you forty times what you give to me." Okay, Lord if that was you then I guess you'll do it. I quickly moved on to other things and did not think about it again . About a week before I was to leave I had had my dad check on some information for me. When he called back he informed me of an additional expense I had not been counting on. My care free attitude kinda bothered him. I had said "okay" pretty flipantly when he told me the news and his response to me was that it was not okay. I surprised myself by laughing and then explained to him that I did not have a dime for the trip; that if I was going, God would be the one providing the money, and that He had probably already budgeted for the additional expense. I had this funny image of God franticly shaking out his wallet searching for spare change, but wasn't about to share my own humorous musings with my dad at that point. Being a non-christian, I knew he was already entertaining the thought that his daughter was losing her mind.

Amazingly, the very next day I received a gift in the mail. It was from a church I had visited only once. While there I had mentioned to someone in the group that I was preparing to do a trip with YWAM but I never told them of my financial situation. I still have not a clue as to how they got my address. You can imagine my surprise when I learned that check that was mailed to me was for the exact amount (to the very penny!) as the airline ticket I needed to fly into Mexico City. I bought the ticket with renewed confidence that God was providing for me a step at a time. With only days to go, I phoned the school in Mexico and informed them of the situation. I let them know that I still did not have all the money, and did they still feel as if I was suppose to be there? They agreed that they thought I should come and 48 hours later my new fiance was driving me to the airport. I left my dad my car to sell (not exactly a hot commodity, but the only thing I owned) and figured that since I had a round-trip ticket the worst that I would get out of it was a short vacation.



SmallWorld at Home said...

I'm glad you reposted!! I love it!

MarshaMarshaMarsha said...

Such faith, such youth, such provision!

I'm glad you reposted. :)

Melissa Stover said...

what an awesome story. sometimes a repost is well worth it. this is one of them!