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Created to Serve

We all have our ideas of what we want to do, and God has His ideas of what He has called us to do.  These are not always the same ideas.

I’ve felt for some time now that God wanted me to serve Him in some sort of mission/ministry project (preferably in the area of fighting human trafficking or rehab for the survivors).  And I was right…except for what that mission/ministry was going to be.  My heart has been prepared for loving “the least of these” and I’ve learned about sacrifice over the last four years. I let go of what I felt was holing me back and have been waiting for a year now for God to “reveal my path” as ministry-type people like to say.  I’m co-leading a short-term mission trip to Guatemala in three weeks, and I’ve been on a few of these trips before, so I figured when it became a full-time gig, I’d be ready.

Now I know God’s calling in my life, “my path,” so to speak, at least for now, and it isn’t what I was expecting.

I have suddenly found myself in the position as a caretaker of a four-year-old girl who is not incorrect in believing she is a princess, because she’s a child of the King of kings. She’s not an orphan in the traditional sense as she does still have a mother who loves her, but for now, and we do not know how much longer, my husband and I are filling in.  We knew it was the right thing to do, and I knew God had put us in the place we needed to be in so that we could take her in, but I still didn’t realize this was the ministry He had called us to do, the path He chose for us until I read chapter 29 in The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren.  The first line written by Warren in the chapter simply reads, “You were put on earth to make a contribution.” Our purpose is not just to suck up everything around us and what others give us, but to make a contribution, a difference…to DO SOMETHING. Ephesians 2:10 says, “[God] has created us for a life of good deeds, which he has already prepared for us to do.” Wow. This means God prepared me to be a part of raising my sweet little grand niece. He knew she would need me and chose me for this very special ministry. He also chose my husband to be part of all this. According to Romans 8:28, “…God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them,” and so it is now evident that all the pieces have come together as they have for this purpose.

I feel blessed that God chose us for this important mission/ministry of being Linnea’s caretakers, for however long it turns out to be.  But I’m human, and I have my low moments where I feel God should have picked people who are more experienced than we are, and I worry I’ll never have time to get all my previous responsibilities taken care of now because a little girl takes up a lot of time and attention. I think about all the things I want to be able to provide for her, and look at our budget with tears in my eyes. I selfishly long to have time to read and write again, and I feel a bit like I’ve already lost who I am, my identity.

And then I remember that God has it all under control because He planned this and chose us.  The only experience we need is knowing how to love and how to pray. I’ll find my balance of time management; it’s only week two, and I didn’t have time to prepare, so it just might take a little while. Yes, she takes up time, but it’s time well spent and I love it. God always has and always will provide for our needs. Just as I will learn to manage the time I need for accomplishing the mundane parts of life’s responsibilities, I will begin to learn how I can carve out time for reading and writing, because writing is a gift God gave me, and He wants me to be able to use it.

These are a few of my favorite things

These are a few of my favorite things

If any of my readers are believing, praying people, please keep us in mind when you do pray. I know the highs and lows will continue, as that’s part of life, but we’ll need encouragement and wisdom for sure.

 

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Change of Plans- My First Mission Trip Lesson

If you have followed many of my posts, you know that a huge passion of mine is to help put an end to human trafficking.  You may also know that I am about to embark on a mission trip to Costa Rica (this Sat actually- woo-hoo!).  My husband and I have realized we feel a call to do something with our lives that will help those recovered from human trafficking, and it just happens that after I signed up for one of our church’s mission  trips, we found out we were going to work with the Rahab Foundation, an organization which does just that.  What an incredible learning experience for me, right?

Through the process of wanting to help the team understand human trafficking more, I began to further my research on the topic.  The doubts I had that my husband and I were headed on the right path vanished. We do not know exactly what our next steps are, so we felt this trip might be a jumping off point for us.

Then a few days ago, an email was sent out by the mission team leader, and the subject line read: “IMPORTANT- Big change for Costa Rica- our first big test.”

I avoided opening that message and checked everything else first, played around on Facebook for a while, and even did some dishes.  When I finished all of that, the message was still there, and it looked important since, as you can see, it was written in all caps.  I knew without opening it that our plans to work with the Rahab Foundation had changed.  Sure enough.  There had been some sort of scheduling conflict at the last minute and we would now be unable to work with them. I was immediately angry and sad.  My doubts that Robert and I maybe aren’t meant to join the forces of putting an end to modern day slavery resurfaced.  I cried.

Soon I remembered that everyone I’ve ever talked to about going on mission trips has said to expect the unexpected, but to trust God in it because it will be an amazing experience, even if it isn’t the experience you expected or wanted it to be.  Instead of working with these women, the team will be working with low-income, high-risk children, teaching them about and showing them God’s love. Obviously this is an incredible opportunity to experience God.  Also, now the men on the team, and the two young boys will be able to interact and do more than paint a building.  Through these changes, we ALL have a chance to experience and show God to those who desperately need Him. That truly excites me.

But was this a sign that God was not leading Robert and I to be abolitionists?  I don’t think that was His intention at all.  He knew the whole time that this mission team would be working with these kids, but He also knew I needed a bit of a jump-start, which I was given because of this trip as I dove into searching out information and organizations that dedicate themselves to the worthy cause of freedom of all human beings.  That process has already pushed us forward on our journey.  Robert and I are talking about it more, researching more, and planning our next moves as well as praying that we make the right ones.  We’ve included asking our small group and my parents to pray with us for direction, and I believe our lives are going to seriously begin to change this year as God helps us put down a foundation on which we will grow our own outreach/ministry.

I’m still not sure what will happen next for Robert and I or my mission team, but this scripture (Proverbs 3:5-6) helps me trust God: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”  I just have to trust Him, and he’ll help me though the rest of it.

In order to keep this in mind, I ask God, “Show me the path where I should go, O Lord; point out the right road for me to walk.” (Psalm 25:4)