Juggling Fire, Newsletters

Full-Frontal Faith: My Testimony Unwinding

By Jaynee – October 17, 2020

Today was the most eventful day in my life so far. I’ve been crying for the past 6 hours, but not because I’m sad, or anxious, or annoyed, or angry. Over the last 10 months, I have been watching God at work all around me and have been seeing my path being paved.

It all started in January 2020 when I was in Fayetteville, North Carolina visiting a friend. I went to church like I usually do on Sundays. I had never been to this church before and I was really excited because it was just a small community like everyone was family. Going to a very large church for the last 6 years, it had been a while since I had experienced that closeness in Sunday morning church. The pastor gave a really beautiful sermon about Matthew 5:13;

        ‘You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.’

He talked about what it meant to be the salt of the earth and how in order to be that, we need to be following God’s path for us. It’s easy to fall into the comfortability of making your own path and knowing what to expect at every corner, but that’s not always the path that God has for you. He gave some Bible verses about getting back on track and what the difference is between following and trusting God versus just believing in Him. It was a beautiful sermon but it was nothing new. I had heard this sermon a few times before. The difference was, I had heard it the past 3 Sundays. All in different cities. All from different pastors at different churches. Okay, God … I get it. Tell me what I’m not hearing. Show me what I’m not seeing. Guide me to where I’m supposed to be,

‘In all your ways submit to him, and he will set straight your paths.’ Proverbs 3:6

The pastor then invited everyone into a time of prayer. A time to submit yourself to God, whether for the first time or the hundredth time. For me, it was the latter. I have prayed this prayer before, but never really gotten much of a response. As I sat there though, crying and praying, I felt God speak to me loud and clear. I saw and felt a wall crumble in my brain, much like how I imagine the walls of Jericho would have looked – that was my favorite story of faith in the Bible. “You are to be here. You will study hard for the passions that I have given you.” Those words were more clear than the most purified water. Following the wall crashing down, a felt a sense of peace and relief fill my body. I knew that Bangkok wasn’t my home any more and that finally, it was okay to leave and to begin building more to my life. It wasn’t about building a new life, but just writing a new chapter.

        I told my friend and her family from Fayetteville, and they welcomed me with open arms. Immediately, I began planning. 

        I had planned to be out of Bangkok in 3 months. I didn’t have enough. I said, ‘Okay, two more months.’ I still didn’t have enough. I recalculated, ‘Okay. One more month and I will have enough.’ Then, school started back up. I went from earning $150 a week, to earning just over $50 a week. I was confused and upset. How could God want me somewhere but not give me the money that I needed? I prayed the prayer that I had prayed every night since January, ‘God, I know that you will make a way. Help me to trust in you and to have patience. Amen.’ 

So I waited. I watched my savings slowly decline because I wasn’t making enough to save. I was frustrated, but I just kept praying that prayer.

        One Saturday at youth, our pastor was telling a sermon on trusting God. She told a story about how when she was younger, she was praying a similar prayer to what I had been praying for the past few months. She said that God told her to ask Him for what she needed. Don’t just wait for Him to provide it. She asked Him for it, and the next day she received it. Immediately, I knew that I had been waiting. I had forgotten to talk to God about my struggles and not just trust that it will come. 

‘So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him.’ Matthew 7:11 

I believe that God is much like our earthly fathers as young kids. They know what we want and what we’re interested in, and they could just get it for us at any time. But if we’re not asking and communicating with them, oftentimes they won’t get it. Sure, they could take us for ice cream every week, but what if we only ask every couple of weeks? 

So I changed my prayer. ‘God, I know that you will make away. I know that this is your will, but right now I’m struggling. I don’t know what to do. I’m working and trying but I just can’t save up enough money. Help me to save up and give me the opportunities that will provide. Help me to trust in you and to have patience. Amen.’ I prayed this prayer every night for the next week until we had a retreat that was an hour and a half outside of Bangkok. 

I began getting ready for the retreat. I usually take my passport with me in case we run into immigration officers, and my passport was in a folder with all of my other important documents, including some scans and some stuff for my visa. I decided to just bring it all. I went to pack up my backpack but I decided that instead of a backpack this year like every other, I’ll take a small suitcase. My backpack was getting old and it just didn’t fit that much stuff. I was all packed up and ready to go.

