When I was only five, I promised my missionary friend, Paul, who served in his native country in west Asia, that I would join him one day in his orphanage and serve in missions.
From that moment on, overseas missions was the adventure I dreamed of, a hope I could clearly see all through my school years. As long as it was unattainable, I yearned for it.
But when the time came to pursue the dream, I froze.
Instead of picking up my passport after I finished college, I took an internship, then a “real job”, got married, and the excuses never stopped.
The conundrum is, while I believe God gave me – and all of us – a dream and a set of assignments in which to live out our calling, when the time comes to actually show up for them, we fabricate excuses like a factory. At least I do.
Missions is only one of many places I’ve said ‘No’ for God. I do it every day in subtle but subversive ways.
I say No for God by not asking for help or provision or support for a project, allowing it to fail because I didn’t have the resources I need.
I say No for God by assuming something is impossible, so impossible that it’s not worth trying for. So I never try.
I say No for God by letting him and myself off the hook, shrinking down a goal to a measurable size that I can achieve alone, just in case he doesn’t come through.
So it was no surprise when I was asked to join the leaders of The Lulu Tree for a first-time ever, face-to-face meeting, the excuses poured in:
- “The baby’s not weaned. He can’t be away from me for a few days.”
- “I don’t have $1000 sitting around for a flight. How will I get the money?”
- “I can’t take that much time off work.”
- “It’s not that important that I be there. They don’t need me.”
Our Lulu mothers and Lulu daughter, along with their children, and joined by our staff, Esther and Carol.
For the past nine months, I’ve held different roles with The Lulu Tree, most recently serving as the Prayer Coordinator and personal support for Emily, the founder of the organization.
My work with The Lulu Tree has opened my eyes to the beauty of allowing God to design and found an organization. From our tiny efforts I’ve witnessed him transform not only the lives of these Ugandan women and their children, but also our own hearts as we see them worship God and receive with such gratitude.
The invitation to join the women I’ve been working with in person for prayer and vision-casting was too good to be true. So I left it there.
Once again, I said No for God.
But as I listened in to the conversations and plans for the gathering, I felt the anticipation of finally looking into the eyes and hugging the necks of the women who serve the mothers and children in Uganda.
Knowing the young organization has been built and run on the kinship of strangers, literally all around the world, I longed to meet them in person, to see what God would do when we were finally all together.
As the Lulu mothers and daughter gather to pray regularly, so we will be gathering for prayer and allowing God to show us what is next.
Finally, I realized what I had done, that I had said No without even asking. I wondered if there was still time to join them.
I had to try.
About 10 days ago, I asked God, if he wanted to send me to Canada for the gathering, that he would provide. Days later, one of you, a fellow reader and sojourner, wrote me to ask about any financial needs our church and family had. I couldn’t believe it. I gathered my courage and shared the story and the need.
Without hesitation, he offered to front over half the cost of the plane ticket! I was floored.
All of a sudden, the impossible became possible. When I didn’t say No for God, he said Yes for me.
The gathering is just around the corner in mid-June, and I still have to raise the other half of the plane ticket, along with a few other travel expenses. [Most all food, lodging and transportation will be covered for us by local church members. Check out the trip breakdown below.]
Will you contribute to this adventure of saying Yes to God and letting him say Yes back?
I would love to have you partner with me. Please contact me at scsiders(at)gmail.com if you are interested in partnering with me for the trip, learning more about the trip or about The Lulu Tree.To help you learn more about The Lulu Tree, I shared our goals here, as well as our link so you can get more information.
The Lulu Tree Goals:
- To equip single mothers in the slum of Katwe, Uganda to care for their children;
- To equip desperate young women with life and job skills (preventing them from being forced to turn to a man and bear his children, for survival);
- To end the cycle of poverty for widowed and HIV-infected families in Katwe;
- To bring the good news of Jesus Christ to the slum’s future generations.
For more information, visit The Lulu Tree online.
I’d love to hear about your steps of courage and a story where you let God say Yes instead of jumping to No for him. I could use the encouragement. Send me an email about it, or comment below. ❤
Thank you for your friendship and partnership with me along the way.
It’s an honor doing life with you.