Before I said, “I do”

Before I said “I do” God was preparing my heart. Now the “I do” that I am speaking about is the acceptance of His call to the Shire.  I am often asked, “What made you move to NH?” And it’s hard in those couple of seconds to condense what “made me move” to NH because there was no one thing that made me but instead as I look back I see that my whole life was leading to this point. But I also see that it doesn’t stop here but instead my life continues to move to what else He has for me. Ultimately my life is leading to Everlasting. What wonderful thoughts! That it is never one decision that brings us to where we are but it is every little thing in our life before, that has lead us to where we are and that… when we are traveling with Jesus the end result is not today but instead is Everlasting.

I think the first thing that brought me to the point of “I do” was my birth. It wasn’t an accident that I was born to my parents. It wasn’t an accident that when I was born my parents were not saved. It wasn’t an accident that I was the youngest of three girls. Nope. All of that has brought me to where I am today. Watching my parents interact when I was young has heightened my sensitivity to the use of words between two individuals. Being the youngest of three made me conscious of those around me and the impact that my life can have on them for good or bad.

It is funny to look at the traits of a youngest child because there are some that are so very much who I am but others that tend to not be me. It wasn’t an accident that I was born the youngest but because of the family I was born into I tend to be a unique youngest child.

A youngest child:

  • appears youthful through their lives
  • receives a lot of attention from the whole family because they all take responsibly for taking care of them – my family still wants to take care of me
  • may be indulged, pampered and spoiled – because my family was never wealthy and we were always careful about our money I wouldn’t say that I was every really indulged, pampered or spoiled but you could say that especially when both my sisters were out of the house often my preferences were looked to instead of others.
  • tends to be an optimists and always expects good things from people and life – yep
    has less expectations placed upon them and thus often achieve less – I don’t think this one applies to our family at all… not because my parents had too much expectations but because my sisters and all are high achievers and so we placed high expectations on ourselves.
  • has far less confidence about decision making – I can make decisions but I don’t really like to be the last say, especially about group activities.
  • is often teased and thus they most often choose a profession that works with those thought as “powerless” in society – clergy, nurse, social worker, etc. – this one made me laugh….
    may be less ambitions – nope.
  • tends to be less likely to follow family traditions – hmmm like moving across the country??
  • tends to be charming in nature and sometimes can be manipulative – I don’t think I’m manipulative but I have been told that I have a magnetic personality… so maybe?
  • often tries to move in different directions (from academics) in order to be content on their own terms (since the eldest usually excels in academics)– well this is partially right… my sisters and I all competed when it came to grades but we all did do our own thing. I worked really hard in high school to be known for my own achievements not my sisters.
    tends to be followers instead of leaders – the verdict is still out
  • In relationships, can be dependent on their older spouses and then rebel against them or their control – this one made me uncomfortable but I can see how some parts of this might be true.
  • tends to be sociable, easy going and friendly – I do enjoy a good party!

For those who know me… this list is a combination of who I am and who I am not. It was not a mistake. Because the combination of these characteristics that I am is exactly who I need to be for this place AND the places I have yet to go.

It was not a mistake that my family started going to Shiloh Christian Center. Let me just tell you that it had to be God because the first Sunday we went to church I thought that the room was full of weird, crazy people. I had never seen people dancing during church. I had never heard people speaking in different languages during worship. I had never even seen people raise their hands during worship. I remembered feeling so uncomfortable and wanting to hide. But… it felt so right to be there. It took 3 years of going to the church and hearing about a relationship with Jesus for me to give up control and give in.

During worship one day I gave up. I was so tired of how I felt and so done with everything. I figured there was nothing else to do so I gave in. I told God that if He was real, if Jesus was real, and if They would take away the weight, the pain and the darkness then whatever He told me to do, I would do. I’m sure God was dancing up in Heaven when I said that because He knew that today existed. Jeremiah 29:11 “’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” Before I said “I do” to NH, I had to say “I do” to Him. I did but more than just saying “I do” to Him, I said “I do” to the plans He had/has for me, the plans to prosper, for a future and for hope. That one “I do” was EVERLASTING.

