God’s will can be hard. It’s hard to give up everything I think I want and accept that God’s will is bigger and better. It’s hard to tell my family that I won’t be living around the corner because God wants me on mission in Georgia. It’s hard to talk to old friends and realize how much God has changed and healed my heart while they still live in brokenness. It’s hard seeing the reaction of the person sitting next to me on the plane when I tell them I’m a missionary with no income, and a Catholic, when all they understand of success or happiness is in making money. It can be hard, but God’s will is bigger than all that. And it’s always better. God’s will is so perfect that it’s crazy to ever think I’ve got it all “figured out” and that I don’t need the big guy upstairs telling me what to do – I need Him, I really really do.
Back in March, we began discerning where God wanted us to be this second year of missions. Pray for openness to whatever God asks. Then pray for a specific desire. Then, for detachment from that desire, and then again for an openness to whatever God wills. It’s a complicated business, discernment is, and for a while I had no idea what I was supposed to do.
What to expect when you’re expecting. I don’t know. In all honesty, I just thought it would be a catchy title for a blog. I never know what to expect. God can be so mysterious sometimes, but I guess that’s how He likes it. He likes that I trust Him. He likes that I rely on Him. He likes that I am willing to sacrifice my will for His own. It’s not that He’s selfish, it’s just that He loves us and knows what’s best for us – what’s best for me. I like that too.
At the end of this discernment, I was invited to stay at Covecrest in Georgia as the women’s house leader and help the incoming missionaries in their formation year. I discerned, and I had an answer. But where do I go from here? What should I expect out of this second year of serving with Life Teen Missions?
Well, I can tell you that it was day 2 and I was already crying while listening to the missionaries give their testimonies. To see their conviction and to see the ways the Lord has moved in their lives is incredible. I think I realized that it’s not a matter of what I expect this year to be, but it’s a matter of knowing who God is. I know that God is a merciful Father. I know that Jesus desires to know my heart intimately and completely. I know that He has proven Himself faithful and trustworthy countless times before: my life is evidence of this. I know that with God there is a resurrection for every cross. I know that with God there is hope, and I know that He is continuously inviting us to new life with Him. He wants to restore us to the garden, to Himself. I know that my God is love. And so I don’t have to expect struggles this year, I don’t have to expect joys – I know they will come and go, and I know my God will be with me, suffering and rejoicing beside me through it all.
God has already knocked my socks off; He has already far exceeded my expectations of what this year would bring. So for the rest of the year I’m going to stick with what I know: He is a God of miracles and so I can expect nothing less.
Come Holy Spirit, enliven me. Be in my thoughts, my words, and my every deed. May His Most Holy Name be forever blessed. Amen.