“There is a way that seems right to a man…”
From the time I was twelve, I had it all figured out.
The stars had aligned one day as I spun an antique globe around in my playroom, searching for lands unknown. Searching for where I would be called to go.
I lacked tact. As a child, my best friend and I would spend hours on the floor playing Barbies, ending every time with the sound of fighting words and little girl tears. Why?
Her Barbies went to the mall, shopped for clothes and took care of babies. My tribal Barbies sported hand-drawn tattoos and kidnapped Barbie babies as sacrifices to idol gods.
“Just tell them about Jesus,” I’d say, as she would cry when her babies were taken away by whooping and hollering indigenous people. “Then, they won’t sacrifice kids anymore. They’ll be nice.”
While my friends dreamed about the cute boy in shop class, my dreams were filled with the smoke of a thousand villages rising in the East. While my classmates dressed up as Abraham Lincoln and Clara Barton for history days, I came arraigned in a sari dress, telling the incredulous souls about Amy Carmichael’s time in India.
I knew nothing of cultural communication then. Nothing of colonialism, of indigenous church planting, of earning the right to tell the Gospel.
I only knew I had spun a globe one fateful day and found a single finger could travel the globe telling the good news of Jesus, and I wanted to breathe life into its spherical wood and travel along with it.
Everyone else knew it too. The church ladies whispered in the hallways, the visiting speakers spoke it to my soul, the credentialing officials confirmed it by their acceptance that yes, she has been called to travel the world and preach.
I was special. Anointed. Chosen.
Until I wasn’t.
We had filled out the papers to go overseas, teaching English, when we found the first double blue line forming from my early morning bathroom break.
We laughed and smiled as we told ourselves God knew better than us. We could have a family before traveling. A comma, not a period.
15 months later, we picked up a pen and a six month old to fill out the important paperwork again. It was time to fulfill our destiny.
And then it wasn’t. The line turned blue again. The morning sickness came, and this time brought with it a myriad of health issues and a doctor’s diagnosis.
“You won’t climb the mountains again. Not like this.”
I didn’t know how to answer THE question anymore.
“When will you leave for overseas?”
And there, in the silence between the imperative and the interrogative, I found I had asked the wrong question the whole time.
I was special. Anointed. Chosen.
Not because of my calling, but because of my Jesus.
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He didn’t ask me when I would leave, when I would get it together, when I would manage the mom life and the mission world.
He asked me when I would learn to be loved.
My finger, tracing the chubby, smooth cheek of a newborn instead of a worn-out globe, found love in the “be” instead of the “do” at last. And, here, in the familiar and the new, my pride gave way to purpose.
For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” ~Romans 8:14-15 (NIV)