I often have mixed feelings about learning and growing in my walk with the Lord. Growing means being stretched; being made uncomfortable. Sometimes it’s painful or scary. However, I want to grow! I want to learn more about and grow closer to my Savior. A close walk with the Lord is what brought me to the place of preparing to go to Bolivia, and it is what will sustain me while serving there. This is a recap of some of the lessons God taught me during our time of deputation:
1. My Hope Must be Placed in God.
Jeremiah 17:7-8 says: “But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the LORD their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit."
I found myself in some times of drought during our deputation time. I felt loneliness, frustration, weariness, homesickness, and feeling like our financial support would never be raised. I sometimes struggled with putting my hope in people to get us to the field, and I was disappointed. One day God spoke to me about where I was putting my hope and reminded me that He is the one that will get us to Bolivia in His timing. God does not disappoint, and if my hope is in Him, He will make me able to get through droughts. And not even just get through them, but to flourish and thrive!
2. My Strength Must be in God alone.
Colossians 1:11 says: "We also pray that you will be strengthened with all his glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need. May you be filled with joy."
Our culture tells me I should be able to do anything that I want to; I can get myself through anything; I am strong enough. Life continues to remind me that’s an absolute lie. My heart latched on to this verse as I struggled with the wearying, daily demands of motherhood and ministry. Once again, the Lord spoke to me about where I was going for strength and reminded me that He was to be the source of my strength. He led me to begin a study on strength. I love this verse that promises I will be given all the endurance and patience I need. And then I will be filled with joy! My family and my ministry need me to find my strength in my God.
3. Manage my Time, Especially as it Relates to Entertainment
Almost every night after my children go to bed I am reminded that another day with them has gone and I can never repeat it. Time is so fleeting and much too precious to be wasted. God began to speak to my heart about the value that I placed on my own entertainment. Facebook, Netlflix, fiction books-- though there is nothing inherently evil about them, they sometimes are major distractions in my day, and wasters of my precious gift of time. The Holy Spirit led me to take a day every week to unplug from technology, as well as set better boundaries during my day. I want to accomplish everything God has called me to do and not be so distracted by things that are of no eternal value.
I have learned much in our time on the deputation trail. Some of it was painful, but every lesson learned is vital for what God wants to do in and through me. I absolutely trust in my loving, perfect God to do the necessary molding and shaping in my life to prepare me for ministry in Bolivia. I have grown closer to my blessed Lord, who saved me, called me, sanctified me, and continues to work perfectly in me. Praise God for lessons learned!
Note: We are praising the Lord that Daniel and Naomi have achieved the funding level that they need to be able to move to Bolivia in January. Thanks to all of you who made this happen. Please keep them in your prayers and watch for updates on their Facebook accounts and emails. – Jack O’Neill, Executive Director’s