It’s hard to imagine that 3 months ago I was planning on going to the-middle-of-no-where, VA for my engineering internship with a humungo international company, which you might know for their baking products. As blessed as I am to have had the opportunity, I know that God has better things in store for me than I can “engineer” for myself.
This is only the beginning…
I was so absolutely, one-hundred-percent-sure that God wanted me there this summer. I had prayed about it so much and the circumstances surrounding my interviews and eventual offer for an internship were so wildly improbable I had every reason to believe that God was behind it. I figured that receiving the offer was His way of saying “Here, this is the answer to your decision. Go do this.”
In retrospect I can say that God definitely was behind it but not for the reasons I had originally thought. You see, what’s neat about following Jesus is that He will continually break down your preconceived notions of who He is and how He operates, revealing a more accurate depiction of who God truly is rather than who I create Him to be. I am so humbled before Him. More to come on all of that in later posts.
But for now, let me provide a bit more back story. For about a year-and-a-half now my discipler in Cru has been inviting me to go to Chicago for Summer Project, which is a summer-long missions trip where college students help other cities with their college ministries, learning how to talk with people about God in hopes to share The Gospel and igniting conversations that prompt people to reconsider their own thoughts about God. At the time she asked me I had another engineering internship lined up for my summer, but I began to prayerfully consider the possibility of venturing out to The Windy City.
After last summer, I had no future plans for this summer and so Chicago was totally an option. I prayed about it and knew that God would have His way in me and would show me what He wanted me to do. In fact, I was so certain of God’s direction in my life that I decided to apply for jobs and talk to companies at our career fair this past fall, hoping and praying and knowing that if God wanted me in Chicago this summer He would make it happen. When I did receive an offer from those endeavors, I took it as a clear “sign” (whatever that is) that when I wasn’t placed in a plant near Chicago that I wasn’t supposed to go on Summer Project.
I couldn’t have been more wrong.
Over the past few months, God began prodding my heart with Chicago yet again. It all happened at Ohio State’s Cru Freshmen Retreat, where I was serving the freshmen as a group facilitator for discussions and a team leader for games. It’s almost comical to me how God works in hindsight; we never, ever see it coming and when we do perceive His work we often brush it aside or ignore it. I guess I should speak for myself on that part – I do those things.
It was Luke’s talk on “Lordship” that got me. God used that like a surgical knife, extracting the sinful part of my heart that just wouldn’t surrender my control to Him. It was that weekend that God said “Hey Erica, what if you gave up that internship and followed me to Chicago instead?” and at the time I found the thought so incredibly absurd that I actually laughed at Him! Again, it only goes to prove how incredibly stubborn and prideful I really am and how persistent God has been in my life.
But as much as I tried to ignore that thought, it persisted. It all culminated the day I was supposed to visit Chicago (for the first time) with my housemates for a fun weekend road trip. I decided that I needed serious prayer and employed a few close friends and my family to pray for this crazy decision. I really cannot express how convoluted this all seemed to me then or how absolutely freaked-out I was about doing something so crazy as to drop my internship. Little did I know that the thought, which became a persistent prodding on my heart, would eventually turn into one of the greatest testaments of God’s faithfulness and demonstration of His father’s heart.
This is only the beginning…