“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9
Moses’ successor, Joshua, was given the enormous task of leading the Israelites across the Jordan River to take possession of the land promised to them by God. Joshua didn’t have Google Maps or a top secret drone to give him a detailed overview of what or who they would be facing as they embarked on the mission ahead. He rested in the assurance that God had promised to never leave nor forsake them. Joshua was willing to put aside any discomfort he may have been feeling to be strong and courageous in the assignment the Lord called him to!
Four months ago my husband, two children, and I packed up our lives and left the white picket fence community of Parker, Colorado and moved to the deep fried south—specifically Hattiesburg, Mississippi. I’m going to be honest and tell you that I despise bugs, heat, and humidity. Every one of those is a part of everyday life in the south. If you could have seen my pro/con list of Colorado compared to Mississippi, you would be shocked that here I am, swaying back and forth on the porch swing in front of our house on a 75 degree February day…in Mississippi. Needless to say, making the decision to move here was miles outside my comfort zone. Leaving a place of year-round beauty where I met some of my dearest and lifelong friends, where we had family, where my girls had a fabulous school and most of all, where I met Jesus and was saved at a local church, was terrifying. BUT, after countless times praying together and seeking the Lord, my husband and I knew we had to go. You see, God placed a calling in our hearts to pursue adoption through foster care a few years ago but the door stayed firmly shut in Colorado. When the opportunity came for us to do things a completely different way than we thought would happen, we knew it was because our plan wasn’t THE plan. Colorado was our comfort zone and the Lord was asking us to take a turn onto an unknown road.
When was the last time you truly stepped outside of your comfort zone to fulfill a calling? When was the last time you faced trepidation or uncertainty in the face and chose to take a step forward on an emotional roller coaster that could at anytime speed into fear, loop into excitement, drop into worry, or bounce between a thousand other widespread feelings? One of my favorite quotes is from Pastor Steven Furtick who said, “You can’t fulfill your calling in your comfort zone.” My friends, I urge you to pray and reflect on Joshua 1:9 and then take a step. And another. And another. We can do anything with God by our side! He promises not to leave us nor forsake us! “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
I can’t wait to share more of what we are calling our Mississippi Mission with you as we experience this unknown-to-us place. It has been an adventure but we are determined to bloom where we’re planted! God is already answering countless prayers for incredible new friendships and an amazing local church we feel honored to be a part of. Ready or not, here we are!
(Written by Paige Waller, NHiM Ambasassador)
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