I’m going to Finland. A month from today.
I will go in the strength of the Lord God. I will proclaim your goodness, yours alone.
THIS IS MORE THAN EXOTIC GETAWAY
It’s about the goodness of God. Huh? Would you do me the honor of a little trip into my heart over the past year? I think it will become clear to you as you allow me to open my experience to you.
2011- What a year! I lived in three different homes, experienced tons of transition, and went to a level of disappointment and hopelessness I intend not to repeat if I have the option. I experienced the roller-coaster of having lots of need and little faith as to how God would come through. I had the joy of watching others be an expression of God’s faithfulness to me, but I admit that the journey was often without a thankful heart and with stress weighing on my emotions and affecting me physically. To try to capture last year in a short space is a challenge but I only want to go there for a brief time with you because this is merely a snapshot to capture where I was and show you how faithful God has been to me.
I brought in the new year (2012) with some close friends in North Carolina. We thought it would be fun to list all the disappointments, setbacks, heartaches, unmet expectations of 2011 (or at least those we could recall) and then burn them as a symbol of forgetting them and leaving them in the past. Then we wrote everything that we loved, appreciated, were thankful for in the year. (So as to not forget that it wasn’t all bad, but there were many blessing to be aware of as well.)
The third list that we worked on the following night was a bit tougher for me. I could easily recall the good and the rough from 2011, but this list was going to challenge me.
The dream list. What I am asking for and desiring for this year. 2012. Phew. After reading about 2011, you can imagine how I sat and stared at my blank page. “God, I want to believe, but every time I attempt to write what I desire, thoughts of hopelessness–it’s never gonna happen–why should I believe– taunt me.” Even thoughts of how ludicrous this is and how it’s not going to change anything. Me, a pen, and paper. How can that possibly affect my year? Hmmm..
Ok, so I interrupted my flow of negative thinking and confessed this to my friends. I told my friends the truth. Roots of cynicism, unbelief, doubt and fear were entangled with my desire to see new things in my life. We prayed. We took time to bring these things before our Father. To confess them. To ask Him to open us up once again to His goodness. Open our hearts, Father. Don’t let negativity steal from us, keeping us from telling you what the dreams are in our hearts. It was good. It was freeing to finally realize that the past year really had affected me. I guess in all the changes and disappointments of the year, I hadn’t really given much time to “take my pulse”. This attempt at a dream list really showed me where I had been dwelling internally.
On returning home, I began to feel a change inside. An openness. The possibilities seemed possible. The desire to see God move in my life in a way that I can clearly say “THIS WAS GOD” began to grow. It seems as if God was looking for ways to encourage me. I began to receive words of encouragement from friends, teachings about the goodness of God began to be sent my way, and testimonies of God’s open doors in my friends’ lives began to grow my own faith.
Something began to wake up inside of me. The lights were turned on. I realized it’s not that God is limited in what He can do. It was more that I put limitations on Him and asked for things way below His ability to pour out his abundance in my life. I was asking too small. All He needed from me is a YES! Yes, Father I’m open to anything you want to do. Yes, Father I surrender to your dreams over my life. The yes in my heart and a heart that refused to close down again and surrender to negativity and hopelessness–this was the open door. I never knew it was so simple. You mean, I really can do nothing in my own power? It’s simply having a heart that is wide open to receive and a Father who is waiting to reveal himself in my life and circumstances?
By the way, here are two things that I wrote (verbatim) on that dream list:
2. Face time with Maiju (I was speaking of wanting to see her in person. Read on to find out who Maiju is and how she is connected with Finland.)
NOW READ HOW JUST A WEEK OR SO AFTER I MADE THE LIST, THE AMAZING OPPORTUNITY THAT CAME MY WAY.
THE STORY BEHIND FINLAND
To be honest, I never gave much thought to Finland one way or the other. Not until I met (now) one of my dearest friends from Finland. Maiju (pronounced: my-you). We met at the first 3 month Fatherheart school (in NZ) I attended in 2008. After having a bit of a geography lesson, I can proudly find it on the map situated snuggly between Sweden and Russia. So the expression “so-and-so put a certain place on the map” is quite accurate in this situation.
|Maiju and Me in New Zealand|
A friendship was forged. Then in 2009, we both found ourselves returning to NZ to be involved in the second Fatherheart school. After 3 months of school, we were travel buddies, enjoying the land and leisurely seeing some of the sights. We are kindred spirits.
Since meeting, we’ve been scheming. These schemes go something like this; “How can we find a way to live near each other? Or at the least, see each other frequently?” Last year we began brainstorming the possibilities of my spending a year there. We have been dreaming and putting it before our Father (who happens to be really really GOOD). We know He takes our desires to heart. In early January, we were expressing that desire again when Maiju had this fabulous idea. Long story VERY short, I am now going to spend 6 weeks in Finland (a country I couldn’t even locate a few years ago). Apr.3-May 16. I’m still in slight shock how fast this has come together. Without going into lengthy detail, Maiju works closely with friends who have a heart to see others know the Father’s love. They hold yearly (plus) meetings/conferences as an on-ramp for this. Well, Maiju’s inquiries led to an open door for me to speak at a couple of youth conferences. Though it would be a gross understatement to say speaking in a foreign land (translator and all) will be stretching to my personality, something draws me out of my comfort zone. It’s the desire to let people know the kind of Dad that I have—to share the goodness of God in MY life and to tell others what He is like. Not just in my own life, but who we wants to be for them. Six weeks in Finland with my dear friend and getting to watch what the Father does. He has so effortlessly pulled all these pieces together. I feel such grace and the Father’s pleasure over this trip.
Ephesians 1:18 I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance.
I’ve spent over a month wondering how to share this story with you. This is more than a trip to Finland. Yes, it’s super exciting, highly random, and just plain fun. But the deepest desire is that you…YOU would know this God who is good to all. I wanted to let you into my heart so you wouldn’t just read about a trip to Finland, but something in your own heart would dare to begin to open up to a Father who really does the impossible. YOU! It’s not really about anything I did to make things happen. God is good. He’s just good!!! And He is good to all regardless of their setbacks or the condition of their heart. It’s only our limiting Him that keeps us from receiving all He is ready to pour out onto us.
He will not stop being good to us. I wonder at all the surprises in store. And I’m confident that He will never change in His nature. He won’t wake tomorrow and be evil God. Moody and unpredictable. LIfe is rarely predictable, but GOD is never changing in His nature.
Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.
FOLLOW ME TO FINLAND
This is the first of several blogs to come where I will unfold my journey to Finland. This blog entry is a teaser; the introduction to why I’m going and God’s activity in setting the entire trip in motion. It will be fun to let you in on the journey while I’m actually on Finnish soil, so be sure to watch my blog for updates. I can imagine that there will be many funny scenarios and cross-cultural entertainment that you won’t want to miss!