Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Thailand Part I: Open Wounds

So how do I even begin to express in words an experience that was rampant with miracles and saturated with God's presence answering prayer after prayer like some marvelous fireworks display before the eyes of me, my missions team, some new Thai friends, and a family of believers and believers to be?

How could I possibly convey the magnitude of God's transforming power working on overdrive in the hearts of the unsaved, resurrecting a new hope and zeal int he hearts of believers, and revealing His glorious love in new ways moment after moment, wondering to myself if it could ever possibly get better, and being shocked and awed as the Lord was better and better all the time?

Maybe I'll begin the story of my missions trip to Thailand with the hours before I stepped on a plane to arrive at a life forever changed. Maybe I'll begin with the whispers that became loud, harsh accusations as the hours of anticipation wore on. Here's what they sounded like:

You are in NO shape to go to Thailand and share the Gospel. Heck, you don't even get the Gospel yourself! You're so deep in this dry season no one will want what you claim to have.

And then other moments they sounded like:

You've let your eating disorder be your king so much this semester, how could you possibly be used by God anymore? He's so done with you.

The little seedlings of truth, that I had been struggling with  my disorder, that I did feel so very inadequate in my understanding of the Gospel, and of Jesus' love, that I was going through a dry season... they took root and I boarded the airplane defeated.

But with courage from the Lord I uttered softly to myself, "Lord, I literally have nothing to offer you. I just ask that you would use me for Your glory, if that's at all possible anymore. I love you so much, and that's really all I have right now."

It was as if the flood gates were opened for the Lord to drown me in grace when I'd been trying so hard to tread the water myself.
A sigh of relief in my heart as I realized my inadequacy, realized my weakness, only to realize the greatest lesson I learned on this trip:

The way God will use me, the way God will make me an instrument of His grace and mercy and glory, is in NO WAY dependent on my spiritual, mental, or physical state.
Oh, and once we surrender and realize that,
the ways He works in a willing, humbled heart are amazing.
And even when my heart was not as humble, not as willing, not as open as it should have been,
 the Lord allowed me to share the Gospel on the very first day I arrived in Thailand.
the Lord allowed me to share my testimony in a church half a world away from home.
the Lord graced me with an earth-shattering, and really, a me-shattering experience where I got to worship as the sun rose on a beach and witness two more sisters claim our Heavenly Daddy as their Savior and begin a relationship with Him.

And so I begin this story as a joyous mess,
because in the admitted mess is where we find real joy. 
Not in our strategies for ministry,
not in our spirituality that is really a gift anyways,
but in our brokenness.

My team leader told me on the trip, "By His wounds we are healed, and sometimes, by our wounds, we can heal others too."

I begin to show you that my exposed wounds were the avenues for the outpouring of His glory,
and when He taught me to boast in my weakness there, across oceans deep, I learned what grace really is.

A sunrise over Thailand, the morning two of my Thai sisters were saved

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