No Strings Attached

No Strings Attached

To the 7-year old Sarah who declared to the Lord, “I’ll be anything you want me to be but PLEASE don’t make me be a cross-cultural worker”,

Oh, girl, just you wait. You know how your number one fear was living without toilet paper? Guess what?! That actually happens. You know how you worried about necessities like running water? Well, that goes too.

I know you can’t even fathom this since bugs kind of creep you out right now, but you will actually eat crickets. Yep, you will try them on multiple occasions, mostly because you care about your new friends and don’t want to miss out on the adventures.

Probably now at 7 you would never believe that God would send you to a place where your full-time job is to talk, all the time, every day. You can still hear all the voices that tell you how shy you are, how quiet you are. But there’s more to your story.

God’s grace is so big, and His power is overflowing and you will get to personally experience this up close. By leaning on His Holy Spirit you will march right up to people, sit on their plastic chair or their wooden platform or their front stoop and tell them about a God who gives hope and peace in the midst of the hard things. You’ll pray in a language you are still learning, you’ll have just barely scratched the surface of what it means to intercede for a people, a nation.

You will walk down dusty roads and your heart will explode with longing to see lives changed by the gospel. Your own strength will run out, over and over again, and you will cry more than you ever thought possible. Like seriously, buckets of tears.

You know how you get frustrated with math problems you don’t want to do and siblings that annoy you? Take those frustrations times one hundred as you deal with closed doors and nosy neighbors and loneliness and the suspicions your foreignness will raise.

But get this, you also have no idea how amazing it will be to see hungry hearts receive Living Water. Or the excitement of fellow workers as you learn about ways to make disciples even more effectively.

Kiddo, you are going to get to see God’s glory displayed, His power at work in a way you can’t even fathom.

But you have to say yes.

I know, I can already hear the excuses, the “but what about…”, and the worries.

Your stipulations will move on from toilet paper and running water to, “No tonal languages, please. I’m not sure I can handle this culture or that. How about a place that doesn’t have tsunamis?”

The arguments will change to, “Father, I can’t do this anymore. Please send me home.”

Let go of all the strings you are attaching. Let go of the questions and doubts and fears.

You will have to reach this point over and over, this willingness to just say, “Here I am, Lord”. Here I am, to do what feels impossible, to stay when you just want to leave, to leave when you are actually ready to stay.

“Here I am, Lord” will not be a once-and-done call, but a daily surrender to love right where you are.

And when you do that, little 7-year old Sarah? Oh the riches that are waiting for you.

What would you tell your 7-year old self about calling and obedience? What has your journey to say “here I am” been like?

There’s still time to join in the Unplugged Retreat!

Photo by Tamas Pap on Unsplash


  1. Spring October 6, 2020

    I really love this. I think my 7 year old self was more confident than my high school self, my travel on a team and stay alone with a family self, and my mom of 4 young kids self. I feel like I might scare myself if I told myself some of those things. I have noticed a Biblical pattern of God showing people things and them simply ignoring, then them getting angry when they happen just as he said they would. I need to recognize there WILL be trouble, but HE has overcome it!

    I do think the line that really sticks out to me is: “But you have to say yes” it calls to me again and again and reminds me that saying yes is only the beginning of the adventure.; and it will always be an adventure if I have the right frame of mind.

    1. Sarah Hilkemann October 9, 2020

      Thank you for sharing this, Spring! You are so right- that call to say yes comes over and over. I honestly thought saying yes to go overseas was the “big one” but that call to obedience is daily in both little and big ways.

  2. Danielle Wheeler October 7, 2020

    Sarah, I love this post so much. You truly capture the tension and glory in what it means to say “Yes, here I am.”

    1. Sarah Hilkemann October 9, 2020

      Thanks, Danielle! Thank you for guiding us toward this theme and posture. 🙂

  3. Bayta Schwarz October 7, 2020

    This is so lovely, Sarah! Thanks so much for sharing!

  4. Amber Thiessen October 8, 2020

    I loved this article! Thank you for writing! It’s interesting to think what we would write to ourselves before we knew what a life overseas would be like, and all that we had truly learned about submission, surrender and His glory. I’d remind my 7 year old self, never to stop pressing into Jesus, never stop saying yes!

    1. Sarah Hilkemann October 9, 2020

      Thanks, Amber! Those lessons learned in overseas life are HARD, aren’t they? Sometimes I want to go back and warn myself to avoid the pain. But you are so right- we don’t stop saying yes, we keep clinging to Jesus. And He holds our hand through the hard surrender and it’s probably a good thing we don’t know what’s coming! 🙂

What do you think?

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.