Monday, March 14, 2016

When God Says No

The resistance to the word No in response to your desire manifests itself at a very young age, doesn't it?  It's one of the first signs of a toddler's growing independence.  Unfortunately, it's something that you never completely mature out of, even as an adult.  Some times, when God says No, it's fairly easy to understand why - perhaps that financial windfall would have led to a sense of pride, or that A on a test that you didn't study for would encourage your tendency towards procrastination and lack of self-discipline.  But the hardest Nos to hear are when you desire a good thing.  I recently went through a miscarriage that tore my heart up.  As soon as I began to sense that things were not going normally, I fell to my knees in serious prayer - asking God for a miracle, desperately asking that he might allow me to keep the baby that I already loved and wanted.  These fervent prayers and frantic pleas lasted for days.  The utter stillness and quiet tormented me.  Eventually, though, God provided an answer, and that answer was No.  I don't understand why, right now, and my heart still hurts.  But what I do know, and what I hold onto, is to be found in the Word of the Lord.

For I know the plans I have for you, " declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you.  Plans to give you hope and a future.
Jeremiah 29:11

Thursday, March 3, 2016

The Call

Why us?

We are an average American family.

We send our kids to school.  We participate in extracurricular activities.  We have and enjoy nice things.  We like having the world at our fingertips via the internet.  We like our comfy, beautiful house.  We love living a place where we get to experience the four seasons.  We don't care for extreme temperatures.  We love air-conditioning and fireplaces.  We love to go out to eat.  I love Diet Coke.  I like flashy, outrageous heels.  We have seven kids.  We've developed deep roots in our community and especially in our church.  We have teenagers starting to plan for their future.  We are swiftly approaching our forties.  We have a new baby.

The reasons for not going are so numerous, I could go on for hours.

But none of it matters.  Because God has called us to the mission field.  And no comforts of home and community and family, however wonderful, are more satisfying than following where He leads.

We have begun our application with the ABWE mission board.  This process takes quite a long time, so this is not something that will happen immediately, or even within the next year.  But, if God desires it for us, as we feel surely that he does, it will happen exactly when it is supposed to.  

I've wanted to be a missionary for a long time - in fact in my 8th grade, under "What I Want To Be When I Grow Up" I wrote "A missionary doctor in Africa".  Well, I was a bit off on the doctor part, but I've gotten two thirds of it right.  For James, this hasn't been a lifelong ambition, but the Lord has been working in his heart during the last few years.  He's especially been moved to watch the developments of the mission work in Togo, Africa.  And at the beginning of February, we both approached each other with some trepidation, worrying that the other would think we were crazy or be totally opposed.  Oh, what little faith we had!  Instead God had moved us both in the same direction at exactly the same time!  Where we go and what we end up doing could change, depending upon needs, but right now we are hoping to go to Togo, a country in West Africa.  You could hardly find a place more different than Boise, Idaho. 

At times this feels all like a dream, like how could God be calling puny, unimportant little me to such a work as this.  How I wish I had more skills to help the people - that I were a doctor or a nurse, or something very important.  But I trust in our calling and that God can use even the smallest and the least of his people, and such a one as me.