Posted by: JennyRain | December 19, 2009

One Decision Can Alter Your Entire Life…

Calling (2006-2007)

It was my grand delusion that when we are called to something, we are compelled to follow that calling. Free will is something granted to those who have not decided to follow Christ, but for those of us who have, choice is simply an illusion of our own design.

In early 2006 a steady stream of proclamations channeled through my brain, “This is your year, Change is coming, Many are chosen but few will come, Feed the hungry.” This static continued until January 31st when I found myself praying,

Take me to the heart of where You are working to help a people I do not know!  

I penned these words in my journal and then promptly forgot about them.

At a missions conference in April of 2006 while listening to an African choral group I dissolved into tears.

Their melody painted a landscape in my heart and I was transported to a home I had never seen. I “happened” to sit next to missionaries serving at an African seminary. My heart was gripped with images of Africa that would not shake me loose. Attempting to sift through whether my passions were on over-drive or God was shouting to me from heaven, I went on a personal retreat during which time the Lord spoke,

There is a window of opportunity. The curtain is open. Go and spread my word. Go. Go now.

Amos reminds us that “the LORD does nothing without revealing his plan to his servants the prophets…” so was this a prophetic voice or was I just hearing things?

Within three months I had been granted admission to a Kenyan Seminary and approved with a missions agency. I handed in my resignation letter and put my house and all of its furnishings up for sale. I was going to Kenya!

Around Thanksgiving of 06, the road I had been traveling on evaporated and I lost the courage to prevail.  

I’d love to share a “But God” story with you yet I can not because as I began to think about the lack of showers in Africa, the ceiling rats in the dorms, the communal nature of the Kenyan people, and the disrespect single women still endure in African society my functional apathy took over.

I listened to the voices of the skeptics whispering “I think,” instead of the cries of my own heart screaming, “God said!” I lost sight of the illogical manner that the Divine nature is oft revealed and began looking instead for evidence that the burning bush in my life had been real.

I developed a rock-solid case for remaining at rest, put on my mask, and then went into hiding.

I did not go to Kenya.

I knew that Kenya would step into unrest around the same time I was to arrive, it did. I knew that that chaos would provide unparalleled ministry opportunities, it did. 

Love slips softly through my hands
            A treasure once embraced
And there remains an opening
            Where once your heart was placed.

Sometimes when God calls is when He asks for a response.

This is not the case for everyone. Some are called years before they are required to respond. Some who miss the initial “God-pass” are given a second or third chance to fulfill a Divine invitation. God’s path is unique

God has created many of us with a given message for a given population at a given time.

He only asks for our surrendered heart.

What if Moses had climbed back into his desert tent and refused the call? What if Sarah had said, “God, I don’t want to have anything to do with wrinkly old Abram!” What if Gideon had said, “I’m staying here in this wine press to finish the bread!” What if Jesus had remained in the Garden of Gethsemane?

What if you do not go? Who will not receive a word there because you are here? Who will not receive prayer because your presence is missing? Whose heart will remain in bondage because you will not open your mouth? So what if you are a woman! So what if you are young! So what if your bills are unpaid! So what if you are confused and afraid! So was Moses and he went. So was Abraham and he left his people. So was Esther, Deborah, Mary, but they acted.

Because of God’s tremendous gift of free will – we all have an opportunity to make the decision to act or not to act.

Yes we can rest in the fact that God’s loving-kindness transcends our physical address because where we are is not as important to God as who we are. If Moses had chosen to stay, I imagine the conversation would have been like this,

“Moses, I AM already working, whether or not you can see it, or whether you understand who you are or not. I have always been ‘The Essence of Being’ and I AM active and present in the world. Who you are may determine how I work, but it does not eclipse the fact that I AM working. I AM greater than your heart, I AM greater than your conscience, I AM greater than your personality, greater than your fear, greater than your mistakes, I AM even greater than your reluctance to follow me if I ask you to ‘Go.’ Your human weakness does not hinder me and your fears don’t restrict Me. Your limitations are my opportunity. Yet, if you choose not to embrace the task I have given you, I still AM.”

And Just as Moses is assured of God’s faithful essence, so I am assured that because Jehovah IS, we are loved. Because Jehovah IS, we are chosen. Because Jehovah IS, we are accepted. Because Jehovah IS, we are valued, forgiven, complete, God’s beloved, and free regardless of physical location or response.

Our struggles do not limit who God is.

Yes my child, you are loved, you are free, you can choose. I AM simply inviting you to be involved in my work.

Three Years Later (2009)

I still wonder if I went to Kenya what might have happened, but now the tremendous guilt about not going is gone. I no longer have the passion to go for an extended period of time, but my eyes have been opened to missions opportunities all around me here in America.

I will never be sure if I missed an opportunity, but if I had gone, would I then have missed the opportunity to meet my husband? Would I have missed the opportunity to work at my current job? Both marriage and working at my current job were nine-year prayers answered within a two month period.

Talk about seeing God move!

I do know that God has taught me how to be a missionary where I am first before trying to do it somewhere else. I know that God has taught me to walk out of my shell and begin engaging others in the work of the kingdom.

I know now that God has provided me with a partner in sharing the gospel (John) who “ironically” also has a heartbeat for Africa.

I had to admit to myself that much of my motivation to help others in Kenya was out of a need to feel something that I already am in the Beloved (valued, cherished, loved, accepted).  Some of this motivation was curiosity and some of it was to escape. Curiosity about if I could find answers to my questions or release from my inner pain.

Three years of steady counseling has helped me heal and accept myself – something I believe is a necessary precursor to being effective in ministry anywhere. I learned that contentment is not found outside of myself, it is something I carry with me wherever I go because as a Christ follower – the Peace of God reigns in me forever.

So we will see what the future holds. I am content now to know that I know He who holds Me, regardless of past, present, or future.

Come to the edge, He says.
They say, We are afraid.
Come to the edge, He says.
They come.
He pushes them…
And they fly.

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Responses

  1. I read your story and can only say its very, very interesting. And by the way…the Seminary you were to attend is quite lovely. I worked there for 2 years. Otherwise, its not us who choose where we will serve, but God. If you placed you in America, then do His will there and find contentment.

    Blessings and hugs,

    Gladwell

  2. A great story, God works in us in many ways. As a Christ follower I am sure you do his work daily. We do not have free will when we submit to him. God bless you and yours!
    JFT

  3. […] blogger is Sheryl. Remember that season of my life when I was supposed to go to Kenya and finish my degree? Well, I had been approved to be a missionary for World Venture (still my […]

  4. […] ability to handle things in a healthy way. I questioned myself. I wondered if I should have gone to Africa in 2007 and if somehow I had wandered off of God’s perfect plan for my life and maybe that is why I […]


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