The First Yes

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Almost two years ago, my husband and I felt God saying it was time to move in obedience towards living in Thailand, to help those affected by sex trafficking and exploitation. We didn't know exactly when or even if it would happen, but that's the big secret about obedience that people don't realize sometimes. Just saying yes without knowing all the details is the first step of obedience, and that first yes helps to guide all the decisions that come later…

For many years, I turned down the chance of getting my Master's degree, while working at a university where everyone I worked with was getting theirs for free. I thought maybe I would get my Master's of Fine Arts one day, but looking back now, I realize the Lord was leading me down a different path, and there was a reason I hesitated for so long. As soon as Thailand was put into focus, the decision became clear all of a sudden. I  knew that I wanted to be more prepared to serve those who have experienced crisis and trauma in ways I couldn't imagine, so because of that first yes, I enrolled in a Master's program.

Because of that yes, every single time I chose a topic in class, I chose to research trauma related to abuse, trafficking, or the sex tourism industry. I read countless accounts from women who deal with PTSD symptoms, substance addiction, rejection, and hopelessness. My heart was broken over and over again—for a purpose—because of that first decision to say yes and move forward in obedience.

On Saturday, I graduate with my Master's degree in Human Services Counseling: Crisis Response and Trauma. It has been an interesting and intense journey of growth and so much grace. My husband has had to love sleep deprived, irritable, stressed me far too often, and I'm forever thankful for his support. Because of that first yes, he was always in this with me.

People sometimes ask us how we know God wants us to move to Thailand, but here's the real answer--I don't know. Obedience isn't knowing for sure what God has in mind and only taking a step when it's fully established. It's a million mundane, everyday decisions flowing from the decision to seek and obey God’s voice. I don't really know--all I know is that He has put Thailand in our hearts for a reason, and this week that looked like working on visas. Last week, it meant purging winter clothing we won't need in Asia. It meant taking classes, and when the homework got overwhelming, it meant remembering the marginalized without a voice, being humbled by the blessings I have, and pushing forward to honor them.

I want to know... in what mundane, unseen way did you say yes to God's will in your life? Keep going, the Lord will lift you up as you humble yourself and do the next thing for Him.

"By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going." -Hebrews 11:8