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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Beauty from the cutting room floor




"Throughout the history of God's people as given to us in the Bible, we see that life is a test. We have before us the option to trust God "no matter what," or to walk away from Him. To walk away from God is to leave the fragments of our dreams in pieces on the floor, but to trust Him is to let God pick up the pieces and make us whole again. When we choose to let Him make us whole again, he will make our lives more beautiful than before."

~ "What I Learned from God While Quilting" by Ruth McHaney Danner & Cristine Bolley~

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I love this quote because it perfect;y expresses what God has done in my life. He takes the scraps of broken dreams and stitches them back together in a different pattern than we expect - the end result being more wonderful than we can imagine!



When I was about 14 years of age, I responded to the Lord's call to full time service at a Labor Day youth retreat. The speaker that year was a missionary - though I don't remember much about him. I just knew that I wanted to serve the Lord in some way with my whole life.



I'm not sure when I began to believe God wanted me to be a missionary, maybe it was when a Wycliffe pilot visited my Spanish class to talk about South America and his work as a pilot. No he couldn't "preach" in class, but he said enough that prompted me to want to become a Wycliffe missionary. After all, I loved the syntax of languages and the romantic notions of working with jungle tribes to translate scripture beckoned to me.



Somehow I got the impression that becoming a missionary was the only thing good enough to please God. (I never once considered writing as a career path, probably because I was a mediocre writer at best in school. LOL!)



From that day on, I lived, breathed and ate Missions. I studied Spanish for 5 years and German for 2 in High School. I wanted to go on to college, but my parents said there was no money. My school counselors told me not to waste my time on missionary studies since I was in the 10 ten percentile of my class. They thought I could do better and tried to talk me into applying for grants and loans to more prestigious schools.



I continued to dream and pray, trusting God He would open up a way for me to attend a Bible College. My Abba Father did just that - I found out about a small school in Rhode Island and applied. My joy knew no bounds when I was accepted. My parents couldn't refuse to let me go either, since my cousin (the daughter of my aunt on my mom's side of the family) went there. God even took care of the financial issues, opening up a good paying summer job for me right after graduation.



The dream of becoming a missionary I held on to for 6 years was shredded during my third year of Bible college when a well-meaning professor began some impromptu counseling with me. He showed me from scripture that I didn't have to "buy" God's favor by always trying to be "good enough" for God. He never said I should give up my dream of missionary service, but I interpreted it that way. Because my motives were "wrong" God couldn't possibly want me as a missionary.



After a night of weeping, my dreams lay on the floor like discarded scraps of cloth, but I still wanted to serve Him with all my heart in some kind of full time service. What else could I do except bury my hurt and find some other dream? I met and married my husband that year and latched onto his dream of pastoral ministry, still trying to be "good enough" for God.



Two years later my DH (Dear Hubby) finished his training to become a licensed minister and I thought everything would be okay. Surely God must be pleased. But I wasn't satisfied. Deep inside, there was some unfinished business, buried resentment and longings after lost dreams. I didn't know what God really wanted from me or for me.



I struggled for 12 more years to be the perfect pastor's wife, even trying to create my own new dreams, until I finally began to trust God enough to let Him pick up the scraps of my dreams and put them back together.



When I finally began to let Him work, I learned my Bible College counselor was right. The dreams I fabricated about the mission field were ones I created myself, believing it was the only thing I could do to please God. However, He did have a plan - one that took my desires, my abilities and my needs into consideration.



Standing here and looking back, I can see how He never stopped creating the intricate pattern of my dreams with threads of love, wisdom and experience. All along the way, He brought training, experience and a growing desire across my path to be a writer. My life pattern may be different from what I envisioned, but His work is perfect, filling me with joy and satisfaction in Him. I love that He knows me so well and I love to write about that love so others may know He loves them too.



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To participate in "In Other Words" today, simply blog about the quote on your site, then visit our hostess Nina at her site, Mama's Little Treasures to read her take on the quote and leave a comment along with your blog URL. If you have a chance, visit the blogs of the other participants as well.

7 comments:

MiPa said...

Beautiful post Bonnie that exemplifies how He pieces our lives together. Bless you for sharing.

Heather@Mommymonk said...

Bonnie, I'm so glad I came by here today. I needed to hear your story. God spoke straight to my heart from your words.

I never thought about my desire for missions or full time ministry as a desire to get God's approval, but I think it is. It's like I think caring for my kids isn't enough. This pierced me to the soul, Bonnie.

I do not need to do these things to please Him. I'm just struggling right now knowing what it is He wants me to do. Yes, I know I'm to write (btw, I never though I was a good writer either and I still doubt it but I'm following His call on this one). But, something new is on the horizon. I feel it but I don't know what it is. I just don't want to plunge into a new ministry for the wrong reasons.

Eternally long comment, but this is a moment for me. I needed needed needed to hear this! Thanks.

Susan said...

Bonnie,

This was great...

I love your passion and disire to serve God. I know this in itself is so pleasing to Him.

I love when you said:

My life pattern may be different from what I envisioned, but His work is perfect, filling me with joy and satisfaction in Him.

PRAISE GOD♥

twinklemom said...

That was a wonderful and heart inspiring post! God bless you for the beautiful honesty and sharing.

*HUGS*

Denise said...

Such a lovely post.

Karen said...

I am so glad I read this post! There are portions of what you wrote that stood out to me concerning someone I love so deeply. In fact, I am going to have that person read this post. Thanks so much for sharing!

Hope you have a wonderful day!
Karen
www.homesteadblogger.com/tagblog

Tami Boesiger said...

Thanks for sharing this story, Bonnie. I am impressed with your patience and diligence to serve without knowing exactly what He was asking of you. I pray you soar in the directions He has given you.