Monday, March 27, 2017

Jehovah Jireh in DC

What a privilege to serve the Lord on a mission trip! However, this time I will confess that I was dreading the trip to Washington, DC, primarily because I did not know how I would be of help with a 16 month in tow. I was also nervous about how we would sleep with him in the same room. I was also worn out from a cold and a possible kidney infection.  I was too focused on the negative possibilities. I don’t know when I became so inflexible, but as I prepared for the trip, I prayed the Lord would be stronger than me and use me anyway.

And He was very good! As always! Sleeping with our little man in the room was even worse than I had thought. Our sleep was poor and often interrupted, and Sean ended up in bed with us often. When I lose too much sleep, my digestive system is impacted. I was nauseated and a little sick every morning (and no, definitely not pregnant). The first day, I wanted to cry as I felt so miserable. I cried out to the Lord, and while it was not immediate, the Lord absolutely provided.

Isaiah 40:27-31 is one of my favorite passages, and it came to mind often, especially the part about God giving strength to the weary and increasing the power of the weak. By the second day, I was so aware of God’s provision: a little better night’s sleep gave me the boost I needed. I was leaning hard on His strength and trusting in Him, and it was good.

If I had let my fears and worries stop me from going, I would have missed out on many blessings. The camaraderie of our sweet believers was beautiful. I had forgotten how sweet it was to labor and fellowship daily with others. Everyone was kind to help with Sean and took turns watching him so I could serve and fellowship. It was wonderful to hear the stories of the two couples planting Mercy Hill Church. It is inspiring how they are taking deep leaps of faith, and it is tremendous to witness how God is providing for them personally and in ministry. I was thoroughly blessed to spend time with Amber Spallino while Sean took naps at her apartment, to know her better, and to find out how I could pray better for them.

Another key blessing came from a renewed perspective on kingdom work. As we are learning in our small groups, we need to live as purposeful as a church planter or missionary, but it is too easy to forget in the daily grind. It was a fantastic example seeing how the Spallinos and Clarks live every day to make purposeful relationships with unbelievers and look for ways to bless and serve them. It was invigorating to serve their community by preparing the community garden for the new season. We were also able to help another church with an Easter carnival for the community. It was fun to see how having a child opened up doors to talk to others.

So, there certainly were some tough things about this trip with a toddler, but I am thankful that God took me outside my comfort zone. He showed me His perfect provision. He reminded me of some beautiful ways to trust in Him. I enjoyed and was inspired by other believers, and on top of it all, I got to see some neat things in Washington, DC. I pray that I will utilize these lessons to follow the Lord more deeply in Chattanooga, to live more purposely for His kingdom, and to be willing to be out of my comfort zone and trust the Lord to provide. I pray you will also be willing to be out of your comfort zone to see the joy of God providing.

Judith Graham 

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