But that was before He asked me to GO. I’m not sure I would have had such a whole hearted “I do” to begin with if He began with GO…. He’s pretty smart!  If you had known me my senior year of high school and knew my thoughts about life after high school you would have a very different picture from today. I wanted to live close to my parents and family. Actually I would go beyond want because it wasn’t just that I wanted to live close to them but I didn’t know anything other than that. It never crossed my mind to do it any other way. There was no life away from my family. I didn’t think that I could function without them.

When God asked me to GO and move to California I wept. Not just weeping with a couple of tears and a few sobs… this was gut wrentching sobs. They came from the very core of who I was. It took everything within me to say yes. It felt as though something was dying inside of me. But it never crossed my mind that I could say no. Why? Because I had already said yes to Him. The day I gave my life to Him I said yes to everything that He had yet to ask me.

And for the next two year I was miserable. I missed my family, I wanted to be with them and I didn’t know how to not be in their lives. I was constantly talking to them and thinking about them. And I began to wonder why all my close friends were called to be missionaries when I wasn’t. Why were they called to leave when I “knew” that I was going back home? It didn’t makes sense to me but I kept moving forward until one day God used one of my best friends to turn my life upside down.  One of my best friends, Pat, and I were talking about calling and what were called to do and he asked me these simple questions, “Why did I have to go home? Was it that I felt called to go home or was it because I wanted to go back? Did I think that my family couldn’t survive without me?” And this made me stop and that is when I knew…

I wasn’t going home. I had already answered the Lord and my answer had been YES… to everything… to the life He had for me not the one that I had so carefully planned.

And yet again I wept.  I mourned the holidays that I would no longer share with my family. I mourned for the distance. I mourned for not being able to share my life with them. I mourned for not being able to impact their lives. I mourned for not being able to share how God was changing me. I was mourning for what I would no longer have.

The Lord reminded me that I had said that ANYTHING He asked of me I would do.  More than remind me though, He asked me for more… He asked me if I would go for Him.  If I would speak for Him.  If I would love for Him.

There is so much more to this story than even just this but the rest has already been written. The thing is that there is always so much before the “I do” that brings you to that point. There is so much that the Lord has been speaking, shaping and doing in us before we say “Yes” to Him. Often the Lord brings to my mind the image of Isaiah when the Lord said, “Who will go for me” and Isaiah called out, “Here am I, send me.”

In that sense I have been sent. I am not just another pastor in the Northeast. I believe that I have been sent by the Lord to be a missionary to the East Coast, to the Northeast, to New England. The Lord is stiring things here and He asked who would go for Him and I said, “Here I am Lord, send me.” And I will continue. I will continue to say “I do” when He asks me because He is worth it. His blood, His sacrifice is worth it.

The cry of my heart is, “Lord, I will go where you would send me. I will speak what you give to me to speak. Cleanse my lips that they may be worthy to speak your words. Give me a heart that loves as you love, eyes to see as you see and words that speak your life to a world that is decaying.  Use me Lord for your glory that people would see me and know that you truly are Lord.  Give me your courages and your strength to stand Lord and give me your mighty works that all would see and glorify your name.”

Before the I do… the Lord knew who I was to be, what I was to do and what I needed through it all. He is so good to me.

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3 thoughts on “Before I said, “I do”

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  1. Yes, I said better. Life is the result of many choices. Choices that seem natural, easy and deserving are quite often not the best. I know it’s hard but sometimes we have to reverse the way we think, choose to go a different direction, act in a new way so we can get a better result. God’s ways are not always our first choice. We would rather be angry than forgive, worry instead of trust, control rather than yield. I can guarantee that your life would be so much better if you would switch it around and forgive, trust and release!

    1. This is very true Rory. Although sometimes it is easy to choose God’s way more times than not it isn’t. It goes against our very instinct. But it is so much better when we learn to choose His ways! Thanks for sharing!

  2. You see, it all depends on which direction you take. Jesus said this, “I am the way and the truth and the light. No one comes to the Father except through me.” I’m betting my life on the fact that He was right because I figured Jesus knows more about it than I did.

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