Moving to Albania

August 2020, I am going to be moving overseas to teach Kindergarten at an International Missionary school in  Albania.

I am currently raising support for this journey and would appreciate any prayers and donations. You can donate by clicking here: Support Marlie Austin

As you consider partnering with me please read the incredible journey God has had me on over the last 2 years. God is a way maker. Promise keeper. And Miracle Worker.

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July 2017: I’m having lunch with a missionary in Albania after my second short term trip there. They ask if I would ever consider moving to Albania. My exact words “I would love that, but I don’t think my parents would let me. And I have student loans. So if God wants me here, He will have to move those mountains.”

July 2018. at a family dinner before my 3rd trip to Albania. My parents literally ask if I’ve considered doing full time missions in Albania. And encourage me to look into serving there full time. FIRST MONTAIN MOVED. Parents approval and blessing.

September 2018. I apply to serve in Albania long term but was told no because of my student loans.

I wanted to go but God said “stay.” It was a year to continue healing, growing and serving. I got to see my parents get remarried to each other in March 2019 after a 5 year divorce.

April 2019: A friend asked how my journey to serving full time in Albania was going and I said “it’s not.” Because ya just cant pay off 10,000 dollars on a preschool teacher salary. She said “why dont you begin praying for God to do something big?” So I prayed “God, this mountain (student loans) is either protecting me or it’s a mountain you are going to move to show Your glory. Change my heart, or move this mountain.”

May 2019: my parents sit me down for a dinner and share that my grandma (without knowing that my loans were a barrier to me serving overseas, and without knowing how much I owed) wrote a check for $10,000 to help me with my loans.
SECOND👏 MOUNTAIN👏 MOVED.👏

A week before, I heard about an opening at the international missionary school in Albania, for first grade. After that dinner and a week of prayer, I applied, interviewed and was offered the position to teach 1st grade. However that was for August 2019 and with a lot of wise counsel, turned down the offer. Within a day of turning down that offer, the school emailed me offering me the Kindergarten position that would be open for August 2020. I accepted the position and began the process to connect with the sending organization Teach Beyond.

September 2019: I apply, interview, and am accepted to Teach beyond.
I am so excited and still processing all of this but am so humbled that God in all his goodness would take me on this journey and allow me to experience this. HE IS SO GOOD.

 

 

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For His Glory,

Marlie

26

26 years ago, God saw fit to have me be born in a suburb in Texas,  to a Mom and a Dad who had a 2.5 year old boy with blonde hair and blue eyes. My blonde hair and blue eyes entered the world May 4, 1993. 7:10 am. Even though I had a heart murmur that affected my health in my early years, I won the absolutely lottery to have had 26 years of great health. To be born in a country, in a home where my needs were met, where I could be educated and free to worship, vote and participate in many activities. These are all gifts from God.

I am thankful that God would see fit to have me on this Earth for 26 years. I can count on two hands the number of people I know who didn’t make it to 26. Every day is a gift.

As soon as I feel old, I run into a few friends who are in their mid to late 30’s and they say “Oh, girl, you are so so young.” I remind myself to be patient. I love growth, I love looking back and seeing a difference between who I was then and who I am now. This is all the Lord’s doing of course. Which is a humble reminder that He has begun a work and will be faithful to complete it.  I can’t change myself. God can.

The most tangible act of God’s restoration in my life is my parent’s marriage. On March 23, 2019  they remarried! Here’s my facebook post about that:

3/21/2014 some papers were signed that declared the marriage over. Last night those papers were burned in a fire. 5 years. Wow. God was writing this story from the beginning and it was beautiful. Hard. Painful. Lot of grief. God restores. God redeems. God takes the pain, the grief, and uses it for our good and His glory. Thanks everyone for the prayers over the years. Your prayers have been answered.

Lamentations 3:21-23 has been my life verse since a close friend died March 22 (3/22/2007).

Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope, because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed for his mercies are made new every morning, great is your faithfulness.

55540625_10156180084923317_1133456244669939712_n And here’s a picture of us on the wedding day.

I’ve only cried like 124 times since that day. tears of joy, tears of celebration, tears of awe of God’s goodness and power. To not only restore my parent’s marriage, but use every ounce of pain, anger, doubt, and fear to bring me closer to Him. My parent’s remarriage is just the icing of a cake because I have a new restored relationship with Christ as well.

One of my favorite passages in the Bible comes from Hosea.
Come, let us return to he Lord. For He has torn us, and he will heal us. He has wounded us, and he will bind up our wounds. He will revive us after two days and on the third day he will raise us up so we can live in his presence. Let us strive to know the Lord. His appearance is as sure as the dawn. He will come to us like the rain; like teh spring showers that waer the land. Hosea 6:1-3

Death. Suicide. Loss. Divorce. Abuse. Shame. Fear. Anxiety. Depression. Works-based religion.  All Wounds. God has been faithful to heal, restore and redeem. I am free to love God and be loved by God. I trust that this Earth is not my home and nothing aside from Christ can satisfy. I know that anxiety is a liar, and i can trust the truth of God’s word and wise cousnelf from others. God can use my story to bring others to Him here in Dallas, and across the globe in Albania as He has been faithful to do the last 4 years. And He will be faithful forevermore. I can trust His timing, His power and His plan. I have been here for 26 years. He is the eternal, everlasting God. I can trust His wisdom, for it is far greater than my own. I have found peace sitting quietly in prayer, journaling or reading His word. A peace I searched for in all the wrong places.

