I will be praying for you until we talk. The words jumped off the page as I read them on the message thread.
Why is she going to pray for me? I thought. Sure, it was very kind, but there was something deep inside of me that knew it was more than simply a friendship gesture.
At that moment I sensed that God was going to ask something very big of me.
Belinda is passionate, a visionary, winsome, faith-filled, and purposeful. She is also the founder of One Million Thumbprints (1Mt), a grassroots campaign seeking to catalyze a groundswell of people focused on overcoming the effects of war against women through storytelling, advocacy, and fundraising in the most war-torn countries of the world.
Her big vision is to collect one million thumbprints from people who will stand in solidarity against these violent acts, and to raise one million dollars to help fund programs for the victimized women in these ravaged countries.
To bring momentum to the movement, she asked 15 women to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania on International Women’s Day on March 8, 2016. Mt. Kilimanjaro is famously known as the “Mountain of Light,” or the “heart, beauty and jewel” of Africa.
This group of women will summit the highest mountain the world to bring the violent acts committed against vulnerable women around the globe into the light. They will carry a banner covered in thumbprints from those who pledge support and “make a mark” on the issue of violence against women in war.
I was so excited and intrigued by her idea when I met her at the conference that I volunteered to lead a climb up a mountain in my small area of the world in solidarity for the cause and committed to gathering thumbprints.
Surely she couldn’t be calling me about the climb I’m leading, I thought in my head. She has way too much to do to be calling me about that. WEIRD.
When Belinda and I connected on the phone, she updated me on the campaign and the developments since I’d last seen her. She spoke about Africa, refugee camps in the Congo, and about her speaking schedule spreading the word. Then, she transitioned to the reason for our call.
“Because of health issues, one of the climbers had to drop out” I heard her say. And without pausing she continued, “And I feel led to ask you to take her place.”
There have been very few times in my life where I’ve been speechless, and this was one of them. I did not see this coming. It took a few minutes before I could gather my thoughts, and then a million of questions starting swimming in my head.
Stunned, I hung up the phone and drove to a Christmas luncheon where I was meeting my mom. Chris Tomlin came on the radio singing Good, Good Father and tears began to roll down my cheeks as I listened to the line, “And He calls me deeper still…”
I knew this was the beginning of a deepening process, no matter what I decided. God was calling me deeper – and into the unknown.
Often when God calls us places, it is out of our comfort zones.
My husband is a mountain climber and a physician. Climbing mountains and going to refugee camps are in his strength zone, both as a mountaineer and a doctor who has a heart for the underserved. If Belinda had called and asked him to go, he would have been on the first plane to Africa no questions asked.
But for me it was different. Sure, the mountains have always been a huge part of my life – I live and play in them almost daily, but I also have heart and knee issues that are serious considerations. I am a mom who loves home and has a hard time leaving my family. Then there is the small detail of going to refugee camps in The Congo – a place notorious for being unstable and dangerous.
For me this invitation was not just a little outside of my comfort zone – it was far, far out. What is one person’s comfort zone is another’s wilderness.
So what did I do? I cried. A lot. And I asked him why He couldn’t call me to Starbucks ministry, or to knitting blankets for orphans. Why did I have to do something so…so….WILD?
But we don’t serve a tame God, and He knows exactly what will push us beyond ourselves and into a life worth living; A place where we are dependent on Him and unable to take the credit ourselves – empowered and emboldened only by the Holy Spirit.
The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It’s our handle on what we can’t see. The act of faith is what distinguished our ancestors, set them above the crowd. – Hebrews 11:1 (MSG)
For me my wilderness is Africa. What is it for you? Where is God leading you that is well beyond your comfort zone?
Say a WILD YES.
Let Him take you there, and trust that He will meet you and provide more than you could ever dream or imagine.
By Krista Gilbert
This post first appeared on kristagilbert.com.