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by Stephanie May

I want my life to be about telling the truth.
At the end of my life, I want to look back and know that I’ve lived a good story. Actually… at the end of this week I want to look back and know that I’ve lived a good story.
It’s important. Our everydays are important. The decisions we make on a random Tuesday are the decisions that make up a life, that make up a story, that set an example for others to follow, and that teach us that God is faithful.
It must have been a random Tuesday when I made the decision that would change me completely.


It seems that there are always two choices: one that ‘makes sense’ and one that doesn’t.
For me, that Tuesday, it was a choice between working for a second year in College Ministry, something that I loved with absolutely all of my heart OR spending 11 months on a mission trip traveling around the world.
To be perfectly honest, the decision I wanted to make was to choose to stay. I had every reason to stay… every reason.
Yet there was something in me that knew that I had to jump for more.
It felt like that moment at camp where you have to jump off of the highest platform, trying to grab a bar that seems impossibly far away- yet you just have to try.
But this was a scarier leap of faith. This decision would change everything.
I knew that I could continue on the road I was walking down with ease and comfort. I knew that if I continued the way that I was going, that at the end of my life people would smile and think of what a good person I was.
And honestly, most days that sounded like enough. Most days, there were often moments of comfort and security, and something that ‘made sense’ sounded pretty good most days.
And then, there were thosemoments.

Those moments when the sun would set and the sky would light up in an electric display of colors that can only be described as ‘brilliant.’ Those moments on a church mission trip where you get to kiss a little African cheek, or when a teeny Costa Rican girl reaches up to hold your hand. Those moments where your heart beats faster and where you feel like you’re a part of something real and eternal and beautiful beyond description.
As much as I wanted to live a life that was safe and made sense and made my parents’ friends smile with approval, I knew that God had more.
Hebrews 11 has always been one of my favorites.
It’s kind of a terrifying chapter, full of stories of people getting sawed in two and tossed into lions dens, stories of persecution and living in caves. But there’s also something wildly exciting about it as well.
Those people lived lives that mattered. They lived radically and recklessly, knowing that they had everything to gain and absolutely nothing to lose.
They jumped, time and time again off the highest platforms, risking their safety, their security and their very lives for something bigger than themselves- and it rarely ‘made sense.’
And so when given the option between something that was comfortable, and something that was wild and reckless and free, there just was no contest.
I had to go.
And so I did.
I left my family, my friends, my job, any hope of a career, my house, my security, my safety and my ability to avoid rare and contagious diseases, and jumped off of the platform. The biggest leap of faith I’ve ever taken.
And I’d be lying to you if I told you it was easy. It was a decision full of tears, doubts and the greatest fear I’ve ever experienced.

But what happened over the last 11 months, traveling to 11 countries around the world, was nothing short of perfection.

The stories from this year are crazy and wild and scary and fantastic. They’re full of stunning transformation and miracles and being so close to a pride of lions that I was too scared to even take a breath.
And each and every story is full of wonder and God’s miraculous love- each story is worth a coffee date of its own.
But the story that’s most worth telling is this:
I jumped and He caught me.
And what I gained in that jump was worth everything.
When I stepped off the plane in the end I was a different person.
I walked tall and confident, knowing exactly who I am and what I’m worth. I walked off the plane light and free and healed and toting nothing but the passions, dreams and love that God had spent an entire year (and a lifetime) molding inside of me.
I walked off the plane and into relationships that were not just the same as when I left, but radically and wonderfully better.
I walked off of that plane as the woman that God intended me to be.
The truth is that God is a much better storyteller than we are. When we place our lives into His hands, when we jump and allow Him to catch us, He takes us on a ride that is wild and perfectly beautiful, and FAR better than anything we could have come up with on our own.

Oh look …a random Tuesday! Isn’t it just about time to jump? 

Stephanie May is a world-traveling journalist who is in love with Jesus, with life and with all things beautiful. In early September 2012, she returned from the World Race, an 11-month mission trip to 11 countries around the world (she blogged about it, too!). Currently, she is working for Adventures in Missions as a Storyteller. When she’s not traveling (and especially when she is), she’s writing for The Lipstick Gospel. You can follow her on Twitter at @Smay15.
All photos courtesy of Stephanie May.

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