I’m grateful to realize that the story I’m about to share has already been shared with several friends in person. Living in Colorado and being so busy has made that a near impossibility for the last year. I forgot what it was like to get to share a story so many times out loud that it gains something vital in each telling.
To begin, please imagine you hear swelling, dramatic music…
I’ll start with age 17 when I felt called to be a missionary. I thought that meant I should go to Bible college and although I didn’t actually need to go to college, God used that year at Moody Bible Institute to work a lot into my life. After failing horribly in my classes and feeling horrible for a good, long year, God led me to an organization called YWAM (Youth With A Mission). I did a DTS (Discipleship Training School) for 6 months in 2003 and had a real experience in missions. During that time I came to the realization that what I really needed was a real home and community in the USA from which to be sent.
I had no idea how to find a home, let alone how to become a meaningful part of community….
Through a series of seemingly random events, I landed a job at Warm Beach Camp in western Washington. I’m not kidding when I say I thought it was all random. I had no idea how being an assistant baker at some Christian camp was going in the direction I felt called. I swept a lot of floors, I learned to bake bread from scratch in very large quantities, I washed a lot of big pots and began to belong… It would take a long time to describe all I learned.
I was there (mostly) for the next 8 years.
Then? God reminded me of his call to be a missionary. Without even thinking much about the long term, I connected with YWAM again and followed each step as it came. These steps also seemed pretty random, but I was listening to God and so I didn’t worry about the bigger picture. Last year I spent most of the year doing an intense Bible course and it was in the middle of this that I began to freak out a little bit.
“Wait,” I said to God, “why did you plant me so deeply and so well in Washington only to send me to Colorado where I would have to disconnect from that community?!” I asked him this question a lot last year and even more in January of this year as I planned a trip to come ‘home’ and raise support.
But then. Then I came home and started talking to friends face to face.
What I discovered was that I had snapped no chords with distance. I had lost no ground with silence. Why? Because not only had God built my roots deep, he had somehow carried me on a journey that he was carrying my friends on 1,000 miles away. Our stories were not the same as we shared them, but our hearts were. The chorus of, “Me, too!!” finds itself into almost every conversation with a wide variety of people.
I have seen, in so many ways how this is still my home. At the same time, I really am called to work in another place. God is the only one who can take a girl who never wanted a commute longer than 5 minutes and give her a job 1,400 miles away from her home… and make it meaningful and good.
I have my own story, but it is not the only story and it is not more special or unique than yours. This reality blows my mind coupled with the realization that God has orchestrated all of these pieces (which I thought were random) into a meaningful melody. How many lives are there and yet there is nothing random about how we fit together and how we exist.
We are deeply loved by a God who can use even our mistakes to bring glory and beauty to a seemingly random world.
“He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.” 1Thessalonians 5:24