'Then Joshua said to the Israelites, “In the future your children will ask, ‘What do these stones mean?’ Then you can tell them, ‘This is where the Israelites crossed the Jordan on dry ground.’ For the Lord your God dried up the river right before your eyes, and he kept it dry until you were all across, just as he did at the Red Sea when he dried it up until we had all crossed over. He did this so all the nations of the earth might know that the Lord’s hand is powerful, and so you might fear the Lord your God forever.”'
- Joshua 4:21-24
I want to live my life in remembrance of what all the Lord has done in my life. I do not want to forget. I want to write them on tablets so they may forever be engraved on my heart. As I sit and reflect on the last 11 months of my life while on the Race... I can't help but see God's faithfulness.His faithfulness with my family.His faithfulness in friendships.His faithfulness in ministry.His faithfulness to me.
So I wanted to compile a list of 11 things God taught me in all 11 countries that point to His faithfulness. These are the things that came to heart as I sat and remembered the laughs, remembered the tears, remembered the faces, remembered the goodness of the Lord.
1. INDIA - God speaks to me and I have the ability to hear His voice. I have known this to be true, and I have even heard Him speak to me before. But in the past, when I would hear Him speak, doubt quickly followed. When doubt creeps in, it allows for mind games to be played and that is exactly what happened all those years. But for some reason something about this moment in India forever changed me, because for one of the first times… doubt didn’t win. I was sitting on the bed, and I asked the Lord: “What does reckless abandon really look like… in the everyday living? Because You are worth surrendering everything to, and I want to do that but I don’t really know what that looks like! Help me, Papa!” And He spoke. He directed me to Colossians 3, and gave me 3 things to focus on to live a life of abandonment. (1) Seek the Kingdom. Look to Me. (2) Put on love. Actively choose love, no matter the circumstance. (3) Worship through song and scripture. It finally clicked, He desires to chat with me. He wants to answer all my questions, no matter how trivial they may seem. He doesn't want His heart to be a mystery, but actually wants to whisper those mysteries directly to me. He wants to lead me into good things that He has predestined for me. All I have to do is be still before Him and listen. He will always speak. He will speak to me about my past, my present, and my future. He is even wanting to talk to me on the behalf of other people. All it takes is a teachable heart, a mustard seed of faith, and a willingness to step out.
>> more about Reckless Abandon: https://caitlincarpenter.theworldrace.org/post/reckless-abandon
2. NEPAL - The Lord fights for me and my loved ones. Leaving for the Race I thought my family would fall apart, like I had some super power that held them together. I doubted that God would move within the walls of my home… but for some reason I was still sending up my prayers in hopes that He would save my brother. Page after page in my journal, I prayed for my brother… that the Lord would just bring people into his life that would talk about you, that his heart would be soften when it came to the saving grace of Jesus. Well on September 18th, my little brother accepted Jesus for the first time. I saw that He was fighting for my family all along, from the beginning of time… way before I left for the Race. I hold onto the truth of Exodus 14:14, and on the days I don’t see anything happening I still declare it out. Because I serve a God of “do it agains” so what He is doing around the globe, I can anticipate Him to do in my life and the life of my loved ones.
>> more about Mason accepting Christ: https://caitlincarpenter.theworldrace.org/post/add-one-to-the-scoreboard
NEPAL 2.0 - God’s creation has nothing on His created ones. I had the opportunity to see Mount Everest on my birthday weekend and I will never forget the emotion that came over me when I first caught a glimpse of Mount Everest out of row 2 seat A. I was overwhelmed with the beauty that I was getting to soak in. And in that moment, God whispered into my soul: “Cait, the way that mountain took your breath away, You do the very same thing to Me.” God made literally everything in this world: Mount Everest, the Salt Flats, the most beautiful wildflowers, and He said those things were merely “good”. But when He created me, He said I was “very good”. How can it be?!
>> more about the Mount Everest experience: https://caitlincarpenter.theworldrace.org/post/on-top-of-the-world
3. THAILAND - You gotta love the one in front of you. When I surround myself with people who love wholeheartedly on a daily basis, it becomes contagious. Getting to do life with Pat, my ministry host, taught me that love is not stationary. And when I look in scripture, I see Jesus ALWAYS loving someone… so I can't help but take that as a command to do the same. To love when it is costly. There is always someone in need of Christ’s love which gets to be displayed through me. Simple, real, contagious love is going after the one.
>> more about Pat and how he taught me to love: https://caitlincarpenter.theworldrace.org/post/be-like-christ
4. CAMBODIA - There is no striving for God’s love and favor. I have struggled my whole life to let this truth sink in. I always tried to be the best volleyball player, or the MVP in softball, the best daughter, the best student… all so that my coaches, parents, and teachers would love me more. Man, how skewed my vision was! I had this picture of a sticker chart in my head, always trying to do more to earn more stickers. In Cambodia, that chart got ripped down. The Lord used little orphans to show me that I didn’t have to earn their love, that I already had it... just like I already have His. Striving for people’s love and God’s favor is exhausting. It is so freeing to be able to say, “I am loved and chosen” knowing I don’t have to do anything to accept it.
