Thursday, August 12, 2010

System Error 99

Warning, this is going to be a long personal post. . .

On our last week in Costa Rica, my camera malfunctioned. I was at the award ceremony for Maggi and Emma, when it started. Literally hours from our vacation. After I snapped a picture, the camera screen said. . .

System Error 99, please turn the camera off and retry.

For those who know me well, know that I love taking pictures.
It is my thing.
I love trying to catch the one perfect picture that captures exactly what is happening or an expression that I want to remember for ever. I love looking at pictures from way back when. As soon as I see some pictures, the memory of the event becomes so real.

Anyway. . .

I love my camera. I saved my money for a while, researched the camera industry, asked people, and worked extra shifts for my camera and lenses.
I even took a class with a great friend who shares the love of pictures and photography.

So, I was really looking forward to some phototherapy while on vacation in Costa Rica. Beautiful sand, clear water, amazing wildlife, sweet southern girls. It was a perfect situation.

Until system error99.

I could tell you the detailed report of how I handled it, but lets just leave it at, it was not good. I was already having a melt down over other things, the one thing that I was looking forward to, was taken from me in a split second.

I tried several times, with different lenses, but still, system error99.

It was my last straw.

I had a great friend who let me borrow her camera, which I was very grateful for, but it was not my camera. Not the one I had brought the book from the states for to be able to take award winning pictures with.

But life goes on and so did vacation. I still have some great pictures of the vacation.

I tell you all this to tell you that I myself had a system error99.

Let me back a few days. Last Friday the family packed up and went to Lake Bowen with our long time friends, the Collins. Wes and Sherry became our friends shortly after Dave and I got married. They were the pastors of the church we attended as a newlywed couple. The first time we met them, they asked us to come over to their house after the evening service for an "afterglow". We were the first couple to arrive, and Sherry put a vacuum in my hands, and asked if I wouldn't mind to run that around the room a little before others got there.

And just like that we were friends. They became the family that Dave and I would model our family after. We watched them sacrificially serve the church body, come home, cherish the time with their children, and still have time to minister to us. We were at their house practically every Sunday night after that, and Sherry always fed us, and shared their home. We played many hours of cards with them.

There is alot of history between us. Good stuff. Life changing stuff. The stuff that binds you together. We are so blessed by our friendship.

OK back to last weekend. Sherry and I had a chance to catch up on each others lives, and I was able to tell her all about Costa Rica. And before we left to come home, Sherry got something out of her purse. She handed us a twenty dollar bill and told us to eat at our favorite Bar-B-Q place while we were in Springfield.

And that is when it started, my system error99.

I cried from Spartanburg to Clover. We were having friends over for dinner, and cried before they got here, a little while they were here, and then when they left.

The next morning Dave and I got on a plane to go to Springfield, MO for our Candidate evaluation. This is where we go for psyche evaluations, medical testing, dental xrays, etc, and the clencher, "the personal interview"

I cried some more on the plane.

I recognized that I was having the system error99.

The next part of the story is painfully honest.

I started running. Not physically (you know I can't do that it isn't even a pretty mental picture) but running from the call that has been placed on my life. Running from something that is so much bigger than I am, that I can't even wrap my mind around.

I told David I didn't want to be a missionary anymore. I couldn't do it, I wasn't smart enough, I wasn't spiritual enough, to fat and unhealthy. I was going to have to tell them in the interview I was not going to do it. Sorry, end of story. Nothing to discuss. Lets go home.

What I didn't tell Dave, is that I heard the Lord speaking to me. Let me change that, I knew the Lord wanted to tell me something, but I specifically would not listen to him. I knew what He would say, but I didn't want to hear it. So I wouldn't listen to my IPOD, because that has music that inspires me, I wouldn't pray, because that would give God and opportunity to speak. I just ran.

Knowing what I was in, a strong spiritual battle, right before the interview, I had about 4 minutes of alone time. I quickly asked for prayer from a few friends before going into the interview. And they responded, and touched the throne of my father on my behalf, and He listened.

The interview went well, we think. But after, we believe to be a divine appointment. The person who performed the interview, encouraged us to spend a little time with the people with Health Care Ministries.

God Humbled me.

The next part is amazing. Butch (the man we had the interview with) walked us over to introduce us to some people from Health Care ministries. There were 3 women and 1 man in the room. And that all started looking at each other, kindof smiling. I thought great, another system error99. They asked us where we wanted to be assigned and a little about ourselves. We tell them we are nurses, and that we don't know where God is leading us, only that we want to use our nursing skills, to share the love of Christ with others, to build His church through compassion. I added that I love teaching women about childbirth and how to care for their babies. They started glancing around again.

