I thought I knew the meaning of the word, but just to be sure, I turned to the dictionary. “AUDACIOUS” means to be daring, adventurous and bold—full of energy and verve. It is just the opposite of “CIRCUMSPECTION OR PRUDENCE,” which means to be careful or cautious.
In the early days of my ministry, there were those who thought me “audacious,” because I just did what I needed to do—what I believed God wanted me to do.
On a cold, snowy, January day in the early 1980’s, I loaded my little Honda Coupe with dishes, pots and pans, kitchen linens, blankets, and grocery staples and headed south from Brussels toward the country of Spain. I had been invited to teach the spring semester at our Bible College, in Guadalajara. I would teach Christian Education and direct the choir.
If you take a look at the map, you will understand why my colleges thought me imprudent. In fact, they just thought I was “NUTS!” I must admit that it looked like a long arduous journey.
I poured over the map planning the route I would take. I was fascinated by the possibility of driving through the tiny Principality of Andorra, a sovereign state in Southwestern Europe, located in the eastern Pyrenees Mountains, nestled between France and Spain.
It was not necessary to take that route through high, snow-covered mountain passes. I could have avoided it all together. But when would I ever have another opportunity to visit the sixth smallest nation, in the world—181 square miles, population 85,000.
I’m glad I did it. Never will I forget the sight of rugged mountains frosted with shimmering snow, infested with hundreds—thousands of skiers, like wingless angels, swooping down the never-ending slopes. It was mesmerizing!
At the end of the day, I arrived in Andorra la Villa, the highest capital in Europe, found a hotel for the night, and settled in. Well, not quite! How could I go to bed, when there were things and places and people out there that I would never see again? So, in the dark of early evening, I left my room and mingled with some of the 7,000,000 other tourists that visit Andorra each year. I found a place to eat and shopped in the duty-free stores, and went to bed satisfied I had made the right decision.
On Saturday morning, I tucked Andorra into my memory trove and resumed my journey driving on to my final destination to begin another glorious adventure in places I had never seen with people I did not know, and events that were yet to be realized.
Now sitting at my computer, writing this blog, I think of all the memorable adventures I have experienced in my nearly fifty years of ministry, and I wonder. Considering the fact that I was a single woman alone, was I too bold? Was I careless? Did I take needless risks? I am sure there are those who would say “YES!” However, my answer must be “NO,” for I was just doing what I needed to do, and I loved every minute of it.
Someone has said that the only alternative to risk is to “do nothing.”
Even as a youngster, I couldn’t abide the thought of a nine-five job chained to a desk or bent over a production line doing the same task day after day with only the prospect of a gold watch at the end of the journey. I can’t imagine having played it safe all these years.
I would have missed the elephant ride at the Taj Mahal, the awesome Treasury building in Petra, a tour of infamous Auschwitz, sleeping in a castle in Toledo, Spain, observing the apes in Gibraltar, and visiting the Blue Mosque in Istanbul. But those are just the side benefits, for I have shared the excitement of black-eyed children in Calcutta as they heard the story of Jesus. I have counseled former Muslim women in Tajikistan and seen their joy in a new-found savior. I have ministered to lively Dutch children and laughed with military kids in Germany. I have preached to “Lifers” in prison. I have worshiped with bush people in South Africa. I have trained young people, in Belgium and Spain, for the ministry, and the list goes on.
Proverbs 26:13 (The Message) “Loafers say, “It’s dangerous out there! Tigers are prowling the streets! And then pull the covers back over their heads.”
Ecclesiastes 11:4, “If you wait for perfect conditions, you will never get anything done.”
I’m glad I didn’t wait for perfect conditions. I’m glad I didn’t pull the covers back over my head. I’m glad I did just what I did. God has been my refuge. When I decided to follow Him, He gave His angels charge over me to keep me in all my ways.
“Jesus led me all the way, led me step by step each day.
I will tell the saints and angels as I lay my burdens down.
Jesus led me all the way.”
I am still here, hale and hearty, with incredible memories that punctuate every day of my life, and I can’t wait to make more memories.
The sun will come out tomorrow!