If you are newer at Intentional Today community, you might not know our (husband and me) back story.
I’ve shared a bit of it here, but here are the cliffnotes; my husband and I originally from Kenya. Five years ago (next month) we moved to the United States through the green card visa program.
Migrating to the United States is a dream for many people living in the developing world. However, it never crossed our minds because we pretty much love Africa and believe God has called us there.
But God had a different plan.
Last Sunday we sat in church and listened to a missionary share about their work in Africa. It was a trip down our vision lane as they showed slides of communities being transformed, an individual at a time.
My heart broke. “That is our dream God, that’s why you should have left us in Africa. Why did you bring us to America? Why are we here?”
We dream of changing our world, starting in our beloved continent.
In fact, our individual desires to transform communities through ideas and enterprise brought us together.
As a single girl, I wondered how it would all come together. I worried if there was a man who dreamed a similar dream because I had no intention of marrying outside the vision.
Then I met Tommy and on our second date (there were about two years in between) he shared his vision and it was like a blueprint of mine, only better because it had timelines.
And in that moment, we knew we had a chance at forever together.
After we got married, we did not have exact steps towards the vision. But at least we knew that it involved staying in Africa and starting profitable businesses that would fund the vision.
And then Green Card happened.
We prayed and fleeced and sought counsel, even got a job offer in the States; but we had no intention of leaving home. Because who leaves their place of calling?
However, over the months, we kept hearing “go.” We began to feel peace, even a little excitement. So we relocated.
We were like Abraham when God told Him to go into the land He would show him.
We had tickets, an address, and four suitcases and America felt a lot like a Canaan; promised but strange and foreign.
God had plans for us and set about turning our world upside down.
The adjustments, the death to our old ways and approach to life, playing catch up in a developed country which quickly accepts your high school diploma but regards your higher education with suspicion.
As we (or, let me say I) struggled to adjust, God asked us to dream a new dream and it came in form of starting an online ministry.
I have worked the last four years diligently; through tears, push-back and misunderstanding because y’all people don’t understand how I can be in America and not have a “real” job like everyone else.
This online space has stretched me, overhauled what I think it means to serve God and to pursue a new dream.
Countless times, I have wanted to give up because you can only pursue an impossibility for so long before the flesh passes out.
But each time I want to give up, I hear “Trust me, I know what I am doing”
I question if He knows what He’s doing because America does not make sense. Working behind a computer all day, mentoring faceless people, trying to speak with an American accent so people can understand what I am saying does not make sense.
Nonetheless, He did bring us out into a foreign country. And in one swoop made our vision for Africa twice as impossible, crazy and expensive.
Over the last four years, God has reminded me to regard my daily steps.
In fact He cleared the fog when He showed me how Intentional Today fits into His vision for our lives; when marriages are changed, communities are transformed.
Right now, we feel the pull towards growth. We feel the acceleration of His promise, the urgency.
We want to actively build cities with God; which in lay man language means to bring life, economy and sustenance to the far flung places in Africa.
We desperately desire to be that bridge where God can flow and His work in people’s lives.
We believe that Africa does not need any more aid dollars; it needs hope and sustainable partnerships which dignify people with work, practical tools and training.
It’s okay to give a man fish when he’s hungry, but if he’s going to take care of himself, his family and the community, you need to teach him how to fish.
And God is so funny because He presents vision before He provides you the resources.
I used to think that we would have the money before building schools and hospitals and supporting orphanages and church plants and training and equipping people.
I used to think that God would give us the resources before He released the plan.
Yeah. The same way I thought He would leave us in Kenya to impact our nation and continent. And the same way I did not see how an online community could be part of God’s wondrous plan.
Maybe you are like me, dreaming grand things about your marriage and career/business, kids, ministry, your nation, life.
You heard from God and have remained obedient to the best of your ability.
But things have been rough. Like I did, you expected provision to come before the vision, the money to be there before the need, the answers before the questions.
However the journey has been upside down; you’ve seen a few gains but blows have been hard and many.
