Over dinner with a friend this past week, I marveled at the journey that God has been leading me on over the last several years in particular. I never knew that following Him would be such an adventure, and I will be the first to remind anyone who asks that I certainly don’t deserve this kind of joy.
I never dreamed of Africa. I dreamed of traveling to Thailand with its rice paddies and elephants, and of India's tigers and kaleidoscope of colorful saris.
I never dreamed of being a nurse. Earlier dreams included bus driver, flight attendant, and dentist. In college I thought I would earn a biochemistry degree then launch into discovering cures for various diseases. After realizing biochem wasn't for me, I then proceeded to dream about becoming a doctor, a dietician, a physician's assistant... and finally, finally nursing.
Through all my 27 years I have struggled to place God at the center of my life. I’m no model Christian, not by a long shot. Yet somehow I always return to the fact that I am my Beloved’s and He is mine. Each time I wander away He comes to bring me back, sometimes gently whispering and sometimes using the megaphone known as Pain (my thanks to CS Lewis for a great metaphor).
I have no idea why He has chosen to be so gracious to me. Call me naive, call me rosy-eyed, call me idealistic, but I can’t help but think how stunning the grand adventure of life is with God! Most days are not page-turners, of course. There are chapters I wish I could have skipped. And I am holding my breath for some plot developments (romantic tension, anyone?). But I wouldn’t trade my journey for anything. God has written stories for each of us, and only as we walk through our own pages--and not those of others--are we truly content and truly alive.
I never dreamed of Africa or of nursing, yet tomorrow I fly to Niger to work as a nurse for two weeks at an up-and-coming fistula hospital in Danja. I have fallen in love with VVF ladies and with the transformation that happens in a woman when hope blossoms anew. I’ve fallen in love with the least and the lost. My heart beats for the outcast, the unloved, the lonely.
I never dreamed of Africa. And I certainly never dreamed that God had dreams ever so much grander, more satisfying, more everything than mine.
|(Photo from Worldwide Fistula Fund)|