Have you ever been in the position to see how God is using you to help someone else feel their way through this world? I am not talking about the usual things like going out of your way to do the tangible things, assisting someone with a project, going to visit someone who is ill, etc. I am speaking more of being present at a certain place and time, and suddenly realizing WHY you are present, because someone needed to hear something you had to say, or needed reassurance that you see something special in them.
We all find ourselves wandering at moments, "window shopping" our way through life as we pick up one persona, try it on to see if it fits, set it back down...or maybe consider a new career and examine the "package" carefully reading the contents to see if it is something we want to commit to.
Even if we are not one of the Faithful, we often look for signs that we are heading in the right direction, we need our plans validated. We want to know if the dreams we secretly hold are ridiculous or if they should be pursued. Trusting our gut instinct can be scary if we don't feel we have some sort of affirmation that our chosen path is the correct one.
Man, do I know what that feels like. We have gone against the norm in so many ways the past few years, jumped out of the boat, questioned ourselves over and over again. Are our motives pure? Are we REALLY hearing God's voice in this, or imagining it because it is what we WANT to hear? Can we pull this off? Everyone else thinks we are nuts, are they right? When you do what feels right in your heart, what you feel God is calling you to do, I am learning it often conflicts with other people's vision of what your life should be like.
Often God has used someone else to step forward to speak to us, and I have been ever so grateful for those moments. Sometimes it has been friends, sometimes casual acquaintances...sometimes complete strangers. Whomever it was, I needed to hear what they had to share.
I always am mindful of privacy with my blog...not everyone wants their life blabbed about for the world to read about...so this is purposefully a little vague. The past few months I have had the distinct pleasure of getting to know someone better. Every once in awhile you meet someone and just know you were destined to do so. It may not be obvious the reason why, but you "click" in a way that brings real joy because it doesn't happen all that often in life. Sometimes these things develop into friendships, sometimes they are on the fringes of our lives and never quite make it to the level you wish it would. I actually have two or three people in my life at this moment with whom I wish we had the time/energy/opportunity to grow our friendship. Maybe it will happen, maybe it won't...but that sense that it could grow to something very deep and meaningful always lingers there, just out of reach.
So I have been kind of on the sidelines with this person, but he is an amazing individual and I didn't know until recently that he was at a crossroads in his life, ready to take some big leaps of faith of his own that involve huge changes for him and putting his family first in an extraordinary way. I also didn't understand that maybe God was going to use me to help validate a couple of things in his life. What a humbling experience that is, to see how you can be used by doing very simple things, by muttering a few words that to you are just a kind word said in passing but for someone else speaks to them so firmly.
I think that I am at my own crossroads, which might be why others at that stage feel so sympatico with me. I am studying to do something I never imagined myself doing, becoming more involved in ministry work. In the "window shopping" of my life it is a garment I never ever imagined trying on myself. It is uncomfortable at this stage, and I think I am still waiting for more validation that this path is the right one for me...I am alternately troubled and ecstatic...troubled because it is a role I just can't picture myself in, and yet ecstatic because everything seems to be pointing that way. Maybe I too am awaiting validation from some unknown source that will suddenly appear to give me external support for an internal conflict. But as I delve more deeply into my study material I am being called upon to think about things that are more challenging than I have ever studied before. The thought of myself being the one to help others see God more clearly is foreign and sobering, and the growing pains are enough to make me want to bash my head against a wall with frustration at what I don't know and all that I wish were clearer to me!! But there is an undeniable...how can I put this..."ache" is a good word, to do this, as if all the varied pieces that make up the mosaic of my life are coming together finally. For me, this is an excruciating process of growth, and deep down inside I am so scared, and I can't even believe I am sharing these emotions on the blog.
Every day, I literally begin the day with my morning "shower prayers". I know, stupid, but when you have 3 young boys and as busy a life as I do, sometimes the shower is the ONLY place I have 10 minutes alone which are quiet!! I have found myself asking God over and over again on a daily basis to please use me in some way today, to let me touch someones heart. Since I began this quite awhile ago, I have seen how that simple prayer has come to life every single day. Now, I am not certain that it is God providing opportunities, laying them out before me...or if it is that my own heart has changed, if the scales have fallen from my eyes and I am more able to see other's needs because I am not quite as wrapped up in my own. Sounds a little saintly, doesn't it? And I don't mean it to at all...believe me, I am the furthest thing from a saint that you will ever find. But I am really ruminating on this little factoid, that God uses us more if we ask to be used, and sometimes in surprising ways. I have spent most of my life being mostly concerned with myself, with my own needs, being greedy and grabbing for what I thought was due me. It has only been in the last few years that I have begun to see that living my life in a different way is more rewarding. And man, do I still have a long way to go.
I am grateful that this person let me know I have touched their life, it is easy to recognize those kindred spirits for me, as they are always the ones who have the courage to express their emotions and aren't afraid of others' reactions. It is the kind of person I hope to become. So I guess this is an open "thanks" to God...a thank you for putting such wonderful people in my life, a thanks for helping me see things that at one time I was blind to, a thanks for the goodness of others.
And as an aside, as I was writing this post I had an email from our agency that today our dossier will be on its way to the Kazakhstani Embassy!!! Kind of perfect timing, isn't it?