I remember clearly the day God came to me and I remember clearly the day he left.
When I first started going to Hillside Wesleyan Church they began talking about planning for their missions trip. Although I knew at that time they couldn’t possibly be talking to me as nobody even knew me there I still had an incredibly strong urge that I needed to find out what this was all about.
Fast forward to the following year. I picked up the little green application form and rolled it around in my fingers. I remember clearly a person behind me saying “oh Paula, I can see the wheels turning”. I laughed it off and put the application form back on the chair beside me.
It was that year Hillside 2 Haiti 5k was born. No, I didn’t fill out the application to go, but I knew I had to do something. I needed to do something. God was stirring within me and he needed me to help in some way, but actually going to Haiti was not his plan. Over $4000.00 was raised that year and the team was able to use that money this year to employ citizens of Babaco while they were there.
I thought I needed to go to Haiti. I needed to see for myself the impact H2H 5k 2014 had on the village of Babaco. Still, I didn’t feel like it was God’s plan for me. See, it doesn’t matter what we think he wants, it matters in fact what he does want. And for me it was to stay home.
I still joined the team, even though I felt deep within my soul that I wasn’t going. I attended all the team meetings, I went through with the vaccinations and I did what I could to fundraise, still, I didn’t feel like God wanted me to go. I prayed daily, asking God to tell me what to do. Praying for him to give me his plan. Nothing. Not a peep, not a feeling, nothing. I began to lose faith. There is no more lonely feeling in this entire world than when you begin to think that all the faith you had was nothing more than a delusional fantasy. All my praying, hoping, dreaming, was in vain because really, nobody is listening. I came to the realization that nobody was listening and I was kidding myself. I was truly, spiritually alone in this world. God was gone.
As was his plan all along, I didn’t go to Haiti this past year. I had a rough year. Things began to happen that were out of my control and coupled with that I felt like God (if there even was a God) had left me to deal with this on my own.
I continued on with the planning of H2H 5k 2015 but it didn’t feel the same. For H2H 2014 I felt like God was there with me every step of the way, opening doors for me, cheering me on and telling me exactly what I needed to do. I was so full of hope and joy. I felt alone for H2H 2015. I had resigned to the fact that these past few years where I felt such a close and intimate relationship with God our Father was nothing more than a delusion. Throughout all this, even though my faith was quickly dissipating, I continued to pray. Even if nobody was listening, for me if for no one else, I continued to pray.
As May 30th 2015 approached, I was so discouraged. Our #’s were down by ½ and I began to ask myself why am I even doing this anymore? What is the point?
Again, I continued to pray. If for no one else but me, I continued to pray.
Race day, as I looked out at the crowd, as everyone came together to support our Missions Team, as bags and bags of food donations began to fill our trailer out front, I didn’t have to ask anymore. I remembered exactly what we were doing this for. Not just for Haiti, not just for The Demetrious Lane Food Bank, but for everyone. The love, the smiles and the joy that people felt because they were all coming together for a common goalmade it all worth it. I knew at that moment that there will always be a H2H 5k. I have never felt more proud to be a part of something so wonderful. Although our numbers were decreased by ½ this year, the amount of funds raised were close if not more than what we raised last year and I couldn’t be prouder of our community and more thankful for their support. Love thy neighbor? You can bet they do!
Regarding my faith? It’s back. 10 fold. To see our #’s decreased by ½ and the amount of $$ raised staying the same, it’s obvious that God provides. God wanted to show me something. Although my faith was strong, my trust was still very weak. I really don’t know why God does what he does, what lessons he tries to teach us through the rough times, and why he becomes so quiet that you begin to doubt if he was ever there. It’s not my place to know. I am thankful that through it all I continued to pray because this past Sunday, God was back. Loud and proud. I can’t really explain how you know God is with you, you just do.
When members of our Church go to Haiti, they always say they learned so much while there. They come back changed, more faithful and their relationship with God is stronger. For me, I got all that by staying home. I am still learning but one thing I know for sure is that God is faithful, he will never change, he will NEVER leave us and he is ALWAYS by our side.
I am excited for this next journey with God by my side. I am more excited for H2H 2016 than I have ever been.
Thank you all for continuing on this journey with me. I am so thankful to our community, our running community, our church community and all God’s people.
May God bless all that serve :-)
See you next year! <3