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Thursday, June 7, 2007

The Great Wall

Last week I stood on The Great Wall. I never thought I would. In fact, I determined years ago that I wouldn't.

As a newly married couple in 1991, my husband and I were sitting in our comfortable twenty-something, "young married's" Sunday School class one Sunday morning, when some visiting missionaries from China spoke. I remember noticing that my husband was becoming increasingly interested as they shared about their ministry in China. I also remember thinking, "No way!" I distinctly told God that day in my heart, "I'll go anywhere you send me, but never China." Why? Because China, to me, represented everything I feared- being on the opposite side of the world, completely away from the "familiar," having to eat food I probably wouldn't like... being totally out of my comfort zone. Furthermore, I never considered myself to have the "gift of evangelism," so the prospect of being about as far away from home as I could imagine, sharing the gospel, made me even more nervous! Nope. Not for me.

Long story short- I went. In 2005, I found myself in China on a short term mission trip. It was quite a journey to get there, but by God's grace, He brought me to that point. I remember two years ago climbing, climbing that huge wall, looking out across the vast expanse beyond it... and singing "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God." This year I didn't climb quite as far or sing, but I was reminded that there I stood, once again, in a place I had told God I would never go.

That wasn't the first "Great Wall" I'd climbed, actually. I'd climbed the "Great Wall" of stay-at-home motherhood, even though I thought I would be a lifelong "career woman." I'd climbed the Great Wall of homeschooling after teaching public school, which I loved. As I write I can think of many other "Great Walls" in my life, those "I'll nevers" that I've said to myself and to God. Brick upon brick, building my Great Walls.

Do you have a Great Wall? Something that you've told God you'll never do, or are hoping He'll never ask you to? Maybe it's a place you don't want to go, or a ministry in which you don't want to serve. Perhaps it's a place you'd feel very insecure or don't feel you have the necessary gifts. Maybe it's a role that just seems downright unattractive or uncomfortable.

Today I'm encouraging all of us to yield those walls to Him. I discovered, as so many women have as they've found themselves in a place they thought they'd never be, that it was a place of great blessing, a place of great peace. There is nothing like knowing that you are in a place you would've never put yourself, and that it must be the hand of God that led you there. Nothing compares to knowing that you are smack in the middle of His will and His plan. And there's nothing like standing in that place, knowing that you are not standing alone. The hand that leads you there is the hand that holds you in the mighty grip of His grace.

Visit my personal blog at One Day More.

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Anonymous Jen said...

LOL i remember when I was considering being baptized going out into the mission field scared me. I have since come to learn that God wont put you there until he plants the desire in your heart strongly first :)
God is so very good

June 6, 2007 at 11:28 PM  
Blogger Chris @ Come to the Table said...

This was so good. I wish I could write down here all the walls and places I have told God I would never go or do only to find myself standing in that place. And yet I find myself asking God as I read this, "is there a Great Wall in my life that I am refusing to stand on or even attempt out of fear?" This has stirred me to pray and ask.
Great Word for today. Bless you my friend!

June 7, 2007 at 12:20 AM  
Blogger Denise said...

Bless you for climbing that wall sweet one.

June 7, 2007 at 1:24 AM  
Blogger Christine said...

Wow, what an amazing experience and wonderful analogy for our lives. Colin and I just studied the Great Wall last week so I know exactly what kind of "I'll never" it would be to be equated with the wall. I'll be thinking about this this week!

June 7, 2007 at 7:15 AM  
Blogger Laurel Wreath said...

I have learned early on never to say "I will never.." because that is an invitation for God to stretch me. =)) But yes I have had several "Great Walls" want to know my biggest one, one I know God is chuckling about..."I will never make a good Mom to boys, I am a girl Mom" (I said pre-marriage) Well look where I am not, boys all around me, hehehe.

It is so good to have you back.


June 7, 2007 at 3:05 PM  
Anonymous Lynn Donovan said...


This is awesome...The hand that leads you there is the hand that holds you in the mighty grip of His grace....

This is a well written story and a powerful message. Thank you.

June 8, 2007 at 8:59 AM  
Blogger Darlene said...

Cyndi, that must have been awesome!! I can't imagine standing there, and like you were, I never imagine I will. Thanks for reminding us of the beauty that lies at the top of the wall.

June 8, 2007 at 12:45 PM  
Blogger mamas*little*treasures said...

When I stood there on a foggy morning, looking up at the Great Wall of China, it was with the anticipation of our first introduction to our daughter, Gracie. Just days after our trip to the Great Wall and the Forbidden City, we were in a hotel in Xian with our precious little one in our arms. That was a "Great Wall" moment for me! Thanks for sharing! Nina

June 20, 2007 at 12:28 PM  

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