I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how relationships change. For me, it’s all about how to be a mother to adult children. My 24/7 hovering has turned into a weekly text or possible phone call. My role has changed. What does motherhood look like at this stage of life?
Does the same thing happen with God’s call on our lives? For a long time, I didn’t think so. As I wrote in previous blogs, I heard God’s call to missions at the age of ten. It was undeniable. It caused me to respond, not just to him, but in front of my church family. It changed the trajectory of my life and affected every decision I made from that point on.
I knew it was missions. I knew I was to be a missionary overseas, but I didn’t know what that meant. Thankfully, I had godly people around me to teach and guide me. They also gave me opportunities to serve in my youth and throughout college. I was a person on mission as I left home and traveled to West Africa, going to a land and people I knew not, but was willing to know and grow to love.
I didn’t know it then, but God was shaping and changing my call. It began to be more specific, as I became aware of people called Muslims. Then it happened — I was at a prayer retreat in Ivory Coast. It’s amazing what God does when we stop to pray.
It was during that retreat in 1987, that I again heard him guiding me to work among Muslims. I had the French language under my belt, but I realized that I would need to learn Arabic too. I also needed to better understand this massive group of people.
So, I bought a Qur’an and started to learn Arabic — while still serving in French-speaking West Africa. Once again, his call changed my direction and decisions.
It was obvious to me that working among Muslims meant I would need to know my own Bible well. That is when I decided to I would go to seminary upon my return to the States.
The rest is history — or His Story in my life.
That one moment in a prayer retreat kept me moving forward with purpose for the next 30 plus years. It affected my studies, my choice of mates, my place of service — even where my children were born.
It also affected my writing. Not only have I written novels about Muslims coming to Christ, but I’ve written discipleship courses for them as well. That call permeated everything I did in life.
For a season…
Thirty years is a long season, but at no time did I sense any change in the purposes to which God had called.
Until circumstances changed.
When my husband passed away in November 2015, grief threw me off-balance. I kept moving forward in the fog of daily duties, but something had changed. It wasn’t just that I’d lost the love of my life, but I’d also lost my partner in missions. What did that mean for my call?
Nothing — only a new direction.
God’s call on my life didn’t change, but the way he wanted to use me did. I didn’t see it for a long time. I kept pushing on, afraid of abandoning what I’d known for so many years, until he showed me that following Him is what is important, not what we do.
Paul’s life changed from one of travel to one of writing. His circumstances changed, but not his desire to be used by God. I’ve always talked about seasons in life, but was allowing guilt to keep me from stepping into a new season God had prepared for me.
So, here I am, still listening daily for his voice to guide and direct, still submitting to his call. I’m not as “busy,” but I’m just as driven by his voice, his purpose for this moment in my life…for this season.
Have you had a change in direction in how God has used you in the past? It may be moving from teaching a children’s class to being part of an adult Bible study. Or, it could be that in retirement, you’re ready to sell everything and move overseas to serve God in missions. You know what God is saying. You feel the pull on your heart.
Don’t miss the blessing of answering his call. There’s nothing like it.
Grace and Peace