February. I welcome you with open arms. Not even 2 days have passed and already blessings have flowed forth.
I will be the first to admit that January of this year was a bit of a transition..and just plain hard. It is 2014--new year, new hype, wohoo. With a new year comes resolutions and hopes and promises and bright outooks. I too welcomed the new year with a hopeful heart. But it has been a tad bit more realistic and, like I said before, just hard.
2014 for me meant one more round of clinic fees to pay. It meant buckling down because of several module classes and some complicated assignments (literally). It means that the reality is--life is wrapping up for this season of me being in Davao, being a midwifery student (and almost a certified professional midwife), and me living and absorbing every ounce of a culture I often claim as my own.
Now there are days that sounds so good--school work is over, and I can finally go home. But other days (which are the majority right now), that doesn't sound so good. I have made transitions in and out of seasons, and I know that life is full of transitions, but I don't think I am quite ready for this one. It will be a HUGE one. I can trust that God will give me the grace to embrace it when it comes, but for now, I will stay right here--focused here, being a good steward of my time, loving on these sweet mommas and babies--at least that is my earnest prayer.
One of the reasons that January was so hard was because of raising clinic fees. It is always kind of an internal dread asking for people to give. Don't get me wrong, I am always blessed and overwhelmed by the response I get, but I just don't like asking for money. I know that when God asked me to come here 2 years ago, you all welcomed the idea with open arms and open pockets, but still--not the most fun part of being supported-based. I did however have such a faith and peace built up from the Lord from the past three times I have raised money to meet the deadlines, and that surely sustained me. I got to the point this time where I realized there was NOTHING I could do raise the money on my own. I couldn't go out and get a job or take out a loan or anything like that. I was so out of control of the whole thing. I guess it was really like that each time, but it seemed so intensified this time. I was stuck. Stuck here, with no resources and no way to conjure up the lump sum remaining to pay. Oh but the Lord was so good to me in my 'stuck-ness.' What else can you do but turn to the Lord and trust him? In flooded all His promises--that He intends to finish what He began, that He is with His people, that He provides food for the birds of the air and clothes the flowers of the field, that He desires good for His people--and on and on they kept flooding in.
So I am happy and overwhelmed and blessed beyond measure to say that ALL of my clinic fees for the rest of my time here in the Philippines have been given--and technically on time according to US time. Like I wrote in my previous post, I know my response to your generosity is to pour out thanksgiving to the Lord and pray for you. But it still makes me feel 'stuck'--but very much so in a different way.
As the last bit of donations came in, I kept thinking 'How I am supposed to accept this?' 'What can I do in return for their generosity, for their goodness and encouragement and support of me?' And that's where I find myself stuck. There is simply nothing I can do in response to your kindness in supporting me here, in sending me encouragment, in wrestling for me in prayer, in believing in the work God is doing here--simply nothing.
And I think to myself, 'Isn't that the beauty of the whole thing--the point that the Lord is trying to make?' There is nothing we can do to earn the salvation He freely gives. We can't pray enough, we can serve enough at church or do all these good things--we just can't. We are incapable of measuring up to the standards of God. But CHRIST. Now He can. And He does. And that's what we put our faith and hope and whole lives in. That He offers us this salvation and eternal life and goodness for free, and 'For it is by grace you have been saved through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God--not by works so that no one can boast.' (Ephesians 2:8-9) AMEN.
So I thank you for walking through this season with me. There is still quite a chunk of it left. I will continue to update you and call upon you for prayer for this ministry, as so many good things are to come. But for now, I want you to join me in being stuck. Let's be stuck together on the fact that we can't do a thing to earn this salvation God has given us through Christ. May we simply respond in thanksgiving and dedicate our lives to loving Christ and sharing with others--that they may too share in the blessings of salvation.