Should I Stay or Should I Go?

I have had many conversations over the past few weeks and there has been one recurring question in some of them.

“Why didn’t you stay and help?”. As innocent as that question is, at the time for me, it was accompanied with feelings of guilt that I didn’t stay in Nepal.

I had asked myself that question, several times, in the days and hours following the initial earthquake on April 25th. I wondered, in my heart, if that’s why the LORD had allowed me to be there during the quake. There were many questions that were swirling around in my head as I also just tried to cope with the constant aftershocks and tremors that continued long after the largest quake hit. (At the writing of this post, 6 weeks later, Nepal is still experiencing daily aftershocks, with some measuring up to 5.8 on the Richter scale)

Was I supposed to stay and encourage and help and be a support to the people?

How can I help? What about my family back at home? I am a wife and a mother.

As a follower of Jesus, shouldn’t I stay to support the work of my fellow Christians? Is this my decision or God’s decision? How would I answer if God asked me to stay?

To be completely honest, I didn’t want to stay. I wanted to leave. I think it was part shock, part responsibility for my team, and part “I’ve had enough”.

We had tickets booked and all the arrangements for this trip had been bathed in prayer. I trusted that God was “on top” of everything. Yet my heart was waffling. There was so much chaos and confusion and I needed rest. I needed a rescue.

I didn’t share any of this with my team because I knew they were dealing with this in their own way and I didn’t want to cause them more stress. Being the leader of the team I had to weigh all of it heavily and carefully, taking everything into account. Trusting God would allow me to hear Him more clearly than ever before……I DID!!! I HEARD HIM!!

You see, I had already done my part.

Our team was in Nepal for two weeks at that point and we had had some amazing days of ministry to women that were bought and freed from slavery. I spoke at women’s conferences in Biratnager (East Nepal), in Dhangahdi (West Nepal), and ended our time with an “Encouragement Retreat” for the women leaders of the churches, the day before the earthquake in Kathmandu. Ironically, during that retreat, I encouraged the leaders to be strong and trust in God for whatever lies ahead. Little did I know that a day later, it would be an earthquake that would require an extra measure of strength and tenacity for these leaders that God had called to build the church in Nepal.

As the keynote speaker at the conferences, I challenged and encouraged the women to take a close look at three things: their identity in Christ, God’s provision and protection through the Armour of God, and finally the Power of Prayer.

During my time in Nepal, I have learned, through many stories, that many women feel very devalued in that culture. These women feel like they don’t matter to anyone. So when the LORD laid on my heart to encourage them in their Identity in Christ, I was able to encourage and empower them to live fully for Jesus while He healed their woundedness.

I remember vividly teaching the women how to put on their armour every day as a way of seeing God protecting them. I used daily items to illustrate each piece of the armour. At the end of each demonstration I had the women hold up their sword of the Spirit (raising their hand) and say, “I am ready for the battle”.

IMG_2697

Women standing ready for battle....a spiritual one that is.

Women standing ready for battle….a spiritual one that is.

In the “Power in Prayer” segment, I encouraged them to grow in intimacy with Jesus through prayer, having face time with Him. In reality, on several occasions, they taught me about prayer through their passion and desire for prayer.

Anointing each woman at the end of the conferences.

Anointing each woman at the end of the conferences.

Listening intently at a West Nepal church.

Listening intently at a West Nepal church.

A little fellowship between sessions.

A little fellowship between sessions.

For me personally, the Leadership Retreat was the most powerful. It was an oppportunity to encourage those on the road of ministry and also many who have been on the road longer than I have. It was a humbling experience and yet, one I would love to do again in a heartbeat. As a leader, I understand the loneliness we feel from time to time. I understand the responsibility and accountability we have to those we serve and also to God. We weren’t put in our positions by chance but by God’s call on our lives. We need encouragement to “press on” from time to time. We don’t have all the answers but we welcome the questions.

Leadership retreat.

Leadership retreat.

Given that we held that retreat for leaders the day before the earthquake made it even more powerful!!

Anointing the leaders for the next leg of the journey.

Anointing the leaders for the next leg of the journey.

We all have a part to play in this life. If you know what your’s is, go for it. Live it well and fully!!

If you don’t, then ask God to show you where He wants you, which is not to be mistaken with “where do you want to be?” All the while we need to keep in mind that our calling can look different from season to season.

Jeremiah 29:11-13 says, “For I know the plans I have for you”, declares the LORD. “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you Hope and a future”.

Whether you agree or disagree, God has a plan for each of us. His plan for me was to be in Nepal for the two weeks to teach, admonish, encourage, provide leadership and empower the women in the church with the power of the Gospel. His plan for me here at home is unfolding one day at a time. I continue to blog as therapy for myself, encouragement to my readers and glory to God for not only saving me from the tragic earthquake but for holding me and using me during the days before, during, and after the whole experience!!

