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Thursday, November 17, 2016

When You Ask God To Use You, And He Does... And It Terrifying

I like being used by God.  It usually gives me a great sense of contentment... a nice warm feeling.
But I had a situation a while back, that I haven't really talked about, but I feel like God's laid it on my heart to do so.  So, sit back, and get ready for a bit of a read.

I don't like change, or the unknown.  I realize how ironic that is, since we are getting ready to move half-way across the world, to a country we've never been to.  But I think one of the reasons God let me grow up as a missionary kid, was because he knew this was in my future.  I have no fear of becoming a missionary.
It's smaller things that make me anxious.  

Most notably driving.
Most 16-year-olds can't wait to get their license!  I've had 3 permits. In 3 states.  Growing up in Europe, and then even going to college in Europe, this was never really an issue.  Everyone takes public transportation.  I was taking public transportation into downtown European cities by myself at an age some American parents still worry about their child riding the school bus.  So, it's not about the independence.  It's not that I'm a bad driver.  I'm a good, very safe driver.  I just feel like it's so much responsibility to go out on the roads, in this massive metal machine, and trust my life, and the lives of those I hold dearest in the world to a bunch of strangers, hoping they're decent enough drivers.  To me, driving simply involves too many variables.

I finally got my license when I was pregnant with Aidan.  It was one of the most stressful days of my life.  Seriously.  I think I'd rather go through child-birth than take another driving test.  But regardless, I got my license, and a very dear couple from our church at the time gifted me with a car.

I was now a full-fledged adult in the eyes of American society. 
One day, on my way to work, I was pulling out of our apartment complex, and attempting to cross traffic.  I looked both ways, but somehow I didn't see a car coming from the left.  I pulled out, and hit them on the back right side.  It was a terrible crunch.  I'm thankful I had enough whits about me to pull back into the apartment complex.  I could see the car I'd hit.  They had pulled up a little bit, and stopped.  Three men got out of the car.  I got out of my car, and went to check on them.  The damage wasn't bad, but I'd definitely put a dent in the back of their car.  There was one man, who had been in the backseat, holding his side, and the other two were shouting at each other, and me.  I said I was so sorry, I didn't see them, and were they okay?  I told them I was about to call the police.  That's when it started getting crazy.

They asked me not to call the police.  They said if I just gave them money to fix the car, they'd be on their way.  I went back to my car. I called Dan who was getting ready for work, and had Aidan.  He asked if I'd called the police yet, and I said no, so he did.  When the police arrived, they had the other car brought over to where mine was.  The man who was holding his side kept hanging out with me, instead of the men he was in the car with.  He kept telling me all he wanted to do was get home to Virginia.  Then the police started taking our statements.  None of the men from the other car had a valid license.  The man who was driving and the other man started telling the police that the man who was in the back was driving.  The police asked me, and I said no, the man in the white shirt had been driving.  That man started yelling at me, when the police noticed the seatbelt mark on his shirt - on the left side.  At that point, the man started being belligerent, it turned out he had a suspended license, so between those two things, the police arrested him.  In the meantime, the EMTs showed up, to check us all out (which none of us needed).  The man who had been holding his side (which he wasn't doing anymore), refused to get checked out, and the EMTs assumed he was with me, because he kept standing by my, and was VERY much avoiding the two other men.  Then he started talking to me, telling me he didn't even know these guys, and they were on their way to "work".

Finally the police took all our information, took the arrested driver away, and we were left with this man.  He asked if we would take him to the bus station.  We said yes.  So, Dan dropped Aidan and I off at school, and took the man to the bus stop.

On the way to the bus stop, he told Dan that he had recently gotten out of jail, had just met those guys, and when I had hit them, the reason they all got out of the car, was to ditch their guns in the bushes.  Dan bought him a ticket home.  We never heard from him again.  The driver submitted a claim with our insurance for soft tissue damage, but never followed through.  My car wasn't worth trying to fix, so we sold it.  
It all turned out much better than it could've.

But I was shook up.
Really shook up.

I didn't feel comfortable driving again for a long time.  And I was kinda angry.  I had finally felt confident driving, and then this craziness happened.  

