We Talked, But I Didn’t See His Face

Jesus Chats
Tonight as we were sitting together in the family room watching the news, my Granny turns to me and asks, “Have you raised any money yet for your trip?”  It always makes me shudder a little that she refers to the calling to be a missionary I have surrendered to as merely a “trip.”  Brushing the mental note of her using that term away, I responded with a “No.”  I’m not sure what annoyed me more, the fact that she asked or the fact that I have no funds in my support account.

Worry tried to sneak it’s vicious head into my thoughts and into my heart.

I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God called me to The World Race.  I know that I can do great things through Him while I’m on it.  I know that it is where I am suppose to be.  And I know that as of right now, I have only $150 of the $16,285 that I must have to go.  I am also acutely aware that there is no way that I, myself, can come up with that money in the 250(ish) days until I am set to leave the country.

See why I was so vulnerable to worry?

My Granny asked me another question right after my response to the first.  She asked, “Well, do you still plan to go?”  Defensively I said, “Yes, Granny.  I am still going.  Why would I not go?”   She retreated from her questions with an “I don’t know”, but we both knew what she was thinking.  She was thinking, how could I go if I didn’t have the funds?

I know that’s what she was thinking because that’s exactly what I keep thinking.  I haven’t any donors yet.  My family is in no position to say, “Here Mary Elizabeth, we’d like to give you $16,135 to complete your funding needs for the World Race.”   I have no doubt my sisters alone would gladly do that if they could.  But they can’t.  And I know that.

I keep thinking:  If I had known at graduation that this would be my life trajectory instead of law school, I could’ve gotten a job back in May, not signed a lease and had to be paying it long after I moved back out of that apartment, saved on the expense of moving (twice), and the list keeps going on.  That worry snakes it’s way deeper and deeper into my thoughts.

And then there’s Jesus.
When everyone and every situation seems to keep telling me “this is virtually impossible” or “you haven’t enough time” or “your needs are too great,” Jesus offers up the truth.

He says, “Mary Elizabeth Bailey, do I not love you?  Does My Father not love you?  Didn’t He send me to die so that you can live with Us and rest in Our love for eternity?”  Of course, I’m over here with teary eyes saying, “Yes, Jesus.”  And Jesus continues on saying to me, “Do the birds of the sky worry about being taken care of?  Does My Father leave them without food?  And the flowers that adorn the Earth and remind you of natural beauty created straight from the hand of the Father, do they worry that there is no one to clothe them day after day?”  And I answer with tears still in my eyes, “No, Jesus.  I know our Father takes care of them.  But —”   And Jesus cuts me off saying, “But what?  But you do not think He has the power to take care of you?  You do not think that when you died to sin through my blood that the Spirit within can work to take care of you?  You worry, but about what?!  The birds are fed, the flowers are clothed, and Father doesn’t even love them near as much as He loves YOU.”   Ugh, sometimes I want to cross my arms like a toddler and pout when Jesus calls me out.  He’s right.  He’s always right.   But instead, I just sit with a half-smile on my face.  So Jesus goes ahead and says, “I’ll remind you again:  I love you.  Father loves you.  You have no reason to worry.  When you worry, it’s like you are doubting Him.  We can both agree that doubting Abba Father’s love and provision is crazy, right?  Look at what I have been through.  Look at what you have been through.  Has He not provided every step of the way?  So child, stop worrying.”  I can’t help but smile now.  There’s just something about being told that I am loved and being shown the truth.  Truth sets me free, and this time I’m being freed from the chains of worry.  How dare I doubt my Father!  I tell Jesus, “I’m sorry, Jesus.  I don’t doubt Father God.  I know He’s taking care of me and that He always will.  I need Your constant reminders, so thanks!”  Jesus wipes the drying tears from my eyes and tells me, “Just seek God and His righteousness.  When you do that, not only do you have no time to worry, but also you’ll be awed with the perfect provision He gives.  Don’t worry about tomorrow — or the next day or the next day or months down the road.  Father has you taken care of.  You can’t see it, but I can.  Trust me.  I love you.”   He never ends a conversation without making sure I know that He loves me.  Ah, what a sweet Jesus!

After this chat all I can do is continue to trust in Him.  Trust in the One who made me, called me, and loves me.  Trust the One who provides for me always.  All I can (and want to) do is what Jesus told me — stop worry and seek God.

If you are knee-deep in worry and your heart is feeling overwhelmed, I encourage you to have a chat with Jesus.  I promise you, He loves you just as much as He loves me or anyone else.  He wants you to bring your worries to Him.  My chat with Jesus came from Matthew 6:25-34 tonight.  Yours can, too — if you want.

Love you, my sweet blog readers!
And so does God.
He actually loves you much, much, MUCH more than I could possibly imagine loving you.  🙂

P.S. I actually am leaving in July 2014 to go across the world (11 countries in 11 months) to bring the message, the hope, the love, and the light of Jesus to people I have yet to meet, but already have places in my heart.  I DO need $16,000+ in my support account to be fully funded.  I am confident that God will use His people (many of you reading this) to make this happen.  So, if you feel led to make a donation (which is actually tax deductible — yay!), you can go to my World Race page (http://maryelizabethbailey.theworldrace.org/) and click “Support Me” on the left side.   Even if you can’t donate, I welcome and ask you to check out my page and the World Race site in general to get to know what I have been called to.  🙂

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I Don’t Have This — Thank God!

Holding my one day old little step-niece, Stormie Elizabeth.

Holding my one day old little step-niece, Stormie Elizabeth.

It amazes me who and what God uses to talk to us when we aren’t listening to His direct words.

I’ve been internally lamenting and externally whining to God about circumstances I don’t particularly enjoy as of late.

