Follow Jesus - Daily Lessons of Following Him in Everything

Then Follow Me

You know the moments when we choose to follow Jesus.

Those moments come often in our lives. Learning to follow him in everything.

One night, I rolled over in bed around 2am, hit my phone to see the time and saw an email alert from the embassy.

That’s never good.

And it wasn’t.

A new, fresh reminder that we need to be at high alert. This country could be next in sweeping attacks across Africa. New threats prompted an email from the state department to all expats living here. The email keeps awareness fresh and senses heightened.

Emails like that in the night… prayers, whispers, fears… a part of this life that reminds us very quickly that everything can change in an instant.

Psalm 4:8 ran through my mind until I fell back asleep.

In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety.

Then… waking up this morning with the birds chirping and the palm branches rustling in the wind, remembering the email from the night before.

I made coffee. Said hi to Zander, our big German Shepherd mix puppy. Checked out each window to look over the property and see what kind of trouble Zander got in to during the night. Reassuring myself that his mad barking was at some stray cat or fast gecko on the wall. Opened the doors to let the cool breeze in to air out the stuffiness of being closed up for the night. Routine…

Turned on a worship playlist and read a post from Velvet Ashes. A post about love and the difficulty of loving those around us… a hard reality for a missionary who has sold everything, raised a budget, moved across the ocean… twice… all because we DO love those around us. Don’t we?

“It is really quite easy to love someone theoretically from a distance, it is quite another to be faced with a daily death of self, where your weaknesses are exposed and your value is diminished, where you feel unsafe and insecure. That kind of love MUST come from God alone and that love is the real Christ exposing love.” – Joy Smalley

But that email.

My morning was filtered through that email. The stark words that state a reality I do NOT want to hear. The words that make us second guess where we go and where we shop and what we do each day. The words that add fear to the armed guards who check my purse at the grocery store. Fear that makes me glance around the cafe or the sandy street every few minutes and memorize who is in the area while I chat with a friend. The words that make me look closely at people, look at their loose clothing or backpack.

The words that remind me the world is crazy and it feels like we are living smack dab in the middle of the crazy.

Choosing to live. Trying to sleep in peace. Wanting to love.

Follow Jesus - Daily Lessons of Following Him in Everything

This beautiful place with beautiful people. But is it possible to love and obey and stay?

Yes, my head knows YES. My heart?

Sipping my coffee, I grab my phone for my 187th day of reading through the Bible. Mark 10.

Hmmm… The first topic covered is marriage. One Flesh. yes. We are learning that, leaning into that, depending on that to get us through the many days of stress, frustration and miscommunication. Working together moment by moment to learn language and culture and a whole new kind of marriage in the desert. Good verses.

But then as Mark 10 moves on, this man came up to Jesus and had this incredible conversation.

“What is needed for eternal life?” the man asks.

Jesus answers with a list of things not to do. The man responds, “That’s easy. I don’t do any of those things.”

Mark tells us that Jesus looked at the man and loved him. But then Jesus says, “But you lack something, my friend. How about going. Selling everything you have. Give to the poor. That will give you treasure in heaven. Then… come follow me.”

Obviously, that conversation is in my own words. But that is the sense of what Jesus told this man.

Go. Sell everything. Give to the poor. Then, follow me.

Follow Jesus - Daily Lessons of Following Him in Everything

I want to respond, as a first term missionary, and tell Jesus, “That’s us! That’s what we’ve done!”

You might be a missionary like us or you have sent off a family member and can tell Jesus, “I’m living this!” or you are living this is some other way right in your neighborhood and say, “Yep, doing that!”

For us, we answered the call to go. We sold everything. We give. and give. and give.

It’s that last part of what Jesus said that might stop us all in our tracks.

Then… follow me.

Follow Jesus.

Because Mark 10:22 says, “At this the man’s face fell.”

Your face. My face. For the man it was the whole process… the giving of his wealth. For me it is the continuing. The following.

For you?

And Jesus goes on to talk about how entering the Kingdom of God is like a camel trying to get through the eye of a needle.

To which the disciples scramble for answers, just like us… and ask, “Well, if that is true, then who CAN be saved?”

Jesus look at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.”

Jesus is asking from us the impossible. To go. To sell. To give. To follow.

But He is offering His help with the process of following which includes the going and selling and giving. He is offering the only way it can be POSSIBLE.

All things. Hard things. Staying when the embassy tells you an attack is an imminent threat. Staying when the alert is highest.

Obeying. Following. Walking the path before us. Following.

Answering the call on our lives, selling our belongings, giving to the poor… but it is that last statement.

That last requirement to enter the Kingdom.

The call to do those things and then follow where He leads regardless of the danger, the threat. To follow where His presence directs even when the following means STAYING. When following means obedience even if it doesn’t feel inspiring or amazing or even fits my abilities. To obey when I don’t know the language and friendships are hard to navigate. To obey when my girls could be in danger or just leaving our gate seems unnaturally treacherous. Then follow… which means obedience without optimal conditions.

When following means abiding. Trusting. Leaning on Jesus. Staying the course.

Follow Jesus - Daily Lessons of Following Him in Everything

Because that, I’m learning, is the key. Oh, I knew it before, but this morning with my coffee? I felt like the “camel and the eye of the needle” in the story. It feels impossible.

Thankfully… Jesus. He makes the following, that last requirement possible. He walks us hand in hand through the going, selling, giving and then following.

I sure can’t follow on my own. It is way too hard. Too big. Too much. Not with Jeremy. Not with coffee. Not with lots of financial support. Not with great friends. Not with an assurance of safety or anything else we can come up with to help us fit the camel through the needle’s eye.


Then… follow.

Going to sleep with this. every night.

In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety.

And knowing that Jesus makes it all possible. Him alone.

“For it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.” Philippians 2:13



  1. He that dwells in the secret place of the most high, shall abide under the shadow of the almighty! May God ,each day, give you and your family the peace that passes all understanding!

  2. I memorized that verse about 16 years ago. Our house was broken into when I was home with my baby son. It was scary, but neither of us were injured. We had both been sleeping in separate rooms when it happened, and after that it was hard for me to sleep. A friend recommended this verse, and I would say it over and over as I lay in bed. (My husband worked a lot of nights.) I have come back to that verse- and many others about trusting- since then. Through a slow process, God has taught me that peace is possible when your world is in chaos.

    One thing that we talked about during the Ebola scare was how the most deadly of all viruses is not Ebola- it’s the virus of fear. I’ve seen that time and time again, whether with Americans in the US, expats overseas, or nationals. It’s highly contagious, too! The only antidote or protection is trusting God. 🙂

    1. The virus of fear… very easy to catch and so hard to get rid of one our own. Only by Jesus! Thank you for sharing your story and testimony with us!

  3. I love Psalm 4:8! I pray it over Amelia every night before I lay her down. 🙂 Praying for Senegal today!

  4. Praying for peace and calm my friend. You’ve answered His call. He will hide you in the shelter of His wings. No harm shall come to you. Blessings!

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