Saying Yes to ANYTHING

“We say Yes Lord, Yes Lord, Yes, Yes Lord,
Yes Lord, Yes Lord, Yes, Yes Lord,
Yes, Lord, Yes Lord, Yes, Yes Lord, Amen.”

I was 17.  I was 17 and totally and completely in love with my Lord Jesus Christ.  It had only been 2 short years earlier that had I really began to understand what a love relationship with the Lord even meant.  But in that moment I was jumping up and down, waving my hands, and singing with all my might”YES LORD! YES LORD! YES, YES LORD!”

It was a weekend long youth retreat at my church, and we had just gotten settled back into our host homes when my college leader decided to just ask me straight out, “Sara, when you were singing that song tonight and practically yelling ‘Yes Lord,’ what exactly where you saying to God?”

Although I felt a little put on the spot, I looked her in straight in the eye and said, “I was telling the Lord yesyes to whatever He wants from me.  I want to say yes to ANYTHING He is asking, even if I don’t yet know what it is.”

Brings tears to my eyes.  I am certain my 17-year-old self often had far more faith than this seasoned 33-year-old version does. 

I know God heard those words of mine too.  In little ways, all throughout my last 3 years in high school, He was asking me to say yesyes to giving up competitive softball, even though it was one of the things I loved the most, yes to weekends at home instead of at parties with my friends from school, yes to going to the college my parents wanted me to go to instead of the one I wanted to go to, yes to speaking in public for the first time about Him.  Throughout those early years of my love relationship with Jesus, He was continually asking me to say “Yes” even when it wasn’t comfortable. 

But my first real “Yes” didn’t come until one fall day my freshman year of college.  I go into more length here for those of you interested in knowing the whole story, but that was the day I knew without a shadow of a doubt God was calling me to be a missionary.  He was telling me that all those small “Yeses” were leading up to this big one.  And even though really and truly I did quite a bit of kicking and screaming those next few years, I deep down did feel a great peace saying “yes” to God on this one. I knew that if God was asking me to leave it all behind and serve the “least of these” then He wasn’t going to let me go alone.  He was going before me.  So even that “yes” of saying goodbye to my family, to my home, to my culture, to my church, to my peopleeven that yes I was able to do it confidently just as I had done with all those small yeses years earlier. 

17-year-old Sara said, ”Yes Lord!  Yes Lord I will do anything for you! I will go anywhere for you!  Whatever you ask, I want to be faithful!” 
Then 19-year-old Sara said once again “Yes Lord! I will go to Guatemala. I will serve the least of these!”

But 33 year old Sara often says, “Lord, I want to say yes. I want to say yes to what you are asking of me, but I am scared.  What is it going to cost?  Will my children suffer?  Will my marriage suffer?  Will I will be able to withstand the test?”

In February of this year, I spent more time weeping and praying than I think I ever have in my life.  Some of you might remember this post that I wrote right during that storm.  (Its brutal, so read it at your own risk.)  For the first time since moving to Guatemala, my heart literally felt like it was breaking into a thousand little pieces. I could no longer stand under the weight of the pain that I was constantly seeing these children and teenagers suffer.  I felt completely unprepared and ill equipped to be the one ministering to them.   Then, on the other side, right inside of my own home, I was seeing the toll my constant busyness and investment in the lives of these kids and teenagers in our ministry was taking on my own three children and most especially on my marriage.

I looked in the mirror and saw a young woman who was failing as a wife, failing as a mother, and failing as a missionary.  

“God I think you got it wrong all those years ago.  I am not the one you were looking for.  You might want to try again,” I cried out to Him.

For the first time since I came to Guatemala 12 years ago, I felt like it might be time to be done.   I gave it my best shot.  I just wasn’t enough.

Enough of what I am not sure, but I knew whatever it was, I didn’t have it.

I tossed and turned at night.  I cried during the day.  I shared with a couple of people a bit of my struggle but not even my husband knew the depths of the turmoil I was in. 

“Why God? Why?  Why this path, why this way?  Why me? I want out.  Please, Lord, just forget about that call. I promise you I am not the one you want.”

But then somewhere during those restless nights and even more restless days, I could hear the Lord whispering to me

“But you said ‘Yes’ Sara.  All those years ago, before your heart knew the brokenness it knows now and before your eyes had seen the suffering it has seen now, and before your ears had heard the cries it has heard now, you said, ‘Yes.’  You said ‘Yes’ to me.   You said ‘Yes’ because you trusted me.  You knew that it wasn’t about what you could do but what I can do.  You said, ‘Yes’ because deep down you knew that saying ‘Yes’ to me and ‘Yes’ to ANYTHING I ask of you unleashes a power that is not of this world.  It unleashes a power that defeats darkness. I am not asking you to know it all. I am not asking you to be strong enough or wise enough or rich enough or enough of anything.  I am asking you to say ‘Yes’ once again.  I am asking you to trust that ‘he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. ‘ [1 John 4:4]”

I had a choice to make.  Right then and there, I had to decide once again if I was going to say “Yes Godyes ANYTHING” or was I going to say no this time.  No one would blame me. I had tried my best.  I lasted longer than most of the other missionaries that had come.  I could leave with my head held high.

But in the depths of my heart I knew I wanted more.  Even though I was scared and I felt like everything was spinning out of control, I wanted to experience all God had for menot just this small portion.  I kept thinking about a quote that I had read from Dietrich Bonhoeffer. He said,
            “If we want to be Christians, we must have some share in Christ’s large-heartedness by acting with responsibility and in freedom when the hour of danger comes, and by showing a real sympathy that springs not from fear, but from the liberating and redeeming love of Christ for all who suffer.  Mere waiting and looking on is not Christian behavior.  The Christian is called to sympathy and action, not in first place by his own sufferings, but by the sufferings of this brethren, for whose sake Christ suffered.”

I decided that there was only one thing I could really say and that was, “Yes.”

Yes Lord, Yes, Lord, Yes, Yes Lord.”

Eric Metaxas said of Bonhoeffer in his biography of him, BONHOEFFER PASTOR, MARTYR, PROPHET, SPY that Bonhoeffer’s life was “not a cramped, compromised, circumspect life, but a life lived in a kind of wild, joyful, full-throated freedom –that was what it was to obey God.”

That’s what I wanted.  I wanted and still want a life that is lived in “joyful, full-throated freedom.”  I want to say yes to ANYTHING even when that ANYTHING is scary and uncertain and even when that ANYTHING is marked with struggle and tears. 

But most of all, I want to say, “yes” to anything because I want my life to count.  I want to know that as long as I am still here on earth and still breathing this air that I am doing something for eternity. 

I want my life to be poured out as a drink offering before the Lord. 

Yes Lord, yes, lord, yes, yes lord!

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Some bits and bobbits about this blog...

This blog is mostly just ramblings by yours truly. I talk about my ups and downs being a wife, mother, and missionary in Guatemala. I have a tendency to get off on "soapboxes" as those who love me say but it is my desire that this blog can be a place of encouragement in each of your pilgrimages with Christ. At any moment if this blog becomes more about me than about Christ, than it will be done and please help me stay accountable. To God be all the Glory, Honor, and Power!

Books I am currently reading...

  • Eight Twenty Eight
  • Interrupted
  • The Connected Child
  • This Momentary Marriage
  • Unbroken

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