“God trusts you, Bren. He told me He does”
*Whew* Doesn’t that just floor you?! It did me as I read the text message laying in a South African hospital preparing for surgery on what was supposed to be a short term missions trip with a dose of vacation. 🙂
He trusts me. I didn’t even know how to process that but the truth of it resonated in my spirit and shook me to the core of my soul.
What was I to do with this other than believe it to be true. I was in a hospital in Cape Town, South Africa and what came was surgeries, days in the hospital and a long 26 hour trek home to Seattle with my body bandaged and a healing process that would take me weeks into the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons because He trusts me. As I cried big tears, I simply replied to the text, “Thank you.” and I headed into the operating room.
The days that prefaced this moment was spent traveling to Johannesburg then Rustenburg to work at a local bible school and even that was nothing like I expected. I had been to this country and taken these trips for 12 years and I knew what to expect. We work on projects that were needed, develop relationships with the students and missionaries and get to do some cool sightseeing that made us fall in love with the beautiful country that it is. This particular trip kept me away from the work the team was doing and I spent a good share of my time tucked away by myself in the administration office working on things that called on my attention stateside. As one of the EquipHER discipleship coaches for the #IamHER movement that has ignited in the Northwest Ministry Network Women’s Ministries, December’s theme was The Heart of a Leader. It was my responsibility to write the blog and share God’s heart on this particular topic and in my study time, the Lord had taken my to 2 Colossians chapter 20 and the prayer of King Jehoshaphat as armies are closing in around Judah on every side. In verse 20b, the King simply says, “We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.” In some translations, it says, “Our gaze is fixed on you, oh God.” I finished the blog while I was there and sent it off to be bundled in the resources for the coming month. I had no idea what the coming days would bring but that reminder, to keep my gaze fixed on God and not my circumstances, would be the very thing that carried me through and kept a God perspective that led to His text, and my assurance, that the God of the universe trusted me.
On my fourth day in country, I begin to not feel well and my husband, who was back in the states, would note as we FaceTime that I didn’t look like I was feeling well. I assured him I was just tired and feeling slightly off but otherwise okay. That continued over the next couple of days and as I begin to feel worse, physical signs that something wasn’t right began appearing. On our sixth day in South Africa, we hopped a flight for Cape Town and I couldn’t stay awake…my body was sweating but I chalked it up to the heat of the plane and the hot temperatures outside. Days earlier, I had let another woman on our trip know I wasn’t feeling well and she checked in and I said I was feeling okay. Self-Care was not a priority, just getting the team to where we needed to be and not disrupt anything was. Not awesome as I sit now making adjustments, post trip, but all part of God’s plan. Within 24 hours and additional personal decisions not to seek medical attention, an internal yet growing external abscess would rupture and I would find myself in the emergency room with quick decisions made for surgery to remedy.
As I battled with the surgeon for another option, he quietly said, “Madam, You cannot leave the country without this fixed and if you had waited to come in or I delay long in performing the surgery, you could be dead.” Whoa, WHAT?!” DEAD?!
As I began to cry, I just needed my husband and he was 10,000 miles away. I asked the surgeon to leave for a few minutes and I called my husband, only to hear him echo the words of a man that I just met that I had to trust with my life. And King Jehoshaphat’s words began to weave themselves into my heart and mind…”We do not know what to do, but our gaze is fixed on you, oh God.” Amen, King. AMEN. We got off the phone, agreeing it was the right thing to do and I walked out to the waiting area where a dear friend and pastor was sitting and waiting and we prayed. And the folks prepared to take me back to the room stood nearby and waited as we prayed…We fixed our gaze, we trusted, we prayed and then we proceeded with the plan. As I laid there waiting for surgery, God sent a text through a very dear friend, “God trusts you, Bren. He told me He does.”
After my surgery, I was taken to what would be my room in the days to follow, and a woman and her child were already there in the bed across from me. As we began to chat and get to know one another, I couldn’t take my eyes of this wee one named Lindi. Her momma white and she, the most gorgeous shade of brown I had ever seen. My girlfriend, Linda, had arrived earlier and as we sat and listened to Lindi’s story, my spirit began to leap and rejoice for this life saved from a threat of atrocities that you cannot imagine. Lindi’s momma, given to her by the courts, loved Jesus but had found herself with her hope lost and a weary heart and mind. I knew why all this happened. The God who created these precious two brought me to this country, this hospital, in this room, to restore hope and breathe life into this weary momma through the power of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. We laughed, cried, and shared our stories and the Bible with one another. Lindi and her momma were a pure delight and the realest two people you could ever hope to know. Days later as I was preparing to leave the hospital, I hugged Lindi and her momma tight with promises to stay in touch over social media and emails and she, with a hope restored, simply said, “Who is this God that sent a woman from America to South Africa to give another woman her hope and joy back?” My reply simply this, “One who loves you so very much.”
Oh friends, I remember so many years ago when I read in Isaiah 6:8,9a, “And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here I am! Send me.” And he said, “Go,” and I screamed out loud…”HERE I AM!!! SEND ME!!!” And I meant it. And I still do. All day, every day. He is my God, my healer, the director of my steps. And I will follow Him anywhere. But there was a day when even I wouldn’t have trusted myself. My choices were contrary to the word of God, my actions and words were wounding and destroying relationships and missions was the last thing on my mind. As I matured, repented, healed and stood confident of my restoration, the enemy would attempt to get into my mind that God couldn’t trust me because I was always one decision away from being “that girl” again. Well, as the sum of my parts, I am that girl and her freedom song is sung loud and proud and no devil will throw arrows at her again…because my God trusts me. He told my friend, Aaron, so. And He told me so through a text message and has confirmed it to my heart ever since…over and over again. And I do go as He sends me, and I will still go…again and again as He leads because He trusts me to do what His will directs, even to the very edge of my life and back. He is my God and I am His daughter. #IamHER
As I am home healing, back in the states, I have found myself processing all the emotions of my trip and all that happened. God doesn’t expect our humanity to take a hike when we go through things that are scary and leave us, in our flesh, feeling alone. But He is right there with me, whispering words of love and trust and if I listen really carefully, I think I can hear King Jehoshaphat’s words, realigned just a bit for this quiet time in my life, “When I did not know what to do, my gaze was fixed on you, oh God.”
I love you, Tribe. I could not be more grateful for you if my mind and heart tried. Thank you for your prayers, support and love.