I am thankful for 26 years here.
I am thankful for each day, month and year that God gives me.
I am thankful for every person God has put in my life to encourage, challenge, and enjoy life with.
My favorite christian cliche to rest in is:
“I don’t know what tomorrow holds, but I know Who holds tomorrow.”

Rest, abide, dwell with the Lord. Nothing on this earth can fill that hole like Jesus can.

Real Talk: I got everything I wanted

This year, I got everything I wanted.
My parents are getting remarried to each other, I got a new car, I got a new job,  I am living on my own for the first time. A glance on my social media page would suggest “Yeah, Marlie got her life together. She’s doing great.” Confession, I am!  I am so thankful. But, another confession? None of this stuff filled the void in my heart. My circumstances changing, having a new car to drive around, a new job to work, etc. all great things, all things to celebrate and to enjoy.  But. none of it completely filled the void in my heart because our hearts were not made by this world but by God.

I still go to sleep wondering what other trinkets or experiences could come in my life to make me ‘feel satisfied.’ I wake up in the morning and my thoughts are consumed with myself, my reality, my expectations for the day.  My heart no more full than it was the day before even though I “got everything I wanted.”

I am prone to wander from my Shepherd, prone to wonder if God really is all I need, prone to worry about life and all the intriciate details. I long for comfort, for approval, for ease, and for things to go relatively my way. When they don’t, I get antsy. I get doubtful. I get scared, honestly. What if none of this is real? What if I am one of those brain-washed Christians? But then, I remember. That morning at my desk, a bible and a pen, warm tears dripping down as I read about my Savior. That void gone and suddenly this was exactly where I wanted to be and frankly it’s where I need to be. Sitting at the feet of Jesus. Rembering my role in the story is not the Lead like I so desperately desire, but as an extra in a .4 second scene of the grand story of God redeeming His people.  How humbling that is. Studying the Word is like sititng right under a mountain, I am reminded how small I am and how big God is (Psalm 103:14-18)

I remember sharing my story and the gospel with teenagers in Albania and hearing one of the girls say “When you talk about God, I hear a knocking on my heart.”  Knowing God was knocking on her heart brought me so much joy. This joy i felt was indescribable and surpassed any cruise, vacation or rollercoaster I’ve been on.

I remember the long drives in my car, praying, crying, worshipping. Again, sitting in the presence of God, at His feet, all the longing of my heart fell before Him and He began to change the desires of my heart. All the while a wave of peace crashed over me.

In February 2018, I got a study bible and for the first time in my Christian walk started doing a daily quiet time. The transformation in my heart has been unreal. As I read and study God’s word, He has mended, pruned and reedemed a lot of mess in my heart and life.

This year I can look back and see the good, the bad and truly say it all fails to compare with knowing Christ. Paul’s words in Philippians 3:7-9 have been such a theme in my journey the last few months.

But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christand be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in[a] Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith.

Christians, I urge you to dig deep into the Word  daily and watch God transform you. I challenge you to write down your desires, wants and dreams and pray that God would change those desires to match His will. Don’t listen to the lie of the enemy that anything under the sun can fulfill your heart.

Some verses to reflect on:
Psalm 90:14
Psalm 16:11
Psalm 28:7-8
Zephaniah 3:17
Psalm 118:14

 

Today #3

Today, I was reading through Psalm 139. And verse 17 “His thoughts towards us are as countless as the sand on the shore” (my paraphrase) really struck me. I’ve heard the verse before, many times, but decided to sit with this verse for a bit.

My first thought was “why?? Why does God think about us so much?”
And almost immediately after I asked myself that, I heard in my head,
“Well, why so you think about your cat so much??”

“Because i love her.”

Bingo.

God thinks about you because He loves you.
Simple But so hard to wrap our heads and hearts around.

Psalm 139

Today #2

Today, my friend and I went to Whole Foods to get dinner. There was this huge section of the store where you could grab a container and fill it with all kinds of food. I was very hungry, and very excited about all the food choices. I probably grabbed a little bit of everything, and then I saw something: 9.99 per pound. CRAP. I held my container and guessed how much it weighed, surely not over 1lb or 2. Surely, I didn’t grab THAT MUCH food. This strange sense of shame and guilt flooded my heart. I knew it was too much. I wish I could have put some of the food back. I wish I had had more self control. Yet, there I was standing in line to buy this meal. I didn’t want to see how much it had cost. I knew I could guess all day long but the scale would ultimately have the final say. I actually asked the cashier not to tell me what I cost haha. I paid for the meal and walked out.
My friends, many of us are holding our life in our hands estimating how good or bad we are. Some days our good actions outweigh the bad and we think “wow I’m great.” But other days we see our mistakes right in front of us, we can’t put our choices back, and guilt and shame flood us. All of us have sin (Romans 3:23), are sinners, we all put food in the bowl and there’s one scale that decided the cost: God, perfect and Holy.
The cost? An eternity spent paying for our sins. (Romans 6:23)
But God being Rich in mercy, sent His Son Jesus to earth. HE lived the perfect life, and died the death we deserved. All of our sin. All of God’s wrath was put on Jesus. He died and resurrected from the grave which proved that He was who he said he was, the Son of God. He did this because He loves us! (John 3:16)

