At the close of the campfire service my hand flew up, almost of its own volition. I had to answer the tug of God on my tender 14 year old heart. I wanted to dedicate my life to serve Him in some full-time capacity.
"What do you want me to do with my life?" I prayed that prayer each day, hoping god would drop some direction out of the sky right into my lap. And He did.
We were required to study a language beginning in 8th grade so I chose Spanish. From the start, I loved it - the rhythm and flow, the romantic sound of it. Shortly after the semester began, a special guest came into the class. He was a pilot, contracted by Wycliffe Bible Translators, to fly missionaries and supplies all over South America.
I can't remember what he said. I only remember the soaring of my heart as he spoke. "I'm going to be a Wycliffe Bible Translator someday." I knew it in the depths of my heart.
Time passed. My missionary dream kept me from yielding to the temptations of drugs and sex as a teenager in the late 60s. I needed to attend college but was told there was no money for that so I prayed and my heavenly Father made a way. My heart rejoiced as I took one step closer to my goal.
During my last year of Bible college, a well meaning professor felt the need to counsel me about things he saw in my life - my Martha syndrome (the need to please Jesus through "doing" and an inability to just "Be" in His presence.)
What he said was true, but I misinterpret ted the impact of it. I suddenly felt inadequate to become a missionary. I felt my motives weren't pure enough and that God was gently trying to tell me He couldn't use me as a Bible translator. I wept all night and closed the door on my dreams.
Thankfully, God kept His hand on me. I met and married my husband who desired to become a pastor. I plunged into ministry with him, often over-extending myself with three children, a part time job and doing everything I could in church. Meanwhile, my dreams lay in a gangrenous heap at the bottom of my heart.
Looking back, I understand more now. There were other things eating away at me too - including damage from an abusive childhood; things God needed to heal and remove from my heart before I could be ready for the fulfillment of my dreams. In the meantime, He worked on other things like teaching me how to be a writer.
As God began to work a healing in my life, I shared my lost dreams for missionary service. Several friends encouraged me by saying, "Just wait - God will open up a door for you. He cares about your broken dreams."
I wanted to believe them - I wanted to think someday I could go on a short-term missions trip or do something missions related. But I never really expected more than that. Yet, today I am convinced that God is a mender of broken dreams. No, I haven't seen what He will do with my teen-aged dream, but it's coming - I sense it inside like the anticipation of rain when I can smell it in the air and the clouds start building.
A few days ago, I blogged about praying for tribes of people who have never been contacted by outside sources. Three days later, I was contacted by the VP of prayer ministries at Wycliffe who had somehow found and read my blog. She introduced me to the Bibleless People Prayer Project and helped me to get signed up. I'll be blogging more about that in the near future.
Coincidence? NOT! The God who loves teenagers and cares about their broken dreams is still working to line things up as only He can to bring about a heavenly ending to His child's life-long dreams. I can't wait to see what my Father does next!