This retreat was all about the Holy Spirit and letting Him guide us and fill our lives. I had been praying for Him to work in all the hearts of the people going and I had been hearing God say that he was already working on it. 

Come around 1 p.m. on Saturday, I had looked at my phone and seen that I had 3 missed calls from my mom. I called her back and she told me that my step-dad and his coworker had a friend that owned a freight shipping company. They were in desperate need of a courier that would be available to fly out that night. I thought, ‘This is sketchy. There is NO way that this is real.’ I contacted the guy and he gave me all the information. He gave me proof that this was real and that all I needed to do was get to the airport in two hours, deliver the boxes to America, wait for my travel back papers to be approved, and do a 2-week quarantine in Thailand. All expenses paid, and in the end, I will get $2,000. I was conflicted so I turned to prayer. My phone buzzed, and my daily verse came through, Romans 8:31;

‘What, then, shall we say to these things? If God is for us, what can be against us.’

I said yes, and in 30 minutes I was in a taxi straight to the airport. 

I was crying… a lot. I wasn’t sad, I was overwhelmed. I was filled with God’s love. I was filled with the Holy Spirit. Every event leading up to that was God. I don’t usually bring my travel documents, or a suitcase to retreats, but this time around something compelled me. That, and 5 days after praying a prayer asking God to send me what I need, a once in a life time opportunity pops up. I had absolutely no doubt in my mind that it was God. It was strange, but it was relieving. Nothing in me felt like this was wrong or sketchy. It all added up and it all felt right. I messaged who I needed to and they all said, “What??? Are you sure this is legit?” I responded, ‘I know how it sounds but I assure you this is real.’ 

God had proved once again, that all you need is full and total faith and he will provide for you what you need. Being vulnerable and opening yourself up to a world of uncertainty is hard, but once I had finally done it, I didn’t feel any stress. I was confident and I wasn’t scared of not knowing what was going to happen. 

I got the packages delivered and I got back to my new home in North Carolina, half of my pay was deposited. God is SO good. Words that I knew were said often, but found it hard to proclaim – not because I didn’t believe it, but because before this moment in time, I was scared of what others would think if I did say it. Throughout the entire trip, I just said those words on repeat. Outloud, in my head, in music, and in writing, I could not stop myself from repeating it. God is SO good.

When I got to North Carolina, I faced the challenge of deciding if I should stay and get my stuff shipped, where I would earn an extra $1,000 and could afford everything that I needed, or if I should go back to Bangkok to say a proper goodbye and get my stuff myself, but I would still be a little bit behind for everything that I needed. There were a lot of tears, and the decision wasn’t easy. Logically, I wanted to stay. Emotionally, I wanted to go back. So after 12 hours of stressing and talking to my friends and family, and God, I went from 80% staying here to 15% staying here. I ultimately decided to go back, and I wasn’t sure if that was the right decision. I didn’t have a clear idea and I could see the pros and cons of each option. 

The next morning I woke up to the daily verse, 2 John 1:6;

‘ And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.’ 

I knew that it was okay to go back. I made the decision to go back out of love for my family and my friends. I didn’t feel 100% right about not saying a proper goodbye. Going back wasn’t ignoring God’s call for me to be in North Carolina, but rather it was closing up the first part of my story.

My friends are going to hate me for the title of this testimony, but it’s true. The dreams where you wake up in full-frontal nudity in front of someone are always some of the hardest and most embarrasing ones. Just as that is, full-frontal faith is hard too. Making yourself vulnerable to a person is hard, but making yourself vulnerable to an All-Mighty God? It seems impossible. I promise though, it is worth it. If we are trying to fight our own battles and have built our own armor to wear, God can’t reach our hearts. 

If you’re struggling to open yourself up, keep praying, keep worshipping, and keep reading the Bible. I know that it can be tedious and boring sometimes, but keep pushing and keep longing for that faith. I promise that once you take the jump, He will not let you fall. You are chosen. You are his child. He will not let you crash and burn, but you have to allow Him to do that. Just as you can’t be given a birthday gift if you don’t accept it, God can’t patch your holes if you won’t let Him. I can now say with full truth, that I cannot wait to see what God does in my life from here, and I can’t wait to see how he uses my story. I know that He has a plan for me, and I know that He has a plan for you, too.

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