MOXIE: FORCE OF CHARACTER, DETERMINATION, OR NERVE. I had surrendered the planning of our honeymoon to Troy to organize. He said he wanted to sort all the details for it and I thought that was just plain romantic. Little did I know what was coming...
As we cued in line at the airport, Troy shared the big surprise of where our honeymoon adventure would lead us... Mexico! It was just what I wanted... a beach vacation together!
During the flight, I began to ask questions.
"Where in Cancun will we be staying?"
My young husband gave me a blank stare. He scratched his head and then grabbed a fistful of pretzels to shove into his mouth,
"Um..I can't remember." he said as he crunched his pretzels between his teeth.
"Well, what's the name of the resort we are staying at?"
"I don't remember that either." He grabbed my hand and smiled, trying to divert my questions with his charm.
Unimpressed, I pushed his hand away and said, "Surely, you have some kind of paper with our booking info on it. All the info will be on there. Give it me and I will have a look."
Troy's forehead began to bead with sweat. He leaned into my ear and whispered with small embarrassment, "I didn't bring that paper with me. Should I have?"
Panic took over. We were on a plane to Mexico for our honeymoon and we had no idea what town or what resort hotel we were staying at! Thirty-five thousand feet in the air, and there was nothing we could do but wait until our plane landed to try to sort the details.
By nature, I am a planner. If I am heading somewhere that is unfamiliar to me, I become 'pyscho planner'. The "unknown" is uncomfortable for me. This is why I compensate with over organization and preparedness.
The story of Ruth is one that rings of true "moxie" for me. Here a young widow, stood in the middle of tragedy and faced the most uncomfortable thing in the universe: the unknown.
Her mother in law was depressed. Her sister in law was beyond consoling. The story goes that the three of the, wept together as they stood in shared grief. Left without husbands...left without sons... left with no homes to make.. these women wept for deep, deep loss.
“Return home my daughters. Why would you come with me? Am I am going to have more sons, who could become your husbands? Return home, my daughters...— Ruth 1:11-12a
Return to what you know. Return to what is familiar. Go back to your people. Naomi was giving loving advice. She knew that what the road of grief was long one and they would need of community of support to help them rebuild their lives.
“At this they wept again. Then Orpah kissed her mother-in-law good bye but Ruth clung to her.— Ruth 1:14
Oprah did what most women in her day would have done. She took her mother-in-law's advice and went back home. Ruth took a different path.
“But Ruth replied, ‘Don’t urge me to leave you or turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay, I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God...’— Ruth 1:16
Ruth chose to fearlessly follow Naomi to a place that would be completely unknown to her. Now, that takes moxie.
There have been many times in my life where I have been required to be a fearless follower into the unknown. I cannot say that I have always mastered the "fearless" part. Much like our honeymoon adventure, I begin to ask questions and panic when I don't have all the answers and details right at the moment. I start to peddle backwards to what I already know and is familiar instead of clinging onto Jesus and following Him onto my next big adventure.
Ruth's story is worth a read and sadly, I don't have the time to retell here. But hey, you should grab some coffee and read it anyways. It's only four chapters. Here's a spoiler alert for you : her story has a very happy ending.
Our honeymoon adventure has a happy ending too. When we got off the plane, there was a man standing next to a few bus coaches. He held a notebook in his hand.
Troy walked up to the man and before he could ask for help, the man said, "Señor, what is your name?
Troy gave him our name and it turns out that we were on his list for the coach that drove us straight to our resort. In the end, Troy didn't need his paper with all the details on it! Although, don't tell him that I finally have admitted that after all these years!
Living with a fearless heart to follow Jesus takes moxie. It's not always easy but when we do, we find that adventure is so worth it.
What unknown are you facing today? Where is Jesus asking you to fearlessly follow Him?
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Favorite moments……hmmm….during this last month there were so many! But after thinking about it for a little while there are a few things that really stand out. I’ll share about each of them throughout the next week or so but I’ll start with thing that really got my heart the most. And that would have to be Aria. I can’t say that there were really specific moments throughout the trips but more so the trips as a whole where Aria was concerned.
After doing the discipleship training (DT) in May, I really wasn’t sure how these trips would be with our almost 2 year old. DT wasn’t the easiest where Aria was concerned and by the end we were all three just worn out and both Aria and I (Anna) got sick. So I think it’s safe to say I was a little concerned about pretty much an entire month of going and preparing and ministering. But by the end of that first trip at the beginning of June, I knew there was nothing to be concerned about. And when we arrived at the camps with the Bethel team on that first day and I saw the joy in Aria’s eyes as she ran to the crowd of children, I couldn’t hold back the joy in my own heart just watching her.
Every day we would go to a different camp and every day Aria would immediately find a crowd of kids (which wasn’t hard), and plop herself down in the middle of them and look at them with the hugest grin planted on her face. She rolled around with them, played in the dirt, tickled them, played hide & seek, danced with them, worshiped, played games, and hugged and hugged and hugged every one of those kids that she could get her hands on. And let me tell you,they LOVED her! The kids would struggle to be the one sitting close to her, they’d take turns holding her hands and just soaking up the love she had to give them.
Just thinking about the interaction between my little girl and these children makes me want to tear up and go back this instant just to see it some more. There is one specific moment that I will probably never forget that I’d like to share. The Bethel team brought many things to give out to the kids but one of the things was a crown. They brought this huge stack of cardboardcrowns from burger king. A couple of the women in our group started walking around placing crowns on the kids and Aria soon noticed. Aria proceeded to follow one of them around and find someone that didn’t have a crown, take the crown from her and walk over and crown the child. After crowning each of the kids, Aria then moved onto the adults. As I watched my nearly 2 year old daughter be hoisted up to place a cardboard crown on the adult in front of her my heart melted. The moments were so precious, not just for me, but for the person getting the crown. I saw looks of such sweet joy and love on their faces.God used Aria, she may not have understood what she was doing, but He used her to make each and every one of these people feel special, loved, and worthy.
These moments with Aria were truly my favorite. I think any mother would feel the same way. She stole their hearts and showered them with the love that God has placed in her heart. I made it even more evident that you are never too old or too young to be used by God! Never doubt that you can be used. God used Aria at 1 ½ and He can use you at 101!
People always told us that Aria was a missions baby because she was so easy and good. But these trips made that statement even truer because I saw God use my little girl. She isn’t just a missions baby but Aria is a missionary herself. God has called her to these people for this time just as much as He has called Kolby and I. And there isn’t a single barrier between their hearts and hers! No language barrier, no cultural barrier, no age barrier! She reached these people’s hearts and I can’t wait to see how God continues to use her throughout her life! I just love my Aria Dawn! This momma’s heart is happy!
Read more by the Hogan family on their blog.