Missionary Mom: Search, Test, and Lead Me

Where to begin? I have so much going through my mind right now. God is really working on me, and I have decided to share a little bit of that for my article this month. Coming back from furlough was just weird. Things were different when we got back (we were out of the picture for 7 weeks), my mind is occupied with having a third child, and I have really struggled with pinpointing my role here (where my main priorities should lie). In thinking through many of those things, God is transforming me little by little. 

I keep a prayer journal. I love to look back at a journal from 2 years ago and see what God was doing to me or ways that I have grown. I realize that we have “seasons” in our lives, and many times they are not very fun when they are happening, because we are being stretched and led out of a comfort zone. But it is because of those seasons that we grow and become closer to what our Father wants and desires for us to become. Well, I am almost certain that two years from now I will read some of the prayers I have recorded recently and see how this is one of those times. I am unsure where I will end up, but my prayer is that God is doing the leading: “in all your ways acknowledge him and he will keep your path straight.” 

My dear friend, Ruth, from Shiloh sent me a link to a series of sermons on prayer. I am so grateful to her for sending this to me when she did because I needed to hear it. Here is the link if you would like to listen in . Greg was out of town one week and I decided to stay up late listening to these sermons. I won’t go into everything I took from the message, but one thing I did was realize that I had not been giving God my undivided attention to grow in my relationship to him. The speaker uses the verse from Matthew about going into a room and closing the door. He goes on to explain that prayer isn’t just about keeping up conversation with God. It is about becoming intimate with God. That intimacy cannot happen if we do not take the time to spend with our father in an intimate way. 

I am so occupied during this time of my life. I have a feeling that probably won’t change for a while. I am trying my best to be a support to my husband (providing meals and keeping our home in order). I am trying my best to be a good mother (doing a little bit of homeschooling with Ana, reading and working with Maggie developmentally, preparing for Cohen’s arrival). I want to be as involved with the work as I can (keeping up relationships, planning meetings and get-togethers, preparing and participating in events for the libraries). I am sure that none of you would fault me for being involved with all of these things. But about a month ago, I had put my personal relationship with God on the back burner. I always felt tired. I felt lost and I couldn’t pinpoint this frustration I was constantly feeling. After listening to these messages, God made it very clear to me what was missing. Sure, I was praying and journaling. I was reading every now and then. It was frustrating to me that the “quiet time” of my day was after putting the girls to bed. Isn’t that when I needed to spend time with God? But I was so exhausted physically I could never feel great about quiet time. 

Well, that has changed. I have found my “closed door.” I choose a time in the day. Sometimes the girls are napping at the same time, which is perfect. Sometimes Greg is home and I tell him I need him to watch the girls so I can have some time. Sometimes I find an activity for the girls to do and I am able to go to my place for a short time. I have a place in our living room that I sit, and I have a basket that I keep my Bible, journal, and books. That is where I come to meet my God and become more intimate with him. It has transformed my mind. I don’t feel like I am floundering and out of breath from barely keeping my head above the water. I feel contentment in the path he is leading me on. I am nowhere near where I want to be, but God is transforming me with a peace that passes understanding. There is no way to explain it without experiencing it for yourself. As chaotic as my life can seem at times, I can go to my “closed door” and be still and know that he is God. 

I am afraid that this may come across as rambling about something that is hard for me to put into words. But if someone is reading this and relates, I pray that God blesses you to come to him and know him with great intimacy. Yesterday I was searching for a Psalm that I had heard earlier in the day and ended up reading Psalm 139. It was exactly what my heart needed to hear. I wanted to read something that focused my thoughts solely on my relationship to the Father, something I could meditate on and use to fall more deeply in love with him. This Psalm couldn’t have been any more perfect. I would like to quote the last two verses: 

Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
— The Psalmist

I have been anxious over various things in my life recently. It is a bold prayer to ask God to test me, but that is what I want. I recently completed a book on ministering cross-culturally and have started the book that we left with some of you, A Hole in Our Gospel by Richard Stearns. God is making me uncomfortable and calling me in various ways to change my worldview. He certainly knows where I am and he knows the slow pace at which I move sometimes. But I am moving. It will be exciting to look back in a couple of years and see where he takes me.