My Life is Not My Own

Hi all!

This post is going to be raw, so I’m going to dive on in.

I might be going to Africa for two years. Yep, you read that correctly: two years. Even typing it seems incredibly scary to me and makes it so real.

But here’s the thing: I don’t know for sure if I’ll be going. I’ve been invited to Africa Inland Mission’s (AIM) Connect Week in November, which is where I will officially find out if I’ll be journeying to Africa or not.

Oh wait, you need some background information, don’t you?! Okay, let me back up…

Back in December, it hit me that I am at a point in my life where I can fairly easily get up and go anywhere. I pictured multiple short-term missions, but God was starting to lay it on my heart that I could be gone longer.

Umm, no thank you, God. I’ll pursue short-term missions, lasting about three months, but definitely not longer.

Who did I think I was to tell God no? Hadn’t I already learned many times over that God always gets His way?

Fast forward to February. I found out about AIM and this Training in Ministry Outreach (TIMO) program that lasts for two years and includes building relationships, learning a new language, and… wait for it… HOMEWORK! Yes, I am so crazy that I actually miss being in school! I wanted to apply for TIMO right then, but I knew I needed to be still.

At the end of March, I journeyed to Ecuador with my church and fell in love with the international mission field.

Upon arriving home, I applied for TIMO. Even applying was a process and brought me into even deeper reliance on God. Every conversation I had about AIM was pointing me towards TIMO, but I didn’t want to apply and possibly be gone for two years… Nevertheless, I applied.

And was asked to fill out another application.

Then was asked to interview.

And now I have been invited to Connect Week in Atlanta.

To be blatantly honest and put my heart out there, in my humanness I was hoping to not be invited to Connect Week. It would be easier to not have to tell people about Africa and instead continue living my fairly comfortable life. I pictured myself being excited about being invited because that meant I had a good interview. But, I wasn’t. I saw the invitation email and broke down crying. My anxiety rose. It was like a part of my life was ripped away. Being invited means I’m that much closer to going to Africa for two years, and therefore sacrificing all of my life. Quite honestly, it sucks.

But wait, maybe that’s the point.

Maybe God is asking me to sacrifice every earthly thing that brings me comfort and happiness. He could very well be asking me to miss my sister’s graduation, two years of my grandparents’ lives, the comfort of living at home, my community, amongst so many other things that hurt my heart to leave.

The entire process has been a constant reminder of this simple truth: my life is not my own.

I struggle with believing that He is a good, good Father. Why is He calling me away? Why is He using me? Why have I been blessed with a heart for missions and spreading the Gospel message? Can’t He send someone else?

Yes, His mission will be completed even if I say no, but why would I when the God of the universe is calling me?

When you’re called, you go.

So, I’m at least going to Connect Week. When I received the email, there wasn’t a question of going or not; I broke down crying just the week before and said, “Yes, God. If You lead me, I will go. If I am invited to Connect Week, I will go. Make the desires of my heart match your own.” It’s also my understanding that I would not be leaving for at least a year, but I’ll know more in November.

This post barely scratches the surface of the struggles and pains of this process, of God leading me more into Him, and being taught that He is literally all I need, even finding joy in my pain. Maybe I’ll write more posts about different parts of the process leading up to now. But, I would like to ask this of you: if you are interested in learning more about this journey to Africa, please, ask me any questions. I’ll try to be an open book. Feel free to Facebook, email (erica.grogg@hotmail.com), text, or call me. I would love to include you in this journey.

In closing, I would like to ask a couple of things. (No, this is not where I reach out asking for financial support… Although, that post will be coming in the near future.) Right now, I’m asking for you to join me in prayer. Please pray for my family’s hearts in this. I can only imagine what it is like to see your daughter/granddaughter/niece travel to a foreign land for so long. Please pray for my heart as I prepare to take another step forward in God’s global mission, and that the desires of my heart would line up with His plans for me. Pray against spiritual warfare, as I know the enemy will not make this easy, and that in the midst of spiritual warfare I would cling even more tightly to God. And please, I beg you, pray for the people already out on the mission field, those preparing to leave, and those starting to recognize their calling.

And just like that, it was time to come out of hiding.

Much love,

Erica

“Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”  Psalm 46:10

My Beloved Child

Sometimes words are laid on my heart that I feel I need to write down and share. This is my heart, portraying a vision I received from God two weeks ago during worship through music at my church. These specific words you are about to read have been forming on my heart for a few days, and I finally listened and wrote them down. I struggle with seeing how God could possibly love me as His daughter, but this picture He painted for me reminds me of His love for all of His children. I pray these words touch you as you read them, and that you, too, run into His arms.

 

The Father is sitting on His throne in His throne room and the Daughter is timidly walking in and pauses.

Daughter: Father, may I approach you?

Father: Yes, my child. Come.

Daughter: Are you sure, Father? I don’t want to bother you. You seem so busy.

Father: Yes, please come to me.

Daughter: Okay, Father. (Daughter slowly walks a little farther into the throne room and stops.) Umm, I have some things I want to talk to you about, if you don’t mind.

Father: What is it? I am here for you.

Daughter: Well, umm, it’s just that… I have a problem. You see, I’ve been hurt in so many ways…

Father: Oh, my darling, don’t you see? Those hurts and pains bring you closer to me. When was the last time we spoke, my child? You start to draw away, but I am always here.

Steadfast love and faithfulness meet;
righteousness and peace kiss each other.
Faithfulness springs up from the ground,
and righteousness looks down from the sky.
Psalm 85:10-11

Daughter: But Father, how can you keep accepting me? How can I trust you, with all this pain I have felt before?

Father: Darling, I am always here. Though you turn away, I will be here to welcome you back. You can trust me, this I promise you.

May he grant you your heart’s desire
and fulfill all your plans!
May we shout for joy over your salvation,
and in the name or our God set up our banners!

Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.
Psalm 20:4-5, 7

Daughter: But Father, what about when I feel like I don’t belong to you?

Father: My dear child, you do. You do belong to me.

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.
John 10:27-30

Daughter: (Kneeling down where she is standing in the middle of the throne room) Okay Father, I hear you. But there’s something else… What about when I am questioning your love for me?

Father: Oh darling, my beloved. I have a love for you deeper than you can fathom. It’s deeper than the oceans, larger than the seas. Beloved child, I sent my Son to walk the earth, being tested and tried, yet blameless bear the burden of the cross, that He would die and rise again, conquering all sin, once and for all. Daughter, you are my beloved.

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
Galatians 2:20

Daughter: (Slowly standing up) Abba, Father. Why? Why do you love me so, that you would send your Son to save me?

Father: My child, it is because even when sometimes you don’t see it, you need me. You need my Son, your Savior. You need my Spirit to fill you. Please, my beloved child, come to me.

The Father opens His arms wide and slightly leans forward.

My beloved speaks and says to me:
“Arise, my love, my beautiful one, and come away,
for behold, the winter is past; the rain is over and gone.
The flowers appear on the earth, the time of singing has come,
and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land.
The fig tree ripens its figs, and the vines are in blossom; they give forth fragrance.
Arise, my love, my beautiful one, and come away.
Song of Solomon 2:10-13

And the daughter runs into her Father’s arms.

 

All of the above verses are from the English Standard Version Bible.