Updated: Jul 11, 2019
At the end of this school year, one of my co-workers asked a great question as we were talking about my time in Romania. She asked,
"Have you always been this brave?"
I was taken aback a little by her question, not because of the question itself, but because I was shocked that she called me brave. I think that I had never really seen myself that way. In fact, it was often the opposite. In the past, I cowered to share my thoughts, reach outside of my comfort zone, and take any kind of risk. I even missed going on an exciting trip to Australia with friends when I was 15 because of fear.
But God kept speaking to me about my fear and wouldn't let me settle in it. Over the years, he repeatedly brought me into situations where I had to step into the unknown and trust Him. At first, I just watched others take risks. Then, slowly, I began to take risks on my own. They probably weren't risks that most people would even consider to be risky but, for me, they were. When asked to do so, I shared my testimony at a Women's Retreat and gave a talk on thanksgiving at a Women's Thanksgiving Dinner. I began to think, "Okay, this risk-taking thing is not all that bad, and God has been with me all along. Maybe I could do this some more."
Then, God took me allowed a situation in my life where, in two weeks, I would lose both my job and my housing. I was so frightened and laid awake at night wondering what would happen. Despite the fearful emotions, God kept me seeking Him and knowing that He is my faithful Provider. And He did provide! Even before the two weeks were up, He provided both a job and a place to live. God was teaching me that I can trust Him, no matter what the situation looks like or how I feel.
As I grew in faith that God would take good care of me as I depend on and wait for Him, He brought me through more and more challenging situations and increased my faith even more. Six years ago, He led me to move from California to Colorado. I had never lived outside of Orange County except for a short time in college but I looked for and was offered a job there. Once I was offered the job, I was on a short timeline as I needed to be there in a week! With the help of a lot of prayer and some good friends who helped me get rid of what I didn't need, I packed up my Acura sedan with my remaining items and drove to Colorado, arriving the day before starting work. I had some friends and family there already, a job, and a temporary place to stay but nothing else. Once I got there, God was so good to me to, on no merit of my own, provide a great church, a friend who offered a more long-term place to stay at his parents' house while I got settled, and a new group of friends. He called me to risk and trust Him then quickly helped me to feel at home in my new surroundings.
Through mission trips to Belize, Costa Rica, Haiti, Thailand, and a month in Africa. followed by 10 days roaming around Europe with a friend, God taught me that wherever I am, He is with me. Therefore, I'm safe even when situations don’t seem safe at all. Because God is in control, whatever happens to me is allowed for my good and for His Glory, and He will see me through it. So, whether I live or die or am injured or well, I can trust Him and that He cares for me. This trust has freed me to take bigger and bigger risks. Last summer, after my first trip to Romania, God gave me the courage to travel alone to Prague and spend the day exploring and then to spend a day and a night alone in Budapest before my flight home. The old me would have never ventured to these new cities alone, especially overnight, but God had done a wonderful work in me, and I realized that I wasn't really alone. I never am.
God never ceases to amaze me with the ways that He works in the lives of those who call Him Lord. In my life, He took a fearful young girl and, through a series of hardships and difficulties, made her brave. But, what is bravery, really? I have come to learn that the only true kind of bravery is a simple trust that the God of the Universe truly is in control of all things, which gives us the freedom to take all of the risks that He asks us to take, in His name and for His Glory - including moving to Romania.