Life doesn’t exactly ever end up the way we think it will. As I left for Honduras on July 5, 2013, I thought I had a least a glimpse of what I would be feeling, experiencing, and taking away from this trip. It was a mission trip, so obviously I know everything, right – wrong.
God changed my life in Zambrano, Honduras. He took what I thought was lost, hopeless, and full of disappointment and turned my heart into a wellspring of faith. To write a blog about the entire trip would take not only too much of your time, but would take away from the real Author of that trip. The Author of that trip not only wrote a chapter in my book of life, but He wrote so deep that it bled through into the pages of my future chapters. When I continue to live my life, I will be able to see the marks of this trip in the pages that are yet to be written. There are three main areas that God changed in my life that I believe were not just for me – but for you as well.
“When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” Matthew 9:36
There are few words that I could say without tearing up that would cover the immense tragedy that I saw and heard while in Honduras. The stories of the children who were wrongly physically and emotional traumatized is unimaginable. The lives of the men in women imprisoned for reasons that probably we will never know or understand. It was a world that was far different than my Dallas, Texas lifestyle and ever farther away from the small, safe town I grew up in.
As I was preparing for this trip, I had been asking God two things:
1. To see His people like He does
At the children’s home and school, at the hospital, at the rehab center, and at the men and women’s prison – I saw them through His eyes. I saw them as children who didn’t have a Father, men and women who didn’t have the hope, and just like above – sheep without a shepherd. It was humbling and heartbreaking to see, but beautiful and rewarding to be able to love them like Jesus would have – and does. We are His hands and feet, and for the children I was a hug and a smile. Even through my broken, very broken Spanish, I was the compassionate words of Jesus giving them hope to fight the good fight and just keep believing that there will come a day with no more tears and no more pain. I didn’t have the answers for their lives, just like I don’t for yours, but that is why God’s Word is so important – it is compilation of His answer – Jesus.
2. To see Myself like He see me
He answered my first prayer at the men’s prison. I had been praying about giving my testimony at this prison for months before the trip – but only 15 minutes or so before I gave it, did He reveal what it was I was to say. In front of over 1200 male prisoners, I told they were loved, forgiven, and that no matter what female role in their lives they had hurt or betrayed – wife, sister, daughter, niece, and even mother. In this moment, I literally felt forgiveness in the room. I also felt something else in the room, but it wasn’t for the male prisoners – it was for me. It was the literal presence of fulfillment of my life story helping the helpless and giving hope to hopeless. My story of brokenness was being used to mend. My story of hurt and pain was being used to heal and bring joy where pain had tried to make a home. It was a feeling that I was only able to feel because I was seeing them through the eyes of Christ, and through that, He gave me a glimpse into how He sees me. He sees me full of one of the most important things any person could ever feel or experience, the one thing that brings hope to any future and confidence to any human – it was my purpose.
The thing I had been searching my entire life to find had happened in a 10 minute time span in another country in the middle of one of the most dangerous prisons in the world. A moment that God has destined for me to experience before I even was born. He knew that in that moment, Jessica Marie Pittman, would know the reason that her life looked different from anyone else’s. That although tragedy will always have competition, that my life has been full of suffering that Satan has lied to me for years saying “it was all for nothing…” I can honestly tell you I have not been the same since that moment. My outlook on my relationships, my job, my family, my future, and my past all changed with realizing the Author knew what he was doing from Chapter 1. He knew that although Chapters 1-23 would be hurtful and painful years, that in Chapter 24 He would turn ashes to beauty.
3. FAITH & PROPHECY
This last section is one of great importance. This gift not only affected me, but almost everyone else on the trip. God is a wooing and pursuing God. He longs to speak to His children, and sometimes He uses the ears of some to listen and then the mouths of those to speak His beloved words of encouragement, direction, and purpose. Its a gift that I am unworthy to have, but one I gratefully and humbly accept. It is apart of my purpose to hear from Him and then be obedient. This may seen easy and wonderful, and it is, but for my own personal walk it is the one way the enemy attacks me the most. The things most confirmed by God in my Spirit are the things that the enemy brings the most doubt and fear in my everyday life. God has continually told me to stop and just trust – but after many years of hurt and pain of me doing just that with the people of this world and being broken, it has taken me a long time to do as He calls. As time passed through this trip God gave me plenty of revelations about my own future and walk with Him, and finally, I took Him at His word – the birth of true faith was born.
Faith. The hardest part in our walks because it consist of completely walking in the unknown. Taking leaps of ‘faith’ and having no idea where you might land, but trusting in the one who got you to where you are leaping from in the first place. It is so hard, but yet so trivial to our daily walk. For me to have the opportunity to learn such a pivotal and life-changing truth at twenty-four is humbling and remarkable. I have never had trouble believing that God can do the impossible in others, but it has always stumped me that that same truth applies to me as well. God not only took me by the hand and led me right into a vision of a completely clear and unmistakable truth into what my present situation looks like, but He confirmed the words of countless others that had given me previous words for this one area of my life. He gave me a no-return policy.
“You cannot return to Texas and believe that this will not come to fruition, you have to trust that I am All you say I am and you are ALL I say you are. In this you will find the joy of faith and the miracle of trusting in the impossible. I have more than you could ever imagine right in front of you, but you have to trust for the next step to be able to make it up the staircase. There are no elevators in this life, it is a day by day and step by step life I have destined for you. Never do you build muscle through riding an elevator, but you always gain strength and build muscles by walking up the stairs. Trust that I will always be giving you the living water to help you hydrate and my Word will be the food that will give you strength to keep going. Don’t give up my love, my diamond, for the walk up is always my goal – never the destination.”
So yes, after speaking this, I knew that I could never go back and believe that I was that one exception to the rule. You know, the lie that Satan tells you that “you are one He forgot, you are the one He won’t bless, you are the one Job that He won’t come through for in the end..” NO! NO! NO! God is a passionate and faithful God that will stand in the midst of that lie and tell the Satan to get the hell away from His child – and for once, I let Him stand in front of me and do that – and everyday since.
So, Then What?
I end with the same question that Jayna, one of my sisters on the trip, asked me as we laid by the pool in Honduras on our day at the zoo.
“So, Jessica what will you do when you get back? Then what?”
Though she didn’t know it then and probably won’t until after she reads this blog, this was one of the most profound questions on my trip. It was direct, blunt, and most of all, directly from the Lord. He was asking, ‘Will you trust me?” Even today, I woke up with the same question in my mind. It still rings true, each day, then what?
- What will I do to serve the God I love with more fire and more tenacity?
- How can I serve His people with more genuine love and kindness?
- Will I believe that what God said He will do, that He will do it, in HIS timing, and in HIS way?
- Do I trust that the Great I Am loves me with a love that will never ever be matched?
I will do it, not only for me, but for the millions more that have yet to hear my story of redemption, forgiveness, and restoration. Those who have yet to receive a hug just when they need it, or $100 just when they couldn’t pay their phone bill, or for my future family who has yet to see and truly believe that God does in fact work ALL things together for their good. They will see because I first saw. They will believe because I first believed. So, until then, what is God speaking to you right now? What in this blog stirred your heart to be quickened by the Spirit – because that my friends and family, was the God of the universe wooing you closer to Himself. Take His hand, walk with Him up the stairs, because I promise the staircase of Heaven goes way farther beyond any elevator of this world.
May His face shine upon you on your journey up the stairs.