(This is part 2 in the series: I’m not called. Read Part One here)
…I felt unsatisfied with my life here but didn’t feel like I was supposed to go there. What was I supposed to do?…
I began to pray for God to awaken the call in my heart for the nations. I wanted Him to tell me directly, “Jenny, I have called you! Now, Go!” I wanted to feel called. Every person I talked to who had a Nations calling seemed to know it without the shadow of a doubt. Most even had a specific country to which they were called, and they were burning for it, day and night. Praying constantly. Dreaming of it. Longing to go–or return–to it.
Me? I didn’t feel a burn. I never really thought about the nations. Since I did not think I was called to be a missionary, I never even considered being one. But if I were to be really honest with you, since that’s what I do on this blog –I bare my soul for the whole world to read…
I think the reason I never felt called is because I was never willing to go.
The bottom line was this: I did not want to be made uncomfortable. I did not want to be stretched like I am being stretched right now–it’s pretty brutal. I did not want to leave a stable life, food that was familiar, and people I love. So, if it was not even an option in my heart, then He couldn’t ask me to do it….right?
I was processing all of this with God when I went to World Mandate West, a Missions conference that is put on by my church, in February 2016. The first night of the conference Floyd McClung said,
“You don’t need to see the clouds in the shape of Ethiopia to be called to Ethiopia. You don’t need to feel touched from God to be a missionary. You can respond to the call on your own. You can volunteer.”
It was like he was speaking directly to me!
I could volunteer? The thought had never crossed my mind. I figured if we went to the nations, I would just be going out of the desire to support my husband and obey God. But I sincerely wanted to share the vision of our future with Brian, rather than just follow his calling around the world. I wanted to burn, too.
You see, I felt left out – like God had asked Brian to do something great and forgot to include me in it.
Just being real.
On the last night of the conference they had an alter call for two kinds of people: those who knew they were called to go to the Nations, and those who were simply volunteering.
I knew that God was inviting me to volunteer.
Brian and I went forward together. Him, in response to the call God had previously revealed, and me to volunteer. Different paths, but a similar ending – we said yes, individually, and as one.
I cried a lot that night. I was saying no to my will, and yes to His. I laid down my dream of having a home (we were trying to buy a house, and literally had just put an offer on one. More on that later). I was keenly aware of the depth of my sacrifice that night. It was a holy moment not only in my life, but also our marriage.
For over a decade I had convinced myself that I would obey God no matter what He asked me to do, but I never really gave him full access to my life. How could I have, if deep down I was unwilling to let go of the future I wanted?
That night was the first time I meant my surrender so deeply. I had absolutely no idea what I said yes to.
I was giving Him a permanent Yes.
The stars did not align; the clouds did not form the shape of Ethiopia, or any country for that matter. I do not feel more called to be a missionary. What I do know, is my yes was sincere…
Exactly one year later, at World Mandate 2017, we were commissioned to be missionaries to South Africa.