When I was eighteen years old, and one-day post-graduation, I heard from God. A few months earlier, I had attended a retreat with my church youth group. I don’t remember all of the details of that weekend except that the speaker’s testimony mirrored my life.
When I returned home, I began kneeling by my bedside and seeking the Lord each night. I felt an enormous amount of stress; the majority of my friends had already selected their colleges. I, on the other hand, wasn’t sure if my grades would allow me to cross the stage and receive my diploma. I’d lost track of how many times we’d moved, but it was my fourth high school in four years. Therefore, I had no plan at all and only a part-time job at the local Fish N Chips.
But, by the skin of my teeth and a horrific GPA, I did indeed graduate.
The morning after my graduation, I was sitting on my bed when the phone rang; it was my pastor. Shane told me that he’d had the urge to clean out his closet that morning and tucked away on a shelf, he’d found a packet detailing a summer internship in Mexico. He thought of me, he said. I asked him how much it cost because I didn’t have a cent to my name. Shane told me that he’d already spoken with the elders, and they agreed that the church would sponsor me, including my airfare.
“Well, when would I leave?” I asked.
“In three days.”
I told him I’d talk to my parents and let him know the answer as soon as possible. To say my Dad and Mom were less than thrilled is an understatement. They didn’t know Shane well and weren’t familiar with the way mission trips run. They saw the whole thing as slave labor, and my dad may have threatened to go to Mexico himself and “take care of business” if something happened to me.
Ultimately, my parents said that because I was eighteen years old, I could make the decision to go, but I would not have their blessing. I knew with all of my heart that it was a direct answer from the Lord. Three days later, my sister and her boyfriend dropped me off at the airport, and I was alone for the first time in my life. I spent the next ten weeks teaching youth groups how to build houses in impoverished cities in the heart of Mexico.
The Lord used the last semester of my senior year to lay foundational building blocks of my faith. Because when we lost Justin, and my life turned upside down, I remembered His faithfulness to an eighteen-year-old girl crying each night by her bedside.
Today, when we are tempted to fret about tomorrow, let us put into practice King David’s words in Psalm 62:8, “Trust in the Lord at all times O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us.”