Since I was a little girl I have had dreams of becoming a missionary. I have dreamt of overseas missions, and from about 6th grade on saw the public schools which I attended as my own personal mission field. This was true all the way through college. After college I struggled with what my personal ministry should look like as a public school teacher and a wife. Then later as a mom too. I knew that I was/am a missionary anywhere I went but I no longer had the captive audience I had while in school, and the work place was such a different environment as a teacher verses a student. I did my best and wanted to impact the other teachers I worked with as well as my students, but it was different and hard. Through the last 6 years God has taught me so much about how my own personal ministry isn't all about leading bible studies, prayer groups or even strictly defined discipleship, but is about loving people where they are at, for who they are. It is so much more about authentically living a life that reflects Jesus and shows my love for Him, being who He created me to be. As I have been learning this I have grown so much in my relationship with Jesus. I have experienced Him in so many new ways, and trust Him more now than I ever have before.
Now here is the interesting part, as an overflow of my love for Jesus, and a product of trusting Him I am compelled to lead a Life Group through our church with my husband, and pour so much of who I am into the children's ministry at my church. I love children's ministry and never really thought I would ever be involved in it, I now understand the deeply rooted seeds of truth I get to plant in these little kids' lives and it is amazing. I never thought simply taking time to just be and do life with others was so important until we learned to do just that with our family of choice and our Life Group. I am so thankful! As I have learned to "dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness" (Psalm 37:3) God has also taught me to trust Him more and lean into living intentionally right where He places me, being apart of my community.
In the last 2 years or so I have been more content and happy than I ever. I think it boils down to this, truly "dwelling in the land" trusting God to do His part as I do mine, and connecting with people. This has included not knowing or caring if I was only here another year or if we would be here another 10 years. I will say learning this key, this huge key in my life of being all in, being all there, wherever I am, has made this dream of mine for overseas missions a little harder to swallow now that it is being met. (Leaving a place I finally put roots into is sad, no matter the exciting journey we have ahead!) It has also made me see how valuable this key is, and that it is not about how long you are somewhere, or protecting your heart, but about rooting yourself where God has planted you. It is about planting yourself wherever God plants you and enjoying the people, the time, and gifts that God has given you to see what God is doing, and enjoy it! I am determined to do this over the course of the rest of my life, and as we are transitioning into our new season of overseas missions I am determined to do this wherever God takes us, beginning in Cambodia.
My encouragement to you is: be planted, enjoy the people God has in your life this season, and do it with all your heart. It is risky, it is dangerous, but it is also so valuable! It may be more painful when that seasons ends, but the joy and the love you feel during it, the things God will teach you through others is amazing. Who knows you may end up with another life long friend in the process and those are so priceless.