Friday, August 16, 2013

How Do You Know God's Call?

 In the midst of a week of numerous good-byes, I got asked a question that I struggled to answer. A good friend, one who shares my faith in Christ, asked, "How do you know this (moving to New Mexico to serve the Jicarilla Apache people) is God's Call?"

I tried to answer her, but I'm afraid what I said sounded like mumbo jumbo without much substance. I've thought about this a lot since, and I would like to answer her question. It's a question I would've shared at many points in my life... one that many Christians and non-Christians share.

 How do I know that what I am choosing is in accordance with God's Will? that different from God's Call on me?

I suggest that the Call of God is indeed different from living in accordance with God's Will. Making life choices that honor God's Will is a life of obedience to God's Word in Scripture. It is general, but consisting of specific choices to obey. I believe that my marriage was within God's plan for my life, God's Will. My husband and I chose (and choose now) to obey God's rules and laws about how people should relate before and in marriage. I don't consider our marriage as God's Call, but as an acceptance of God's gift to us.

However, my husband and I were clearly Called by God to be parents to our youngest daughter. I wrote about her adoption earlier, but I want to revisit the Call. How did I know that God wanted us to adopt her? How do we know that God wants us to move to Dulce, New Mexico? For that, too, is definitely God's Call.

In my experience, the Call of God comes as a series of options, in which ONE option always seems the best. With our daughter, I prayed that it would be made clear to me if God wanted us to adopt her. The first step of my knowing was that my husband was so positive about adopting her. (He was actually praying that if we weren't supposed to adopt her, it be made clear to him!) Because he was choosing that option as the positive one, I could consider it more fully.

As the weekend progressed, I prayed and thought a lot about what kind of changes would need to be made if we were to adopt our wee one. Daycare fell into place with one phone call to a dear friend. Also, we were in the middle of redecorating a spare bedroom for our grandchildren; all of a sudden, pink just seemed to be the RIGHT color. And on Sunday, the children's message at church was all about God asking us to follow Him, even when he was going where we hadn't imagined going. For some reason, that message was aimed directly at my heart. When my husband came home that afternoon from work, I asked him what his prayers had led him to. He said that he had had no change in his opinion that we should take her in. When I told him where my heart was, we made an easy decision to foster, then adopt, our daughter.

With the move to New Mexico, it began when my husband was talking about the jobs listed on our denomination's website. He usually only mentioned the churches available in the geographic locations we had agreed upon, but this time he said, rather flippantly, "And there's one in New Mexico...It's a mission posting." I felt an immediate tug to pursue this further. We discussed it, and he sent his information to the church. Later, when he read their profile, he became even more interested in it, feeling it was a good match to his own personality and skills.

Unbeknownst to us, the search committee had received my husband's information and immediately felt a pull toward him. Through the next few months, each bit of information in both directions brought us closer together. When we visited in April, my husband and I felt like we were coming home. Our daughter made friends and is excited to return. Again, at each crossroads of decision, this one particular option always seemed the very best.

Another characteristic of God's Call in my experience is an unbelievable peace with the decision. We have never once regretted our daughter's adoption. I have felt no trepidation at the move to an unfamiliar place within a completely foreign culture. Not to mention the remoteness of the location (90 miles to the nearest Target). But there is no fear. No worry.

Please note that this is not a Pollyanna-ish "peace," expecting all to be easy and golden. That is not God's way. He doesn't Call us to ease, but to service. We fully expect there to be difficult moments, perhaps even difficult years. There have certainly been difficult times in parenting our 6 year-old!

Instead, this is God's peace, that surpasses all understanding. The peace that envelopes one, even in the midst of strife. This peace is, for me, a hallmark of both God's Call and of living in accordance with God's Will.


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