Have you ever heard the sound a creek makes rolling over rocks? How it bubbles up, tumbling and turning somersaults over them? Or the way puppies act when you come out the back door to greet them? How they jump and flop and wag their tails so hard they fall over? That’s all me.
I’ve only just recently gotten to this place. I’ve been on a mourning trip and a grief journey and I’ve been bowled over by grief wave after grief wave. It’s been a long trip. It’s been a long journey.
And when the grief started to appease, fear jumped in its place like a vacuum was sucking it in. What should I do with my life? Who am I? What will become of me? The dark side of aloneness is the lack of tethering. I might reel off into space and who would hold me in the atmosphere? I might fall down a rabbit hole that has no end. Who would pull me back to the surface of the earth?
I love Jesus. I know He tethers me, gives me a place and a purpose. I know He does. But I will say that sometimes it takes a bit for the feelings to catch up with the knowledge. I was ultimately safe, and I knew it, but now! Now, I feel it.
Here’s the thing that happened. I was fear-sick and wondering what I was going to do with my life and ministry. Around the time of my worst moments, a guest missionary speaker came to our church. He preached a challenging sermon, provoking his audience to valor in missions. Justin and Rosita responded to that.
The next day Rosita and I were talking about it and I said I had felt it too. Rosita laughed. Then she said, “The thing is, your ministry is just so defined.”
She actually said it rather flippantly, like, “Your ministry is just so OBVIOUS.” But her words came crashing through my brain like they were on a slow motion play back. “Your ministry is JUST. SO. DEFINED.”
But I’m nothing if not cool, so I just smiled and said, “Oh yeah? What is my ministry?” and she said, “You are a missionary to missionaries.”
And I thought of Linda and Andres out in Nayarit, and Luis and Amelia and Porfirio and Lorena out in Jalisco, and Becca and Kearstin at Agua Viva, and a couple of others here in Ensenada and I thought, wow. Yes, I am.
And I went to prayer that night at our church and the leader asked if we wanted to give thanks about anything in our lives and I said, “Yeah. My daughter-in-law just figured my life out for me today and I’m just so grateful.”
Of course I had a long talk with our good God about it later and I could feel His smile all the way from heaven. It was a happy smile, and a comforting smile, but it was a little bit smirky, too, like He could hardly keep from laughing at how long it took me to figure it out. I remembered that a week or so earlier in one of my prayers I had said, “Lord, if you are answering my prayers about my calling and I’m just not getting it, PLEASE! Be obvious! I don’t get it!” So how could He help a little bit of a smirk?
Since then I have had so much confirmation from both Mexican and American women I know. A woman in ministry in a church in Ensenada reminded me that she has been asking to meet with me for a couple of years now. Another from years back at Agua Viva contacted me and said she needed advice in life and marriage.
And get this one: I was at a coffee shop I never go to and an American woman I had never met came over and introduced herself to me, saying she and her husband, both in ministry, had heard Brent and I speak at a retreat one time. She said she is never in that particular coffee shop, but it that it must have been a God thing because she had been wanting to get in touch with me to talk about life and ministry and stuff.
I might have cried.
And then this came to me in a message from yet another woman I know: (I’m not making this stuff up!) “I have been going it alone for a while now and I have identified the need of having a mentor in my life, someone from whom I can learn how to walk in faith and how to have an intimate relationship with God, someone to keep me accountable.” She asked if I would consider being that person.
I might have cried then, too.
Not one of the women I’ve mentioned knew that God had shown me my calling. It just all happened at the same time. Not a coincidence, just God giving me a reassuring hug that I did not misunderstand His answer to all my prayers.
I had a dream about Brent the other night, the first really clear dream specifically about him that I have had in this whole time. I came around a corner in my dream and there he was, all clean and healthy and shaven, looking ready to go to church. I squealed and said, “Noooooooo!!!” in disbelief, smiling, smiling. And he smiled and laughed and sassily squealed back, “Yeeessssssss!” And that was it. No tears, no drama. I miss him. But even though my life is different now, we’re ok.
At this time last year I could not move forward. I was stuck in pause. I was weary. I was sad. I could not have had a dream about Brent where we both were smiling. But now I can.
I guess I could be nervous about this calling. I mean, who am I to be a mentor and counselor for these women?
But at the same time, it’s not about me. If I point them to Jesus, we can’t go wrong. And my last few years with Him should help as well.
It’s been a few weeks since little Rosita figured out my life for me. (Praise the Lord for Rosita!) And in those weeks I have met with all these women. It’s been sweet, it’s been helpful and mostly it’s been normal. I am in my place. I have made up business cards with only my name on it, and passed some of them out. Some dear friends called it my “unveiling.”
And I am happy.