when i was in seventh grade, my church’s youth group started planning a trip to the dominican republic. and i wanted to go. they announced it sunday morning, and i laid in my bed one night thinking about it and feeling this need to do something. i remember wanting to go wake my mom up and ask her right then if i could go, but i figured she’d say no just because it was late at night.
even though i waited and asked her the next morning, she still wouldn’t let me go. she said i was too young and didn’t want all the leaders to have to babysit me. which at the time seemed totally unfair to me but now makes sense; i was very young when i was twelve. putting me in another country without my mommy, no matter how many responsible adults were around me, would have been a really dumb idea.
she told me i could pray for the people who did get to go, and that was just as important as going. i didn’t believe her, but i did want to do something, so i prayed.
i got older and still wasn’t able to go anywhere, but i kept praying anytime someone i knew went on a trip, and i gave a little money when i could.
then when i was a freshman, i had a chance to go to guatemala with the psych department at csu. i prayed about it and i was sure God wanted me to go. i was all signed up and everything, when one by one things started falling through until finally i realized God wasn’t challenging me to keep trying to go; he was shutting the door. it still wasn’t my turn.
over the three years since then, i’ve seen a lot of my friends go a lot of places. i wouldn’t trade my time at camp for anything, and i’m not saying what i do there is less important than what all my friends have done on mission trips, but i’ve still always wanted to be one of them. and as badly as i’ve wanted to go myself, i never really heard God telling me to go. he was always telling me to give so my friends could go, so i did, but i still wanted to go.
now, after being a pray-er and a giver for all these years, i finally get to be a go-er. and i appreciate my pray-ers and givers so much more this way.
see, i think God made me wait so long to go because i wouldn’t have had the right attitude before. for a long time, my main reason for wanting to go was that i wanted to do “big” or “important” things. i thought that God could only really use me that way. but instead, he made me wait and see that helping other people go was just as “big” as going myself.
and now that it’s my turn, i don’t look at go-ers and senders in terms of big and little; i see all of us joining in ministry together. i’m only able to do the going because God is using them to do the sending!
so if you’ve said a prayer for me or given any amount of money towards my trip, know that i’m incredibly thankful for your help, and you ARE big and important. =]