On May 3, 1995, I surrendered to full time Christian service or to whatever the Lord would have me to do. I remember the date because I wrote it in my Bible next to the verse that Pastor Wass (our Music Pastor and my Spiritual mentor at the time) gave me. The verse was "I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye." Psalme 32:8. Interesting that verses right before that say "I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin....Thou art my hiding place; thou shalt preserve me from trouble; thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance. Selah." Psalm 32: 5, 7 It has been through a time of confession for living a life of disobedience that has brought me to this point in my life!
Seventeen years later I finally did it! I surrendered ALL! I was sharing my frustration with myself over how long it has taken in a conversation with a cousin, friend and sister in Christ today and she reminded me that it took God 40 years to prepare Moses so I don't feel so bad!
My family has always been involved with Missions-minded churches and I have seen many presentations through the years. I can remember watching various presentations but it was always the presentations to Africa that would get my heart pumping. I would look at the beautiful land and the beautiful people and just think how AMAZING it would be to be a missionary to Africa. "Kyle or Danielle just HAVE to be a missionary to Africa," I would think. "That would be so amazing!" All along it was me that God was summoning, and it just took me 17 years to figure out.
Have you ever had that moment when you look back at your life and God's hand and his leading in your life become so clear? Those of you who know me know that I have been in a different job every 2 years, a different home every 2 years (not including the last 7 years God had me trapped at TSYS) always searching for the contentment and fulfillment I lacked! I remember wondering why I was 46 years old, and still didn't know what I wanted to be when I grew up? I can see now, it was an unrest brought on by not being where God wanted for me to be! Don't get me wrong, everything is in his time, but when I look back at what I thought were blunders or missed opportunities career-wise, i can see that it was God ensuring that I didn't become too comfortable in any of those positions! He had something more important for me to do.
I think about how many times I would pack the kids up in the van on a minutes notice and take off cross country in the middle of the night. People would be aghast that a woman would travel alone like that with 2 small children in tow and no means of protection. I even remember taking a wrong turn and getting lost in inner-city St. Louis one time! But I never felt afraid. I LOVED being on the road, taking those road trips. And I have made those trips several times by myself since the children have been grown with no fear or trepidation. What more perfect personality type for deputation and the mission field!
I think about how I have enjoyed the houses I have lived in and that I have collected some "things" that mean something to me, but for the most part, I am relatively unsentimental about things. I have no problem doing a "clean out". Throwing things out, taking them to the Goodwill or selling them in a garage sale. I am not materialisticly driven! Again, a great attitude for someone who will be flying half-way across the world!
All those times wondering if I was crazy and I wasn't after all! It was all part of my time in the wilderness, my time of preparation for what God wanted me to be. Moses held a staff in his hand. It was an indication of his position in life and what he had become. God asked him to lay it down. He was saying, "What you have become, I want you to lay it down and I will use it to set people free". Moses laid it down, but then God turned it into a serpent, which was a fearful thing. Moses fled from it! But God said, "Pick it up by the tail!" Not by the head, where it would be safe, but by the tail, where Moses could get bit. Sometimes what God asks us to do is a fearful thing. I have a great deal of fear and trepidation about laying down my life, such as it is, and allowing God to use it to set people free. I am willing to present my body a living sacrifice, but with sacrifice there is death. A death of some of the hopes and dreams you had or the expectations for how you would be spending the end of your life. But the beauty of the sacrifice is in that death and in the pain! That is what makes it so valuable, like the death of Christ on the Cross!
So I have laid down my staff and now I am picking that serpent up by the tail and packing up and selling off my life to take myself to the jungles of Africa to see how God will use me there! I can't take credit for the story above. It was given to me by my cousin, friend and sister-in-Christ. Each time I find myself wondering if I am "crazy", God puts someone in my path to speak just the right words of encouragement to me.
Please pray as I begin preparations, apply with a mission board and down-size my life! My goal is to be on the field in the Fall of 2013. I pray God grants me wings so I can fly to Africa!