Monday, November 11, 2013

Doing the Ordinary

God has been working in my heart the past several months helping me to be content with where He has me in this life.  I just returned late last night from a 3-day Mission to the World Global Missions Conference in Greenville, SC where God sealed the deal in my mind that He has me right where He wants me, and now, not only am I content, but I am humbled and excited all at the same time.

For those of you who have known me for a long time, you know that my heart has always been sold out to missions.  I had God's plan for my life all mapped out ever since I felt His call to missions as an 11 year old girl.  The problem was, once God gave me the call, I ran with the "how" it was going to all work out.  I eagerly looked forward to the day that I could go GREAT THINGS for God as a medical missionary.  I went to college on the fast-track to med school to become a doctor.  I was going to be a single missionary doctor and spend the rest of my life on a foreign field showing needy people God's love.

The problem was that I forgot to ask God how HE planned to carry out His will for my life.  God started working on that revelation when He put my husband Tim in my life during my second year of college.  Marriage upon graduation from college certainly put a wrench into my plans, but I was able to smooth things out deciding I could become a Physician's Assistant as a married woman and serve on the foreign mission field.  While waiting for Tim to finish college, I worked in a maternity ward and got the "baby bug."  At the same time, I was working as a certified nursing assistant, quickly realizing that the role of a nurse was so much closer to my desires of having a relationship with and being able to care for patients, so with the "baby bug" in full force, I quickly figured out that I could go back to school to become a nurse once my baby was school-aged.  That plan got more complicated when I got unexpectedly pregnant with our second child and then found out all of my Pre-Med college credits were expiring and that if I didn't start nursing school just after giving birth, I would lose 12 more credits on top of the 8 I had already lost from expiration.  I started and completed nursing school by the grace of God and became very excited about how God was going to use me to do GREAT THINGS for him.  However, through the years of nursing school, our family world was quickly becoming unraveled as we faced the realization that we had two children with significant special needs.  Despite that realization, Tim and I stepped out in faith that God would provide, and we pursued full-time foreign missions in 2010.

Tim and I quickly became excited how fast we were walking through open doors to finally do the work we felt God had called us to do.  As we pursued joining the missions work in Bulgaria, our world came crashing down, and in a few short months, we had our feet kicked out from under us multiple times from multiple causes.  The special needs of our children intensified, my health failed, and our relationship was challenged.  We felt as if we were collapsed on the ground, incapable of moving, with our heads spinning.  We couldn't believe how fast our lives had done a 180° turn.  The question in my mind: How am I ever going to do GREAT THINGS for God?

Now those of you who know anything about me know that I am a planner.  I like to know well in advance what to expect so that I can have all of my plans laid out in orderly fashion.  All of the sudden I found myself in a situation where I was clueless to what God was doing and where He wanted me to go.  It was a very unsettling place to be and has been since that time.  Even though I continued to trust God to work all things for good in my life (Romans 8:28), I was frustrated by God's choice to leave me in the dark regarding His plans for my life and frustrated about all of the time being wasted for me to do GREAT THINGS for God.  I chose to submit to God, but it didn't mean I was happy about it.

However, despite the sin of backhanded rebellion (I was submitting, but not happily or willingly), God started using me in the ordinary things in my ordinary life.  In different interactions with doctors, therapists, other caregivers of special needs children, etc., God started opening doors for me to share the Gospel through our story and struggles.  Sometimes, it was more my actions than what I said that stood as a Gospel witness.  I began to get excited about these witnessing opportunities.

In addition, with our increasing love for and participation in Asia Minor Partners, a partnership in our favorite country in the Middle East, I began learning the lesson of living in the moment and taking each day as it comes.  With the increasing stress of the issues my boys were facing, I was forced to have to take one day at a time.  My brothers and sisters in the Middle East, due to the instability of their environment and practices of culture, were great examples to me of not worrying about what tomorrow will hold but living for the day that God had given me.  It's not an easy or comfortable place for me to be, but it was necessary.

Now in 2013, our heads are spinning once again, but now for a different reason: God is opening many doors of opportunity for missional/Gospel involvement in ways we never envisioned or dreamed.  God is using the fact that we are stuck here in the States for the time-being to allow us to come along side and partner with mission works around the world.  God is opening doors for us to be a part of helping the Church love and embrace those with special needs helping to make the Gospel accessible to ALL.  God reminded us that we are on a mission field right here where He has us.

Through speakers at the missions conference this week, I was reminded that God chooses to use ORDINARY people through ORDINARY means to do intentional KINGDOM work.  As I reflect back on the course of my life these past few years, I realize the ways in which God was working and using me.  He wasn't using me because I was GREAT.  He was using me because I was ORDINARY.  I am so humbled that God chooses to use me (just an ordinary person) to do His work.  It's not about what GREAT THINGS I can do for Him, but the GREAT THINGS that He can accomplish through little, ORDINARY me.  Now, I stand with excitement and anticipation, being perfectly content in God's will for my life--still not knowing what tomorrow will bring--but confident that He who began a good work in me will bring it to completion in the day of Jesus Christ (Philippians 1:6).

No comments:

Post a Comment