I wish I could remember the exact moment in life when I knew that I wanted to be a missionary. When I realized my passion to help others. Or when I knew I was to devote my life to Christ. Truth is, I think those moments weren’t really “moments” at all. They were always just a part of my being. These passions and desires had been forming within me since my beginning. Because He knit me together in my mothers womb and He formed my inward parts (Psalm 139:13). Because the work of His hands are wonderful, various and complex, each living thing made in wisdom (Psalm 104:24). God was with me from the beginning, from my conception, my first heartbeat, my first breath, and he numbered my days before me (Psalm 139:16). I have always wanted to love.
Has anyone seen the Rogers and Hammerstein’s version of Cinderella? I watched the Brandi and Whitney Houston (and Whoopi Goldberg) version on repeat growing up. Seriously, when I fell in love with a movie I watched it non-stop. Ask my brother who can quote movies like Grease and Dirty Dancing due to my incapability of watching anything other than what movie I was currently obsessed with. Anyway- there is a part in the movie where the stepmother says “I’ve always been told I’ve got too big a heart” and the Calliope and Minerva in unison respond “You’ve got too big a heart, Mother”. This part always made me giggle because, lets be honest, it was far from the truth. This stepmother who cared too much about social climbing and outward appearance lacked genuine love. Even towards her own daughters. Sometimes I joke and throw around that line from the movie when I find myself overwhelmed with love and compassion. Because sometimes, I just feel like my heart is going to explode! And this can happen with even the tiniest of moments. I once cried for 20 minutes in a car ride home because my mother ran over a chipmunk. Or squirrel. Or a raccoon. Or something. Point of the story, “I’ve always been told I’ve got too big a heart”.
So, since I was in middle school I had this grand plan for myself. I was going to attend Moody Bible Institute where I would pursue a degree in Intercultural Studies and live my life loving those in desperate need and living happily ever after. In middle school, I also assumed the only mission field was Africa and so naturally I would fall in love with an African Native, have children who also wanted so desperately to love others. To quote my new favorite movie and probably the only movie I will watch for a while, “Here’s to the fools who dream”! Am I right? Apparently God’s plan for your life is not always what you had planned for yourself. I ended up attending Grace Bible College where a pursued a degree in music…I’m not kidding. Go ahead, say what your thinking because I’ve heard it all a million times and I have said it to myself even more. “What on earth are you going to do with a Worship Arts degree if you don’t want to be a Worship Pastor in a church?” right? You’ve got me! I have no idea. Whatever it is I am supposed to do with this crazy life, I am going to do it loving others.
Fortunately for me, Love is the bibles greatest story. God’s love is displayed throughout the entire bible. He made covenants with His people, He blessed them, He gave them (us) the greatest gift imaginable and all out of love. And because He loves, we love (1 John 4:19). That is one thing I have always known in the depths of my heart, is to love. This love has held me victim to those who have not always known it, and though I have always known love, I have not always shown it and that is where Christ enters in. He picks us up and resurrects our messes into beauty.
Unfortunately, Love is not an affection shown world-wide. To make that even more real, love is not an affection shown state-wide. Or city-wide. Or even in your hometown. There are dark homes that lie in the midst of the light and are surrounded by chaos and selfishness, and that is where our ministry lies. Each and every one of us is part of a grander plan that is yet so simple. To love others, because He first loved us.
This is a burden that has always been heavy on my heart. Because I know that I love so deeply, and care so much, and there are people in this world and in our backyards who have never experienced that love. During much of my life I could have been doing something about this burden. I could have shed my pride and selfishness and loved so many people who needed it most but instead, I cared too much. I cared too much about what others thought of me. I cared too much about avoiding rejection. I cared too much about failing myself over and over again when people would have rather received love from someone, anyone, else other than myself. I’ve spent very little of my time so far not caring about the world and its societal expectation while showing others the love that Christ has to offer. However, God’s grace is sufficient and His forgiveness is ever flowing. So her I am now, listening to the burden of my heart and following God’s leading.
This summer, I will be moving to Puerto Rico with my best friend (And Grace Ministries International Missionary) April Lorenz. April runs an after school center called Club Maravilla, where she spends her days loving children in a broken community who do not know what love is. She teams with an american camp, Camp Caribe, and their Missions Adventure Teams (run by none other than her Fiancé, so thats cool I guess) who make visits to Club Maravilla to laugh, play, hug, and teach these children. I will be volunteering my time between both of these ministries, loving Children and also giving a helping hand to Camp Caribe’s Mission Adventure Teams. I will leave for Puerto Rico on June 7th and will return the second week of October.
I do not know my future for I am simply taking one step at a time and trusting God’s will and provision for my life. There is a chance that when I come back in October for my best friends wedding, I will turn right back around to my new home in Puerto Rico. There is a chance that I will come home and stay in Michigan until God reveals His next steps. There is even a chance that I come back to Michigan for the wedding, and turn around and head in the next direction God has called me to. Like I said, I don’t know what God has in store for me. Not right now. All I know is that I desperately want to know Him more, I passionately want to love others, and that God will provide for me every step of the way. I just have to keep moving forward.