God sometimes lets us in our His plan for our lives rather abruptly. That’s how it happened when he called us to Gospel for Asia. When JD and I first met, I used to tell him of my dreams to rent out apartments for young women who were pregnant, and alone, and needed support. Or better yet, I wanted to buy a huge piece of property where they could all come live with us (after we were married), I would help them finish high school via on-line home school, and we would disciple them and offer encouragement. I think I fantasized about doing this for years – I almost ended up moving to Montana to work on a ranch which did this kind of work.
Everywhere I looked though, I saw I needed some kind of college degree in order to do anything (seemingly) meaningful. I prayed and asked God why I needed to go to college in order to make a difference. While I understand the need for college, I knew I wasn’t called to go – and wasn’t sure why I had to sit on the sidelines because of it.
When JD asked me if I wanted to start dating… AGAIN (that’s another blog post I think) in November of 2003 I was sure all my dreams were coming true. He loved the idea of what I wanted to do, and he was very secure financially. We talked of me quitting full-time work and try to pursue volunteering opportunities after we’d gotten married. THEN, JD got asked to go on a tour of the mission field with Gospel for Asia. As soon as he left I knew something was “wrong,” and this wasn’t just another vacation – or even missions trip. Something about this felt really permanent and made me feel very uncomfortable. Because we were only dating at the time he left I wasn’t able to go with him. Not that I was supremely interested. I didn’t really identify with India at all – and definitely not missions. It didn’t feel like anything tangible to me, and all I really knew about missions was that the people really interested in it, didn’t usually have many friends – even in Christian schools (that burns a little, but it seemed true).
I had a horrible two weeks while he was gone, and I really had no idea why, except that I knew he would come back and he would be different – or something would be different. Sure enough when he returned, he told me that he was asked to consider joining staff. I was pretty distraught but I wanted to help him work through it. I knew I was supposed to be with him, and if he was supposed to be at Gospel for Asia, then I guessed I was too. I just wasn’t sure why.
We left Philadelphia in September 2005, but I remember leaving my dreams behind the minute we decided to join staff, nearly a year earlier. I felt like Asia was my calling now and so that’s what I was going to focus on, as much as I could. And while I prayed for the distressed teenagers my heart connected with, I felt like real obedience was pulling the plug on my heart-strings and trying to redirect.
After five years of being here on staff, it’s honestly still a big struggle. I feel like I’ve never been able to connect completely – and while I connect with the staff, our core values, and even GFA wholeheartedly, I always felt like I was doing everything with no passion or zeal. But now, I don’t beat myself up about it, and I don’t see it as a deficit. I see it as a benefit. I get to experience God’s daily provision in my life for the things I don’t FEEL like doing. And if I haven’t sought God, I won’t enjoy my job. It’s been made very simple for me. And for someone who is as analytical as I am, it’s been a huge relief. I stopped worrying about shedding tears for the lost, and I focused on Jesus. And I just keep focusing on Jesus. He put me here, and He called me here, and He wants me right here. And that’s enough. I don’t need to know why, and I don’t even need to have much to offer. But it’s made things very simple – and I was confident that any passions that I did had (while I’ve never been able to let them rest) would someday be fulfilled in Heaven. Who I am now is only preparation for Heaven. So I stopped looking at things in light of what I had to offer, or who I was, or what fulfillment I wanted from life. That’s what Heaven is for, finding out who we really are, and what we really have to offer. Fulfillment comes from God alone – and that’s especially true in the desert.