Reflections on our life and lessons in uganda
I’ve been working on this blogpost for a while. I wasn’t sure what or how to say it; I just knew it was my next topic. To be honest, as I’m typing I’m still not sure how to say what it is that is weighing on me. I just know that I need to. I thought I did for myself, but I think now (after hearing the teaching from church last night) that I need to do it for more than me. I think it’s really for all of us.
I have a lot of uh… “quirks” to me. (As you can see). It’s been one of the greatest challenges of my life to understand, accept and embrace that God designed my personality as He did. As a friend put it during his teaching, “God loves me. Not only that, He LIKES me! He like really likes me, He doesn’t just tolerate me!” And I think each and every one of us has a struggle to truly embrace that truth in our life, especially teenage girls. Having been one myself, I still struggle to move past the hurt that faced me as a weirdo back then. Even in the church, I did not fit in.
We are told constantly how we OUGHT to be. Culture says we ought to be beautiful, and funny, and smart, and witty, and thin, and cute, and spunky, and flirty and and and. It’s easy for us in the church to reject that. But we have this constant stream of OUGHT from the church too. (I can’t speak really to men here, being as I’m not one :P). But women are told REPEATEDLY that we are to get married, settle down, have kids, stay home, and join Bible study. Which is all great stuff to do, IF you’re called to it. I have been told that a woman who has no desire for children is: not saved, an abomination, in unrepentant sin, unmarriable, in need of prayer to change her heart, unnatural, duped their husbands into marriage… So you can imagine the discouragement one might feel if they don’t desire children. I am one such woman. It’s not that I hate children (it’s my primary ministry in church). I don’t hate God’s ruling in my life; I strive to walk in the center of His will for me. Yet somehow the GENERAL feel in a lot of the American church is that I’m broken. (I can only imagine that single women or other folks who don’t fit the mold must feel somewhat the same).
This general air of disapproval for who I felt called to be should not have, but DID, allow for a foothold for the Enemy in my life. For many years I believed the lie he whispered that I was somehow broken, dysfunctional, worthless… Then God led me to a husband with the same desires and callings in his life, and He led me to a church eager and willing to send people out for the gospel, and He led me to a ministry that has a heart to go to dangerous places and provide love, security and acceptance to children who have been left alone with no one to claim them. And He revealed in Jon and I a desire to be free to move into dangerous areas and do dangerous work for His glory. I don’t think parents are necessarily suited to some work for the Lord, because it is reckless and foolish to risk your life when you have committed to raising children for the Lord. Where the Lord leads, we need to follow, but Jon and I are uniquely suited to MORE dangerous work than some others may be because they have children to love and raise up. Jon and I are uniquely suited to love on children who have no one, and if God calls, to help raise up these children who’ve been abandoned and left on their own. God can call us to active warzones, to disease-ridden areas, to areas where we may be martyred, and we can go with no reservation because we don’t have little lives depending on us to be “mom” and “dad”.
This is one example of how God designed me to be suited for the unique calling He has on my life. It is my PERSONAL example of how not fitting in to what is expected, is exactly what He expected of me. Even crazier, He DESIGNED that into me. He designed in my ability to get along with children better than adults, my desire to help children while not raising my own, my love of helping the hurting, my odd sense of humor, my goofy laugh, my social-awkwardness, and my intense desire to go do things that other people see and insane and dangerous. Each of these things and more I can see now how they perfectly fit the plan He put in place for my life.
So my plea today is to root out in ourselves what is sinful, to repent and turn from it. But to not confuse the unique designs of God for mistakes or errors in our personalities. We are all called to various ministries and places, and we should not allow ourselves to believe the lie that God made a mistake in us, or that He wishes we would change who He made us to be. We should not believe that we are all called to the same life and same personalities. God loves variety in His flowers, trees, fish, birds and all of creation; why would we believe that is any different in His children? And for those of us in the privileged position of being involved in ministries, friendships, families, whatevers, we must be cautious not to, intentionally or otherwise, discourage those around us with our “molds” we want to fit into. I don’t believe that a man/woman called to singleness, parent-less-ness (yup, that’s a word), late marriage, weird ministries or anything else should struggle to fit in the church. God has a distinct niche for each of His children that will say yes to His calling. For some of us that is raising our children in community with other wonderful believers in the local church, for some it is a life of singleness sold out for His glory, for some it’s ministry to those deemed “icky” or “weird”, for some it’s saying ‘God, I don’t know, but lead where you will and I’ll go single, married or otherwise’, and for some (I think) lucky few of us, it is saying ‘God, send me to Africa, I am ready to go’.”
Still awaiting my updated passport.
We are getting ready for our garage sale the weekend of the 12 of September, and we are preparing the house to go on the market!