Yesterday God shut a door in my life.
To explain I must go back to last fall when I was sitting in church listening to the pastor's sermon. It was missions week. The week when the church's focus is on spreading Jesus throughout the world. On that Sunday there is a call to everyone who feels called to serve on the field long term. The pastor tells everyone who feels called to come up to the front of the sanctuary.
I knew what this particular Sunday was. Last year I had even determined that I would go up. The year before that I had felt compelled by God to go up, but I didn't. I didn't see my parents make any move to go, so I thought that if they didn't go they must not feel kindly to my going up there.
This Sunday however I was alone. I had come to the first service ahead of my family because I had work that day. So there was no family to see me walk up there. No family to influence my decision or to give me frowning looks as I made my way up to the front.
That is exactly what I did that Sunday. I just couldn't get that thought of, "you need to go up there" out of my head. I knew that I didn't want to squelch the call of God. So grudgingly and somewhat impulsively I scooted past several people to get out of my row and I walked shakily up to the front. Tears started rolling down my face.
There were many others up there. Several single young men and women, and a family, the dad proudly leading his young brood. I stood next to a young man. He looked like he was in college. He might have been the same age as me but he definitely was in college. I can spot college student a mile away. They have a certain kind of dress and attitude that just exudes college.
As the congregation was dismissed, the elder that was standing near me and the college student handed us both cards loaded with information on how to get us started on our journey and asked if he could pray for us. We both agreed and explained why we were here. The college student seemed to have a purpose. He even had a country that he knew that God wanted him to go to. I looked at him in amazement. I had no idea whatsoever about where God want me. (I still don't). The only reason I was up here was because I felt called. I didn't know how or when, or what or even where. I just knew that I didn't want to quelch God if he was calling me to the mission field. After we finished the elder prayed for us. As soon as his amen sounded I darted out of the sanctuary stopping only long enough to grab a flyer on short term mission trips. I ran to my car got in and promptly started crying. I was so confused. I thought that I had my whole life planned out. I would keep working at the quilt shop, maybe do some designing and get married and have kids. God had just thrown me a curve ball!!! To add to my embarassment my family drove up and parked right next to me. I am sure there were plenty of other parking places but they had to stop and see me cry.
God used it though. My dear mom got out and I told her all that happened. Like the wonderful mother that she is, she cried with me and gave me words of encouragement. She told me that she didn't care where I went. She just wanted me where God wanted me.
After that talk I decided to follow up on a mission trip that I had been interested in seven months before. By God's grace there were still openings! In fact the team leader had been meaning to contact me but for some odd reason she had lost my information.(she still hasn't found that very safe place where she put it). There had been no way for her to contact me..there was no way for her to even describe me.
So I went with her to Thailand to work with kids. I went hoping and praying that God would show me if he really wanted me to serve long term. I believe He did. The last day I made it known to several people that I felt called to Russia long term. The result? Explosion. God brought three people into my path to talk to me about Russia. He showed me two opportunities, one was to help with an English camp in Russia, another was to serve two years in Ukraine working with college students. Now as I look back I wonder if I went to far. If I should have waited and not acted on impulse like I did in Thailand but I know that even in spite of what I did, God has a purpose. He will use it for good.
I decided to apply to go to Ukraine for two years. God seemed to open the doors..even to opening my schedule to talking with someone who had been through the program before. So I applied. I filled out the large questionaire, got references, and sent it in. For three weeks I heard nothing. Then on the day before the deadline I was able to set up a skype date with the receiving missionaries in Ukraine. I was filled with excitement. Surely they were going to tell me that I had been accepted.
Alas. I was wrong. As I skyped with the couple they explained to me that I didn't fit into the box that the program had created. But if I still wanted to come to Ukraine I would be able to if I went through language school and applied for a mid term trip. I couldn't believe my ears. Were they really telling me that I hadn't been accepted?
Yes they were. After I said good bye to them, I started to cry. I think I was in shock. I had built so many dreams around this in such a short time. My mom came to me and I explained to her what happened. I told her that this isn't a set back. God will bring something along. He will show me the way. She gently contradicted me. She told me that this is a set back. "You have to go through a grieving time But after you grieve, you give it to God, and He will show you the way."
It has been two days since God has said "No."
It has been a grieving time for me. But an eye opener. I have been seeing things that I haven't before. It certainly hurts but it's a good hurt because it drives me to God.
So would you pray with me? Would you pray that God would show me where He wants me? Pray that God would give me a bent and a love for the lost the likes of which I have never had before?