It was summer and graduation had long been over. My 17 years of school had come to a close. The seemingly never-ending chapter of my life did in fact end and I wasn’t quite sure when I had blinked. I felt more lost now than I ever had before.
As I sat on the porch in the warmth of a summer’s night, the sweet and salty air blowing in from the ocean set before me, tangling my already comb-deprived hair, I knew I had a decision to make. I looked out over the darkness of the water, the unending depths going on for miles and miles without hesitation and felt like I was staring at my future. It held so much, yet it held nothing at all, nothing that I could see; this emptiness that hid a touch of mystery, so many surprises; but I hadn’t the eyes to see the beauty of it.
The warm tears running down my cheeks, matching the sweetness and flavor of the sea, gently told me my answer.
I had to choose Him. In a way I had never done before; I had to give in, I had to stubbornly and whole-heartedly say “Fine, I’ll go.” It was fearfully beautiful. But I didn’t want to leave these people, I didn’t want to leave this life. I didn’t want to go because somewhere deep inside me, I knew it meant everything would change. I would change and I didn’t know what that meant. The unknown overcame me, whether I stayed or whether I went; the unknown was always there, staring at me, maliciously telling me to make something of myself. Laughing at me and telling me to go ahead and try. I was terrified.
But fear was never a good enough reason to stay.
My heart longed for this, my spirit craved it and something, in some slowly filling void deep inside, beyond the hurts and wounds, beyond the lies and fears and feelings of insignificance, something said that there would be peace, that there already was.
He had given me a heart for the nations, I had known that for years. He had given me a spirit of freedom and adventure, even if I didn’t know what that meant or what that looked like. He had given me a heart and a hope to see His kingdom come to earth. He wanted so much more for me.
So I did it. I submitted the application. I told my parents my plans on the Sunday of Father’s Day. I had an interview on Tuesday and was accepted that Thursday. Very soon after that I would have approximately five days to raise $1500; last minute planning will always provide an opportunity for doors to be shut and locked, but they were graciously held wide open instead, ushering me straight through.
And as I sat again, staring at the future set before me, with the touch of mystery and the hints of surprises, I began to see that this was only the beginning.
“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God., to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion – to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor…” Isaiah 61:1-3