I hope to post one more time before I leave for the mission field on Sunday morning at 7:15. If not, don’t despair. I’ve been told that our hotel in the DR has free WiFi and that one of my nurses is taking her laptop. I may have to stand in line to get a turn on the laptop, but hopefully, I’ll be able to post from the field. Please pray for us while we’re gone! We expect to see around 1,500 patients in 8 days.
Last weekend when I, my brother, and a friend went to the coast, I did something I rarely do on vacation—I shopped. For just a few hours, after lunch, the three of us found ourselves walking through all of the tourist-trappy shops on Front Street in Beaufort, NC and having a marvelous time.
My favorite thing to drop money on while on vacation at the coast is good, cheap silver jewelry. I’ve been wearing my same twisty ring for a couple of years now and so I set out with that in mind. But after a few hours and a dozen shops with no luck, I gave up. That’s when a pink t-shirt caught my eye. The caption on it made us laugh and they had my size, so I bought it and dragged it home.
I have to say, I’m thoroughly pleased with my purchase—not just because it’s cute, but because God spoke to me through the message on it:
“Women Who Behave Rarely Make History.”
A woman who can’t behave. Yep. That’s me!
I lived a whole chunk of my life, wrapped in the graveclothes of who I thought I had to be. Good little girls don’t yell. Or cry in public. Or smoke. Or cuss. Or drink. Or paint their nails. Or wear colored underclothes. Or wear high heels. Or date boys with long hair. They sit with their ankles crossed. And say, Yes Ma’am, No Sir, Please, and Thank you. And send prompt thank you notes for gifts. And work in the nursery every third Sunday. And make potato salad for Homecoming Sunday.
The more people told me or tried to show me who they thought I needed to be, the more I lost myself. And the more I rebelled. But I rebelled secretly. I did everything I shouldn’t do—in private. I cussed and smoked and drank and painted my nails and dated boys with long hair and snuck out of the house and lied to my parents and teachers. (Sorry Mom! Sorry Dad! Sorry Mr. Stephens!)
Before I knew Jesus, I thought I had to act a certain way to earn His love. The truth is that Jesus’ love isn’t based on what I do, but on the fact that I’m His. As I have gone through the process of learning how to love Him and learn His love for me, it has helped me to learn who I am. Once He has taught me who I am, then I no longer have to listen to the people who tell me who I am.
I think that I’m still in the process of learning. I don’t think I’ve arrived yet. But I’m far enough along the way that God has started teaching me another interesting truth: He loves bad girls and uses bad girls. And in fact, some of the girls that we look at and consider to be “bad,” He doesn’t.
Monday night, I was praying for a friend who is going through some things that are similar to some things that I’ve been through. I felt my friend’s pain and for a moment was overwhelmed by the thought: Who am I to think that I can effectively pray for him? I’ve got areas in my life that I’m struggling to trust God right now. But just as soon as I thought it, God said, “You are strong! You are a Deborah—a warrior woman!”
Honestly, I didn’t know a lot about Deborah. I mean, sure, I know that she was an Old Testament judge, but that was really all I knew. But if God’s going to tell me I’m like her, then I want to know about her. I borrowed Mama’s Life Application Study Bible (because I’d left my study Bible in the trunk of my car) and I read Judges. I was amazed!
Deborah was a gutsy chick. She was a prophetess and God gave her a word that the Israelites should attack a group of their enemies. So, she went to Barak (the general of the Israeli army) and told him. Barak not only believed her, but he refused to go unless she went with him. So, she did. She didn’t even hesitate. But she warned Barak, “A woman is going to win this battle.”
The misbehaving warrior-woman that won the battle wasn’t Deborah. It was my new hero—Jael. This lady was Keira Knightley’s Guinevere (from King Arthur) and Miranda Otto’s Eowyn (from Lord of the Rings) all rolled up in one. When the Israelites had destroyed the armies of their enemy, the commander of the enemy army (a guy named Sisera) fled and hid in the tent of a woman named Jael. Sisera knew that he would never be found here and so, relaxing, he fell asleep. While he was sleeping, Jael took a hammer and a tent peg and drove the peg through Sisera’s head, killing him. Then, she went out to Deborah and Barak and said, “Hey, come look what I’ve got for you.”
In a couple of days, when I leave for the mission field, I want to go armed like one of God’s warrior-women. I want to have the wisdom and courage and cunning of Deborah and Jael. We’ve already seen the battle raging over this trip. My team leader is traveling with four broken vertebrae. Our host missionaries have been called back to the US on a family emergency. I’ve had a painful physical problem arise. But in spite of all of this, we aren’t limping or crawling down there. We’re going to march in, covered with God’s armor and doing His work. And if I have to misbehave a little get His work done, I believe that God will empower me to use my hammer and tent peg.