Pack your bags and let’s go…

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It’s been a while since I posted, sometimes I think I have nothing to say and other times, so much to say, but no time to say it.  The past year or so…oh, who am I kidding, more of the past decade, God has been putting me on a journey.  It’s been a journey to grow closer to Him.  We are all capable of accepting the ticket to go on this journey, but not everyone notices it or wants it.  I wanted it, I guess I just didn’t fully pack my bags for it until recently and sometimes, I’m still trying to pick up my bag and go.  This is all figuratively speaking, of course.  Walking with faith is something that’s easy to say, but not always easy to do. I am not completely sure that I have ever even put myself out there enough to say that I am completely walking by faith.  It’s a daily choice.  Little by little, I have been saying yes more to what God is putting on my heart instead of backing off in fear.   And, I will say, I have seen more amazing things since doing that….why am I even surprised about that?

Over the past couple of years, my sweet sister-in-law, Nikki has been going on mission trips to some orphanages in Myanmar with Uncharted International.  The first time she went over, she sent us pictures of a boy that needed a sponsor.  We sponsored him and began receiving and sending letters and photos back and forth.  She would tell me all about him (which by the way, I got to meet him and it was amazing!).  I knew deep down that I always wanted to experience a mission trip overseas.  Not necessarily because it was a bucket list item, but something that I wanted to do to help and open my eyes.  So, I said yes.  My adventure began at the beginning of this month and our group was gone for about 10 days.  The funny thing is how you think you are going there to do something for them.  I mean, isn’t that what a mission trip is a lot of times….to assist in some way, to show love, to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ?  Did those things happen….yes, but I think they did those things more for me than the other way around.  Uncharted International is connected to a certain group of orphanages in Myanmar and that’s just a portion of what the organization is involved in.  When you think orphanages, you usually think sad faces and starving children.  I am certain they exist.  But, there was something different about this place.  There was LOVE there.  I have never in my life seen so many children loving each other and loving us.  I’ve never seen kids worship they way they do and pray with authenticity.  It was amazing.  It was refreshing.  It was Jesus.

I’ve always liked the word simplify.  Although, I will admit, thinking about having a sign with that word on my wall is a tad comical.  I don’t necessarily live a simple life.  I have a comfortable life…a nice house, a good job, good family, my physical needs are met.  In the physical sense, it’s somewhat laughable to think about that.  But, it is something that these kids and leaders taught me…simplify.  America, we have it ALL wrong.  More stuff, more programs, more whatever is not going to bring you happiness.  These kids were laughing and smiling playing with marbles and trying to shoot them into a hole in the ground.  They were laughing just being around each other, just being with us.  They were smiling and hugging.  And, that was just on a normal day and time.  They taught me that it doesn’t matter the situation you are in, if you have Jesus, you can have joy.  I am not saying that these people don’t need help and an easier life….but, they have the one thing lasting that we all need.  They have faith in Jesus Christ.

I’ve been challenged. Do I REALLY have faith?  I have faith that God is real and that Jesus is my savior.  But, do I REALLY have faith?  When I look at my life, I am trying to see…where have I not known how I was going to get through something and totally had to have faith that God had me?  Have I?  When I listen to the stories of some of the leaders I met, they convict me.   The society that we live in is a lot about planning.  If you are going to do something, you need to plan it out.  You need to have your steps figured out and do each one and hopefully that will get you to your goal.  Yes, this is true a lot.  But, are you leaving room for God to work?  Have you ever stepped out and said, “God, I am going to do this because you have put it on my heart….I have no idea how or what…all I know is I’m saying yes?”  Oh, that’s tough.  That’s scary.  That is taking a step into the darkness and really trusting that God is going to provide?  Do I have that kind of faith?  It’s been eye opening.  If there’s one thing I realized it is that God doesn’t expect you to have everything figured out before you do it….he just needs a willing heart.  He wants us to trust him.  My life has been changed since going on this trip.  I am tired of just being a knee deep follower of Jesus.  It’s going to be a daily walk, but I want to seek God whole heartedly and ask him to lead me….not just to lead me, but praying that I follow.  I want to be authentic.  There are already things on my heart that I am going to be honest with you…they aren’t things I am comfortable with saying yes to.  But, they are on my heart for a reason and I have got to do what I say and be willing to take that step into the darkness.  So, that’s where I am….stepping out.  Will you?

 

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If you would like to hear more about the trip or what Uncharted International does, please feel free to contact me.  I am truly humbled by the opportunity to experience this and encourage you to experience it yourself!  You can also get involved by sponsoring a child or a orphanage.  Your help, big or small, really does make a difference!

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About the author

Who am I… I am…a mom, a wife, a Christian, a photographer. I am someone who sees that time is moving by way too fast, and I want to stop it. I want to take each memory and keep it forever. For me, a picture is a way to stop time…to recall a feeling….to laugh at a moment captured. I want to look at a portrait on my wall and feel happy. I want to remember. For me, photography is a gift from above. I am someone who had a dream, and through the grace of God, I am living it.