Monday, October 28, 2013

Testimony Tuesday: Lindsay

It's another Tuesday here on the blog.  Thankful for the testimonies of sweet friends!

Lindsay and I have known each other since our wee little seminary career began.  She didn't really know "who this Erin girl was?" .. But she got to know me good fashion one little night where I just broke down into unstoppable tears in her car.  I miss her a whole lot.  Here's her story:   PS- I cried a little on this one.

“Life without risks is simply existing.” This is my life motto!  I jump out of planes, try new foods, travel, run half marathons, learn new skills, and can’t pass up a dare.  I will try anything once. I never want to get to the point that I am so comfortable or routine in life that I stop taking risks, creating challenges or being spontaneous.  I set goals but I don’t make plans.  I learned early on that the plans we make usually disappoint us but goals are something we strive to accomplish; they make us better.  I believe this is the way God created us to live.  Don’t make plans… He has already developed a plan for you.  And God must enjoy spontaneity because he asks us to live by faith not by sight.  Living the Christian life is a HUGE RISK!  So for you thrill seekers out there that may think being a Christian is boring and full of dos and don’ts, you must be talking to the people that are too scared to take a risk with God. 
I used to be “All talk”.  When I was 13, I remember sitting in the Winn Dixie grocery parking lot with my parents and telling them one day I want to live in Africa.  I love to shock my poor mom!  And as random as that statement was it is a pivotal memory of the time God started preparing me for something bigger than an insecure, chubby little blond girl from Alabama

The next pivotal memory I have was at my brother’s wedding.  I was a bridesmaid (if you know me, that is not a surprise), and my job was to help with the flower girl, bell boy, and ring bearer before and during the ceremony.  I did not know these kids, but I knew they were very special to my sister in law.  After the ceremony the flower girl approached me with her bottom lip poking out and puppy dog eyes “Who is going to take me and my brother to church?” (My brother and sister in law were moving to Texas).  Without hesitation, I knew I was that chosen person.  If I were a person that didn’t like change, this would have been a mistake because my “yes” to that little girl transformed into a “yes” to God.  Over the next two years, I developed and grew a big brother/ big sister program in their government housing neighborhood; developed a bus ministry with my church for 20 families; and began counseling mothers and fathers that were addicted to drugs and alcohol, experienced abuse, and families with one or both parents in jail.  Did I mention I was 20?  Clearly I was in over my head.  I jumped in not knowing how to swim, but God sustained me.

After college, it was clear that I wanted to be in counseling, so that I had better skills to help families like in Auburn.  I had no idea what I wanted to do but I did know that it would be awesome if 1) I lived in a big city, 2) I was just living life with people, and 3) someone thought it was a good enough reason to pay me.  I am convinced my six years in seminary and at the YMCA was God’s prep time for something but I wasn’t sure what.  Almost immediately it was evident that the Y could be a potential career path but I didn’t want that… I felt like I was selling out to what God had planned.  So of course after I graduated seminary the Y offered me a full time position.  Time for a decision… practically it was a sure thing, full time job in Raleigh is a no brainer.  However, every part of me wanted to say “NO.”  But to me, saying “yes” was the risk because what if I missed out on something greater.  I can’t explain it but I knew God told me to accept the job and commit one year to the YMCA.  I was disappointed and relieved at the same time.  The pressure was off.  And then the other shoe dropped… After I accepted the offer I immediately found out my mom was diagnosed with cervical cancer stage 4.  WHY?!!!  Suddenly a year in some comfort couldn’t have been better for what my family was about to go through. 

In the meanwhile, God was preparing my next steps while I concentrated on mom.  This was it; this is the risk God had prepared so long ago sitting in the Winn Dixie parking lot.  Can I say “yes” to any risks God presents?  Life finally made sense.  I had a good job, I was ministering to young ladies, involved in church, loved my friends, close enough to my family if I needed to get to my mom, and loved Raleigh.  Apparently I got too comfortable because my next step was a time for change. 

Last Fall 2012, I decided to give up one week of my summer to go to Toronto for a mission trip.  This was huge for me because I now had my full time job with limited vacation and my mom was still very sick, not knowing what the future held for her.  I decided not to act on it because I thought it was more responsible to focus on my year commitment to the Y.  So for 2 months I kept pushing Toronto to the back of my mind.  Finally, I couldn’t say no anymore.  I spoke with our missions pastor, explained I was interested in the summer Toronto trip and then left his office understanding that I am now LEADING the trip and will need to take a vision trip in February.  STOP!  I didn’t agree to this.  I went home for Christmas explaining to my parents what had happened and trying to make it clear I am not pursuing Toronto.  The same shocked mom at age 13 rebuked me for not being open.  I guess God had been prepping her too.  I came back to Raleigh and in January had another meeting with the missions pastor and NAMB’s vice president of the Canadian region.  By the time I left lunch, I was well on my way to a one year commitment with NAMB church planting in Toronto… relief!  I felt relief in finally knowing God’s plan, the purposes for my steps, knowing I’m leaving my mom in good health after a year of treatment.  Relief in seeing that my “yes” has led me to my dream job.  Relief that the risks I took have led me to a place I could never have planned for myself. Now I am in Toronto working with 2 church plants, volunteering in the community with street workers and also at a school. I’m on the Canadian Baptist Convention Committee, and I have been offered a second year contract within my first 3 months here.  

Lindsay currently lives in Toronto, obviously.  She graduated from Southeastern with an MDiv in Biblical Counseling. Lindsay likes to read a-many of books and has quite the addiction to coffee.  During the first few years of our friendship, she went everywhere with cup in hand.  This little habit has now carried over to me.  Her Alabama side only comes out when Auburn is playing!  My frand is also a pretty awesome artist and aunt!

No comments:

Post a Comment