Friday, March 7, 2014

The "Are You Willing?" Adventure

I peered out the floor to ceiling windows divided by mahogany wood frames at the steady flurry of swirling white flakes. I was cozy in the warmth of a heated classroom, but my bones still felt the deep chill of the cold Chicago winter that was foreign to my Southern California blood.

My body couldn't shake the goosebumps and my ears couldn't shake the echo of 20,000 voices ringing loud in Jesus jumping celebration in the huge arena I had just come from. The hub of Urbana 2000.

But through the cold and the crowds, the incredible worship and inspiring speakers, through the voice of the nice-dressed man presenting a missions opportunity before me now, there was something that rose above it all.

A whisper.

God's whisper to my heart. I heard it first in the massive arena and I heard it again in this moment while taking in winter's beauty: Are you willing to give me your summer?

That was one of the first times in my life I remember hearing the voice of God clearly in my heart. Knowing what he was asking. Choosing to respond. That winter whisper I heard in Illinois led me to Kings Canyon National Park the following summer.

I really didn't have a clear idea what to expect as a 19 year old, driving the 222 miles in my white Honda Civic up the windy mountain road to my first college summer adventure. I knew I would be living and working at the park and doing some kind of ministry.
I knew God had asked me to go so I was going.

But I didn't know how that summer would test me. Stretch me. 

I didn't know that God would use 40 hours a week of clearing dirty dishes off red checked vinyl tables in a mountain diner to press me into him, teach me persevere in the mundane tasks for the sake bringing light to his name.

I didn't know about the rat that would share my tiny ramshackle cabin. Or the drinking and drugs that would be consumed by my village-mates each night under the stars. I didn't know how the discomfort of my environment would push me to find deeper comfort in my Creator. 

I didn't know that miles of trails, the huff of my own breath, and the prickly red Manzanitas would become the backdrop of my most treasured moments.

I didn't know God would use what he whispered in the middle of white winter to lead me to a meadow green surrounded by towering Sequoias, a place where I would again hear his voice asking, Are you willing?

It's been thirteen years and in some ways I hardly recognize myself in that teenage girl at Urbana bundled in excessive layers or the girl tromping through the woods in brown REI boots. But I do recognize her spirit of adventure. The spirit God gave her so she could say Yes to His whispers, even when it seemed crazy to others.

But I still recognize all of God. Yes, He is the same.

And again I am hearing that now-familiar question: Are you willing?

Becky, are you willing to still follow me wherever I lead? 
With words? With ministry? With your whole life?

I know my answer will dictate the level of my next adventure.

And again I'm saying, Yes!

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Joining Lisa-Jo's community as we all tackle the word "Willing."


Cheryl said...

Beautiful words. I love the story of His whisper that takes you back so many years ago and touches the present. The adventure certainly takes us unexpected places, for sure, but it takes courage to make our yes's to His whisper be fresh.
I am visiting from FMF.

cALyPsO said...

Well done!!!

Mindy Rogers said...

I just about fell over at the beginning of this post when you said you went to Urbana in 2000. I was there too! whhhhaaaaaatt?!?!?!!!!
but I love how you wrote about "willing" <3