Earlier this month Don recorded a video devotion about preparing for his journey when he walked the Camino Way in Spain. He reviewed that preparing for any journey is helpful and wise. But what if we are unsure about the journey we are on? Many of us plan our journeys and do our best to prepare for the future. Sometimes we go along in life feeling pretty sure about the direction we are traveling, even though there may be surprises along the way.
However, life can throw us completely off the course we were feeling confident about and take us into new uncharted and unplanned territory. That is exactly what this cancer has done in our lives!
When I went to work on December 16th last year, I had no plan or idea that I would not be back full-time, then eventually have to stop working the end of April. I had no idea that I would be told I have inoperable cancer with no cure. I had no idea or plan to be at Hershey Medical Center as a patient versus practitioner, receiving long chemotherapy infusions every other Friday with multiple other visits and testing. I had no idea about the side effects of chemotherapy, including losing feeling in my hands and feet, other than tingling, tightness and pain, which affects everything I do, including typing this blog. I never expected anyone to say, “You will be getting chemotherapy until it doesn’t work anymore or you say, ‘that’s enough’.”
When God told Joshua to lead the Israelites into the Promised Land, he was also feeling unsure and had doubts and questions about the journey. In Joshua 1:9, God told Joshua, “9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” (NIV)
“Wherever you go….” Does this include chemotherapy and testing? Does this include passing to the next life if God chooses not to heal me? Does this include the hardest trial and unplanned change you have ever faced in your life?
I know God has been with me all along this journey! He has laid the plans for us to meet incredible people along the way. He has opened the floodgates for many people to encourage and support us, and pray often and fervently for us. It is amazing to know that my name is being spoken daily before the King of Heaven, and as many have said, the gates of heaven are being stormed with prayer, not just asking for healing, but for His will and for His glory!
I had no idea that this journey would lead to an opportunity to make a difference in a part of the world where it is estimated that over 500 million people have not even heard about Jesus. Where 26 million children are abandoned to the streets, and the mentally ill and those with special needs are outcast. I had no idea that I would be passionate for local young women leaders who are being trained to lead and transform their communities physically and for Christ. I had no idea that God would identify 25 of these women and call them “Gail’s Girls” in a dream to one of Stadia’s leaders.
I had no idea that our 4 daughters would be going to Southern Asia to visit and teach, not only our Gail’s Girls, but almost 100 young women leaders who are passionate for their communities and are willing to lay their lives on the line for Christ! I had no idea that my daughters would return from this trip last night with excitement and passion about what they experienced, were able to share, and what God is doing! It is going to be a great Thanksgiving as they will all come home and will share their stories! (If you are able to join me in reaching our goal to support these amazing women, go to www.gailsgirls.org for more information and to help. Please let me know if you have any questions.)
Joshua didn’t know the details of what would happen as the Israelites went into a new land where they would face many struggles and battles, but he knew that God promised to be with him, “Wherever you go,” and he told him to, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” It continues to come down to “trust” and looking for the intervention and miracles that God brings along the journey. I will admit that it is not always easy, and there are days that strength and courage are hard to maintain, but we need to remember His promises and be open to new plans and even adventures along the journey. If you are traveling on an unexpected journey, I pray that you will have moments of “I had no idea…” as you trust God’s leading in your life.