Something Beautiful Happened Today…

…God spoke to me. He did. I know I’ve mentioned if a few times, but my husband and I are very uncertain of our future. We’ve been out of full-time vocational ministry for over a year. We’ve always always always known that’s what we were supposed to do with our life. But after two very hard ministry positions, we’re just at home in Atlanta being “normal” people.

And I struggle with it sometimes. I don’t feel like I’m doing “what God wants”. In fact, I don’t even know what God wants. So, today, after too many days of not spending time in my Bible, I picked up my nouveau devo, Take Flight and began to read. This book is written by one of my favorite authors, Robin Jones Gunn. I know I’ve blogged about her several times, her books gave my friends and I the great title of “sisterchicks”. But I really started reading Robin Jones Gunn’s teen series about Christy Miller when I was in 6th or 7th grade. I identified so much with Christy that I wrote Robin Jones Gunn a letter that said, “I think your books should be called the Amanda series!” Even today, there are things I think about that come from those books.

Anyway, here’s what I read today from one of my far away mentors, Robin Jones Gunn…

“I was convinced that the best–and probably only–way I could honor God with my life was by devoting myself to full-time ministry.” And so Robin applied to be a laundry supervisor at a mission in Nairobi, Kenya. But was rejected because she lacked “sufficient experience and abilities for this position”. She says, “I never expected such a response. Apparently I was too ungifted and untalented to wash clothes for Jesus in Kenya. What then, could I possibly do for Him?”

That Sunday she went to the junior high girls’ Sunday school class she taught to tell them she wouldn’t be going to Nairobi. The girls suggested, “You should tell stories…Your stories make us think about God in a new way.” Robin was devastated. She “needed to do something tangible for the Lord. Something solid. Not something airy and capricious, like spinning fanciful tales.” So, she stayed at home, got married, had kids and continued to teach junior high Sunday school but “in a concealed part of my spirit, I felt as if I had turned out to be a big disappointment. Yes, I was serving God with my husband in full-time ministry, but I wasn’t like…a missionary in Peru doing great work for God.”

Robin continues, “Then, on a camping trip with our youth group, a tent full of thirteen-year-old girls challenged me to write the kind of stories they wanted to read. They even volunteered to help me by telling me everything I did wrong. It took two years and weekly critique sessions with those teens before my first novel was published in what became the Christy Miller series. That book, Summer Promise, has been translated into five languages, and mail has come in from girls around the world saying that they gave their hearts to Christ after reading that story.”

(I was in tears at this point…)

One of the girls that read Summer Promise was a girl named Wambura. Robin met her at a writer’s conference. Wambura was a young author who wanted to write similar stories for the girls of her home in…wait for it…Nairobi, Kenya. Robin told Wambura that she had wanted to go to Kenya but never got to go. Wambura replied, “Ah, but your story did come to Africa. Perhaps you were never supposed to come. Only your stories. You sent your stories, and they have washed the hearts of many young girls just like me. In Nairobi and around the world. Do you see? God’s will has been accomplished. You have been a supervisor of laundry.”

Did you see that? Did you hear it? God’s will was accomplished! Robin thought it was in this big, hard ministry to Kenya. She even felt rejected and disappointed that she wasn’t doing what God wanted. When in fact, he had been leading her step by step into his perfect and amazing will.

It’s hard to imagine that God is at work in us when we are waiting. It doesn’t seem possible that the places and things I think I should have accomplished by now are not the things I should have accomplished. You remember the story of Joseph, right? The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat guy? Well, his brothers hated him and his big dreams. They said, “Come now, let’s kill him and throw him into one of these cisterns and say that a ferocious animal devoured him. Then we’ll see what comes of his dreams!” And I picture God just shaking His head saying, “As if that would throw off my plan! Joseph’s dreams will come true because I gave them to him.” God had to lead Joseph through several terrible situations. I’m sure there were times when Joseph wrestled with disappointments and rejection. But through it all God was leading him step by step. God’s will was being accomplished.

And one day when hindsight is 20/20, I’ll see those steps. And I’ll see that God’s will was accomplished. I’ll see my “laundry supervision” morph and develop into the big plan that God planted in my heart long ago.

Thank you God, for not seeing us as rejected. Thank you for not being disappointed in us. I pray we’d say with Mary, “I am the Lord’s servant…” Amen.

{ps–read the comments to see a special comment from Wambura!}

Comments

  1. This is such a good reminder today. I’ve had to learn the lesson this year that God is not expecting me to do something GREAT for Him. I’m just supposed to be obedient. And that might mean I’m serving in a much different capacity than I had imagined I would. I think it goes directly to Romans 8:28-29 “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.” God works His purposes in the ministries He places us in that we might become conformed to the image of Christ.

  2. Never have I felt more led to say OH, AMANDA!

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for posting this today. You can have no idea how badly I needed to read this. Today. I hope you won’t think it too cheesy or cliche – but by posting this, you have been the Lord’s servant today. Glory.

  3. Beautiful post! Thank you! And I thank God for you!

  4. I love this, Amanda.

    My husband have alternately struggled with this at times too and the Lord has spoken to us both about it. He uses us in so many ways.

    His Will be done!

