When I was began going to college at Essex, I had every intention of going into some sort of ministry program to either become a missionary or to work in an orphange (or both) when I finished. It's what I wanted to do and children in need are always something I have had a heart for. But then, Shawn and I started seriously dating and I felt God telling me that our relationship was what I needed to focus on and that I needed to stay where I was. I'll never regret that decision. Ok, to be honest - sometimes I do, but not because I am not happy - but because it's still a desire in my heart to go and do. I know could have done more of a short-term missions trip, but that wasn't really "done" at my church and the ones I looked at were way more than anything I could ever hope to afford. Maybe I didn't look hard enough, I don't know, that's not the point.
Fast forward to 4(ish) years ago, Shawn and a group of guys from church went on a missions trip to Mexico. Since then, there have been several more opportunities. Neither opportunity has worked to allow us to be able to go. And I am discouraged - even more so when I hear everyone's awesome experiences. I am starting to feel like I will never get to go. And I am jealous. Happy for those that get to go, but sad that I have to stay here when my heart so badly wants to go and be used. To go and help. Many tears were shed when both times I realized I would be left here in Maryland while some of my closest friends and family got to go and do work for Him. And to meet the little girl (Cinthia) we sponsor. Even as I sit here and write this, my heart is hurting. This isn't a plea for anyone to feel sorry for me. It's just my struggle lately.
My heart has been very hard towards God since I found out I couldn't go. I have been stubborn and I'm sure I've ignored many of His promptings. Sunday was rough. I was unhappy and wondering why God hasn't felt "the need" to use me. Am I not good enough? Am I not Christian enough? Do I not love Him enough? What do I need to do to get Him to fulfill this desire that I feel so strongly inside of me? Why doesn't He want to use me? Does He even realize how badly I want this? Doesn't He want me to meet Cinthia?
And then, I felt Him whisper, "Will you have faith in me to use you where you are - even if it means never getting to go to Mexico or somewhere else?" My first reaction? No! When will I ever get to fulfill my dream of meeting those children that need someone to love them? When will I ever get to see a different way of life? When will you let me help You?
While I feel like my heart broke right there, I realized that some of the opportunities (which I will talk more about later) that have come along recently would not have come if I had gone to Mexico. I can still have the desire to go to Mexico, but I might never be able to go there. I can still pray for and love on that precious Cinthia - while I might never get to meet her here on Earth. The thought of not being able to go hurts my heart greatly, but I feel my heart softening. While my desire is to go, I need to go for the right reasons. While my desire is to help, I might be needed here. God can use me here. I just need to realize that He can use me - here. People here need help, too. It's not about my desires and what I want for my life.
So, while I won't give up on my hope and prayers that I get to go to Mexico, I need to remember that it's not about me. It's not about my timing. It's about His timing and where He knows I can be used and where He needs me. It's not about what I want, but what God is doing.
I guess that's why this has been my "life verse" since high school:
"For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways," declares the Lord.
"For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts."
~ Isaiah 55:8 & 9