And then

They say, this morning, we prayed,


They went on to say, we have so many needs, around the world, we wanted God to send us workers who were equipped and ready to serve.

Over the next few minutes, it got personal.

My husband connected with this. My husband who is 6 feet 4 inches, broad shoulders, big guy, a man of few words, melted. He wept, he wept the tears of man who was ready to be sent. He wept, because someone finally put to words, what we can not, He wept because He knew this is what his family has been prepared to do, what he will lead them to do. He became so excited to hear about simple acts that changed a peoples heart, and built a church in a community that once spit on the pastor. Because some was willing to be sent, touched someone in a compassionate way, met a physical need, all in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

I wish I could tell you that I stopped running, but that would be a lie.

The next stop, we went to meet Craig with Convoy of Hope. This is a national and international program, that feeds children, responds to disaster, and meets peoples spiritual and physical needs. Craig is in charge of the International department that responds during a disaster. After Dave and Craig talk for a few minutes, the story goes something like this. . .
Craig says he served as a missionary in Romania, Dave responds by saying, I was there to. But they were there during different years.

A few minutes later, another connection had been made, Dave and Craig had worked together before Craig had become a missionary. Craig worked with the construction team that helped remodel the orphanage Dave help start. Another Divine Appointment.

You would think all these events would help calm my spirit.

But it had not.

I still had more tears. I felt like I was in mourning. Like my life was slipping away, a little bit by little bit. I still didn't want to listen to what the Lord was trying to say.

I don't know if I have ever had a time in my life, where I was acting like that. Knowing what I should be doing, but refusing to do it. I could sense the Lord so close, but denied Him access to my heart.

I don't know how far I though that would get me. Being outside God's covering would have to be the scariest place to be.

So, Dave and I had alot of alone time in the car and plane. We avoided, ok I tried to avoid any more discussion of the subject of missions.

But my husband is pretty awesome. He remained calm, and refused to give in to my fears and sprint backward. He wanted to know my biggest fears, and tried to find ways to solve them. I didn't really want to hear it.

I wanted him to know how painful some things were for me. Crazy ridiculous things. An example is my scrapbook closet. Any time over the last week that I think about scrapbooking, I cry. I cry because in my head I can't take my scrapbook closet with me. I cry because I can't take my supplies with me. I cry because I don't even know where I will store the books I have already completed. I cry because I associate scrapbooking with friends. All of it considered a loss for me. I cry now because I have friends are at scrapbook convention and I am not there.

I think the closer we have gotten to the final steps in this process, the more fear I have, and it became overwhelming. Where I should be digging in deeper with my prayer life, and going deeper in the Bible, I have not.

I need more of the Lord.

I let what I considered failure in Costa Rica dictate my attitude and behavior for the future. Isn't that just like our enemy.

System Error99.

It has been painful.
I am ready to move on.
I am ready to accept that I have alot to learn.
I need to become more dependant on my Father.
I need to be thankful for my husband who sees past my faults and believes in me.
I need to realize that I am a little scared, sad, nervous, and unsure of my future.
I need to learn to let go of material things.
I need to remember
"I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me-the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace"

Acts 20:24

1 comment:

  1. Amy, dear Amy,

    I so connect with your transparency and honesty. Its the hard stuff, the really really hard this, that is the real stuff.

    Just today, I summed up what my right now is like, by quoting "It is the best of times, it is the worst of times." and that is stretching it on the good side. I go in my bathroom lock the door and cry. I drive in the car and cry. The enemy put poison whisper-drops in my ear that I am the worse momma in the world...and I cry.

    I can so relate...

    yet, I also so know..for me...and for you. This is the journey. This freeze, this system not the end. It is not where we are going to stay. It is big, and huge, and hard and personal and sad, and questions the very foundation of who we are and why we are here.... but it is not our stopping place. Like Jacob-to-be-Israel at the dawn, we are struggling with all our might...but the dawn will come, I bet on it, (it has to) and we will have a new name...and our struggle will leave us with a limp that shows we have been touched by God in a very hard place.

    My calling is different than yours....but I know it is a calling. And it does not play out the way I would have imagined (I chuckle in a sad way sometimes at that verse that says, Eye has not seen and hear has not heard, heart has not imagined (I know I am botching up the quoting of it) the things God has prepared for those who love Him. and think you bet I haven't this is not what I foresaw :) )....

    But this is it. This is our one life on planet earth. Our one legacy in the dirt of life...our one chance that He knows the poison-whispers want to keep us from...and He knows what He will do inside us.. so we cry on, wrestle on, knowing there will be a dawn. I think often of the words to the Chris Rice song that says: "Sometimes love has to drive a nail through its own hands."

    And I feel, the sacrifice does feel like that some times...often.

    hugs hugs hugs. prayers, and then more hugs.