Standing underneath another of God's wonders, the mighty redwoods. Just a few days before we arrived there had been some strong winds through the valley area and quite a bit of damage was done in the forests. As we walked through them, bending our necks back as far as they could go and that not being far enough, it made me think of the creation. Some of these trees date back to before Christ and I don't know about you but it sure makes me think -- alot. They have stood more than the test of time. They stand tall, looking upward and I believe gaining strength from possibly being closer to heaven than we think. They showed me the strength of God, His power and His presence.
As we travel from church to church, state to state and talk with more people than we can remember there is always one question we are repeatedly asked. It was asked many, many times while we were in California.
The question: "how did you know God called you into this ministry?"
For me, I knew from the time I was a small child that I was called to help people. While I was in high school I sent for the necessary forms to enroll in the Peace Corps. It was the only organization that I knew of that took people into the field to help others. But in my day and age that wasn't a popular thing for females to do so it never came to pass. It was still in my mind and I still wondered how it would all work.
After marriage came 3 children. Every time our church mentioned a mission trip somewhere, anywhere, my heart ached for the opportunity to go along. But with children at home it never was possible. As they got older an opportunity to go to an Indian reservation looked like it might be "the one". Wrong . . . it would take more money than I could afford so once again I dealt with my aching heart and went on with life. When I became a single mother with those 3 children I pretty much erased the idea of ever taking a mission trip.
God had His plan all along.
As Monty and I sat glued to the television watching hurricane Katrina build and build and build I felt a stirring in my heart again. That storm was a monster and the damage predictions were enormous. When it struck I had trouble even leaving for work because all I could think about was the people and how they were suffering. As soon as I would get home I would be in front of the TV for hours, hurting and yet hearing the call "you have to go there".
I wanted to rush out our door and drive south, anywhere, but knew that wasn't the thing to do. I waited for our church to organize a team of volunteers and it seemed like forever before they did. Pastor Dave finally announced there would be a team going and all I remember was coming home from church that day and "telling, not asking" Monty that we WOULD be going. We neither one had paid vacation but it made no difference, we were going. That calling became so strong that I could hardly concentrate at work. My mind was always elsewhere.
When we left for MS that Monday morning I was more excited than if we were heading for an all expense vacation. And I also knew in my spirit that life was about to change.
Within a couple of hours of our arrival I knew we had to come back, for a long time. And God knew it too. He had been that voice I had been hearing from the time I was a child. He had His timing, His plan and it was perfect.
As I look back each time someone asks me that question I realize it took me 50 years to get on the mission field and then God said to just stay there! Isn't He an amazing God! He used each and every day of those years to prepare me, to teach me and to direct me to the field, one step at a time.
To all of you who think you are called by God but don't know how in the world you can fulfill that calling, wondering how it would all work, how about this, how about that, what if this and what if that . . . Just remember that God has the instruction book, He holds the calendar and He will make it happen when it is supposed to happen. NEVER, EVER give up and most of all, NEVER, EVER stop listening to His voice.
You wonder how you will know it's His voice and not something else? When you take the step of faith to follow Him, you will know! He will open doors, He will lay out the red carpet and you will know. No doubts, none!
Surrender yourself to Him and watch what miracles and blessings take place. It's an amazing journey and you won't want to miss a single second! It's worth the risks, it's worth the unknowns because God is your leader and He leads us all because of His love for us.
Take the step, the water is fine! You will be living the dream!
Blessings till the next time. Susan and Monty