June 21, 2010

One Adventure Ends...and Another Begins

"But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it." (Matthew 7:14)

Following our guide across one of many bridges. Metaphor anyone?
While I haven’t written much about it, the thrill of our rim-to-rim backpacking trek in the Grand Canyon hasn’t faded. As I’ve excitedly shared stories and pictures, I’ve heard one reaction again and again: “Wow, that's amazing!” Quickly followed by, “I could NEVER do that!”

I usually smile in reply, but think to myself, Yeah you probably could.

I’m not a remarkable person. I didn’t bring any special skills or extraordinary fitness with me into the Canyon. As I see it only three things separate the naysayers from me—a desire to try, some training and a belief that I could do it. (Of course, financial resources and basic health/fitness are also necessary.)

At the bottom of the Grand Canyon. Ready to start our third day.
But it’s a common response, isn’t it? We admire others’ accomplishments that are so far out of our comfort zones and experiences, and we think, “That’s great for them, but I could NEVER do that!” But why do we say this?
  • Why do we erect fences defining what we can and cannot do?
  • Why are we so quick to doubt our potential?
  • How can we be so sure if we’ve never tried?

I have a distinguished history of doing just that—not with physical challenges, but from spiritual ones. Deep down (and not so deep down) I’m a spiritual scaredy-cat.

How'd we get from there (top of picture)
to here (bottom of picture)?
One step at a time.
During the past eight years I’ve said I could never:
… lead a Bible study.
… pray out loud.
… teach a class.
… go on a hospital sick visit in a ministerial capacity.
… go into a prison
… speak at a podium
… go on a mission trip
… have a story published
… sit with a dying friend
… visit with someone I don’t know, whose language I don’t speak and pray with them.

Each one of these doors I kept firmly closed, but Jesus patiently stood outside knocking, “Will you come out and follow me?” “No!” I replied. But He didn’t go away.

For some reason in each of the above instances I cracked open the door of possibility—and eventually said “yes." But why?

I’m pretty sure it’s not because I’m eager to make a fool of myself (and I'm quite sure I have). It’s not that I felt qualified (usually the opposite is true). And it’s not even that I believed I would succeed. The only thing I know is that in my heart I desire to be a follower— not a sitter-on-the-sidelines—of Jesus. I want to run the race and I want to run it well.

To do this often means training in new and sometimes painful ways. In ways that work neglected muscles, build strength and increase endurance—slowly, one step, one “yes” at a time. As I've traveled, I believe Jesus speaks these words to me, and to all who doubt or hesitate, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)

Where we are weak, He is strong.

What doors do you have firmly shut with a resolute, "Who me? Never!" Where do you need a new vision to see what's possible? What physical or spiritual muscles need a workout? Jesus is waiting. Will you open the door and follow Him?

_____________________________________________________________________________

In a little over 24 hours, I’m off on another adventure…another leg of the race. This time I’m headed back to the Dominican Republic for my second mission trip there.

On Wednesday at 3:15 a.m. my kids and I will join 36 others in the parking lot of our church and board a bus bound for Newark airport and ultimately Santo Domingo. Some are “first-timers” who are probably filled with the same anxieties, questions and concerns as I was last year. Others are veteran DR missionaries who are on their sixth, seventh or eighth trips. But all of us are fellow runners who’ve bravely said “yes” to God.

For ten days we’ll continue the work we began last year (building a church in Haina). We’ll conduct medical clinics, home visits and VBS. We’ll reconnect with old friends and make new ones. We’ll sing, worship, pray and play together. And we’ll live in community with one another as we work side by side, mano a mano—living, breathing stones in the body of Christ.

I’m so excited to get there. I’m excited for my kids who are thrilled to be going back. I’m excited to see how God works in us and through us all. Will you pray for us?

I hope to post periodic updates from the house where we’ll be staying. Last I heard the internet was down. Check back throughout our time away.

8 comments:

Kelly said...

Gosh, my prayers are with you...that you may touch many hearts exponentially with the gifts that God has given you. You and everyone going, that is. And may y'alls hearts be touched in return.

I cannot wait until my little boy is older so I can travel around and do things like this.

Enjoy yourself!

Melanie said...

Run your race well.

Anonymous said...

Dear Kelli,
My prayers are with you and all of those that are leaving tomorrow.
I know that God's blessings will be upon all of you and can't wait to hear your experiences.
Please give Leah a big hug for me!!
Blessings and Love....Peggy

Sue J. said...

WOW!.... I'm excited for all of you going back, too, because I remember there was a bit of apprehension going into that adventure. But, look what difference a year makes?

God knows the timeline, that's for sure. And He arranges all of those circumstances to equip us--even to put our hand on the doorknob!!

Blessings to you all--safe travels, mighty ministry, lots of joy!

Cheryl Barker said...

All the best on your mission trip, Kelli. So glad you get to share this experience again with your kids. God bless you all in every way!

Analisa said...

Thank God that he is blessing your steps and travel. That he is expanding the pegs of your tent. That he makes us what we were always intended to be. More like Him.

Can't wait for the new pics and testimony. God Bless.

GLENDA CHILDERS said...

I love it when God helps me get unstuck in an area of my life that has been troublesome. Thanks for this great reminder.

Terri Tiffany said...

Take care!!! Awesome encouraging post--thank you!!