by Melissa Hanley

When I was 32, we went on what we thought would be one of many short-term family mission trips. During that trip, a seed was planted when we saw how our skills could be used on the mission field (I was a super organized stay-at-home mom and former teacher.  My husband had his bachelor's in psychology and was working on a double masters in Health Care Administration and Social Work). Two years later, at an age where most people are setting into a comfortable home and life, we packed necessities in 6 suitcases, sold everything else, and moved to a foreign country!  

My life looks a lot different than I imagined it.  First, I live on the border of the Dominican Republic and Haiti. I have a biological college-aged daughter but am currently raising 2 babies, 4 toddlers, and 10 elementary, middle, and high schoolers. Over the 13 years, we've had countless other children in our care and never know when we might receive someone new.

Before we started this adventure, I often felt out of place...different. I just didn't seem to be wired the same way as those around me. Ever feel that way?   Maybe you are out of place.  

After a very short time, I realized that I had been “knit in my mother's womb” (Psalm 139:13) to be here, doing this.   “Even before we were born, God planned in advance our destiny and the good works we would do to fulfill it!” Ephesians 2:10*

Do you realize that that verse is for you, too?  Are you struggling because you're trying to fit in where you don't? Have you felt a tug to make a change?  Don't resist!  God sees the future and has amazing things he wants to do for and through you. Follow his lead. Trust him. There is blessing for obedience! (Read Deuteronomy 28). My heart's cry is “I just want to obey all you ask of me” Psalm 143:10a

Neither my life nor my faith walk is perfect, but I can truly say that my heart and mind are at peace. That's his promise when we trust him—“Perfect, absolute peace surrounds those whose imaginations are consumed with you; they confidently trust in you.”  Isaiah 26:3  Now may God, the inspiration and fountain of hope, fill you to overflowing with uncontainable joy and perfect peace as you trust in him.” Romans 15:13

Where are you struggling to trust him? Is that also an area that is void of peace?  Is it where your imagination tends to run wild with the “what if's”? As I sit here writing this, I'm praying that God will remind you of all the times you have found him trustworthy! I pray that you will flood your mind (imagination) with the truth of his goodness, mercy, and love towards you and that you will take steps towards obedience and find yourself experiencing his peace and blessings!

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*All verses are quoted from The Passion Translation.