I'm going to Poland in a little over two months. Frankly, that scares me. I'm going to be in another country, in a completely different culture, and far from home. But I'm excited. I know that it will be a great experience. I have no problem believing that God will do great things during my time over there, and right now I'm at peace with going.
But I'm not at peace with raising the funds to go.
$5000. That's the roundabout cost of my trip. That is a LOT of cheddar. That is a lot of money to have to pay back if I don't raise the funds.
The funny thing is that I raised a similar amount for an internship with a Christian organization last summer, yet I'm still having issues believing that the Lord is going to provide for this summer.
This morning, I woke up anxious because I started thinking about my first support raising deadline. $500 by April 4th. That's a little over a week away. The balance in my account: $0.
That's when the lies kicked in: You can't raise $5000, Madi. You don't have enough time. No one wants to support you. You have too many other things to do instead of support raise. God doesn't really want you to go on this trip. God's going to make raising funds for this trip really hard. You won't raise the funds and then have to pay them back yourself. You will be a burden on the people you are asking.
On and on it went until God finally said in my head, "STOP IT, MADI!"
That caught my attention.
"Now, go for a walk."
So I went outside, and what was the first thing I saw? Birds. And then this verse came to mind:
Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns,
and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?
Woah. I am more valuable to God than birds. If He provides for birds, what makes me think that He won't provide for me?
I kept walking. I probably walked for a good thirty minutes around campus, and as I walked, God kept reminding me of promises in His Word.
My God will supply every need of yours according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
Truly, truly, I say to you if you ask of the Father in my name, He will give it to you. Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be complete.
John 16: 23-24
Therefore I say to you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.
Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations forever and ever. Amen.
In scripture, Jesus fed the 5,000 and the 4,000. He healed the blind and the sick. He performed miracles. In my life, He's provided me with family, friends, food, and shelter. He has provided for me so abundantly already. What makes me think that He will stop providing? He provided funds for my internship last summer. What makes me think that He will not provide for this summer?
Essentially, the real problem isn't a provision problem, it's a belief problem. I have to have faith that God is doing a good work, that if going to Poland will glorify Him, He's going to provide the financial means for me to go to Poland. He might provide all of my funds at once or He might provide them after I return from my trip.
Either way, I shouldn't be anxious or worried. God is in control. He knows exactly how much I will raise. He knows what my support will look like. He even knows how this process will bring me closer to Him.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
At the end of my walk this morning, I surrendered. I gave my support raising up to God. I'm going to be faithful and make calls and ask people for support, but I'm trusting that whatever happens, God is still good, and He will keep His promises.
The best part? God does keep His promises. I received my first email from someone this evening saying that they sent in support.
My only response:
Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name give glory, for the sake of your steadfast love and faithfulness!
P.S. I find it ironic that my Bible has a bird on it.
I love houses. I just absolutely love them. I love seeing pictures of them. I love walking through them. I love pinning pictures of them on Pinterest, and I love being invited into them.
There is just something so compelling about a house. I mean, it's just a building, but the people that live in it give it character and life. That's what I really love. I love seeing how a family can make a house a home. How a building with four walls can become a place of peace, rest, and warmth.
If there is one thing that I really hope my future includes it's owning a home and having the freedom to make it inviting and comfortable.
I was reminded of my immense love for homes while visiting America's LARGEST home, the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC over my spring break. This "home" is huge, absolutely huge. But it is also absolutely breathtaking. George Vanderbilt dedicated his life to this estate, and the amount of work that went into its completion is astounding.
Needless to say, I was in awe while touring this home. I'm pretty sure my mouth was agape while walking through the banquet hall, dining room, the extensive entertaining hallway, and my personal favorite, the library. However, halfway through the tour I realized something that only elevated my enjoyment. As beautiful as this home is, God's house in heaven is even more beautiful.
As beautiful as the Biltmore estate is, God's house is more awe-inspiring. It's more beautiful. It's more elaborate. It's more welcoming. It's more inviting.
Can you imagine? I honestly can't, but the more I tried, the more it made me excited.
The best part? Jesus is preparing a place for me in God's house. After seeing all of the lovely opulent rooms in the Biltmore, I can't even begin to imagine what my room will look like in God's house.
"In my Father's house are many rooms.
If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?"
Touring the Biltmore was a pretty cool experience, but I think what made it so great was touring it with eternity in mind. As beautiful as the home is, it's going to collect dust, fall apart, and decay because it was built in a fallen world. However, God's house in heaven will stand forever. So here's to looking forward to my room in God's house in heaven!
P.S. Jesus, can my room please have one of those cool hammock chairs?
Sometimes I just like to sit and think. Honestly, moments when I can just be still and meditate on life are some of the best moments for me. And if I'm perfectly honest again, sometimes I don't make enough time for those moments.
I had one of those moments this past weekend. I was at the mall with my family, and my mom and my sister decided to go into another store before we left. At that point, I was "shopped" out and decided to sit on a bench with my dad and wait for them. As an extrovert, times that I just sit with my dad are really refreshing, because I know that I don't have to say anything. I know that I can just sit and be quiet. I don't have to worry about starting conversation so that things don't get awkward. When I sit with my dad, I'm completely free to be quiet and know that it's okay.
During this moment of sitting down with my dad, I had such a weird meditative thought. Why are malls the way that they are? They're kind of brilliant! I mean someone one day decided, "You know, what? I'm tired of walking outside to get from store to store. I want to build this giant beautiful building and fill it with stores." Can we just meditate on that? A mall... is just a giant building albeit beautiful building... filled with stores. You don't have to go outside to go from store to store. You get to stay inside where it's warm and dry and walk from store to store.
At this point, you're probably thinking that I'm nuts, and to that I say that my username of Madamhatter for all of my social networks isn't for naught. I'm weird. Sometimes I'm as mad as a hatter. I like to sit and think about weird things like malls.
BUT my point is that sometimes it's just nice to sit and think. It was nice to just sit and think about the idea of a mall. And as I realized after my Bible as Literature class this week, sometimes it's just nice to sit and think about God.
There's a verse in the Bible that I've been thinking about a lot lately, and it goes:
He says, "Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth."
"Be still." That's a command. Sometimes I have a very hard time being still, but moments of stillness are so sweet. Being still is pretty much just sitting and thinking. What else can you do when you're still? I mean, you can stand and think. But when you're still all you can really do is think.
"Know that I am God." That is also a command. Sometimes I forget that God is God. But what does that mean? Sometimes I forget that God is sovereign, that He is perfect, and holy, and righteous. Sometimes I forget that He has my best interest at heart. Sometimes I forget to trust His goodness. But in those moments that I forget, all it takes is some sittin' and thinkin' time.
"Be still, and know that I am God."
So here's to finding more time for the sweet moments, for times of just sittin' and thinkin', being still, and knowing that God is God, and that He has everything under control.
P.S. Sometimes I like to draw on my hands while I'm sittin' and thinkin'.
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