>> more about the sticker chart being ripped down: https://caitlincarpenter.theworldrace.org/post/the-sticker-chart
5. VIETNAM - There really are people who will love all of you and steward your heart well. We had our first team changes this month, and I was terrified. I didn’t know what to expect. I was going to have to start from scratch once again and choose to be vulnerable with five other strangers. Little did I know, some of my best friends would come from that season. True friends might be hard to find, but they are out there. I encourage you to find them. I learned not to settle for mediocre friendships. But I also learned to be that kind of friend to others. To heighten someone else’s joy for God. To fight the them. To communicate my feelings. To remind them of God’s goodness and glory. I want to reflect Jesus in a way that makes my friends want to love Him more. Not only do I need to be that kind of friend for other people, I need to find those kind of people for my life. Friends that make me want to love Jesus more.
6. ETHIOPIA - Loving sacrificially is so worth it. Loving people are worth it… even if my heart will get hurt in the process. In Ethiopia, I met a three-year old little girl who stole every part of my heart. She made me want to give up everything, just to bring her home and love her forever. But what sucked was that I knew a goodbye was coming at the end of the month and she wasn't coming with me. I had a choice, do I keep her at a distance so that I don't feel pain, or do I go all in and love her reckless. I am so thankful I picked the latter, because God used her in ways that she will never understand. I learned that when I love, I willing give my heart to others to handle (and I pray it is handled with great care). When I love others, I am spilling Christ’s love over onto them. He first loved me, unselfishly, so I can extend that same love to others.>> more about Senna Baby: https://caitlincarpenter.theworldrace.org/post/senna-baby>> more about the process of love: https://caitlincarpenter.theworldrace.org/post/when-love-hurts
7. RWANDA - If you just say “yes”, the Lord will use you. I never in a million years thought I would create a website from scratch… why, because that is out of my skill set. Yet, when I make my hands available to the Lord, He will partner with me to do more than I could ever think or imagine. He will create opportunities for me to use my God-given talents to impact those around me. While reflecting on this, God reminded me that every significant event that ever happened in the Bible happened because someone said “yes” to God. So I want to jump into action. Allow God to use the tool and talents right in my hands to minister to those around me for the sake of the Gospel.
>> more about my dad’s yes: https://caitlincarpenter.theworldrace.org/post/guest-blog-the-blessings-in-saying-yes
8. BOLIVIA - God filled yet another part of my heart when it comes to marriage. I learned through the discipline of prayer that only God can go to those places in my soul. No man will ever be able to satisfy the deep longings of my heart. I have to continue to pray for my husband all while praying the same exact prayers over myself… because I can’t expect him to be someone I am not willing to be myself. The oneness I desire, I have already with the God of this Universe. Everything else, like a hot Jesus-lovin man… is just extra.
>> more about praying for my husband: https://caitlincarpenter.theworldrace.org/post/a-man-with-no-face
9. PERU - Don’t forget the beauty found in sunrises and sunsets. While on the Race, I experienced some of the most beautiful sunrises and sunsets. Like tear worthy sunsets. When I gaze at the blazing ball of fire setting in the sky making the most gorgeous of colors, I can’t help but worship. I can’t help but be moved. Even on the days I anticipated a glorious sunset/sunrise and I got a gloomy cloudy one… God still spoke. All I have to do is open my eyes and get out so I can bask in the beauty of God’s masterpiece. I encourage you to find a safe haven, a rooftop, a cliff, a place you feel closest to God and see all He painted in the sky for you to enjoy.
>> more about sunsets/sunrises: https://caitlincarpenter.theworldrace.org/post/cotton-candy-skies
10. ECUADOR - Worship like ain’t no body watching. I had this moment under a huge tree where I worshipped with my Savior. I danced. I sang. I yelled at the top of my lungs. I fell to my knees and prayed. The Lord used that moment to teach me that being with Him through worship, changes me. I become free. I become free of distractions. Free of the busyness of life. Free from my fears. And through that freedom, I am able to be undone before the Lord. I can get buck-wild for my Jesus. I am able to be unveiled, face to face with God. I get transformed more into His image.
>> more about worship: https://caitlincarpenter.theworldrace.org/post/songs-for-the-season
11. COLOMBIA - Hold tight onto His promises. He has spoken and placed specific dreams and promises over me. Like being married, having a family, having a community that reflect the early church in Acts 2, speaking about His goodness to a crowd of people, and much more. I have to keep proclaiming them over myself, even in the waiting. I have to keep believing even when I don’t see evidence. He is faithful and good, and won’t let me down… so I can place all my trust in Him.
What I love about God is that He is a God of do-it-again and He doesn’t pick favorites. So all these things the Lord showed me over the last 11 months, can be for you too if you want them. They might be written differently, but the truth and storyline behind them still remains the same.He wants to speak to YOU, and He has given YOU the ability to hear His voice.He will fight for YOU and YOUR family. YOU take His breath away. He will partner with YOU to love the one in front of YOU… it could change their life. YOU don’t have to strive for God’s love. He loves YOU just the way YOU are.He wants to put people in YOUR life that will love all of YOU… just like He does.He loved YOU first, so YOU have the ability to love others sacrificially. YOUR “yes” could spark a much needed revival in YOUR city, in YOUR family, in YOUR community. He wants to fill all the canyons in YOUR heart with His love. He has made His creation for YOU to enjoy. YOU can freely worship in His presence, and feel the shift in YOUR heart.He has spoken promises over YOU and has placed unique dreams in YOU.