If you have followed me for any amount of time, you know that a big part of my story began in a sixth grade History class as we discussed the persecution of believers in Indonesia.
It was during this class period that I began to sense the Holy Spirit moving in my young heart and etching a burden for missions there. I didn’t know what this meant or what this would look like. However, I walked out of that classroom as a different person.
When I was 14, I went on my first international mission trip to Honduras. I fell head over heels in love with the work, the people, and more in love with Him. I came alive as I worked in a country that was not my own. On this first trip, God taught me that He transcends all differences- cultural, language, financial, political, religion. Love is a language that every person understands.Love is a language that every person understands. Click To Tweet
About five months later, I began having episodes that cause me to collapse and leave me with temporary paralysis in my arms and legs. My episodes started one month before I was supposed to go on my first mission trip to Jamaica. Still, it was within His will for me to go…weak body and all. There is no one more surprised than I that, not only did He allow me to go and make it through that trip, but He continued to send me to Jamaica for a total of 10 times.
But even though I saw Him provide strength over and over again for short term missions, my heart began to question this calling and what that was supposed to look like long term.
I had others question me, asking, “how can you expect to serve as a missionary if you have so many medial issues? How can you serve in full time ministry if you struggle with ordinary, every day tasks? Maybe God doesn’t intend for you to be in missions. Have you considered something else?”
I did consider other things. I thought about pursuing sign-language interpretation, becoming a special education teacher, or becoming a speech-language therapist. But with every passing trip, every missions conference, and every prayer I prayed for the unreached people around the world, His still small voice reminded me of that little etch that was made in my heart during History class so many years ago.
The past six years have been littered with so many things that have planted seeds of doubt in my heart. With every disappointing doctor’s appointment or really bad episode, it is easy to get discouraged. I think this can be true of anything in life, really. When things get hard, it is almost second nature to doubt who He is and all that He has promised. We try to rationalize and come up with a way to make God’s will play out in our lives.
I found myself doing this recently.
As I was finishing up my Associates degree online and struggled to find a way to be a productive member of “the real world”, I began blogging. I had been wrestling with the Lord over this because, y’all, I’m an introvert. The thought of putting my story out there for an unlimited amount of people to see absolutely terrified me. Reluctantly, I surrendered. About the same time, I began working in the youth ministry at my church…which was also something that terrified me.
A few months into my blogging experience, I was checking on my site’s stats and I learned something that absolutely shocked me…my little blog has been in 34 countries! As I settled into this new routine of blogging and fell in love with the entire creative process, I began to rationalize. “Maybe this is what God meant by calling me to missions? I am serving Him in missions by blogging. I am working in ministry by serving in the youth group. Maybe that is all He meant.”
In my heart, I settled for Ishmael.
I was trying to make a way for God’s will to play out in my life based on my current circumstances and limitations. And while to some they may seem like good things, I was using them to rationalize the way in which God was going to move. In my heart, I had made blogging and youth ministry the way in which God’s will would play out in my life. I had forgotten that God’s will is not dictated by our current limitations. It becomes a dangerous place when I quit expecting God to move just because His way seems impossible to me.God's will is not dictated by our current limitations. Click To Tweet
Over the last few weeks, He has opened up doors that I never thought He would open. He opened up the doors for me to finally go to school and study Intercultural Studies, and to do so without going into any debt. He is opening up doors that make it abundantly clear I should continue to surrender my life over to ministry.
I want to be clear…blogging is a ministry.
It is a mission field. Serving at church…whether it’s in the nursery, scrubbing toilets, or cooking meals on Wednesdays is ministry. His calling on each of our lives looks different and each task leads to the end goal of glorifying Him. I do not want to down play the importance of these things. However, I took these things that can be good and used them as excuses to settle and not walk in the direction He was leading me.Sarah's barren womb did not disqualify her from giving birth to a promised son.Click To Tweet
Sometimes, the Isaac’s in our lives seem impossible. Maybe He is calling you to something or leading you to something that seems impossible today. Maybe people will question you or maybe you feel disqualified. But remember…Sarah’s barren womb did not disqualify her from giving birth to a promised son. Abraham’s old age did not keep him from being the father of many nations. God called them to step out in faith no matter what their current limitations were. And guess what. He. Did. Not. Disappoint!
Don’t settle for Ishmael. Don’t forget who has called you.
Waiting for God to move in our lives can often be a discouraging and disheartening process. Here are 5 Ways To Wait With Grace.