it’s been a long while, my sarcastamigos (sarcastic amigos – spanish for ‘friend’ for you non-spanish speakers)! want a better excuse than just “i’ve been busy”? well here it is: i’ve been very busy. ha.
i secretly love unicorns. that’s super girly for me, considering how un-girly i really am. but yes, i love unicorns because they represent that one amazing creature that you would keep and treasure forever – should you be lucky enough to find one. well, after a summer/fall/winter of summer/fall/winter mission teams as well as lots of preparation for random other projects, i’m glad to say that i’ve found my “unicorn” tangled amongst a plethora of branches, webs, hair, emails and whatever else it is possible to tangle together.
and this, my friends, is my unicorn: in my pursuit of God in the last 9 months of my life, i’ve realised that surrendering all is easier than surrendering a little. (i’m sure you’re like, “duh, i could have told you that” right now..)
i wish there was a way to sum up how terribly difficult the past 9 months have been for me, but there isn’t, other than what i stated above. since coming out to the mission field 6 years ago, God has brought me through a lot, broken me a lot, and restored me through everything. it’s not like i’ve never been broken before, though i honestly felt like this last time God thoroughly took those pieces and smushed them into infinite little particles instead of just leaving them in larger sizes. i suppose if anyone’s gonna do the smushing, it should be God, right?
and here you are, the 3 things that led me to my unicorn:
1) being a nobody of nobodies. when i decided in 2009 that i wanted to follow God’s leading into full-time missions work, i knew that it would require me to become a nobody in the eyes of the world. i guess i just didn’t realise that that path was even further downhill than most peoples’ – it required me to be a nobody of nobodies. who knew there was a level beyond just a regular nobody? well, apparently there is.
it wasn’t necessarily things i could explain easily to people at home (b/c that would take so much effort and so much explaining context and background, etc.) but being on a field with other missionaries, i certainly thought that others would be able to understand the things i was going through in my particular ministry – but nobody really did, and i found myself disappointed with that. so in addition to already feeling disconnected from Christians at home, it made it worse when those who were out in the field couldn’t even understand me and the ministry i am involved in – and sometimes were even downright discouraging about it.
i was reminded that i had once told God that i was willing to become nothing in order to follow Him..and yet here i was expecting some kind of affirmation for the difficult things i have to do in this role. but it was as if God was saying to me, “isn’t it enough that I see it?’
i had to ask myself, am i someone who is able to serve without receiving any credit or acknowledgment for it? can i be someone who stands by, while others receive all the thanks, and still wholeheartedly give God the glory? wasn’t that the price i was willing to pay when i said i would follow Him? yes, i can. and yes, i did. i just didn’t realise it would be this difficult. so my prayer became this – that even if others don’t see or can’t understand what i do as worthwhile, God does, and He calls me His good and faithful servant.
2) God takes a risk on me – not me on Him. in my journey to where i am today, i’ve made a lot of mistakes, heard a lot of stories, and learned about who i am. in fact, i think i’ve learned so much about what a sinful person i am, that i can’t help but wonder – why would God choose me, of all people, to come out here to serve Him? doesn’t He know me at all? doesn’t He know how unqualified i am to be doing what i do and serving His people? who am i that God would choose me to be here when there are plenty of other ready and willing people who can do what He asks?
all this time i had thought i was risking my life, my future to take a chance on Him, after all, isn’t that what churches teach us? how come we never think of it the other way? that it’s actually He who is the e one taking a risk on me. me, this broken, useless, sinful person. yet, He chose me to serve Him this field and this ministry. and what a privilege it is (and should be!) to be able to serve Him in any way.
3) not losing heart. even through all that has happened, God constantly reminded me that He was next to me sustaining me, renewing me, giving me strength. as long as i keep my eyes fixed on Him and the ministry of the cross, i would see that it is, in fact, God’s mercy that we have our ministry. just as we each receive the Gospel, God also graciously allows us to participate with Him in His ministries. so we cannot just give up and be discouraged when things don’t happen as we expect or when we face opposition. just as it is Christ’s love that compels us to share about Him with others, so it should also be that which can keep us going in ministry.
mission work is hard, no doubt about it – nobody understands it unless you’re out here yourself. and even then, we may not all understand each other. through all the things that happened, the one thing that remained true was that God was making me surrender every last bit of myself to Him. the path to finding my unicorn was filled with volcanoes and falling rocks that knocked me upside the head. it was a painful, long and exhausting journey – one that God obviously knew i needed. all my hurts, disappointments, frustrations, pride…none of that was allowed to be left…and i am so thankful for this process. and when it was all over, in the words of James Brown: