“No stop! No, no, no! Let me go, I don’t want to do it! Stop!” screamed the 8 year old me while throwing myself onto the dusty floor, on my first day of school in 3rd class. Mum persisted to drag me into the class but of course I wasn’t going to give in! I kicked and I screamed and I didn’t really care (or realize) if anyone heard. “I’m not going in!”, I said while wiping my snotty and teary face with my very dusty hand. So she stopped dragging me and the principal asked me “Klaudia, how about we go in together? It’s going to be ok. You’re going to be just fine.” She took me by my hand, covered in snot and tears and she walked with me into the class.
You see when I first came to Ireland at the age of 8 and started school, I had 3 problems: no English, no books and NO CLUE what was happening. Being in a new school was scary in itself but not knowing how to speak the language was another story - it made for some interesting interactions with people, for sure.
I walked into the class, I said the only sentence I knew how to say, “Hi, My name is Klaudia.” and I sat down, and I was just fine. Primary school years turned out to be one of the best years of my childhood, and who would have known on my first day that it would all be ok?
But, have you ever felt like that? When you feel like you are being dragged into something you just don’t want to do? You’re just too scared, so you’d rather not do it?
I know I have.
My first year of NET was so fruitful and so good, but it was also pretty challenging and required a lot of sacrifice. There was a lot of crazy expectations that I made up in my head about what my NET year will look like. “We’re definitely going to bake cake together ALL the time and we’re definitely going to take out guitars EVERY single night and play beautiful music, we’re going to laugh ALL the time and it’s always going to be so perfect!!!”. Well, yes, we took out the guitars some evenings, and we baked..well...let’s be real...we BOUGHT cake together and we had some great laughs. As great as it was, before I joined NET, I forgot to acknowledge that... well, we’re also human. You see, there were times where we got tired, we got frustrated, needed some alone time and time when relationships on team got challenging. I was so focused on what I expected my year to be, that I didn’t face the reality of what it was.
All the while, the thought of a second year never really left my head. I knew that God was calling me, but I felt more like He was dragging me into it. I felt like I was too weak to do another year. I was too scared, and I held on so tight to those thoughts and failed expectations that letting go was scary. But a part of me, wanted a second chance from God, to show Him that the next time I’ll be better. That I’ll clean my hands of off all the expectations, shame and guilt and then I’ll let Him use me again. But the reality was, that He was asking ME, to give Him a second chance.
You see the world tells us, “If it makes you feel good, then do it. But if it doesn’t, just quit!” . But what Jesus is calling us to is far greater than ‘easy’ or ‘good’. Sirach 2:1 - “My child, when you come to serve the Lord, prepare yourself for many trials”. Yes, He calls us to joy. Yes, He calls us to love. Yes, He calls us to eternal life. He also calls us to serve Him, even when things don’t go the way we think they’re ‘supposed’ to go. The way to the Lord, is narrow. But He calls us to walk that way, with Him!
2 Cor 10:5 - “Take every thought captive and bring in obedience to Christ.” . Take every thought of fear and doubt captive. Bring it to Him! You see, although we have gone and we will go through many trials, and although walking the narrow way to Jesus is hard and we will get our hands dirty, none of that can compare to the joy that He promises us!
I was too focused on what that year “wasn’t” rather than what it “was”. I was too focused on the dirt of shame and guilt on my hands, rather than focusing on how he used them so powerfully during my year. He was always there, and He made beautiful things out of what I saw as, dust. Out of the challenges, He gave me strength. Out of the frustration, He gave me love.
When He called me to give Him another year, I knew I wasn’t finished. Or should I say, God wasn’t finished! I was scared. And I thought I was too weak to keep walking with Him this way.
This second year is a completely new walk. New people, a new place, new ministry and of course some new challenges, new trials and new sacrifices. But He reveals Himself in a new light everyday, and He takes me by the hand and walks with me everyday.
So take a look at your hands. What do you see? You may see dust, wounds and scars from others that may have hurt you and some from your own sin. You may think that they are just too dirty for Him to hold and use. Yet somehow, He does. He wants to hold them so we can walk with Him and build His Kingdom. It may hurt and it may be hard and we may feel like we’re just too weak. But God is pushing and pushing and pushing us further, and sometimes it feels like that’s enough! So we stop. We take a look at our hands and we realize, that somehow, they’re cleaner. They feel softer. The wounds are slowly closing and the scars are slowly healing. So we let Him take our hand and we walk, we pick up a brick and we build. The dust is made beautiful.
Right now, you may be feeling like God is dragging you into something that you just don’t want to do. You may be kicking and screaming. You may feel like you’re too weak. You may be too scared. But the reality is that He wants to walk WITH you. He wants to use your dusty hands to make something beautiful. You are personally, perfectly and purposefully chosen by God.
Let Him take you by your snotty and teary hand and let Him use it. He says, “It’s ok. You’re going to be just fine. Come, follow me.” Trust Him.
No trial, no fear, no doubt, can compare to the joy and the love that He offers us .
Today, what will you do?
He loves you and walks with you. Love Him and walk with Him.
“ 11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”