I love the next two examples... and not just because they're about women. One is about someone that defied all societal expectations in her pursuit of God and the other is a woman who turned her back on all that society places "value" on in her faithful pursuit of serving the Lord. One thing I've learned this past year is that I'm not made of tephlon. I do have pretty "thick skin"... and to be honest, probably 95% of the negative comments I hear have little or no effect on how I live my life. HOWEVER, despite my ability to shrug things off pretty easily, the one exception has been when others have something to say about how and why I serve Christ. I take offense... sometimes I even become defensive. But, worse than that, I start to wonder if the "naysayers" are right. The reason I love these two testimonies is because they prove the "naysayers" wrong. Being a Christian... truly living as Christ called us to live... in this society... isn't impossible. Hard, maybe... impossible, definitely not! And these women prove it!
At 23-years of age, Jamie took $2000 from her savings account and headed to Tanzania. Her original plan was to stay until her money ran out and then return back home. But God had other plans. Six months into her stay, Jamie met an 8-year-old girl carrying a baby boy whose mother was dying from AIDS. Jamie began buying formula for the little boy, in an attempt to help improve his health. Before the baby's mother died, she had the opportunity to thank Jamie for all she had done for her son and said that she wanted to be saved. After the mother passed away, Jamie spent the next six months trying to adopt the little boy and then another five months getting him a visa through the US embassy. (The incredible thing here is that Tanzania doesn't allow international adoptions. However, because Jamie had lived there for over six months, she could establish residency... thus allowing her to adopt the baby!) After a year and a half, Jamie returned home with the baby. While many other women her age would never dare dream of taking on such a responsibility... adopting a child (from another country nonetheless), not married, and I can only assume no immediate employment upon her arrival back to the US... Jamie still adopted this little boy because she knew it was part of God's plan for her life. Now, Jamie is married, has a little girl and is moving back to Tanzania to work with Wycliffe on translating Bibles... definitely part of God's plan.
Marva J. Dawn
I think it's probably safe to assume that Marva is an intelligent woman. She has four masters degrees and a PhD. She has written several books, is a gifted musician and speaks at conferences around the world. And while it might be easy to assume that she's pretty well set, financially speaking.... you might be surprised to hear that Marta gives away all the profits from her books. Despite having many medical problems, Marta and her husband live on his salary as a teacher... which isn't much. She even drives around in a 1980 Volkswagon Bug, with a broken heater, as a reminder to be more focused on prayer and to better identify with those in need.
As I spend time reflecting on these two women and the lives they lead, I can't help but think of my own life. What am I doing in my life, or what do I have in my life, that helps me focus on prayer... that helps me identify with those in need? Have you ever thought about that? Chan talked about it in an earlier chapter. Is there any area in our lives where we live by faith? That's the big "Rubber Meets The Road" question. Through this process, I've come to learn that living by faith is the catalyst of change for which I have desperately been searching... where being a Christian isn't something I just "do"; instead, it becomes who I am. Right now, I have a myriad of opportunities to live by faith, but it would be so much easier to just "do" a few "Christian things" from time to time... when it's convenient... when I have time... when I want to. But, that's not really living by faith, is it?
Lately, I've been struggling with this question? When faced with faith-building, life-altering changes that would undoubtedly force us to grow closer to Christ, do we wait for Him to change our hearts... to make them softer, more willing to follow (in effect, MORE COMFORTABLE with the direction He's taking us)? OR... do we step out in faith... because we know that it's the direction He's leading us... when we don't want to... when we aren't ready... when we are not yet comfortable with the "process"... is it really faith when it's on our terms... or when we're "ready" to take the step?
Think about what I wrote in the last paragraph. Answer that question for yourself!