And that's when God spoke to me, "I needed them off the road.  And it was more important than your comfort."

That's when He guided me towards Romans 8:28-39.  

28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[i] have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.  31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34 Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written:
“For your sake we face death all day long;
    we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”[j]
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[k]neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
People use this/these verses to encourage themselves or others when they are going through trying times.  But my focus was on verse 32.  I underlined it in the passage above.  God sacrificed His Son.  There simply is no greater sacrifice one can give.  As Christians we are called to live sacrificially.  We translate that to money or time, but it arches over ALL areas of our lives.  Our comfort.  Our securities/insecurities.  Our safety.

It's not the happy-clappy side of Christianity, but I think it's one of the big steps we need to take in our maturation as Christians.  My life is not my own.  This is not misguided self-sacrificing.  I'm not going to start throwing myself in front of buses, in case there is someone on there who is on their way to hurt someone.

But in that moment, God needed me.  He needed me to stop those men from whatever they were going to do.  He knew He would help me overcome my fears again.  He knew I could handle it, even though He knew it was hard for me, He allowed it to happen.

As I was driving in the car today, Hillary Scott's Thy Will Be Done was playing.  I love how raw that song is.  As someone in love with Christ, but is also a control-freak, this song hits home.  She has a line that says, "Sometimes I gotta stop and remember that you're God and I'm not".
There are bigger things going on around me than my fears.  God sees the whole picture, and I don't.  And if I sincerely pray for God to use me, I have to be ready for the possibility that I won't like it.

There is one more thing that came out of that accident.  I pray for the man Dan bought the bus ticket for.  I don't know if there's anyone else in his life who does that.  But there is now.  I pray for his safety, his health, and that he would come to know the Lord.

Being used by God can be uplifting, cathartic, and awe-inspiring.  But it can also be terrifying, hard and painful.
The bottom line is, am I willing to give my all, my life in the service of God?  And the answer is yes.

I am no longer angry about it.  I still don't enjoy driving, but I am willing and able to do it.  I gain confidence every day.  

So why am I sharing this story?  Because I felt like God needed someone to hear it.  Following God isn't easy, and there is sacrifice.  But God has promised blessings to those who hear His voice, and obey Him.  

Deuteronomy 28:1-14
If you fully obey the Lord your God and carefully follow all his commands I give you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations on earth.All these blessings will come on you and accompany you if you obey the Lordyour God:
You will be blessed in the city and blessed in the country.
The fruit of your womb will be blessed, and the crops of your land and the young of your livestock—the calves of your herds and the lambs of your flocks.
Your basket and your kneading trough will be blessed.
You will be blessed when you come in and blessed when you go out.
The Lord will grant that the enemies who rise up against you will be defeated before you. They will come at you from one direction but flee from you in seven.
The Lord will send a blessing on your barns and on everything you put your hand to. The Lord your God will bless you in the land he is giving you.
The Lord will establish you as his holy people, as he promised you on oath, if you keep the commands of the Lord your God and walk in obedience to him. 10 Then all the peoples on earth will see that you are called by the name of the Lord, and they will fear you. 11 The Lord will grant you abundant prosperity—in the fruit of your womb, the young of your livestock and the crops of your ground—in the land he swore to your ancestors to give you.
12 The Lord will open the heavens, the storehouse of his bounty, to send rain on your land in season and to bless all the work of your hands. You will lend to many nations but will borrow from none. 13 The Lord will make you the head, not the tail. If you pay attention to the commands of the Lord your God that I give you this day and carefully follow them, you will always be at the top, never at the bottom. 14 Do not turn aside from any of the commands I give you today, to the right or to the left,following other gods and serving them.

Allow God to use you.  But be aware that it may require a lot on your part - but also that God will be with you the whole time, and He will not forsake you.  He has promised His blessing on those who obey him.  

I hope my story helps you in some way.  I pray that you don't have to face your biggest fears, but if you do, know that the Lord is with you.  And if you need someone to talk about it with, I'm here for ya!


  1. I can so relate to your story. Prayers continue for you and your family. Love, Sheila Burrows

    1. Thank you so much for commenting, Sheila, and for your prayers! We pray that you and Doc are doing well!