Monday, February 21, 2011
From time to time, they would come to visit her brother and the members of our church. I suppose our church supported her, I certainly hope so. But a little girl doesn't pay attention to those sort of details. Rather, I was more focused on playing chase in the old graveyard as soon as the final amen was delivered (always being careful to not step on the graves). Still, the Lord held close to my heart the courage of this woman; the children she had rescued and He had saved by His grace.
Even a little girl chasing friends in the church yard carries something with her from the Lord --- and for reasons known only to Him, He stirred my little girl heart with the faces of the Japanese children that visited our church.
I loved to sing - still do. As a little girl I found it fun and entertaining to search for the page number in the old hymnal, competing with my friends to try and find the page first, and then to sing with great enthusiasm the words penned to those old faith-filled hymns. I was honing my reading skills and playfully learning the tones of the notes ----- but God, He was doing much more serious work in those days.
I sang "I surrender all, I surrender all, all to thee my blessed Savior I surrender all"...
We sang of the old rugged cross, the power in the blood, and victory in Jesus. We sang loud and long and it settled deep in the marrow of my bones.
I might not have heard a word the preacher spoke ---- but the songs -- oh the songs sat in my soul.
Twenty five years later --- after many mistakes, many mess ups -- I had become well acquainted with the value of the old rugged cross and what it meant to me personally. He died to pay the price for my sins --- I understood, and loved Him all the more.
About that same time --- God asked me, "Did you mean it little Donna?, Did you mean it when you sang saying, 'I Surrender All'?" It was about 10 years ago that God whispered to my heart and said, "I'm calling you to something you are not familiar with, something unknown to you, and it will require that you meant the words you sang. Will you surrender all to me Donna?"
My outward response was "Yes, certainly." But both God and I knew, my insides rolled over --- there was a spiritual malignancy that had to be removed -- and so the work began.
I sought Him more than ever before. I listened more deeply, watched more closely, sang more intentionally, studied His Word because I needed it, not because someone said I was suppose to; I was thirsty, He held the cup, I began to drink deeply.
That was the first calling --- "Come to me..."
Oh I had been "saved" when I was eleven years old, and that was the initial "come to me". But this was more of a deep sanctifying "come to me". At eleven, I understood and embraced His amazing gift to me. At 30 something, I understood the need to die to self and live for Christ.
John 3:30 - "He must increase, i must decrease."
And now, in my fourty-eighth year of breathing, the second call has come. On Feb. 3rd, while singing an old hymn, "Here I am Lord" the whispers became louder. Later that same day, while praying alone at a dear friends home, it was no longer a whisper --- the voice was clear, precise, speaking the language of the soul to my heart and my mind could no longer avoid or deny it. He said to me, "It is time Donna, it is time. I've prepared you, nurtured you, equipped you, enabled you ---- now is the time, I'm calling you out."
Oh I wrestled a bit --- for you see the accuser was working to halt it all. "But you'll miss..., But what about your children..., How could you leave your family..., But aren't there people right here that need help too..., You'll miss so much here..., Why would you dare..., Who do you think you are... - ... - ...
And so I took out my Bible, I read Isaiah, Psalms, my knees grew tired and so I laid prone on the floor with my Lord --- and asked for HIS WILL in my life. Nothing less, nothing else.
I surrendered ALL --- i surrendered what i would miss, what i held dear, what i thought, how i felt, what made sense to me, what seemed logical. I gave everything to Him. And the peace washed in as if a tidal wave of warm, soft water had overtaken the room. Peace - peace that passes understanding. The Redeemer redeemed me fully and the accuser was silenced. I was in a place I'd never been before as I sat in the room I had been in for hours.
The call was clear. I called my dear husband and shared all with him. There were many tears.
I assured him, that God had called me --- I knew God had called him years ago. But the leadership of our home, still rested securely in Steve's hands. I would follow as God guided us through him. I love God's plan in marriage - I love my husband - it is a blessing to be his wife. It is safe and right when Steve leads --- it's a mess if i try to. :)
There is much more that happened that day - Feb. 3rd. But in the end of it all ---- God called Steve and I to begin preparations to sell our home, and move to Kenya to serve Him full time there. And then God kissed us sweetly --- as our youngest son Pete asked to join us in Kenya upon his graduation from high school next year. What a gift.
There are many details to attend to --- much praying and planning to be done --- but the call has been made clear --- and with it came
a release from all we have, and have held dear
an anticipation for what's ahead
eagerness to begin
humbleness at the magnitude
weakness in my knees being met by my Savior's strength
tears - many tears
deepened love - for my Redeemer - for He takes what is worthless and makes it something of value
a sense of knowing - He has a plan - that is better than anything I could ever imagine or hope for...
that in the end - it will all be as He designed it to be - even before my first breath.
I have surrendered all (and will continue to do so over and over again - it's a daily quest isn't it...)
There is Power in the precious blood of Jesus...
There is victory in our Lord...
Miss Loudermilk escorted the Holy Spirit's call into my little girl heart all those years ago, when she sat with her dozens of Japanese darlings in our tiny country church.
No one knew, no one saw, but always after they would leave, I would go and sit on the pews where they had sat -- and just be still. I was drawn to the children that lived far, far away. I was drawn to them in ways that only God could understand.
I do not remember one word she ever said ---- I only remember the stirring of God.
And I will remember that as I minister to the precious children, widows, and hurting people of Kenya. It will not be my WORDS that matter so much to them, rather it will be the stirring of the Holy Spirit in our presence. All He asks me to do, is to be obedient, to go, to love, to surrender all --- HE WILL DO THE REST --- He will do the work. I'll just carry His toolbox.
Matthew 28:19 - "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit."
Photo taken by Steve of me playing with children in Akatiman, Kenya (Turkana tribe found in northern Kenya near Lake Turkana, complete language barrier - but we could still play and interact so sweetly).
©2011 Donna Taylor/Reaching for the Robe