My middle initial is “J”…which during today’s post, will stand for and be relatable to the female version of Jonah (yes, the famous Jonah and the whale guy). I guess for more reasons than one. Not only can I relate to running away from a calling, I also have been good at whining, complaining, and other characteristics of this chicken and self-absorbed prophet that I don’t really want to admit to.
A number of years ago, I was shockingly exposed to the reality that human trafficking was happening right here in Houston. I’m embarrassed to say, at that point in my life, I thought of that as being a problem that happened in other countries – not here in the “land of the free”. As I was being educated by this individual and hearing about all of her brave and heroic efforts and time spent in fighting the problem, I was experiencing a different reaction internally. Fear. Shock. Anger. Disbelief. Denial. Oh, and…Run! I wish I could tell you that at that moment I put on my Wonder Woman suit and went to courageously fight this hideous crime. I didn’t. However, over the next few years, I was exposed to this issue from time to time through various situations or when Christine Caine, from A21, would come to speak at our church. So to appease this feeling of needing to do something about the problem, I decided that we would give money to the efforts of A21. Now I would feel like I was doing something. Right? True, but also wrong at the same time.
2017 came and I was feeling a bit restless. I was getting caught up in petty issues in life that really did not matter or serve any meaningful purpose. There were situations that I was too focused on that were frustrating to me and I was wanting to just “take care of them” with my unrenewed mind. I wasn’t seeing miracles like I had seen in previous years. Why was God not taking care of these paltry issues with the lightning bolts that I was calling down from heaven??
News Alert!! It’s not fun sitting in the belly of a whale. And I think that is exactly where I was. It may as well have been an audible voice, but God had made it clear that He wanted me to host the A21 Walk for Freedom here in The Woodlands and bring awareness to the issue of human trafficking to our community.
That year I had some amazing excuses and quite “valid” reasons as to why I couldn’t do what I thought God was “suggesting” I do. After all, we had been overseas and missed the application deadline. But that made sense as I was doing other “important” things for non-profit organizations. In fact, one event for an organization was on the day of the walk – so naturally it could not have worked. God knew that. I couldn’t have heard correctly from Him. But that wasn’t really the case. While they were “good” things that I was doing, they were not what God had asked me to do. I’m just going to say here that extended time in the whale does not mean you adjust to the misery or that it gets better after a while. In fact it becomes more rancid in that environment.
God has a sense of humor and different ways to get us on the path He has called us to. My event that I was responsible for got cancelled the day of. Coincidence? Hmmm. That morning, my husband strongly recommended that I find the closest Walk for Freedom and see if I could still go and join it to see what it was like. And that’s what I did. It was emotional on many accounts. First. It was humbling “partially” carrying out, but heading more toward, the action that God had asked me to do. Second. This isn’t a chit chat, brisk, fun, feel good, walk with your girlfriends. It is a single file, silent walk, where everyone is wearing black, carrying signs, handing out flyers, and interacting with bystanders and letting them know what human trafficking is and how they can recognize it in their community and what they can do about it. It’s about a very dark and hideous crime that has 40 million people being tortured daily in this world. It’s about setting captives free and preventing others from becoming those victims. I believe it was a turning point for me.
I wish I could proudly say that I immediately went to Nineveh. That wasn’t the case. In fact, the following year, we were overseas again during application time. Obviously, that wasn’t supposed to be my year either. However, God had other plans.
One night my daughter and I decided to go to a women’s meeting with the church that we were attending abroad. The speaker was from Texas, so we knew that English would be spoken. The talk was on living above average. I sat there convicted. I was not living above average at all. I still was not seeing miracles happening. I asked the Holy Spirit “Why?” He clearly pointed out that it was because I wasn’t giving Him my “yes”. While He had my attention now, I had dodged the application process for the walk once again, so it was too late to make good on that request for that year. At that moment, my daughter leaned over, without knowing what was going on in my mind, and said, “Mom, I think you are supposed to host the A21 Walk for Freedom in The Woodlands this year.” What? How did she know what was going on in my mind? I was too late though. Then the Holy Spirit spoke up again and pointed out that I was looking to see miracles once again. At that moment, I made up my mind. Against all odds and past deadlines, I was still going to say yes and proceed. God needed to work out some things in my life. I didn’t have a clear path or an easy ticket. I didn’t have a plan or connections. In fact, I had no clue what I was doing, but I was now officially headed, against all odds, to Nineveh.
To start on what happened because of the “yes” is the beginning of another story. But I will let you in on something…I did see the impossible happen over and over, met amazing people that I would have never met, had a lot of pride worked out of me, did things I had never dreamed of doing or even thought was possible, learned a new level of faith in God, and learned how to do things afraid. I have never looked back. I know that God is responsible for the outcome and I am responsible to be obedient and give Him my “yes”. And I definitely do not think life is less than average anymore. What is your Nineveh? I encourage you to go. It beats the belly of a whale.