Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Ash Wednesday

Today is Ash Wednesday, and this day always takes me back to four years ago when I was trying to decide whether or not to go to South Africa to work in a village library for four weeks. I felt called to do so, but my calling meant I would be taken away from my girls. Such decisions are not easy.

It was Ash Wednesday when I made my decision and took that leap of faith. I had decided that day to attend my church's service, something I had never done before. When I got there and received the bulletin, the answer was written on the cover. (Unfortunately, I did not keep that bulletin and my long-term memory is horrible, so I don't remember the verse that was chosen for the service.) OK, I said. This seems pretty clear. Then the preacher began his sermon, and it spoke straight to my prayers regarding my decision. I think God was doing his best not to physically shake me into making my decision to go. When I got home, I submitted my application.

Fast forward to July 8, 2004. (I have my trusty journal to thank for that.) I'm standing in the airport, waiting in line to get to the terminal. I have just said goodbye to my children, and I'm crying. Things feel pretty hopeless. The guitar that I am taking with me as a gift broke a string, and I have no idea if I'll be able to purchase more strings there. The CDs I had planned to take with me as my comfort items were left in the car back at the hotel. How am I going to survive six weeks in a foreign country when I've never even been out of the country before? Plus, I said goodbye to my children.

When I got into the terminal, I decided to have a seat and calm down. I had decided to take a pocket-sized Message Bible along, so I took it out and randomly turned to a page. The first verse my eyes fell upon was 1 Timothy 2:1, "The first thing I want you to do is pray." I stopped and I prayed. And I knew I was going to be ok. I knew that this was where I was supposed to be.

Ash Wednesday always has a way of reminding me of that.

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