For most of you, this post might take you by surprise because most of you don't know this side of my past.
Wow, that sentence makes it sound like I'm about to unload some big dark secret, but the truth is, this is a happy post, or at least about happy times.
See, before my husband and I moved to Kansas City for him to go to school at the Forerunner School of Ministry, we both loved missions and more specifically helping with short term foreign missions trips. Our hearts, I can say for sure, were in the right place in loving to help share the gospel in other countries. However our spiritual maturity, and even just full maturity into adulthood (at least for me) was not really there yet.
Still, the Lord is thankfully not choosy when choosing those He will use for His purposes, and so we went to Uggie (nicknamed for privacy purposes), Brooklyn, NY (which felt like a third world country in some ways), and central Mexico in the span of about two and a half years.
Those were some special times, and I think about them often, but most often I think about Uggie. We were there working for over a month and it was there that I first fell in love with missions work. The people there were so loving, generous, and sincerely hungry for the Lord. I look back with such fondness for those people.
Yet I also look back with so much regret. I suppose so many people could say that after having lived a life with Christ. As He opens your eyes to things in your own heart and purifies those places and teaches about holiness and servant hood and dying to self, then you can always look back to the past with regret.
Knowing somehow if you had known what you know now, you would have been more affective, more useful in His hands back then. That is how I feel about Uggie.
Back in the day I was so excited to be doing the Lord's work, but I was not very good at it. I was still very selfish, very lazy, I had no idea how to reciprocate the overwhelming generosity shown us, and probably complained a lot, at least to Ken in private. I knew almost nothing about the power of prayer, I knew almost nothing about spiritual warfare, and I barely knew enough of the Bible to teach anything from it, so I did kids ministry.
Now after having lived a life among other missionaries in Kansas City, and now living in South Carolina as a missionary, I have learned a great deal more. Mostly about life, love, hospitality, spiritual maturity, etc, but not all of it has come directly from the Lord. A good deal of it has come indirectly from Him through the seasons of life. I"m only about thirty, but I now have two children and one on the way and I promise you that children are one of the quickest ways to make you face up to your own issues. Need a cure for selfishness, laziness, and spiritual immaturity. Start hanging out with toddlers. They are like a mirror of my own heart some days and what I see doesn't always please me. Instead it spurs me on to try harder, give more, and pray a whole heck of a lot for wisdom. Thankfully, when they are testing my fruits of the spirit (love, peace, patience, kindness, etc) my overwhelming love for them is never affected. No matter how badly they are behaving I always will love them and it is enough to convince me more and more that that is the way the Father loves us.
Whew, thank goodness!
So all that to say. I think about Uggie a lot. How I wish I could go back and do a redo. See and serve the pastors and people we met, pour into the people real spiritual food (at least as much as I've gain since then), and mostly just to love them better.
So why am I writing about this when I am almost 6 months pregnant? I think the Lord likes to bring things up in my heart when there is nothing I can do about them in the natural. That way I am forced to sit back and just pray about it, pray into and wait to see what the Lord has in mind, rather than just jumping on the next flight to Uggie.
Lord, You certainly have a sense of humor and I am thankful that there is as much power in my prayers for the nation of Uggie as there is in me actually going there to be Your hands and feet. You have been so generous to my family and me in teaching us more of You, help me not to wait to only share it in foreign places, but to speak it out everywhere. In any season. Amen.