In 2011, my husband, 3 kids and I were living in a single-wide two bedroom mobile home. So when a man knocked on our door, three separate times, and begged us to sell our home to him, I was excited. I started dreaming of a new house with lots of room for the kids to play. I was already planning the colors to paint each room, and how to decorate my kitchen. When Luke told me shortly after that he believed God was calling us into missions, and that we needed to move to Texas to attend the Missionary Training school, I was not excited. I actually started bawling, and didn’t stop for at least 3 days.
You see, my husband has wanted to be a missionary since he was very young. I, however, was not that way. I didn’t have anything against being a missionary, I just never thought of that being what I wanted to do. I have to say, the only reason I moved out to Texas to attend BBTI was because I loved my husband but for no other reason. When we moved there, I absolutely hated it—115 degree heat and locust everywhere, not my place of choice. But the real reason I hated it was because of the turmoil going on in my soul.
I knew what Luke wanted to do—be a foreign missionary, but I was not willing to go. I kept praying that God would change Luke’s mind. I kept telling God what would really be better for our family. I was miserable and scared. Scared, because I knew the same love that had me follow my husband to Texas wasn’t strong enough to take me halfway across the world and keep me there. I knew something had to happen in my heart, but I didn’t know what, and I didn’t know how to make it happen.
We were at BBTI for a few months when Pastor Schindler came through. He was speaking to the class, and the missionary wives especially, about surrender and being able to make it on the mission field. He spoke of how we need to cut the cords for friends and family back in the States, not so we never speak to anyone, but so that we can go to the field for the long haul, to go and not turn back or run home every time something difficult happens. We needed to be able to stand behind our husbands and do this! I left class early because I couldn’t quit crying.
I went home and got on my face before the Lord and opened His Word. I finally came to a point of surrender. I prayed the hardest prayer I’ve ever had to pray which was, “Lord, I don’t want you to give me the desire to go to the mission field; I want you to change me so that I want nothing else.” That was the hardest prayer I’ve ever had to pray because I was afraid of the answer. Immediately a burden was lifted off my shoulders, and I had peace. I wasn’t ready at that moment to charge off to the jungles of PNG, but I came to a place where I could allow God to work in my heart and truly change me.
Over the next few weeks I really delved into God’s word, sought Him in prayer, and received encouraging words from other missionary wives. About three weeks later I was sitting in the front row of a church service and we were singing a familiar hymn, “At the Cross.” God used that song and spoke to my heart. The last verse says, “But drops of grief can ne’er repay the debt of love I owe. Here Lord I give myself away tis all that I can do.” It was at that moment that God changed my heart. I have to say He didn’t just give me the desire to go to the mission field, but truly changed me so that I want nothing else!
I’m realizing more and more that surrender isn’t one big thing, but many tiny points in our lives where God brings us a little further out of our comfort zone so that we will trust him a little bit more. Each day has its own challenges. My fears keep arising, and I can think of several excuses of why I shouldn’t go and why we would be better off here in the States, but God has given me a passage of Scripture that truly helps combat all of those fears and excuses—Is. 41:9-13. “…Thou art my servant; I have chosen thee, and not cast thee away. Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness…For I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee.”