Abby ShieldsDear Friend,

3 But Jonah ran away from the LORD and headed for Tarshish. He went down to Joppa, where he found a ship bound for that port. After paying the fare, he went aboard and sailed for Tarshish to flee from the LORD. ~Jonah 1:3

“But I don’t want to go to Ninevah!” I can just imagine Jonah throwing a toddler-like tantrum violently crossing his arms and pulling out the best pouty lip he could in protest when God asked him to go to a land he didn’t want to go to. We all have our Ninevahs though don’t we? We have those places that God asks us to visit but we REALLY don’t want to. We pout, rebel, kick and scream for a number of reasons that mostly boil down to the fact that the journey is scary, or uncomfortable, or we just plain don’t want to do it.

For me, my “Ninevah” is one that I have been putting off for a couple of years but feel its time to just trust and go. So on May 17th, if all goes according to plan, I will be undergoing knee replacement surgery. Besides the obvious reasons of pain and great inconvenience, there are many fears and unknowns that make me feel like running to Tarshish and avoid this journey all together. Thoughts like, “How long will I be out,” “What if they find something else wrong with me,” or “How will I keep up with my full counseling schedule and run the ministry?”

Despite all of these very real concerns, one piece of Jonah’s story that I hold fast to is the truth that God accomplished great things through Jonah once he turned and went. He wasn’t exactly willing or excited about going, in all actuality he went quite begrudgingly, but he went nonetheless. While there is no specific “work” that God has called me to during this down time I believe God speaks, and acts and moves in the stillness. I am expectant about this still time and believe God will use it not only to strengthen my body and give me better quality of life, but also use this time to sustain the ministry and perhaps do some new and exciting things.

I will continue counseling as soon as possible, and my staff will be there to support the other facets of the ministry. And speaking of places I DO want to go, our Women’s Beach Retreat is set for September 28-30th in Orange Beach, AL. Registration will open soon so be sure to follow us on Facebook and continue to check our website for updated information. I ask that you be in prayer for my staff and I as we navigate through these next couple of months. I am trusting that however uninviting this “Ninevah” may seem, God is going to do great things!

In His Grip,

Abby Shields