I was taught growing up, correctly, the importance of not dating, not marrying, someone who did not believe in God. It would bring tension and division. It would cause us to be unequally yoked.
So, all my life, I knew that I needed to marry a Christian, someone who had a relationship with God and had given his life over to Jesus. In Spain I realized that it was not enough that he know and have a relationship with God, he also must be a spiritual leader and be, at least, as passionate about serving God as I was.
Then our campus ministry leader did a teaching on Christian relationships and how sometimes even all of that isn't enough if each individual has a different call on his/her life.
I had never thought of that before, but it seemed that with regards to call, Lee and I were on the same page.
Except when it came to foreign missions.
I have known since I was a little girl that I was called to missions of some kind. Living in Spain solidified that calling, and "my plan" after leaving Spain had been to finish college as quickly as I could and get back over there so I could serve amongst the people and culture I had grown to love so dearly.
God obviously had other plans. No sooner had I started on my fast track to finish college than I met Lee and Spain went on hold indefinitely.
But I still had missions in my heart and knew it was to be a lifestyle for me.
Not so with Lee. He didn't like missions. I mean, he knew that missions was for some people, just not him. He had the heart of an evangelist and preacher. He did not see himself going to foreign places to serve.
I remember one particularly heated conversation on the topic...me trying to convince Lee to get a heart for missions, he insisting that it just wasn't for him. And with our leader's words ringing in my ears, I despaired of our relationship as I could not compromise God's call on my life, nor could I ask Lee to.
And then I heard God say: "Just wait until he gets back from the Ukraine."
See, in the midst of this crisis, actually before the crisis ever came to a head, Lee had agreed to go with my mom's friend to the Ukraine as a keyboard player. They were going to do street ministry, and Lee with his amazing keyboard skills was convinced to go to "help them out."
He really is that kind of a guy. He will do something to help someone out, even if it's not his favorite.
It only takes willingness. And Lee had that, and so he went to countless meetings and practices to prepare for the trip, becoming friends with a group of people who were wild about missions and passionate about seeing God move in miraculous ways through them.
And he spent 3 weeks in the Ukraine eating borscht and mystery meat and hard bread, taking cold showers, getting his mullet cut off so that he could wash his hair more easily...and seeing God move in miraculous ways.
He returned a changed man, with a heart set on fire for the nations, and, incidentally, more in love with me. And I with him. And with God.
God took our hearts that seemed to be headed in different directions and gently showed me how He would continue to knit them together in areas where we seemingly differed. Sometimes it would be I who got nudged and sometimes it would be Lee, but as I am faithful to trust Him and not walk in fear, He smooths the way.
I don't want to get ahead of the story here, but for those of you reading, know that God is so very faithful. He has done this very thing time and time again. Many times it has been after I have tried to "force" it to happen through convincing arguments (obviously not so convincing as nothing changed) and impassioned pleas, finally getting past my fear to a place of trust and peace. And it is always from that place of rest that God moves. Fear hinders Him. Trusts opens up the way for Him.
So trust, dear ones. Trust. His plans are good. And the ways He works out His plans, well, they are very creative, often hard, but very definitely good.
Next: "the struggle"
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