Friday, March 29, 2013

Danielle's Story: What's so special about missions anyway?

What's my story? Why do I feel the call to serve on a mission?

Having been raised a Christian, I ran from God in my twenties and early thirties. Sucked into the world and its thrilling ways, I shunned the church as being irrelevant in the modern world. I told myself that I could choose to meet God whenever I wanted and that the Bible was but a fable for controlling the masses.

I told myself, and believed, the greatest lie that being a good person was enough. But even if that were true, I was not sure how good I was. I wasn't bad. Just not that great. I was pretty normal in the circles in which I lived.

Life took a lot of turns. I moved thousands of miles. My family suffered some hardships and deep tragedy. Life as an immigrant can be culturally difficult; homesickness, social faux pas, differences in politics and acceptable behavior, opinions on raising children, driving on the wrong side of the road, being misunderstood because phrases and expressions have different meanings from country to country - these things took a toll, and by the time our really difficult times struck, I was already in a struggle.

But all the while, I knew God was waiting. Patiently waiting with His hand out ready. To catch me. To guide me when I was ready. And when I felt Him tug a little, I could no longer remember why I ran away in the first place. Oh I had excuses. But when I put my hand out to take His, it felt more right than anything 'normal' could be. And it wasn't long before I really needed Him more than I could ever imagine, and I knew then why he'd given me that tug. Brought me back into the fold, lead me to a wonderful church with amazing people, and gave me all I needed to make it through the next few years - to survive then thrive. 

I always liked to help people, but I discovered that serving brings me a lot of joy and healing. I don't have gifts for cooking or crafting or putting on great events. But I do like to serve whenever I hear God's call. And I am learning to watch and listen for His invitation! Learning to hear His voice, and serve His call rather than my desires. These things are what heal me, when I listen and follow, wherever possible passing on the great blessings He has given me.

Serving and compassion isn't just for Christians. Anyone can be boldly compassionate, it's a call to all. But I challenge all my brothers and sisters in Christ more than anyone else. If you are standing in a crowd of people, would a stranger spot you as a Christian for your love, compassion and kindness to the crowd around you? Or would you blend?

See, anyone can be boldly compassionate, but we Christ-followers must beJesus left us with the greatest gift of the Holy Spirit who gives us all the ability to stand out for our selfless love.

And this is why, at this stage of my life, I feel drawn to the verse Matthew 25:40. I always had a soft spot for the underdog.  Serving the smallest, the weakest, the unheard might be below some people, but not to Jesus. Indeed He is with them and where He is, I want to be.

Happy Easter! If you don't know Jesus Christ, I encourage you to learn what Easter really means for you. May His unfathomable sacrifice touch you in a way that nothing else can.

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