In January, I prayed for God to give me a word for 2015. Something that would encapsulate the year ahead.
I heard Financial Freedom.
I laughed, of course. I was three weeks away from being unemployed, with no clue as to what was next and very little money in savings. (To the deep despair of my father who is--and tried to teach me to be--fiscally responsible.) Financial freedom seemed impossible. I listened and listened for another word, but none came.
I left my role at Mariners and headed-off to a week in London and Ireland, en route to a month (with became six weeks) in Kenya. Through the generosity of my community--all over the world--God showed His provision, abundantly, before and during the entire trip.
Honestly, I expected to come home and get a new job. (Probably making enough money to help me 'experience financial freedom' in Southern California.) Yet, somehow, I landed in LAX after seven weeks away from home and, within fifteen minutes, announced to my dad that I was moving to Kenya...and soon.
I began to plan...and I began to worry. Would my measly savings stretch to cover my time at home? I could get a job, but who wants an employee who's already shopping for a one-way ticket to the other side of the world?
And, in the months since then, amazingly, God has provided abundantly. Through a short-term, part-time job providing steady income, and a few one-shot projects that have given me opportunities to be creative, stretch myself, and even put my English degree to good use!
Two weeks ago, I stuffed about 80 support letters to send out to a large community of people around Orange County who, at various points and in varying degrees of depth, have heard about this crazy, gigantic, exciting excursion God has invited me in to.
All the while I felt anxious. With every address, I imagined someone opening the envelope and sighing at the ask for prayerful, emotional, and financial support.
I looked at this stack and thought to myself: How in the world did I end up in a situation where I am trying to raise $10,000 when my word for this year is supposed to be FINANCIAL FREEDOM?!
As I sealed the final envelope and looked at the stack, with a list of fears streaming though my head, I thought about not sending them out.
It was nuts. Though I had seen and experienced God's provision both on my trip and since then, I still doubted that, this time, He'd come through. It's moments like these that I'm reminded of how little has changed in thousands of years. The Israelites, who had been rescued from slavery--who saw and experienced the freedom and provision of the LORD repeatedly in the days leading up to, during, and following--still did not trust that He would continue to provide. Did not believe He could (or would) bring life far greater than the life of captivity which had been so familiar.
So I stopped to pray. I held the letters in my hands and prayed that once they fell in to that big blue post office box, all of this worry and anxiety would leave, too. Prayed I would begin to feel--and believe--that they were no longer my responsibility, that there was nothing I could (or needed to) do. Prayed I would remember that, in reality, none of this was ever in my hands--that the God who has invited me in to this excursion will provide all I need while He sees it through to completion. Just as He has, countless times, before.
I dropped them in the mailbox, took a deep breath, and drove home.
I wish I could say I've felt confident and worry-free since then, but that wouldn't be the truth. I have fretted and doubted and--more than once a day--had to remind myself of both my prayer and God's faithfulness. Remind myself to stop being an Israelite. And, today, as I opened the mailbox to three more envelopes, (bringing me to 20% of my funds, with a month to go) tears rolled down my cheeks. Because God is providing...in His way, in His timing. He will see this through. I need not be afraid.
"I believe; help my unbelief." --Mark 9:24