Coming into adulthood, like everyone else, I thought about my future, what I would do, where I would go, and what life would be like as the years went by. I had the usual dreams: to get married, have a couple of kids, have a job that I at least tolerated, and by the time my children grew up, I would be settled into the home where I would eventually retire.
Boy was I way off base! Life, as it has turned out, has been far from normal.
Competing for my attention together with my “normal” desires of what a regular family looks like were my desires to see God take me on an amazing adventure. In my high school years I became one of “those” Christians who dreamed big dreams about what God could do through me. I was very well aware of the fact that alone I didn’t amount to much but my relationship with the Lord was “front and center” of everything and my inabilities faded in the wonder of His great ability. I knew He could do and would do anything I dared to dream for Him.
As a senior in high school (in my time at least) the class would take what’s known as a “senior trip.” My sister’s class, for example, had taken a senior trip to Mexico two years prior to my senior year. The year my class went on a trip, we were to travel to Europe. Instead of anticipating going to Europe like a normal senior, I wasn’t interested – not in the least. I couldn’t explain it to anyone; I knew my parents would have found a way to pay for my way had I wanted to go. Perhaps they were silently relieved I wasn’t interested?
The youth group at our home church planned short-term missions a trip to Haiti at nearly the same time as the senior trip was to take place and I knew what I wanted to do instead of going to Europe. Instead of going on a normal senior trip that year, I took my first trip to a foreign country on a missions trip where I slept on a concrete floor with no mattress. I had a few blankets to make the floor as comfortable as possible, but they didn’t really help; yet I didn’t mind – my adventure had begun.
We toured the city of Port-au-Prince and a few outlying villages. It was hot. There were bugs. The food was different – and I found myself at home during those few days we spent in Haiti. As I stepped onto the plane returning home, I suspected that flight not going to be my last overseas.
That suspicion turned into reality and I soon found myself boarding plane after plane as a career missionary. This life has been far from the normal dreams that competed for my attention all those years ago as a young girl. Slowing down is not an option any time in my near future as the dream God has given my husband and I for the continent has just begun.
There are parts of this lifetime adventure that have cost a great deal, and I’m not talking about plane tickets (which are costly!). The cost of the adventure and being witness to what God has done in the past 30 years has been more of an emotional cost than a financial one. Paying this kind of price is an unpopular message in our day and age of building a “better” life than what our parents had. We always assume “doing better” means to have more: more money, a bigger house, better cars, and have more friends. I believe, however, that “doing better” means to do the will of God. What could be better than following the call of God no matter where it may lead – around the world or across the street? I pray my kids do better than I have done; I pray they follow God better than I have, that they see more of His power than I have for I know He is the Key to their success. He is the only One Who can keep them secure in this complicated world we find ourselves in.
Matthew 19:29 NKJ “And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My name’s sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life.”
The price tag to living this adventure has been great but not nearly enough to compare to what He is worth: from separating from my own parents and way of life to learning multiple languages, living through war and rejection, to finally seeing my grown children leave the nest, have all brought me to my knees. The only way I have been able to navigate these demands has been to remain on my knees, never to stand up and fight for my “rights.” This service God has called me to deserves my best, my all, it is the very least I can do, whatever He asks.
Luke 17:10 NKJ “So likewise you, when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do.’”