Monday, March 28, 2011
What was I thinking? Why can't I think that way again?
When I was in college, I was a summer missionary. Three summers. My last summer (before my senior year) I was sent to Minnesota for the summer. That was the summer of 1995. For whatever reason (that I can't remember now) I kept a journal of sorts. Last night during my Bible reading I came across the journal and began to read some of my thinking. In many ways, I'm in awe of how deep my thinking was, yet I still struggled with the same thing: finding God's will for my life! Can't help but feel a little sad that I have regressed in my relationship with God. That's now how it's supposed to be! Here are a few of my excerpts......."May 29, I'm scared because I don't have the same eagerness and anticipation as everyone else. Is this really God's will or is it just something to do?" Was I doubting my going? My calling? Or was it just nerves? Today, I think that it was the nerves and anticipation of a summer of new discovery! As I was reading I found a letter I had written to myself near the end of my partner and I's time at a particular church. Looking over the letter I weep wondering "where did I go wrong?" I think about how sure I was as a 21 year-old about what I thought God wanted me to do. Was I wrong? Or have I been disobedient and not followed what I thought was God's plan was for me? Here is parts of the letter: July 10, 1995 "Tonight I just got back from eating supper at the Copeland's house. Phil and Kris were missionaries in West Africa. After speaking with them I feel like Jonah--- running from God and His calling. When I was 17, I went on a ten day mission trip to Belize to work with a church doing Bible club. I remember thinking, 'I could handle doing this for the rest of my life.' Little did I know that God might call me to foreign missions. The next year I went to St. Anne's Bay, Jamaica on a 10 day mission trip. It was during this time when I really began to struggle with God's calling. I talked with Wayne, an adult who had met up with our church group and was one of our leaders. He shared with me 4 steps to finding God's will.... 1. personal quiet time (prayer and Bible study), 2. godly counsel, 3. Bible, and 4. wisdom of parents" During that same summer, I talked with one of the pastors we were working with about foreign missions. Long story short, I wasn't sure if that was the right thing for me because I was scared of being alone. I gave God a condition: I would have to have a companion (husband). Ultimately, I applied for (and received a position) as a 2-year home missionary after graduation. My letter concluded, "I'm scared because I do not know how to be strong. I don't want to be alone on the mission field. I know that God will grant me companionship, but it may not necesssarily be a husband. God will not allow me to be alone- for He is always with me and will never leave me nor forsake me." I did go as a home missionary after college. I spent one-and-a-half years as a missionary in Indiana and was miserable the whole time. I often wonder if it was because I was only half-following God's will......... I can't go back and "re-do" my life (although sometimes I think it would be nice to be able too!) but I can start now to seek God's will for the next stages of my life. I truly believe God lead me to elementary education.... Heaven knows I have a lot to learn and do better, but I care for my students and want to be a leader for them. But that's not enough... God has another calling for me, a calling to help others and spread the gospel to others. I usually have a few books at a time that I am reading.... some "for fun", others educational, and then some about Christian living... right now I am reading "God Chicks" by Holly Wagner and Stormie Omartian's "Praying God's Will for Your Life".... one of the things that Omartian speaks aobut in her book, she speaks of how God's will is continuous.... basically from the womb to the tomb...Isaiah 58:11 says, "The Lord will guide you continually, and satisfy your soul in drought, and strengthen your bones; you shall be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail." My soul has been in drought for a long time... hopefully I am taking the steps to be watered! :) I have to continue to read my Bible, fellowship with other believers and seek godly counsel..... maybe one day I can get back to the "maturity" of the 20/21-year old me