Well, God used my new baby step-niece to talk to me, to show me what I needed to know from Him:  He’s got this.  Good thing, too, because I sure don’t.

We are babies to God.  We are His children.  He loves us more than we can imagine.  He created us, saved us, and takes care of us.  Our problems are not too big for Him, and we are not lost in His big, big world.

As I was holding my day old baby step-niece, Miss Stormie Elizabeth, I would sing to her when she got fussy, assure her that everything is okay, and tell her to just go ahead and cry if she wanted.  She would quiet down quickly.

That’s me and God.  He’s holding me in His arms and I’ve just been crying and whining — being a fussy baby.  He keeps telling me over and over again that everything is okay, that He has me.  He keeps letting me cry to Him until I’m satisfied that I’ve been heard and my problems are taken care of.  And, with every single day I get a new lullaby from Him  — the sound of someone precious telling me they love me, the chirp of crickets as I sit in my bedroom in our country home, the sound of my sister laugh, and everything in between.

The thing is, Baby Stormie can’t fathom how much I love her or how much her mommy loves her or any of us.  But, she can feel that love.  She can feel arms that hold her and rock her.  She can see smiling faces.  She can hear the sincerity in our voices, the patience, the tenderness as we talk to her.  She can feel the fingers that she wraps her hands around.  She can feel when a hand pats her back to burp her after a feeding.  She can feel that she’s being taken care of, and that’s what makes her quiet down after being fussy.

I can feel my God taking care of me, so I know I don’t have to be fussy with Him.  I can feel the grace He keeps lavishing on my heart.  I can see all of the blessings He is putting in my life left and right.   I can hear His Word speak through people around me and even through something as simple as the car radio.  I can feel that He is taking care of all of my needs — immediate and otherwise.

There’s no sense in being fussy.  God loves His babies.  He hears me and He’s taking care of it.  I just have to let Him.

Freedom: Certainly So.

Freedom is best lived when you're cared for.

Freedom is best lived when you’re cared for.

I am a freedom lover.  (Not to be confused with liberal — I am not all that liberal.)  I cherish the freedom that living in America has afforded me my whole life.  I can say my oppositions to whomever and whatever I so choose at any given time.  I can make my likes and loves known, even if not a single person really cares.  (Who really wants to know how much I enjoy salsa this week?  The answer is slim to none.)  I have the freedom to move about from state to state, city to city, home to home.  I have the freedom to select any career path and pursue it.  Then, if I change my mind I can start all over.  I have the freedom to shop wherever I want.  I have the freedom to love whomever I want.  I have the freedom to laugh, to smile, and to cry whenever and wherever.  I have the freedom to live in a way that allows me to choose what I want.  America is the land of the free.  That’s something hard to argue against.

However, as much as I love America and my freedom that comes with being blessed to be an American citizen, I love my freedom in the Lord even more.  The Lord my God said in Jeremiah 15:11, “The Lord said: I will certainly set you free and care for you.  I will certainly intercede for you in a time of trouble, in your time of distress, with the enemy.”

Let that sink in for a moment.  God says He will do three things for you here:
1. He will set you free.
2. He will care for you.
3. He will intercede for you.

Now, if you have been brought up in church or attend church now, you have probably heard the sermon about how God set us free from our bondage to sin through the sacrifice of His Son Jesus Christ.  The consuming, merciful, forgiving love of Christ is what broke our chains.  He is what rescues us from slavery to sin, and all that encompasses.  So, there is God’s first promise:  He sets us free.

This second point is where I sometimes skew the promise.  It seems that I constantly am begging God to care for me.  I am constantly asking Him to please, please, please do this or do that or take care of me in this situation or that one.  It gets to where it almost seems as if I don’t believe His promise that He will care for me and am trying to convince Him to make that promise over and over again.  I don’t need to convince the Lord my God of anything, and certainly not of something He promised long ago.   He doesn’t just set us free and wish us well.  He sets us free and takes care of us.  It’s like taking care of a baby deer for so long that it doesn’t know anything different than captivity, then just letting it go in the middle of a forest.  It would be lost.  It wouldn’t understand how to find food or interact with other animals.  God doesn’t just drop us off in a forest of the unfamiliar and let us attempt to figure it out on our own.  He promises to care for us, as lost as we may seem to be in our new, unparalleled freedom that we find in Him.

God promises, also, to intercede for us.  I don’t know about you, but I’m not a big fan of confrontation in my own life.  I don’t particularly like being involved in drama, either.  However, if a loved one of mine needs me, I will intercede for them as best as I know how.  God does this to us as our loving, caring, merciful Father — and on a much, much bigger scale.  God intercedes on our behalf against the enemy, which is Satan and sin.  What I find particular comfort in is the part where God says He will intercede for us in our distress.  I have a bad habit of getting stressed about most things.  A big test?  Stressed.  Friends fighting?  Stressed.  Sick family members?  Stressed.  Lost loved ones?  Stressed.  Over obligated schedule?  Stressed.  The list goes on and on.  Additionally, I let people hurt me at their discretion.  I’m one of those people who internalize pain and keep loving and giving despite that hurt.  God sees that and He steps in on my behalf in that distress.  God promises to intercede for me when I am in distress, which I take to mean He will take that distress and turn it into peace — if I keep my faith and hope in Him, that is.

Freedom is a beautiful, precious thing.  To capitalize on freedom, seek God.  Take Him at His word from Jeremiah 15:11.  For remember, He is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8).  Let Him care for you.  Let Him intercede in life for you.   Let Him fill you with peace.

According to Moshe Dayan, “Freedom is the oxygen of the soul.”  So, let your soul breathe in deep.  Breathe in God.  He is the One with the breath of life, after all.