The View From A Slightly Twisted Angle

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Knowing That You Know

on May 26, 2012

Our daughter leaves this morning on a short-term summer missions trip.  She will be spending a little over a week with a group of kids from Nebraska working at the Dream Center in Los Angeles.  I’m sure it will be quite an eye opening experience for our protected girl who has grown up in small town Nebraska.  (Sorry – midsize town.) She’s very excited. She should be. It’s been a long road to get here.

Every summer the district office (or Nebraska office) of our denomination offers a missions trip to the youth of our state.  Two years ago the trip was to Ireland.  Our daughter and oldest son felt like they were supposed to go on this trip.  The cost per person for that particular year was close to $2,300.  We were looking at that times two. Their father and I gulped, assured them we would support them but wouldn’t be able to pay for them to go and started believing with them that they would be able to raise the funds they needed. It was a hard, emotional and chaotic several months that followed as they worked and tried to fundraise.  Several times it looked as though they weren’t going to make it.  They contemplated dropping out of the trip.  My husband and I tried to help them walk through the process without telling them what to do.  “What do you feel like you are supposed to do?”  I’d ask.  They would both respond, “I know we’re supposed to go.”  “Okay then. Let’s keep moving that direction.”  It was difficult, often frustrating, and often tear filled, but they did manage to get their trips fully funded by the time they were set to leave.  They spent nearly two weeks working with a church in northern Ireland.  They had a great time, learned a great deal about themselves and others and came home different kids.  Their father and I, and I believe the two of them, are so grateful that they got to have the experience together.  It is something I know neither will ever forget.

Last year, the trip was set to return to Ireland again.  Both our son and daughter really wanted to go again.  From the announcement of the trip I had a “check” about it, but kept my mouth shut.  I figured they were both old enough to know if they were supposed to go.  They dove headfirst into fundraising. It didn’t go even as easily as it had the year before, and it hadn’t been easy that time.  Money just wasn’t coming in.  Payment deadlines were passing.  Plane tickets were being ordered.  We weren’t where we had been the year before. Our son who had learned to be a little more practical while dealing with his first year in college decided that he should drop out of the trip before they ordered the tickets.  That way he wouldn’t have to pay a cancel fee and the money he had raised would be held in account for him for future trips. Our daughter decided to soldier on and had them go ahead and order her plane ticket.  About a week later she came to me and said, “Mom.  I don’t think I’m supposed to go now.”  My heart sank.  She couldn’t have decided this BEFORE they ordered her plane ticket?  “You’re sure about this?” I asked.  “I really thought I was supposed to go, but now I just know that I know I’m not. I know I’ll have to lose the cancel fee, but I know I’m not supposed to go.”  I trust my kids, especially this one, to pray things through and listen to what God is saying to them.  How could I argue with that?  She contacted the appropriate people and let them know she was pulling out of the trip.  She was told that there was a young lady who decided after the deadline that she wanted to go but it was too late to order her ticket.  Because our daughter dropped out they would give her ticket to the other young lady and we were spared the cancellation fee.  Seemed to be a good sign.

She sent out letters to or called the people who had sent funds for her trip know she wasn’t going and that the money they’d sent would be held in account for a future trip for her.  She didn’t receive one negative response. That is, she didn’t until the people in our church began to hear about her decision not to go.  My lovely daughter began to be questioned, sometimes a length, about her decision.  People questioned her faith.  Was she just scared and not trusting God to provide the funds to go?  People questioned whether her father and I told her not to go.  People questioned whether she could even hear from God.  Every time she was confronted she’d come home frustrated and say the same thing, “I can’t explain it but I just suddenly knew I wasn’t supposed to go.  How can I make people understand that?”  “You can’t.” I’d tell her. “You just have to be sure in what you know and let others say what they want.”  It wasn’t a fun couple months.

Shortly after the team returned from Ireland, our daughter received a Facebook message from the girl who had taken her ticket.  Seems the trip was a life changing experience for the girl.  She thanked my daughter profusely for listening to God and stepping out of the way allowing her to go on the trip.  As much as we all wanted to say, “SEE?” to those people who had doubted her, our daughter (and the rest of us) kept our mouths shut.  It was enough to know that it had been the correct decision.  She had money in her account and the person who was supposed to go, went.

Last fall they announced the missions trips for this summer.  For the first time that I can remember, they are doing two trips this year.  One international – back to Ireland for a final year – and one domestic – to Los Angeles.  Our daughter already had half the amount needed for the L.A. trip in her account so it really didn’t take her long to decide which trip she wanted to participate in.   She chose L.A., again telling us “I just know.”  Since the trips were announced our daughter, who has had her college and course of study set in her mind since….I don’t know…BIRTH, has come to us and said, “You know, I think I might want to study Social Work.  I think that is what I’m supposed to do.”  Funny how the missions trip in which she chose to participate fits exactly into that field. Funny how God knew what he was doing all along.  Funny how we people try to get in His way sometimes.

As we drop our daughter off this morning  I can’t help but reflect on something I’ve learned through this process:

“When someone knows that they know it’s what they are to do,  let them do it.”

One of my favorite pictures of our oldest two kids in Ireland, July, 2010.

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2 responses to “Knowing That You Know

  1. Michelle says:

    Keeping Brittany in my prayers. I know God will challege & use her to touch untold numbers of people for his kingdom.
    I know what it’s like to have other question your faith & motivation. It really hurts when it’s from a place you expect to support you. To be honest, I haven’t been back there since. I have found a new church that supports & challenges me. But part of me still mourns losing my “family” back home.

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