    Blessings,
    K

  5. Oh, the waiting is so hard…. but the rewards can be so rich. A closer walk with the Lord, total dependence on Him… it’s so hard to be faithful during the times of waiting, but God honors our faithfulness. I’ll be praying for you and your husband, and I’m so glad that the Lord spoke to you in such a powerful way. It sounds like you are in His peace!

  6. What a beautiful story! I just love it when God touches us in such a personal way. I don’t know why you guys are here right now in the ATL, but I do know that I’m so glad that you are! It has been such a blessing to have you home!

  7. See, now I have to go shave my legs because reading that gave me goose bumps. I love reading your blog – you are such an inspiration. In some small part I think you were brought back to ATL to reunite with me so you can encourage me. ‘Cause it’s all about me…

  8. Thank you Lord for speaking to Amanda today. Since in the womb, you named her and chose her to be “worthy of love”- just because.
    So, keep showing her that you are totally pleased in exactly what she is doing for you and in your kingdom right now!!

  9. And TY RJG!

  10. wow, what an amazing story. I always say I would like a billboard to show me what path to take, but then I wouldn’t have to seek after God with all my heart. thanks for sharing the story and your thoughts.

  11. I needed to hear this – thank you for sharing from your heart today.

  12. I join Megan in an OH AMANDA! The Lord works at all times in our lives, if we will just LOOK for what He is doing! You don’t know how often you enter my thoughts and prayers. I’ve been very frustrated with how things are going at our church lately, so I needed to be reminded that God is working, even in this confusing time! Thank you for sharing YOU today!

  13. I am so thankful God spoke to you today. It encourages us to keep putting one foot in front of the other! The realization that God is working in the waiting is awesome. He’s disciplining you, girl! Not the kind where you did something wrong and now you need punishment, but the kind of discipline that we need to make it in this world. Spiritual discipline. You’re gonna make it! And, you’ll look beautiful when you get there. :)

  14. Thanks for the reminder. God’s will is like a tapestry that we only see from the underside sometimes. And sometimes, we are allowed brief glimpses of His perfect pattern.

  15. Thank you for this sweet post. It brought me to tears as well. For a long time I’ve always thought I would be a missionary. Well, I married someone who loves the Lord but does not have that calling. Maybe someday, but for now, I must find contentment in what I can do for Him now!

    The Christy books had a HUGE impact on my life, and the Glenbrooke books are still my feel-good fallback books. That woman has an amazing talent!

    Jessie

  16. I’m new to your blog- I found you through Musings of a Housewife. I love this story. I can completely relate as I often wonder where God is leading me. Thank you for sharing so poignantly!

  17. Speaking as the Wambura in this story, (robin sent me the link), I have to tell you, it’s come back often to remind ME that God is at work in our lives, even when we do not see it or sense it.

    Amazing, ain’t He?

  18. Please, can you PM me and tell me few more things about Purpose, I really like blogs like yours…

  19. Oh Amanda, indeed! Such amazing insights into the mysteries that must go on in our Creator’s head as he manages to meet each of our needs in one another and through himself. I’m sending this link to Holley Gerth because we often talk about the ministry of words and how they can be just as powerful as the ministry of missionaries who pack up and travel to witness in person.

    thank you for this beautiful insight.

    What a gift.

    ~Lisa-Jo

    • Thank you, Lisa-Jo! I am forever grateful for the “word ministry” of Robin Jones Gunn. And now that I think about it—the “word ministry” of so many bloggers has carried me through these first few years of motherhood, too! Thank you for YOUR word ministry this week–and for allowing others to share in it!

      a

  20. I needed to hear this. I went to bible college. I feel called to full-time ministry. I am a SAHM to my four small children and I feel like a failure. Then I started blogging; to connect, to share, to process. And it has become a ministry. Your words from so many years ago spoke to me today where I am and confirmed what God is doing in me. Thank you for linking this up today!! Thank you for ministering to me. :)

    • Melissa! Thank you for your comment. God designed you for ministry–as a mom, blogger, pastor or whatever/wherever you are! And I *do* have to remind myself of that—I’ve read this post 100’s of times to remind myself of that!

      I’m subscribing to your blog b/c I love finding women w/the same story as me. (And I don’t always feel there are very many…)

      a

  21. Amanda,
    Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful story of how God has made your God-sized dream come true in an even grander way than what you initially anticipated. The last year has been a year of redirection for me and I have at times become easily discouraged by the detour, feeling like I am completely off track, and on the sidelines. Your story gives me hope and a MUCH healthier perspective on God’s behind the scenes work in and through me. Bless you for sharing it and for re-linking to it to share it again–God was in that too!!

    • Thank you, Shaunie! The reason I linked it up is not *really* because I wanted more people to read it—it’s b/c it’s the post that *I* need to read the most. And I figured other people did, too. Aren’t you glad God uses us for bigger and better things than we can even imagine? Your comment was an encouragement to me. :)

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Trackbacks

  1. […] only do I admire Robin Jones Gunn (see blog gush #1 and 2), I also have my own group of sisterchicks which I literally could not do without! This is the […]

  2. […] published November 27, 2007…and if you go back and read the original post, you’ll see a comment from THE Wambura!} Share and […]

  3. […] my life. I thought I was wasting my talents and maybe even displeasing the Lord. And then one day God spoke to me. I still get tears in my eyes reading that post. God showed me that where I was is where He wanted. […]

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