on second thought

So, last Monday I wrote a blog post about our dreams of Cambodia and kind of put it all out there. We don’t know how or when, but we’re hoping, praying, hustling, and trusting that we’ll get to make a return trip there as a family in the near future.

I’ll be honest. Part of me wasn’t really ready to declare it to the world quite yet. The prideful, fearful parts of me wanted to save $ on the sly and just hop on Facebook one day a few months from now and say, “Well, hey! Our bags are packed, and we’re headed to Cambodia! Catch ya on the flip side!”

But then I remembered how many wonderful, sweet, generous, amazing people have loved and supported us from Day One of our Cambodia adventures and have prayed and prayed for us and given to The Hard Places Community and left pieces of their heart in Cambodia without ever having even been there.

And I know we could never, ever get back there without them. Even if a really rich, really distant relative died tomorrow and left us enough money to pay off our debt and buy five plane tickets to Cambodia, we wouldn’t want it (oh my word tempting–okay, so maybe we’d take it), because we like it how God’s been doing it.

One day at a time, one dollar at a time, one prayer at a time, one beautiful friend/online acquaintance/stranger at a time.

So, I clicked “publish” a little nervously and went on with my day. There were a couple little things that popped up from people, so I clarified some stuff in my post as best I could. At one point I mentioned something to Gabe, and his comment wasn’t quite the encouragement I was hoping for, and I started to doubt.

“God,” I asked, “is this yucky feeling in my stomach stemming from the fact that the devil doesn’t want this to happen or because I was wrong about having the go-ahead to write this post?”

He didn’t answer.

I left our apartment to run to the post office and do some laundry at our old house. And I prayed out loud in the van the whole way to each place (I kept quiet in the p.o. line.). “God, please show me if we’re going down the right path. God, please. I need to hear from you. I need to know which voice is yours. I need you. I need you.”

I got to our house, and I sat on our old couch, and I poured my heart out some more.

And then I just couldn’t pray anymore.

So I checked Facebook. 😉

And up popped one of those little chat-head things. A message from a sweet friend I met online a few years ago and then in real life. I respect and admire her a whole, whole lot.

“Just read you are saving for Cambodia. YES, GIRL. I like this. Moving in faith, releasing the things you cannot control and moving forward in the things you can. So good.”

And I burst into tears.

And peace filled my heart. And continued to fill it instance by confirming instance.

And I won’t bore you with the only-exciting-to-me details of all my God-moments the rest of the week. But they included things like 1.) the biggest royalty check I’ve ever gotten in my author life. 2.) an offer from the director of a ministry in Cambodia to fly me there for a week-long trip to see all God is doing with the $ we send (Be still my heart, but I promised our girls I’d never go back to Cambodia without them.)

3.) Gabe starting some new business ventures that, Lord-willing, will get us out of debt much faster than I’d dreamed. 4.) A gift of 178 bottle caps from a sweet friend so The Dancing Elephant can sell tons of magnets. 5.) A darling group of women from Harrod, OH who invited me to speak at their women’s get-away yesterday and then bought all the books and bags and other random things I bought, and I was able to pay back every penny I’ve borrowed from our girls.

And then sitting in church this morning and listening to Rev. Cecelia Williams preach from Nehemiah 2 and talking about how There is Pain on the Way to Purpose. That when God calls you to something, there will be pain (check) and waiting (check) and fear (check) and personal cost/sacrifice (check) and opposition (check) but that it’s so worth it.

I nodded so hard my neck hurt.

Here’s the thing, friends. I want to live out God’s purpose for my life–as big and full (or as small and sweet) as he wants it to be. And if he closes doors, I’ll look for another. If he says wait, I’ll wait. But I don’t ever, EVER want fear or sacrifice or pride or comfort or any of that to get in my way of what God wants from me.

He wants everything. And I want him to have it.

Because my deepest moments of joy with Jesus have often come right after (or even in the middle of) the deepest pain and hurt.

And my great fear of being misunderstood, of my motives being questioned or unfairly criticized? I’m giving that to him. Because here’s the other thing. I’m pretty far from perfect. I’ve got a lot of faults. I don’t always do things the right way.

And there are two kinds of people who see my faults best. The people who are really, really close to me, who either live with me or have taken the time to know me deeply. And the kind of people who are so far away from me that they can only take a stab at my motives because they haven’t bothered to get to know my heart.

I can’t worry about that second kind of folks anymore.

Haters gonna hate, no matter what I do. And like one sweet online friend told me, “So glad you have Luke 6:26 off your back now.”

So, I’ll just keep praying, “God show me if my heart is impure in any way” and I’ll let the criticism ride itself out.

So. All that to say this:

On second thought, we’re still on our way to Cambodia.

And God bless every single one of you who have played the tiniest part in helping us get there. We love you.

3 thoughts on “on second thought

  1. Sarah Farish

    Oh, friend…haters gonna hate – isn’t that the truth? And, it’s a truth that makes me sad. Why do we make it so hard on one another when we are all just trying to follow Him? Ick. I am praying…I just know this trip is gonna happen sooner than later:)

  2. Anita K Greene

    Marla, thank you for your post this morning. I so needed to hear your words (and I’m diving into Nehemiah 2 as soon as I finish leaving this comment!). God is awesome and loves to surprise His children. My prayer is that you will be in Cambodia sooner than you can even imagine!

  3. Jan

    So excited for your family and all the awesome things you do! God will handle the critics, that’s not for you to worry about. Keep doing God’s work!

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