I always wanted to be a missionary.
After I graduated high school and tried enough of college to realize that something big was missing from my life experience, I became convinced that being a missionary was the only thing that would fulfill me.
So I left college and I tried. I worked and saved money. Then I sold everything I had and moved to Costa Rica for awhile. I joined YWAM and went to New Zealand and Thailand. I travelled the globe looking for some chance to fulfill this desire in my heart to give everything and find my place in God’s plan.
But nobody wanted me.
That’s how it felt. I made mistakes at every turn. My naïveté and ignorance kept me in the dark as I groped about for some sense of purpose. I saw a few things and learned a few things. But all my efforts left me with more questions than answers.
I felt like a student so excited for the first day of school, showing up with a stack of books and sitting in the front row and waiting… waiting. But the teacher never showed up.
And I know that God, by His very nature, is never at fault. It’s always our own wrong perspective that causes the hurt that we think is caused by God. But try as I could, I never found quite what I was looking for.
One day I felt that God was speaking to me. I had been resisting the idea of getting married because I thought it beneath my great and lofty desire to be a missionary. I felt God’s correction in my heart to accept marriage as His plan for me. After a decade of avoiding the subject, I finally submitted. If that was what God had for me, I would accept it.
It was less than 6 months from that day that I was married to my wonderful husband. God was so kind and gave me confirmation after confirmation, gently leading me down the road to marrying the right person. And while I submitted and found joy in God’s plan for me, a part of my heart quietly grieved to be moving away from the missionary life that I had dreamed about all my life.
We’ll be married 9 years this September. We have three beautiful daughters and a really cool dog. It’s been a windy road at times but on the whole a fairly simple one. I still have moments longing for something more. I’ll never understate the importance and deep eternal relevance of the great role of being a mom. But to be vulnerable and honest here, it’s been hard to find all of my fulfillment in being a mom.
The other day I was worshiping in church. I remembered that time in my life when I was single and desired to give all of myself in service to God. I slept with my cell phone by my pillow and told everyone I knew to call me anytime day or night if they ever needed help and I’d be there for them – and I was. I served my church in every capacity I could. As I remembered this time in my life, God gently connected the dots. It was about my heart. It was about allowing my heart to be a missionary heart right in the middle of where I was in life.
I often pictured myself caring for orphans. And yet here I was with three children of my own – a captive audience, willing disciples. I have a family I can serve with my every waking moment.
I am perfectly positioned to serve in every capacity I’ve ever dreamed of. I can pray and intercede for every person I know. I can pray for my husband as he goes to work. I can pray for my children each night when I put them to bed – calling upon God for their destinies. I can teach them everything I know about life with God and be open and transparent in our daily struggles to lean on Him.
Every day I’m a preacher – imparting God’s Word to little hearts.
Every day I’m an intercessor – praying God’s Will over my family and friends.
Every day I’m a worship leader – singing, playing and leading my family into a spirit of worship.
Every day I’m a servant of God – I’m cooking meals to facilitate fellowship, washing laundry and dishes and cleaning the house in service to my family (missionaries have to clean too!)
Every day I’m a missionary.
I’m a mom.
And this is my missionary life.
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