June is in the books – and that means my (long-awaited for and much anticipated) trip to Thailand has now come and gone. I typically like to look back over a month and notice both the blessings it included, as well as whatever lessons God may have been teaching me. However, I don’t want to take too quick of a glance back at my trip. I hope the experiences, the people met and the quiet moments with God while away will continue to impact me – mold me, strengthen me and settle me – for many weeks and months to come. There were, indeed, many lessons to be learned and, in many ways, it took being so far removed from my routine, and even my comfort zone, in order to hear God’s speaking. And His still small voice was not necessarily one of rebuke (although there are always areas to correct) but more one of encouragement.
In several ways, I think of Thailand as a “Jacob at Penuel” time. Where Jacob wrestled with an angel until his thigh was out of joint. Genesis 32:31 says, “And as he (Jacob) passed over Penuel the sun rose upon him, and he halted upon his thigh.” He limped. No doubt, for the rest of his life. He was changed and he could point back to the exact time and place when it happened. I know I did not return the same from Thailand and I am grateful that God is still interested in shaping me into a vessel that can be used for His purposes and by His design.
As silly as it sounds, it took this trip to remind me that I am not 25 anymore. I do not have the energy or the stamina that I did at 25. Nor do I even have the same interests. I knew that I would be the oldest one on the trip (although I do not even qualify for senior discounts yet) but I did not want to be the “weakest link” on the trip. Knowing that God wanted me to go on this trip, I prayed that He would enable me – especially physically. And He did – but He did not make me 25 again. My “mounting up with wings as eagles” did not mean the energy of my younger years suddenly reappeared. In fact, when the group wanted to jaunt up the 340 steps to visit the temple pictured here…I knew I had reached my limit. I waited at the bottom. I sat and rested my weary feet. And, it was okay. More than okay.
God is looking for willing hearts. God wants to use surrendered lives – no matter the age and no matter the physical abilities or limitations. We do not reach an age where we are finished or simply retire from usefulness for God.
There is no need for me to keep looking to my past – or my younger years – to validate my effectiveness for Christ. Nor do I need to wait for some “magical” moment in the future. God has specific plans for me – right now and in this phase of life – and I am so thankful that He desires to use me. And the same is true for each child of God. I encourage you to embrace exactly where you are and delight in however He will use you!