This is the question I asked myself numerous times over the last month. I had to search my heart and soul for the answer. Ultimately, I relied upon the Lord’s guidance for the answer.
Years ago, I was studying Experiencing God (for the second time). I learned so much from the course that still influences me today. In 1996 I remember struggling with the decision to stay in Lugansk, Ukraine or return to America to begin studies at seminary.
At that time, a pastor friend from Wichita Falls reminded me of a principal from Exp God: (loosely phrased) Do the last thing God told you to do until He shows you something else to do. Eventually, I returned to attend seminary.
My mom’s health is such now that I didn’t know what I should do. My mother’s whole personality has changed in the last six months. She is less talkative, doesn’t watch TV (it used to be her favorite thing to do!), doesn’t eat much and sleeps often. As I watched this take place, I realized that time was not on our side. Of course, no one really knows how much time one really has…
So, during the early days of April, I was discouraged and uncertain what to do. I remember going for a long walk one morning and “wrestling” with God about this decision.
You should know that I truly LOVE being a missionary. I can’t imagine doing anything else with my life at this point. Yet, I was trying to discern God’s will. During this long walk, I remembered the principle from Exp God. Then, God reminded me of a passage that I used often in my speaking engagements from Judges 6:14 “And the Lord turned to him (Gideon) and said, “Go in this might of yours and save Israel from the hand of Midian; do not I send you?”
God used this very text to get me to Ukraine in 1994. He has used it time and time again when I needed a “shove.” I love the way the English Standard Version translates the question: “Do not I send you?” It is so encouraging to know that the Lord is the one “sending” me.
Did it make the decision to leave any easier? Of course not. I love my mom and my family. We are all hurting from this change in her. I also dealt with the thought she may not remember me the next time I see her. I simply don’t know if that will be true or not.
I’m sure that some members of my extended family do not understand why I returned to the field. However, ultimately, I must follow the Lord’s leadership for my life. To be in America and not be in the Lord’s will would be a mistake.
Now that I am back in Ukraine (even for just a few weeks before moving to Kstan) the Lord has already confirmed to me that I am where I need to be for this season. As Gideon eventually trusted the Lord and saw that the Lord was sending him, I am trusting God to send me where He desires for me to be. As Isaiah so boldly said, so say I, “Here am I, send me!”