My story starts over 10 years ago when I was in college. I encountered the Lord in a radical way and instantly had a heart for the nations. Even though, I had no idea what that meant. Just the same I had a go in my heart and I went all the way to Africa. It forever marked my heart for God’s people.
When I returned, I had a zeal for the Lord and I was ready to go again. I asked the Lord, “Where are we going next?” So clearly, I heard him reply…CHINA. From that moment on I began to experience what it was like for the Lord to break your heart for a nation. Little did I know that it would be over 10 years before I would land on soil and have a small piece of a nation forever change my heart.
I can’t tell you this story without talking about the in between. In that 11 years, life happened and the nations got pushed from the forefront on my mind. Trials happened, death happened, heartbreak happened and the list goes on … but GOD! God pursed my heart even when I didn’t recognize it. He led me into a romance with my father. The Lord had to restore things in my heart and even take me to other nations before I even remembered the burden I had for China. I tell you this today to tell you that God of the universe, your father, will resurrect the dreams of your heart in his time.
Fast-forward to 2016. I had just returned from my first trip out of the country in over a decade and I was fully charged and ready to run. Literally, I was running and I heard the Lord say “It’s time to go to China. I stopped dead in my tracks and wept. (Now whether that was because the Lord caught me off guard or because I was out of shape, I will let you decide.) So I ran towards preparing to go to trusting that the Lord would open the right door. I had the biggest unknown yes in my heart. I had no idea why I was going but I knew I was going. And began preparing to go spend 2 weeks loving on children that others had cast away.
As I was preparing to go I heard the Lord speak again “Erin, this is a trip that will mark your heart”. I had no idea what that meant but I had this excitement and expectation like never before. I had such high expectations for crazy miracles and the supernatural. I got to the airport and as I approached the gate, I just wept. I had no idea why I was crying, I just felt the weight of a moment, a moment that my father had waited for since the beginning of time. I am here to tell you that there are moments that God is waiting for with you, that he has been waiting for since the beginning of creation. They are moments that forever mark your heart and change who you are in an instant. I was stepping into one of those moments, all because I said yes. What I didn’t realize is that along the way, my yes had picked up some expectations of what I wanted it to look like.
A few days into my trip, I was lonely. This highly extroverted and energetic tiny traveler who was used to running 90 miles a minute and having constant brain stimulation found herself a little bored. While I had fallen in love with the children and community, I found myself a little disappointed, feeling like nothing major had happened. As I watched a children’s movie I couldn’t understand and held a sweet little child I said to the Lord “Why am I here Lord, I haven’t seen any miracles?”. The Lord responded in a soft fatherly way “Erin, is holding a child not enough for you? Would you travel halfway around the world just hold a child that I love?” Again, I stopped dead in my tracks and wept.
In that moment my yes became truly abandoned to his heart. I remember just weeping and saying Yes Lord. Then he said “Good, because I am searching for people whose heart breaks for what my heart breaks for and holding a child is just as important as the signs and wonders.” That day the Lord shocked my heart to life in a way that I cannot fully explain but in that moment, I knew I would live my life saying yes to his heart and not my expectations.
I told you this story to share a vulnerable piece of my journey and leave you with a couple of questions to ask your heart. What breaks your heart, that breaks his heart?
You don’t have to fly half-way around the world. Simply, ask him, “What can we do today?” Remember that the smallest nudge from the Holy Spirit, while it may seem small to you might be big to him. Because yes is small.
I can tell you from experience that an abandoned yes unlocks abandon freedom. So, I encourage you to get quiet and ask yourself, “Do I have expectations I need to lay down? And What is my yes?”
Written by Erin Ramsey