My salvation story is long and messy, involving years worth of stories about how God pursued me, and I was absolutely clueless about how to respond to His grace. Basically, I’ve understood Jesus as Savior since childhood, but I didn’t surrender to Him as Lord until August of 2012. I was going through a heart-wrenching break up that had reached its absolute lowest point. I took a bath to clear my mind and for the first time in my life, I prayed. I told God that what I was doing was not working and that I needed His help. I told Him that I believed that He could fix me, that I needed Him to heal me, and that I would do whatever I needed to for Him to do that. I remember almost every word of that prayer because it’s the prayer that brought me to life. That afternoon, I invited myself to church with my roommate. God allowed me to sit under the preaching of His word and experience a time of worship that I could actually connect to. My obsession with Him began. I was hungry and I couldn’t get enough. Over the course of a couple months, I devoured the Bible, constantly listened to sermons from other churches, read books by authors like Francis Chan, John Piper, and David Platt. In November of 2012, I was baptized and I told the world that I was His. I learned how to respond to His grace through constant praise and adoration. He healed me. He fixed me. He change everything about me. In December, I made the decision to take some time off of college to figure out where He was calling me. Within a couple of months, He began to reveal a call to ministry. He opened my eyes to see that the brokenness of my teenage years was something He wanted to use to lead others out of darkness. In January, I wrote a blog titled “The Call to Stay” and I began it with this paragraph:
Since God reveled my call to ministry, I have struggled with knowing how He is specifically calling me. Where and when details have been important to me. I have felt almost 100% about the idea of moving to a foreign country to influence the world in the name of Jesus. I’ve felt almost 100% about staying in America and working as a student pastor. At times, I’ll be honest, I’ve felt discouraged from either of those ideas and wondered if what I originally understood about my calling was some child-like fantasy that I made up on my own.
As I’ve experienced this struggle, I’ve started to run from God… saying, “Ministry is okay with me if… (insert long list of conditions I’ve tried to put on God here).” In the past couple months, I’ve been so convicted by the Holy Spirit to remove every item from that list, to surrender more of myself. It’s left me with two things: 1) an unchangeable, overwhelming desire to follow the Lord regardless of what He wants me to do and 2) a burning passion to proclaim the gospel and live life with people from all over the world. AKA – Missions. God is calling me to missions. God is calling me to leave everything I’ve ever known. God is calling me to travel into unfamiliar places. God is calling me to an uncomfortable, out of the ordinary, potentially unsafe life. To be completely transparent with you, I was mad at Him for a couple weeks. I had always hoped that the excitement of my first mission trip last summer to Romania had just caused me to become delusional in thinking I was supposed to move onto the mission field one day. As usual, I was wrong. In retrospect, I see the way God stitched so many experiences leading up to this trip into a clear calling to that country.
I ended “A Call to Stay” by announcing that God has called me to stay this summer, to make disciples here or wherever I am. I still wholeheartedly believe that my mission field in Oconee County. However, I understand now that this is only a temporary field, a field of preparation. This is a place for God to use me while He prepares my heart for the next season and He prepares my place for missions. This is a place where I can develop lifelong friends who will support me in prayer as I journey into the next chapter of my life. I don’t know when I’m going. I don’t know exactly where I’m going. But I know that eventually, I’m going. Being detail oriented makes this unknown trip even more confusing.
I know that His plans are greater. His timing is perfect and that He will reveal things to me in the perfect order, as He always has.