My heart eyes can still see the place, the moment when I first felt God leading me into service to Him. I was maybe 9 or 10 years old, with my face down on the scratchy red carpet in a very old camp building. There weren’t any spoken words or big declarations of a calling.
Just sweet whispers of a deep impression on my soul.
I knew I would serve somehow, someway in career ministry one day.
Assuming that would play out as a pastor’s wife… seriously missions was not a consideration because this girl does not like bugs, eating crazy things or discomforts of any kind… I happily prepared for that vocation.
And being a pastor’s wife IS a vocation, a calling of its own. It is important, valid and absolutely something that requires God’s help on every level. And I felt that would be my place, my part in ministry.
I remember missionaries coming to church and I also remember steadfastly remaining in my seat because that could not possibly be for me.
But as the years passed and I went to college, as my heart softened and God spoke to my fears, my hesitations and my doubts… I realized that actually, missions could be for me after all.
God is bigger than my dislike of bugs, my fear of snakes, my issue with discomfort and all other excuses my mind could come up with to keep me from accepting the call.
Partner that with the missionary call to Africa that Jeremy heard at age 9 and you have the missionary couple we are today.
But the path to get here was long, confusing, challenging and full of waiting.
Some of you are on that path. You hear the whispers to go and yet face the challenges to actually make that move.
Reality says you must sell your house or pay off debt or graduate college or finish high school.
Your situation means gaining more experience or researching countries or talking with different organizations.
Maybe it means meetings and paperwork and just plain waiting for God’s timing.
Waiting for an open door.
The door might even be open yet there still seems to be something standing in the way.
For us, we felt God leading us to commit 10 years to church ministry stateside.
That became 11 and a half years of children’s ministry and a whole lot of learning, growing, and preparing.
Then came the long process of interviewing, applying, traveling, raising support and language school.
Now, on the field, it means continuing our language learning, gaining cultural experience, getting to know the people around us, building relationships with pastors and praying about the needs here in country.
Really… more preparing and learning and waiting.
The process is humbling.
You really can’t just pick up and go… rarely is that a good option.
For most us of, it means settling into the ever-changing, transitional life of setting aside our way, our pride, our timing and grasping on to God’s bigger goal for our lives.
This process is the walking out of 2 Peter 2 which says, “For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love.”
These things that Paul lists are learned from the whispers of a call through all the preparation and transition and then right into the moving overseas and beyond. We never stop learning them.
God is consistently molding and making and moving in us… building our character, shaping our opinions, changing our focus, opening our eyes and helping us see Him.
Deeper levels of trust, new heights of joy, renewed hope, greater skills… it is all happening within you, within your willingness to go to the ends of the earth so all can hear the gospel.
And all will hear.
Because of people who are willing to walk the path. To go through blank space. To face challenges. To accept realities and trust in the midst. To live with some confusion, lots of transition and more waiting than one person should be able to withstand. All will hear.
I want to challenge you to hear the whisper.
To face the challenges.
To accept realities.
To trust the process.
To hold on to hope.
To let God work things out in HIS timing not your own.
To believe the call is real.
To wait when God says wait.
To learn every chance you get.
To research, plan, dive into the details and just keep going.
For even when you reach the field, a whole new host of challenges await. New seasons of waiting. New realities stand in the way. So much to learn and even more ways to grow…
Yet, like Peter admonished us from generations past… make every effort to add on to what you’ve learned so far and ask God to keep building that foundation. Ask God to keep you in the process of learning… even when it humbles you to your knees. even with it is hard. even when the realities and challenges overwhelm you. even when your heart hurts deeply with the need to just go… trust. hope. believe. know that God is working.
His timing is perfect.
His ways are right.
Stay faithful. Breathe. Move one foot in front of the other as God lights the path before you.
Those whispers are real… the whispers to go…
The process is also real so hang on for an adventure with Jesus.
Never doubt you are part of the biggest story of ALL time!
How did you hear the whisper? Where are you in the process? How are you hanging on today? What encourages you to keep moving forward? What are your dreams, your challenges, your hopes?
For those not on this missions journey, whatever journey you are on… the process applies… feel free to join the conversation!