I was almost eleven years old when God invited me on an adventure.
Have you ever gone through one of those moments where you just know that after this, nothing will be the same? For me, that was March 9, 2008.
I grew up in a single-parent home, with just my mom and my twin sister. In everything we did, my mom made God first in our lives. We were homeschooled, and the first lesson of every day was Bible study.
Because of my mom’s example and her dedication, I grew up with a passionate love for Jesus. When I was five years old, I made the decision to give my life to God and live for Him. I was reading my Bible from the time I first learned to read, and I was memorizing Scripture.
And, of course, I was a child with big, big dreams for her life.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve always been one of those crazy dreamers. I’m one of those people who has a dream and does everything she possibly can to make it come true.
And when I was almost eleven, my dreams were all about horses.
Yes, I had that horse crazy fever. As in, horse blankets, horse posters, horse stuffed animals, horse notebooks, horse movies...yep, it was bad.
I dreamed that someday I would do show jumping in the Olympics on my beautiful brown horse. Never mind that I had never actually ridden a horse (well, unless pony rides count). This was my dream, and at eleven years old, I was certain this is what I would spend my life doing.
But then March 9, 2008 happened.
My family and I had just left the annual missions conference at a new church we’d been visiting. The missionary was from somewhere in Asia, and as we went home I couldn’t get the images she’d shown out of my head. I was conflicted in my heart. How could it be that children just like me had to grow up with no one to love them, nothing to eat, and no place to call their own?
I tried to fall asleep that night, but I couldn’t. After praying, I felt God whisper to my heart and it surprised me.
You see, that night God placed the calling on my life to be a missionary. In Africa.
Go ahead and laugh, because I did too.
After all, I was the eleven-year-old who had her whole life planned out and had dreams of her own to fulfill. I was also the eleven-year-old who was terrified of any bugs, big or small, and had an overwhelming fear of heights. And to get to Africa you have to fly in a plane...also, there are bugs.
Looking back now -- at twenty years old -- I smile at the girl I was then. Through the days, months, and years that followed that moment, I felt God pulling me closer to His heart than ever before. At first, I pulled away.
I had loved God my whole life, but this? This was way out of my comfort zone. I wanted to run my life, my way, thank you very much.
But God, the ever patient, loving Father that He is, kept beckoning my heart to a journey with Him. The funny thing is, I thought the journey was going to Africa. I thought the journey was being a missionary.
If you would have told me then that I would be twenty and still not have stepped foot on Africa’s soil (the place that my heart now loves so deeply), I probably would’ve looked at you with a wrinkled-up nose and said, “You’re joking.”
But here I am, nine and a half years later, and things are so much different than I imagined. Do I still believe that I will one day travel to Africa and serve my Savior there? Absolutely. But have I also realized that our adventure with Jesus isn’t so much about the doing as it is the being? Yes. The being with God -- the falling in love with Him -- is the most beautiful part of the adventure.
And I would never trade that for anything. Because in the midst of my everyday life, my God asks me if He can walk it with me. He asks if He can love me more in every moment. He asks if He can show me His dreams for my life and how much greater they are than my own. He wants me to trust Him for His perfect timing in everything.
He wants to do the same for you, too.
So, please, take the risk. Hold onto His hand, and get ready for the adventure of your life.
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