Saturday, October 29, 2011

08.27.2011 Bought and Paid For

LDI is an unpaid church internship, during which I take classes like biblical interpretation and theology, get some practice in ministry, am mentored, and am basically available for any and all tasks for which church leaders need assistance (we affectionately term these "grunt jobs"). I was the first married person to enter LDI, and since Michael was not working, I had to raise quite a bit more financial support (our only income for the year). Two weeks before my corporate job ended, we had only raised 20% of our salary. I was taking this disappointing news out on Michael in some very unpleasant and definitely ungodly ways. We were fighting daily, as I allowed the fear of what would happen when that meager financial amount quickly ran out to overpower my faith that God knew what he was doing. God was, after the all, the one who told me to quit my nice, normal well-paying job. In fact, in the five months that I had to prepare for leaving corporate America, God had actually reminded me, on more than one occasion, that he had all of this taken care of.

So where was the money?

In one week, I was supposed to purchase an $800 plane ticket to Nigeria. LDI participants often include a cross-cultural ministry experience during their internship, usually at the end of nine months, but I had the opportunity to share in our church's first missions partnership: a 3-year connection with an organization to train and encourage indigenous leaders in Nigeria. Every six months for the next 3 years, teams of men and women would host mini-conferences and follow-up visits with local Nigerian ministry leaders, and I was honored to join the very first team leaving that October. However, since my LDI income was so low, and had not actually even come in yet, I was unable to purchase my plane ticket. This was stressing me out.

Then, 5 days before I left my job, i received a phone call at work. Our church administrator informed me that an anonymous donor had bought my plane ticket. She said, "you have nothing to worry about. It has been bought and paid for."

BOUGHT AND PAID FOR. Kind of like my life. I was instantly humbled in that moment. Humbled that, in the midst of my wickedness towards my husband, God still reached out and handed me a gift. Humbled that despite my fear and doubts, God remained faithful to me.

So I went to Nigeria. And I served in LDI for a full nine months. We never raised - on paper - even 30% of our necessary salary. We came frighteningly close to not being able to pay bills, but the money always came in. We received anonymous gifts of money, food, and everything we needed. We learned to live day by day, trusting God to provide exactly what we needed, when we needed it.

I'm not saying that I have this down perfectly, but that year of daily dependence was thrilling for us. Like many of my other stories, it taught me how big God is. It reminded me that I am not in control of my life and that letting go of trying to control it is infinitely more freeing.  

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