I want to share how God has encouraged me the last few months.
4 things to remember when you are facing an impossible situation
1. God does not lie
Isaiah 55:11 says
So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth;
It shall not return to Me void,
But it shall accomplish what I please,
And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.
God means what He says. Even when it doesn’t make sense to you. He has not called us to know everything. Understanding is not a prerequisite for faith.
Oh, it’s not, friend. You don’t have to “get it” for God to do it. In fact, it seems like the less we understand, the more He has to work with and the grander His performance.
My mentor told me the other day that the reason I struggle sometimes is that I take my eyes off the vision. When I take my eyes off Christ, then I cut off my source and supply and everything stops making sense and my faith crumbles.
When I keep a resolute focus on God, the One who spoke those words in Isaiah, whose Word fails not, then I am strengthened and able to do all He calls me to.
2. Find something to be thankful for
It is difficult to cultivate a heart of gratitude when you are backed into a corner, and God feels distant and silent.
But there’s always something to be grateful for, even in hard times. You just have to look. Here are examples
- Be grateful that He chose you, that you are in partnership with the God of heaven and earth. He has trusted you with a dream and desire.
- Thank Him for the ability to dream impossible dreams. Many people drop off at the first sign of hardship, inconvenience or push-back. You might be struggling now, but at least you are still wrestling. Thank Him for the ability to dream big and not settle.
As you open your heart to gratitude (and there’s A LOT to be grateful for), your mountains and burdens will cease to loom as large. A heart filled with praise is a heart that God can with.
3. Recognize God is in control
Remember the children of Israel? They left Egypt only for Pharaoh’s to have a change of heart. He unleashed his army and went after them with vengeance.
I re-read the story again this week, and it hit me like a ton of bricks how God orchestrated it all.
Leaving Egypt, heading to Canaan by the long route instead of a straight shot, hardening Pharaohs heart, having the nation strategically camped where they were most vulnerable; all was God’s idea.
Exodus 14:4 says “I have planned this in order to display my glory through Pharaoh and his whole army. After this the Egyptians will know that I am the Lord!”
Meanwhile, the Israelites cried and complained to Moses.
They all but forget that God was with them. The Bible says “And the Lord did not remove the pillar of cloud or pillar of fire from its place in front of the people” (13:22.) That is what you call Presence.
God is with us. The vision is His; we are only stewards. But to advance, we have to trust that He’s in control and working behind the scenes for greater glory.
4. Use what you have
Always keep moving, always take the next step.
I don’t know where I read this but it was in the lines of “don’t wait for more instructions from God when you have not obeyed the last thing He told you”
For some of us, the next step involves standing your ground. Everything within you wants to crumble and fall, but you can choose to stand and believe.
For others, the next step involves using what you have in your hands. David defeated Goliath with only a sling and a stone, for he had no sword (1 Samuel 17:50)
Do not complain about what you do not have if you are not utilizing what you have. What do you have in your hands right now?
A voice and a phone? Then make those calls, plan that meeting. Legs/ability to move? Then see that someone. Time? Get on your knees and intercede for that situation. Love and compassion? Unleash it like there’s no tomorrow.
My step today included writing this post. Tomorrow it involves research as we seek registration for our non-profit (I shiver just writing that).
In August, it comprises clothing and feeding widows and widowers and strengthening marriages through a marriage conference. (Read about it here)
As we do our part, God will do His. Tony Evans said “God doesn’t need a lot to do a lot. All David had was five stones, and all David used was one.”
I don’t have many answers. But I have a dream. And so often, God works through my tears and questions to break me more so He can scatter me further.
Friend, I think that is all He asks of us; to allow ourselves to be broken so He can take the lead.
If you don’t mind, will you pray for us, for me? I feel stretched in all sorts of ways as we press forward and advance.
Will YOU rest in Him today? I will be praying for you too.
*If you found this post helpful, would you consider sharing it with others? So many need a positive word of encouragement as they face difficulties. It would mean the world to me, for this post to reach many.