This school year, emotionally and spiritually, has been the one year of my life that most resembles a roller coaster. The image may be cliché, but it’s extremely fitting. It has been a year of excitement, anxiety, passion, and apathy as I approach a major transition (*gasp* the dreaded ‘t’ word) in my life. Where will I go next year? What will I study? Where is God leading me? Is this feeling of being called to ministry really from Him? Questions, questions, questions….it has been a year of questions.
Near the beginning of the school year, we had Spiritual Emphasis Week. The thing that stuck most in my mind was the speaker’s challenge to ask God to do something radical in our lives. I did. Little did I know what that would look like or where it would lead me.
In February, I learned about a program called Mission Year (to learn what this is visit www.missionyear.org). It sounded fantastic to me from the very beginning to spend a year devoted to loving people. It seemed to fit with what God had been placing on my heart about the importance of relationships. Yet I was in torment – this was no easy decision. It would mean putting off college (which had been my plan for right after high school for the past who-knows-how-many years) for a year. It would mean drastic change. Wasn’t that what I had prayed for?
I wouldn’t let myself embrace the idea too quickly.
The beginning of March we went to Nürnburg for high school retreat. My expectation for that weekend was for God to show me whether or not Mission Year was something I should pursue. I knew He would not let me down. Sure enough, during the worship sessions and small group times, God spoke to me through songs and verses:
Ø “I will lift my eyes to the Maker of the mountains I can’t climb” – not only is God able to help me overcome tasks that I am incapable of, He CREATED them. So why ever should I doubt?
Ø “Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished.” (Luke 1:45) – that seemed pretty straightforward. STOP DOUBTING.
Ø “My weakness only brings to light the arms of God, such strength and might.” – yes, I’m weak, but God SHINES through that weakness!
Ø “No matter what tomorrow brings, there’s strength enough for today.” – it can be exhausting to live a surrendered life, but God provides the strength we need. We may not have the strength to last a week or month or year, but He gives us strength for today. One day at a time.
Ø “The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.” (Galatians 5:6)
That weekend, I decided to apply. I knew that if this wasn’t God’s will, He would close the door and I would not be accepted to the program. What did I have to lose?
I applied on March 17th. Then came the waiting period. In the midst of the waiting I went on a week long mission trip to Kenya. Back in November, when I signed up for the trip, I did so with the hope and expectation that God would either confirm or completely deny the calling I felt to ministry. Throughout the week He consistently confirmed it and granted me peace about it. On March 30th, I finally prayed a prayer dedicating my life to God’s ministry, whatever form it may take. Surrender is freeing. After that I was even more excited for Mission Year – but I still had to wait. Anxiety and impatience were very present. I constantly had to remind myself that God is in control. He has a beautiful plan and purpose for my life, so what reason do I have ever to be anxious?
After what seemed like 10,000 years (only a slight exaggeration), I received an email of ACCEPTANCE on April 29th. The next day was my birthday and one of the girls in my dorm said that this was my birthday present from God. I still don’t know which city I’ll be in, but I’m so excited. Not a day goes by now that I don’t thank God for the opportunity He’s given me. I’m so thrilled…ECSTATIC…to know that He wants me – a doubtful, selfish girl who constantly makes mistakes – to be a part of His work. He doesn’t need me, but He wants me. Sure, I still have my fears, but I’m excited to see how God proves those fears unfounded. He will provide.
Throughout my Mission Year I’ll try to keep this blog updated so that you can see how God is working in my life and the amazing things that He accomplishes, even through a weak and insecure sinner like me.
The title of my blog "Gold in the Garbage" refers to the fact that though I may see myself as worthless and full of sin, God sees something beautiful and precious in me and He will work through me despite my faults.