The scale says “sinner” but the receipt says Paid in Full. If someone had paid for my meal, and I went to cashier and said “I want to pay for it.” She’d say “you can’t, it’s already paid for.” I spent a majority of my life trying to earn my salvation by being a good person. I tried to tip the scales in my favor, now I trust God’s provision for my sins and Jesus death and resurrection on the cross. #nomorestriving #nomorewholefoodsbuffetslol

TODAY. #1

Today, a 3 year old girl I was nannying for was riding her tricycle. Something strange happened. She stopped and said “I have to go pick up my rocks.” She got off her bike and went and grabbed 4 or 5 big rocks one at a time and put them on the back of her bike. Then, I watched as she struggled to ride while keeping her rocks on her bike. She would turn her head around, looking back at the rocks, which meant she wasn’t looking where she was going. She would ride into the grass, lose a rock and beg me fo help. She didn’t go far and she got really frustrated. “Look ahead!!” I kept saying. I even offered to take the rocks but she said “no they are mine!” It was all pretty silly to watch, but I also wondered how often i act just like her. Collecting past hurts, carting them around, eyes glued behind me, not looking ahead. Letting these rocks decide where I go and what I’m worth. You’re not the sum of how everyone treats you. You are worthy because God said you are.

What are you looking back at today? Your past? What rocks did you pick up this morning? Are you looking ahead or crashing into the grass cause your eyes are glued to the rocks?

Take some time to choose to forgive, to let go, to leave the rocks on the ground. God is close to you and wants to help.
Psalm 23, Psalm 46. Psalm 139, Psalm 121

Faithfulness in the Mess

Full confession, I have not been writing lately because I don’t have my life together. No one does, really. But,  I found myself slowly creeping away from sharing stuff on Facebook and blogging because change is coming and I don’t know what the future holds. Job changes, potential opportunity to serve overseas, none of it in my control, but so desperately I want to control it all.  As a writer, I like to be able to sit down and write out what is going on in my life and have it all make sense, or at least just write the big updates down.  That’s what Facebook is for right, “Hey guys I’m having a baby!” or “Hey guys, i’m totes engaged to this guy #weddinghashtag #lefthandringfinger” Or “I got my dream job!! #myliferules #humblebrag #blessed” All the big life updates. Seeing how most of my big life updates recently have been a process, I don’t like sharing it unless I know that it’s going to happen. I think that’s wise. I don’t have to tell everyone everything all the time.  It is a process. And that is okay.

I like to have stuff figured out, to have a plan (and I’m type B), and to have an answer when people ask “What’s going on in your life, Marlie?” Usually, I’ll just ramble and always end it with “i’ll keep you posted.” Gosh, if I had a $1 for everytime I’ve said that the last 2 months.  I’ve had my mind and heart focused the last 3 months on this future opportunity to serve. I heard a pastor say, “Many people tell me they want to do great things for God. Not many come and tell me ‘I want to be faithful today.'” Pretty sure I needed to hear that the most out of anyone in that room.

Being faithful today.

That my friends is the real challenge. I spent 90% of my mental space thinking about the future, wondering about the future, and always usually worrying about the future. For the last 3 months, present-Marlie turned into a zombie, cause she checked out of the hotel and is living in “future land.” Checking out of the present in a sense is like I’m telling God: Where you have me doesn’t matter, the people around me don’t matter, the job I have doesn’t matter. Because all my headspace and energy is spent looking towards the future. Because that’s when I’ll serve, or share the gospel or love people around me.

Being Faithful today and taking life 24 hours at a time has been a game-changer for me.

Friends, there is freedom and peace in taking each day as it comes. I can’t control what opportunities come my way, but I can control how I take advantage of today. Where ever you are,  there are opportunities to make a difference. I don’t think the Enemy is out to get us all to be murderers or rapists, I think he is okay with letting us be slaves to worry, prone to apathy and feeling like our life does not matter right now because we’re not where we want to be (discontentment and doubt.)

The Enemy’s firsts words to Adam and Eve introduced doubt into their ears and sunk deep into their hearts:

did God really say….

Today, I still hear that whisper of doubt and it can be crippling.

Did God really say He has a plan for your life?
Did God really say He cares about you?
Did God really say He is for you and not against you?

The answer to those questions are a resounding YES. and Amen.
Open your Bible and start reading. Drown out the lies with truth from Scripture.

Ephesians is a great place to start.  This is Paul’s prayer for the church in Ephesus, but perhaps God preserved this text for thousands of years because it’s his prayer for us as well.

I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Ephesians 3:16-19

 

In all the mess, I know God is in control, faithful and at work,

 

Marlie.