As Reconciled World grows, we want to keep our team connected with the community that supports us. So, each month we are inviting an individual from our community to share about what God is teaching them. We are excited to share these blogs with you, so please keep an eye out each month for “Voices Around the World”.
One afternoon awhile back, when I was alone with God and my journal for an hour, I was desperately seeking His voice. The previous two weeks had been incredibly hard emotionally with B, who seems to be struggling a lot these days. Lots of anger, meltdowns, wild emotions stuck in his heart. When you pack up the family and move across the world, you know it will be challenging, you just don’t know how. We expected moving away from family, friends, church community, good schools, nice parks, clean air and beef to be hard. But we didn’t expect all the intense emotions our kids would be experiencing for months in a new environment. We thought they’d feel safe and happy because they were with us and we love them deeply. The last few weeks there was so much anger bubbling up in B that we felt scared, clueless, heartbroken and angry ourselves. What did our training teach us about anger meltdowns in 4 year olds again? That afternoon I was asking God, “You see that it’s been hard for our family here – but does it make a difference to anyone at all that we are here? How are we making a difference, struggling like this? Couldn’t you be using us better back home?”
When we were talking to good friends, they showed us some Oswald Chambers thoughts they had read. “A missionary is one sent by Jesus Christ as He was sent by God. The great dominant note is not the needs of men, but the command of Jesus.” (Oct 26)
Our responsibility is to be obedient. To come here and to be here and to embrace every detail and every circumstance and seek His face. The results, the fruit is on Him. It’s not for me to worry about what I can show for being here for 7 months, as long as I am listening and obeying. Relief!
“When the disciples came back from their first mission they were filled with joy because the devils were subject to them, and Jesus said – Don’t rejoice in successful service; the great secret of joy is that you are rightly related to me.” (Oct 27)
Yes! Relationship first. Being before doing. Presence over productivity. Success is completely redefined when you are following Jesus. He cares more for the heart than what you do and how well you do it. Not that that’s not important, but it’s not at the center. I’m reminded of something we actually were taught in our training: The number one priority of a Christian worker is the number one priority of every believer: worship. This is what God calls us to most importantly, this is what delights Him most – sitting at His feet. Alone, as a family, and with other believers. That’s where every other good thing can flow out from.
We went on a weekend with our home church last month, and meditated on this: “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.” (John 15:4) God has been speaking this to my heart for the last month and I am only realizing it now. If I don’t abide in Him, it doesn’t matter what fruit I can show. If I abide in Him, I don’t have to stress about the fruit. He will take care of it. He is the One doing the growing, both through me and in me.
Only God knows how He will use our time in India for others’ and our own benefit. I’m sure that as much as He might use us to be salt and light to others, He intends to lovingly work on our hearts, challenge us, mold us. In marriage, in parenting, in friendships, in the face of everyday frustrations and joys. He called us to India first of all to invite us to love Him fuller, know Him deeper and depend on Him harder. We are here not to inspire others to be great missionaries, but to inspire them to trust Him wholeheartedly and follow where He leads.
So instead of asking Christian workers only, “What have you been doing? How’s your ministry? Who have you been reaching out to?” we would love to also answer questions like these, “How is God speaking to you? What have you been learning about Him? How have you had to trust Him lately? Are you seeking Him first, as an individual, a family, a church community? Do you spend time at His feet? Have you been obedient to what He’s teaching you?”
The missionary life doesn’t always look like doing and working and pressing and reaching. Sometimes it looks like spending extended time in prayer with friends. Sometimes it looks like sitting with my journal and crying out to God. And sometimes it looks like breathing and desperately calling on His name to give me peace and calmness when my son’s little heart is exploding with emotion. But always it looks like abiding.
Adrienn is exploring the highs and lows of cross-cultural living with her husband and two young children. She loves chocolate, words, hope, and wading through life’s joys and sorrows with other women.