This is The Day

ashley_blog-this-is-the-day

Today was my day. Well, today was supposed to be my day. The day everything changed. The day I left Columbus, Ohio with tears of sadness for the people I would leave behind. The day I stepped onto Salvadoran ground with tears of joy for the people God would touch through me. Today was going to be the day I changed my Facebook country of residency from The United States to El Salvador (because we all know it’s not really real until it’s on Facebook).

Today is not my day. Today, I sit in on a couch in Columbus, Ohio. Today, I long for my Salvadorans. Today, I meditate on what the apostle Paul preached and I practice walking by faith and not by sight.

Today is not my day.

One month ago today, November 23rd, I purchased a one-way plane ticket to San Salvador, El Salvador. I found the perfect ticket with the perfect departure time (so long as I didn’t mind kissing friends and family goodbye at 5am!), the perfect landing time, the perfect window seat and the perfect amount of free checked luggage. But if I am being honest with myself and with all of you, it didn’t quite feel perfect. But nevertheless, leaving at the end of December was the plan! I’d be in San Salvador for Christmas, I’d make it to the youth conference with the Salvadoran youth and I’d finally have my dream beach birthday in January! Nevermind that something felt a little off, the plan was coming together!

My plan.

Since the beginning of this journey, I pleaded with God to stop me in my tracks if moving to San Salvador to become a full-time missionary was a road not meant for me. I prayed, God, open the doors that will get me to San Salvador. But if this is not Your plan for me, shut the doors. Slam them. Lock them. Holy Spirit Super Glue them closed because (like He didn’t already know,) I will knock DOWN a door if what I want is on the other side. Father, make it hurt so that I learn my lesson. 

Proof that God hears my prayers: This hurts. I believe with my entire heart and spirit that God will get me to San Salvador. But I was on a road of my own planning and my own paving. And just as I asked, God gave me an obvious and painful detour. Telling my Salvadorans that I am not sure when I will be moving broke my heart. Explaining to supporters that my plans had been shaken up and that “this happens all the time in missions!” felt like slowly pulling off a scab each time it happened. Shouting at God in my moments of despair and frustration felt like an act I didn’t have the right to do.

I  don’t have any concrete answers yet as to why God still has me here in Ohio, but what I do have is healing. What was initially an excruciating pain is now a dull ache. The initial shock has worn off and I have settled into this new phase of my journey. The truth is, I may never know until I see God face-to-face why He has me on this particular detour.

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
I say to myself, ‘The Lord is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him.’
Lamentations 3v22-24

Because I know that God loves me beyond measure, I do not let my feelings of uncertainty and frustration overtake my spirit. Of course, I have moments when I wonder if God even knows what He’s doing up there. In these moments, I must make it a practice to close my eyes, envision God’s hands tenderly cupping my face and hear Him lovingly whisper, Little girl, didn’t I tell you that if you believed, you would see my glory? And I do believe. Even when it doesn’t make sense, I believe. God’s compassion for my weak spirit will never fail. He will continue to whisper His truths to my heart and the glory of His plans will be revealed to me.

My motto this month has been “I don’t ‘Be still and wait!'” I am wonderfully made by God and He made me a planner. I love a good, solid plan. Most of my plans are set in stone because it’s pretty dang difficult to erase stone carvings. Knowing that God has purposely placed me in a season of “Be still and wait” doesn’t exactly go along with my plans. But what choice do I have other than to do as I have been told? Bitterness against the people deciding when I can go to San Salvador will only cause me regret. Dreams of what could have been only wound my heart deeper. And making my own plan, outside of God’s will, certainly is no longer an option.

Because God is all I need, I will wait on His timing.

Because God bends down to listen, I will pray as long as I have breath.†

And because He saved my soul, I will give Him all of my days.

Today is not my day.

Whatever plan for the day I come up with pales in comparison to the plan that God has already written for me. I trust that He knows my heart, knows my desires and as long as I keep my eyes on Him, whether I am seated on a plane headed to San Salvador or cuddled up on my best friend’s couch in Ohio, today is God’s day, and I will rejoice and be glad in it.


† Psalm 116v2

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