It may sound hard to believe, but I actually answered the Lord’s call to missions at the age of ten. I had been a believer for two whole years, but my response to this heart tug was just as clear as the first one had been. I walked down the aisle in my church and told my pastor, Dr. Cotey, that the Lord had called me to be a missionary.
I will always be grateful that he didn’t just hug me and say something like, “well, that’s wonderful honey,” and send me back to my seat. No, he took me seriously and shared my decision with the entire church, who then proceeded to come forward and shake my hand and hug my neck to affirm what God was doing in my life.
That was the beginning of my journey in missions.
I didn’t leave for the field the next day or even the next year, but I did keep learning about what God was doing in the world through our mission organizations, GAs and later Acteens. I wrote letters to missionaries and heard back from them. I read missionary biographies and listened to live ones who spoke in our church.
My parents exposed us to internationals by hosting students studying at the local university. We had a couple from Thailand, and two single men, one from Turkey and one from Taiwan, who ate in our home, visited with our family and occasionally joined us for church.
By the time I was in high school and college, I was helping with ministry to newly arrived Laotian immigrants, teaching them in Sunday evening classes and driving the church van.
During high school and college, other things worked to pull my attention away from God’s direction, including boys. While my choices at church seemed right on target, my choices of the opposite sex were far from it. I made huge mistakes and hurt my relationship with God and others.
How could one part of my life be so right and the other be so wrong?
Just prior to college graduation, I found myself getting more involved in the wrong kind of relationship. Even so, it didn’t stop me from praying and asking God to show me in some way, if he wanted me and this guy together. You would think that the fact I wrote in my journal that I was “scared and unsure” would have been a sign.
Hormones are a deceptive thing, I hate to say.
In that same prayer, I asked, “What am I going to do with the rest of my life,” if we’re not together?
Thirty-four years later, I can chuckle, though I was doing anything but as a young, twenty-one-year-old. I may not have known what I was going to do with the rest of my life, but God did. That’s the crux of the matter, isn’t it?
It’s not about what I want to do anyway, it’s always about what He wants to do.
And boy, did he do a lot! That is, once I let him have complete control.
Are you still on this side of the future, wondering what you’re going to do with the rest of your life? Wondering how you can move on after a heartbreak or failure?
Let Jesus have your future. Focus your eyes on him, stay daily in his Word, stay in fellowship with his people, and keep putting one foot in front of the other. He has plans for you…and they are amazing.
Grace and Peace