Romans 12:3-8 says it better than I ever could.

“For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully”.

REFLECTION:

How has God nudged you to get involved in the aftermath of the tragedy in Nepal?

Have you ever been in a place of great debate about whether you should “stay or go”?

How is God using you right where you are?

Where do you sense God wants to use you today?

Do an inventory of the gifts you have and ask God to show you where He wants to use them.

Thank you joining me in my journey.

Kinita

 

 

My Wake-Up Call

Matthew 6:24 says, “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money”.

Our team at the top of the Monkey Temple for Buddhist and Hindu believers.

Our team at the top of the Monkey Temple for Buddhist and Hindu believers.

Saturday April 25th, 2015 will forever remain in my story for many reasons. That was the day of the tragic earthquake in Nepal that killed over eight thousand people and rendered millions homeless, not to forget all the people that will live with the trauma of that day in the deepest parts of their soul for months and maybe years to come. I am discovering that being a survivor of a tragedy like that challenges me to think about “what is really important to me”.

Since my conversion to Jesus Christ at the age of 14, I have grown to really love the LORD and have chosen to serve Him ONLY. Like most relationships, there have also been ups and downs in my relationship with Him. There have been times when I have grown in trust, faith, understanding and strength while at other times I was afraid, doubted, or held on to fear, pride, self-protection or other things that I believed were important to me. Yet, time and time again, God would bring me to scripture passages that would gently turn my heart away from those ups and downs and help me to focus the eyes of my heart on Him.

That day when the LORD shifted the tectonic plates, ultimately destroying physical Hindu idols and monuments made and worshiped by man, I believe He also crushed my idol of self-protection.

You see, protecting myself (aka: porcupine – see “blog post called “Anger Management”) was what was very important to me leading up to that day. You could call it my idol. Although I had confessed and surrendered it on several occasions, I guess it was never completely gone.

The Porcupine I used as a visual aid.

The Porcupine I used as a visual aid.

That day not only did the earthquake take down physical idols that were important to Hindus, my idol of self-protection was crushed – permanently.

Idols can be defined as things that are so important to us that we would be devastated if they were gone. They block our view of Jehovah Jireh (God as Provider). We then run the risk of missing the way He is providing for us in our crisis.

At noon on the day of the earthquake, the Hindu “rain god” was to be paraded through the streets of Kathmandu. The Hindus had prepared a way for the 7-story-tall rain god to move through the city by taking power lines down and blocking area roadways for it’s safe passing. The earthquake hit at 11:56 and was so powerful it toppled and destroyed that structure. To me that was a wake-up call to the church (Church = who we are not just where we go), the Body of Christ, the Body of believers to acknowledge our idols.

The remains of a Hindu temple following the April 25th earthquake.

The remains of a Hindu temple following the April 25th earthquake.

In the Hindu faith, the religion includes worship of stone gods and idols that are in plain view of passersby. In the Christian faith, however, as much as it is a religion, it is more specifically a relationship with a living God. This relationship with Jesus produces a transforming of our hearts and lives so we reflect a living God and not the things of this world.

Unfortunately, some Christians tend to hide idols (in their heart) while showing great commitment to God on the outside (perhaps through service or words). Let’s not forget that, “…The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7). I assure you, I am not exempt from that. The Holy Spirit reminds me everyday to hold things loosely so as not turn them into idols.

I believe that Christians would experience the abundant life referred to in John 10:10, “I have come that they may have life and have it abundantly” more effectively if we grew in our understanding and awareness of our internal idols.

I like the way author and pastor Tim Keller says it. In his Epilogue, he writes, “…idolatry is always the reason we ever do anything wrong”. He then quotes Martin Luther, “the fundamental motivation behind lawbreaking is idolatry” (referring to the Ten Commandments). There is something you feel you must have to be happy, something that is more important to your heart than God Himself.” (pages 165-166; “Counterfeit Gods”)

All this might sound judgemental to you (believer) but the truth is, as we read in 1Corinthians 5:12 and 13, “What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside…”. We are also called to “build each other up in the faith” (1Thessalonians 5:11) and that is my hearts desire. In reality, when idols are brought into the light, they not only lose their power but we make more room for Jesus.

Want more Jesus?

“For although they knew God, they neither glorified Him as God nor gave thanks to Him….They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshipped and served created things rather than The Creator”. (Romans 1:21, 25)

Hey believers, can we please stop feeding our idols and instead, can we be united in Christ and share Him with the world?

REFLECTION:

Ask God to show you the things or people that “if they are removed from your life” you would be devastated.

How powerful are the idols in your life?

What do you need to take down so you can make room for MORE God in your life?

Are you being lead by your idols or lead by Jesus?

Thank you for joining me on my journey.  Blessings on yours.

Kinita