I’m so thankful for God’s wisdom and goodness. So thankful and so much in awe of Him.
This past week was unbelievably busy, and this next week will be no different. I drove 17 hours west with my sister last weekend as I went with her to South Lake Tahoe where she will be a student of missions for 6 weeks. I’ve made the drive between Colorado and California several times, and no matter which route we take, I’m not ever totally thrilled as it always involves long stretches of not so pretty terrain. So when we made it into Reno, Nevada, we immediately crashed into our beds. We then woke up the next morning and drove into Lake Tahoe, and it was like we a mountain paradise. So pretty. So perfect. She and I shared a great day of walking and exploring, and it was truly fabulous. Then it was up at 4am the next day so that I could catch my flight back to Colorado. My flight was very cold and smelly, and it was the start of a very long + pretty much overwhelming week.
And I’m not sure how to even convey the mix of emotions I’ve experienced over the summer, but I want to at least try to express this –
I’ve had two dreams in my life: a.) be a wife and a mom and b.) give my life to telling the nations about Jesus. All through my twenties, I did my best to pursue both dreams, and I finally figured out that God had to make them happen. I could date every man on the planet, attend every Bible college, serve in every kind of ministry, and work my hardest to find and fulfill my calling, but at the same time, I could miss the boat. The boat being God Himself. Because truly and deeply, the only calling on each of our lives is to walk with Him, experience His presence and deep love, and dive into who we are in Him. My dad tried to tell me that for years, but I just didn’t get it. Then somehow, after becoming a wife and mom and after frustrating myself to no end, I quit trying to be anything. I quit trying to fulfill any call, quit trying to do anything but just be where I was. I stopped this forward looking stuff and just decided to be content in the here and now – that being the laundry, the diapers, the rushing to work, the grocery shopping, and the chatting with my husband while doing housework at night. And in the just being, I decided that I wanted to know God’s love and enjoy more of it.
And of course, when I stopped all the doing and just decided to BE in Him, everything else came together.
So now, my challenge is to maintain the being while moving forward. (If this makes any sense . . . ?) I am firmly aware of the fact that I can do nothing of my own self. If it’s not Him, I don’t want any part of it. Truly. So this last week, I got totally distracted by tiredness, by trying to maintain all this stuff I needed to do, by trying to work through all the emotions of planning the next few months but knowing that God is really the one who works out all of the planning, by trying to balance all that’s on my plate, and just failing at all of it. Totally failing to the point where I told my husband that maybe all the naysayers are right. Maybe I’m just to be a wife and mom and can’t do anything else. Maybe my dreams/calling of missions and ministry are not meant to be. I can’t seem to sort my own self out, so that’s pretty much a sign, right? My wise husband didn’t say anything but just let me vent.
And then Saturday came. Unbeknownst to me, the ladies at our church had been planning a fellowship time with the specific goal of blessing me. So long story short, I was picked up by one of my lifelong friends and taken to the house of one of the ladies. They had set up a wonderful brunch, the weather was perfect for eating outside, and then after our time of fellowship, they all blessed me with prayers, scripture, gifts of encouragement, and then spoke right into the heart of what I’d been struggling with. It will be a morning that I will never forget, and each lady has a cherished place in my heart. I walked away feeling several things, but the most important was that God has prepared me for this time in my life. There is a reason that I grew up in the home of a pastor whose heart is for the nations. There’s a reason that multiple pastors and missionaries stayed in our home while I was growing up. There was a reason that we all moved to Jamaica when I was 9; a reason that I got to travel all around the world by the time I was 25. There was/is a reason why my heart has cried out for the nations since I was a little girl. God has been preparing me for this time. Yet nothing can/will/should happen without time being spent in His presence daily.
My week of failures will be a constant in my life if time spent with my God is not priority. All ministry, all love, all things of worth flow out of time spent with Him and in Him. He is everything.
And lastly, this group of women spoke directly to the issue of women in ministry and reminded me that God has called me to something, which includes my husband and my children. My responsibility is to Him first, then to my family, then to being obedient to His calling. So it doesn’t matter what one person says; doesn’t matter if men say I can’t do it because I’m a woman. God says I can and I am to obey Him first and foremost. He is the Focus, the Center, the One to whom I belong, the One who brings all things together, and the One who made me, designed me with a specific purpose, and has worked for the past 36 years to bring it all together. He is It. And I was greatly reminded of that, refreshed by it, and refocused, which brings me back to the first sentence of this post – His wisdom and goodness bless me so much. He knew that I would need the time with the ladies; He knew I would need their encouragement and wisdom. He laid that on their hearts, and they listened. They gave to little ol’ me. And they will be blessed a hundredfold for what they did. As I sit here typing, I’m just so thankful. So in awe of the God we serve and so thankful for the Body of Christ. So humbled by His great love and the love of my sisters in Christ.
Today, on this Monday in August, may each of us be reminded of His great love for us, and may we all purpose to set Him first, to love Him first and best, and to respond in obedience to whatever He has put before us. For He has prepared us for such a time as this.