The Many Shades of Calling

I answered the Lord’s call to missions at the tender age of ten. Though just a child, the message was crystal clear—the Lord was asking me to serve him overseas. Of course, that wasn’t fulfilled in full until I left after college to go to Ivory Coast, West Africa, but I did follow that calling up until that point. I took time to learn about missions, then in high school went on church mission trips, and worked with Laotian refugees.

That was one shade of my calling to serve.

While in Ivory Coast, the Lord further revealed his way for me—serving among Muslims. This led to seminary and then twenty years in the Middle East and North Africa.

The places I served were another shade of my call.

Leaving the field after twenty years didn’t mean I’d fulfilled the call, or that it was over. I still loved Muslims and wanted to see them saved. This led to my late husband and I starting an Arabic-speaking church, working with refugees, and teaching ESL.

The jobs I did, or tasks accomplished were further shades to my calling.

After my husband passed away, I eventually pulled back from serving in the church we’d planted and focused on writing. Some of my writing is geared directly toward Muslims, other is to help Americans better understand them. I also write to help prepare the next generation of workers.

Shifting direction doesn’t necessarily mean a shift in calling.

As I think about aging and what my later years will bring, I know that even if all my body allows is for me to pray, my prayers will be for the Muslim world and those who serve there. Even in this, God is fulfilling his call on my life.

Closed doors can shake our faith and lead us to question God’s call. It’s important to remember that his call is not static—do one thing in one place for the rest of your life. No, that call is dynamic, as the sun changes a tree’s color or how the shadow falls on the ground. It’s still a tree, but simply reflecting the sun’s light in various ways.

Are you facing a closed door that’s left you shaken and unsure? Ask the Lord to remind you of the initial call he placed on your heart, then open your eyes to see how he might be shaping that in this new season of service as you walk through the open door before you.

Grace and Peace

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