Its 67 degrees here in my small-town of Fenton, Michigan today. I woke up in a decently comfortable bed, to a beautiful view of trees upon trees- full of green leaves letting the light dance through right to my bedroom floor; there are 8 acres teeming with wildlife and greenery spilling out into our backyard. I drink my Starbucks coffee as I watch the sunset slowly cast itself upon the lake across the street- the light dancing to a new beat on the ripples of the water, not any less beautiful than this morning but rather a new beautiful. The cotton candy clouds drifting by so softly you can almost taste of their sweetness. I am unaware of how completely enveloped in comfort I truly am here. I sat on my wonderful couch today with my handsome hubby and relaxed and let Netflix take us on new adventures. I read in my most favorite yellow chair, I ate when I was hungry, and grabbed a bottle of water when I felt the tiniest bit of thirst. I opened the Living Word when I wanted to and felt like filling my spirit. This is one blessed life I lead...
To give all this up, to sell my lovely home, all my things, and move to Haiti. I have had many ask, "Why?!" And to tell you the truth, I am not exactly certain there is a short answer. God led us to "such a time as this".
I recently read an article from Ann Voskamp to the North American Church and have to say my heart was moved. It brought a lot of things into perspective for me.
The last couple months, preparing to leave, have been hard. Harder than I would have ever imagined. I have emotions popping up all over the place. Its obvious I am going to miss my family, my friends, our church, my job, and my house... but there are other things. I have been playing Wack-a-Mole to the best of my ability to suppress the obvious- but these other things trickle out in the strangest of ways; for instance, I was looking into our fairy tale backyard last week and as the fireflies lit up, the tears started. Does Haiti have fireflies?
I sat at dinner and dessert with the most wonderful women and I was nearly silent the entire time because- processing the absence of these friendships and the loss of their influence in my life was all too painful to do aloud. I didn't even eat dessert-- something that is SO FAR from my nature its ridiculous.
So why do I continue to push forward and give up the things that daily bring me comfort? Its because my God has gone before me. He is right ahead of me and Alex on this journey and His voice is sweeter than anything I have ever heard. He brings to mind the TWELVE sweet faces we met nearly five months ago. They have melted our hearts, infused more together than they have ever been before, but they have also melted right into the Haitian soil. Its apart of our being now in ways we cannot describe. My Daddy God stands before me, hand extended, and cheers me onward. He calls our names and declares we were made "For Such a Time as THIS."
Where are you at right now? Wherever your feet are at this exact moment is where they are supposed to be. Are you feeling compelled to move them? Then add some momentum. Are you feeling a shift in the way you live? Then create some friction. Maybe you are called to stay- then add some "oomph" to your day and live it in love. You are always in the mission field.
So often as "comfortable" Americans we forget we need to get passed comfort. We forget we need to get passed insecure. We need to be bold, to be vulnerable at times, to live and love RADICALLY.
The realizations I have had in the last couple days are nothing to do with comfort. They are far from the Candy Land I currently live. I want to follow my Shepherd wherever He goes. This sadness I feel, its only normal. The emotions triggered are a part of the journey. Did Jesus not suffer for us on the cross? It was anything but easy and yet He stayed there out of obedience and love. I will miss each and everyone of you while we are away. I will miss my home, the lake, the land, and all the "lavish" living I have done. I am already missing my family and the ping of sadness hurts my heart when I think of it.
The rawness of leaving behind the friends and church we are a part of stings and the tears well up... but I push onward. I know my Jesus is the gate for His sheep and I would know His voice anywhere. Through Him I am saved and wherever I go, through Him I will find green pastures (John 10:7-9).
And when my flesh has its weakness and I succumb to the raw reality that this leaving is happening... those twelve faces bring joy bouncing back to me. This journey isn't easy because it is not supposed to be. It is about more than comfort. It is about more than enjoyment. It is about more than satisfaction. It is about LOVE SACRIFICIAL LOVE. I am learning to live passed my desires and my needs. I am learning to live in a way where I don't just open the Living Word when I feel like it or when I etch out some time from my busy schedule. Instead, I am living in a way when I put His word FIRST, His Kingdom FIRST, and without His love FIRST I am brought to my knees. Radically following Him first. From a full Spirit I will pour out, the stark contrast of an inward focus to get fullness.
I encourage you family, I encourage you friends, I encourage you church, and I encourage you strangers... follow His voice no matter where your feet must go, because "Beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring Good News..." (Isaiah 52:7) You are not called to muddle through this life. You are called to LIVE IT by the grace of God. You are called to such a time as this, that means NOW. Whether you are a teacher, a nurse, a dental hygienist, waiter, grocery store clerk, retired, or what have you... YOUR TIME IS NOW! Love God first, Love others second and live your life abundantly by the grace He supplies. Do not get comfortable... get moving, get messy, get ahold of the hand that leads us along His paths. This is truly leading a blessed life.
Kristen & Alex Bradshaw