When people oppose you in your work for Christ, will you pray as Paul, formerly called Saul, did in Acts 22:19-20 and see what new door He wants to open to you or what new trust He wants to teach you? His closing of one door invariably means that He wants to direct your steps into a different ministry.
As described in Isaiah 49:2, Saul was hidden in God’s hand until he was ready for God’s use. Are you patient while God prepares you for an unknown future ministry?
BSF, The Acts of the Apostles, Lesson 5, pg. 6
Before I became a SAHM, I worked in college ministry overseas for four years and on the East Coast in the States for three years. I left Asia for good reasons. My husband and I weren’t married yet, and still in the dating stage at the time we were working in Asia, and my mother had a difficult time with our relationship. She had always dreamed that I would marry a Chinese man, but Dan was not Chinese. He’s Caucasian. It didn’t matter that he spent two years living in Asia, learning about the culture, the language, even how to cook some of the region’s dishes. After two years, our relationship had grown serious and we talked about marriage. We knew we had to return to the States to try to reconcile with my mother and give her an opportunity for her to get to know Dan. Leaving my home of four years was difficult, because I loved what I was doing. I loved that my faith was being stretched on a daily basis as I taught English, be-friended my students, and shared the Gospel with those who were interested, and discipled others who already loved Jesus. When Dan and I left, we always thought we’d return. However, it has been seven years and we’re still in the States.
The three years after our immediate return from Asia were not wasted. In the end, my mother did come around. She eventually accepted Dan for who he is, and now even kisses him on the cheek before we leave from a visit. I’m always shocked when I see her do this since she didn’t often do that sort of thing while my brother and I were growing up.
In terms of ministry, Dan and I were developing contacts, and investing in students soon graduating from undergrad in the states. We hoped that some would feel called and would like to come back to Asia with us to participate in the ministry we were involved with previously. But God seemed to have something else in mind for us. We attended Urbana ’06 where Jesus spoke to my husband about his passion for business. As much as Dan loved being in Asia, he didn’t enjoy the teaching aspect and considered what other ways God may be able to use him should we return. We prayed, spent a great deal of time reflecting and meditating on God’s word and then took a leap of faith. Dan applied to a few business schools. One stood out amongst the ones he applied to, and we moved to the Midwest.
I was supportive of the move. I trusted that God was going to use us in unforeseen ways, despite moving us further and further from Asia. I admit that during the time Dan was in business school and started working for a large marketing company, I was floundering in my spiritual life. I felt displaced. I didn’t feel a real calling for myself and I was tired. As much as I enjoyed my time working with college students on the East Coast, I felt drained.
It was during this spiritual valley that both my daughters were born. I dedicated the whole of my seven years of my adult life to ministry and now, it seemed God was bringing to fruition life from within me. And now, that’s where I’m at. I’m a stay at home mother to two girls unsure of the future. My husband, Dan, is working off student loans from his business school days. We talk with friends who are currently raising their families in Asia, involved in ministry, and wonder whether if that will be us someday. There is no doubt in my mind that Jesus brought us here. But I don’t think I’ve thought much beyond the practicality of it. Jesus gave Dan this job. I feel confident in saying this. It’s mostly because of the unusual circumstances that surrounded his application and the offer to work for this company that I believe this to be true. It’s a story I’ll have to save for another day.
When I came upon the questions in my BSF lesson that I wrote above, it got me thinking. All this time that we’ve been confident that our family is meant to be here, to live here in Midwest, we’ve never really sought out why here. We’ve settled with the idea that this is the right place, but didn’t ask the question why, or for what purpose. It’s been especially difficult for me to wrestle with, because with two young daughters, I feel stuck at home. I’m afraid of the meltdowns and most of the time do everything in my power to stay on schedule with their naps. Elle still takes two of them. Minnie still needs her afternoon one. I still nurse Elle five or six times a day. I don’t like to admit this, but it’s very hard for me to get the three of us out the door. It requires a great deal of preparation on my part, a deep breath, and a moment to muster up courage. The few times I leave the house with just the girls on a regular basis during the week are for BSF, MOPS and the gym that is literally 5 minutes away from us.
What does ministry look like when you’re a SAHM, especially one with young children? It could be that my ministry, for now, is with my children. As I’ve said before in previous posts, raising my kids has been a difficult journey, one not without its rewards, but one that definitely has forced a season of stretching in my faith and character. It could very well be that this time is about God growing in me fruits of the spirit–love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faith, gentleness, and self-control so that I’d become more like him. It could be in preparation for an unknown future ministry. Like Saul, maybe I need to be hidden so that I can grow in the ways I need to be. The only thing is, I’m not sure if I’m ready to say that this is all there could be. Granted I’m far from feeling able to leave the house and suddenly getting actively involved in an outward focused ministry. But I can’t discount the question of why here. Why did Jesus bring us here? At the moment, I don’t have any answers, but it’s a question that I believe is worth wrestling with.