To Follow Fervently
We welcome our friend and sister, Steph Duff, to the DWITW blog today! Enjoy the beautiful story of how God gave her a passion for global orphan care by giving her a passion first for HIM.
India will inundate your senses. Purple becomes the most plush and succulent shade of plum. The clatter of a new language being spoken, urgent and loud, becomes musical in its fevered pitch. Spice reaches new measurements of heat as curry is mixed with rice by hand. You cannot move, glance, or taste in India without an imprint planting itself in your heart.
And that will likely all occur before you sit in the soil next to soft, brown eyes asking to know about your life in America, quietly calling you ‘sister,’ and clicking their tongue between their teeth to answer no.
India took the orphan crisis from two words used to label an injustice in this world to an injustice I would begin to feel viscerally, weep over openly, and ultimately be called into as a voice on behalf of those without one.
Look among the nations, and see; wonder and be astounded. For I am doing a work in your days that you would not believe if told. –Habakkuk 1:5
Long before India became a seed in my heart, before I felt called to step into full-time ministry, I highlighted those words above in my worn, brown Bible and didn’t really look back on them.
Months later, as snow blanketed my city in hushed whispers of white, my blood began to pulse for a country I knew little about and possessed an accumulation of fears for. I felt, with a certainty I’d never known before, a nudge from the Lord to board a plane, travel to an unknown land, and wait on His next move.
As friends and loved ones graciously supported my trip to India, I was given a card with those familiar words from Habakkuk written down and I felt a calm move over me. As I lugged that beloved Bible across oceans and through time zones, I came back to those highlighted words and began to understand 'the work I would not believe' may very well be a shift within my own wandering heart.
I spent nine days in Hyderabad, India in June of 2015. I went as an act of obedience, nearly unwillingly, and with an ever growing chip on my shoulder. I returned with fading henna on my hand, a journal full of every last detail I could muster from the rooms of my memory, and a deeply-shaking soul desire to return, and as soon as I could.
Because that’s what God does, isn’t it? He calls us into the unknowns, gently nudges us into possible fears; He is ever plucking the corners of a heart’s comfort zone and stretching it – an hour south, around the corner, into entirely different time zones. He whispers, ‘come,’ and if we know what’s good for us, sisters, we take a shaky breath, admit we’re terrified, and follow Him into the dark. And He leads us to a place we couldn’t have dreamed up if we tried.
He writes loves letters to our worn, tattered, yearning, wandering hearts in the form of a 14-year-old boy and spicy, potato curry. Or in motherhood. Maybe behind a camera or traveling to that one land you’ve always wished for. He writes letters, is continually penning love into our stories in ways unimaginable. And then He flips the lid off the box we tried to put our lives in and knocks out the walls, for good measure.
When the Lord invites us into something frightening or unclear, we need to trust our lack of answers won’t alter the ending. India was an answer to prayer I never knew I needed to be praying. It was a bold and clear calling over a heart that was far flightier than I ever wanted to admit.
I spent nine days in Hyderabad, India in June of 2015. I went as an act of obedience, nearly unwillingly, and with an ever growing chip on my shoulder. And I returned with a calling; a burning passion from the center of my heart.
Stories matter. The lives of the children served in India, and around the world, hold Kingdom weight. They will shape the Kingdom. And now I have the privilege of sharing some of those narratives. When the Lord asks us to say yes, sisters, let us be a generation of women that follow fervently after the One who crafted what it is our hearts beat for to begin with.
Steph Duff wants to live in a world where every voiceless child is given articulation and Jesus is the name on every lip. When she's not sharing Kingdom-shaking stories with Back2Back Ministries, you can find her drinking copious amounts of caffeine, curling up with her nose in a book, laughing loudly, continuing an on-going attachment to semi-colons, planning her next trip to India, and making snail mail cool, again. Her favorite scripture is "Look among the nations and see; wonder and be astounded. For I am doing a work in your days that you would not believe if told." Habakkuk 1:5 ESV. Learn a little bit about what makes her blood stir and the yearnings of her heart at www.girlslifeinink.blogspot.com.