What Is the Point to All of This?

Now that we are nearing the end of our support raising journey (God has brought us to 90%!), I thought it was a good idea to take personal inventory of nearly everything I’ve learned. What’s the point of the struggles if I didn’t come out an improved person. How has God changed me, challenged me, taught me?  Now this list is by no means complete.  The Lord is constantly working on my heart. This is a process, but I’m grateful to see the progress. This inventory is for me, but I thought I’d share it with you in the small chance that you might be encouraged as well. It is in no particular order.

 

  1. My spirit can be patient and quiet at the same time.
  2. True hope in God produces perseverance and the proof that I have hope is that I never give up.
  3. Finding joy in the mystery and not anxiety from the lack of knowing.
  4. Guarding myself against spiritual warfare by learning the difference between the devil’s deception and my own sinful nature.
  5. I can pray for something without fearing the only way to receive it or learn from it is through a tragic experience.
  6. Recognizing the difference between my thoughts and God’s voice.
  7. Having the courage to be vulnerable, to get out of the boat with everyone watching.
  8. Humility. I need to get over myself. It is not about me.
  9. How to cope with stress in difficult situations. Bringing it before God each and every time and cutting myself some slack for being stressed for Pete’s sake.
  10. Feeling worthy to be a missionary regardless of people that deem me not missionary criteria. God called me and that alone is enough.
  11. Thinking that our calling to serve missionaries either with SERVEurope or ReachBudapest is less important than ministering to people in a third world country is like telling God the talents He gave us aren’t good enough.
  12. Watching international soccer matches or foreign tv programs with my family brings me a lot of joy.
  13. Learning how to accept rejection without internalizing and over thinking it. My mind is my own worst enemy.
  14. Trusting God isn’t an empty action. It is a learning process that requires effort and it’s ok if it takes me many tries.
  15. Eating a bowl of brownie batter with no intention of ever baking the brownies makes everything better.
  16. Letting go of my girls is wayyyyy harder than I ever thought it would be and assuming it would be pretty easy was rather arrogant.
  17. Forgive for real, let go, heal relationships.
  18. Believing that people believe in me.
  19. Seeking God in His word. Yearning and striving to know Him better. I can’t imagine not having Jesus in my life.
  20. Coming to terms with myself and how the Great Master sculpted me (my personality, likes, dislikes, and desires) and I don’t have to apologize for it. I will never please everyone even though I wish I could. Accepting myself, flaws and all, is crucial. Not appreciating who I am is like slapping Jesus in the face and breaking His paint brushes.
  21. Leaning on Mark for guidance without feeling an inward sense of inadequacy.
  22. Seeing the blessing of living in cramped quarters without all the creature comforts of a normal home. Instead of tearing each other apart, all 5 of us have practiced how to communicate openly and respectfully while maintaining healthy boundaries, compromising even when we know we’re right, give in, give up, offering grace even if the other person doesn’t deserve it, loving unselfishly, biting your tongue to the point it’s bleeding, surrendering all privacy and shielding your eyes when you walk through the girls’ room, sharing clothes, makeup and hair brushes sometimes without asking, being ok with a messy room and dusty furniture, being content with our living situation yet finding true contentment living in Jesus, seeing it is possible for 3 girls to curl their hair in 5 square feet without burning each other on a Sunday morning AND with a good attitude, learning how to boil water and brown turkey on two separate hot plates at the same time without shorting out the electricity, starting a fire, or throwing the pan against the wall because your water doesn’t boil fast enough, homeschooling, asking for your needs to be met, and praising God in the midst of the chaos.
  23. Recognizing my in-laws sacrifice. In order to partner with us and invest in God’s Kingdom work, they allowed us to live in their renovated garage & take up two bedrooms so that we could follow God’s call on our lives. I praise Jesus and I thank Him for the opportunity to be with them everyday for the past 4 years.
  24. I can scream out to God – pitch a fit on my bed complete with hot, angry tears – and He still loves me. There is no condemnation.
  25. There is still no condemnation when I can’t memorize bible verses.
  26. There is still no condemnation when jealousy rears it’s ugly head, just sweet, patient forgiveness and grace.
  27. No matter how many times I have to relearn a lesson, God is happy to teach me so I can ditch the frustration.
  28. I am weak and have listened to and believed Satan’s lies way too many times and it is exhausting and emotionally draining. Yet, God graciously gave me practical tools such as different versions of His Word to gain new perspectives, bible studies (Beth Moore’s David has been particularly life changing), people speaking truth into my life, books like Neil T. Anderson’s The Bondage Breaker, radio sermons and even radio commercials, Sunday morning worship, listening to my girls singing praise songs, friends’ texts and messages, seasoned missionaries, the ocean, and most importantly my husband.
  29. Completely overcoming fear when facing new and potentially difficult situations like moving overseas. I am not afraid of political unrest, adapting to culture, learning Hungarian, meeting new people. I’m over joyed about most of it…
  30. Watching my girls deal with their extreme changes has encouraged me to deal with mine. They are resilient young women.  Stronger than they even realize.
  31. Finding and appreciating perfection in imperfection.
  32. Being grateful for everything I have and not caring about rewearing the same shirt 3 times in one week.
  33. Appreciating the small things in life.
  34. Finding coziness more attractive than living large.
  35. Living with less is liberating.
  36. The humility to accept the kindness of a stranger meeting our need or a friend giving without expecting anything in return. They are worshiping God by their act of giving, so not accepting a gift is like blocking a blessing that God intends for them.
  37. I can’t control other people. I can only control my reaction to their action.
  38. Loving the lost thoroughly.
  39. Making sure my motivation is for God to be glorified, not me.
  40. Accepting defeat without bitterness.
  41. Feeling completely done, but hanging in there, trusting God that even when I do not see the light at the end of the tunnel it will eventually come.
  42. Comparing our path to others does me absolutely no good at all.
  43. Waiting expectantly for God to move without setting myself up for the disappointment and ensuing feelings if He doesn’t.
  44. Not taking criticism personally even if it was meant that way.
  45. Letting things roll off my back instead of knocking me down.
  46. Not expending energy on things I can not change.
  47. Stepping out and making a decision that might prove to be the wrong choice with the whole world watching builds courage and trust.
  48. Willing to lay my reputation aside in order to do something for Christ that may seem ridiculous and not well-planned to others.
  49. Working on my faults without the act of “working on my faults” becoming a fault.
  50. Being transparent can actually help someone else with their life. Don’t expect condemnation or judgement. Expect love and acceptance.
  51. Be careful with what I share. (Seems contradictory to #50, but it’s not. There is a time for both.)
  52. Having true peace with being last and not first.
  53. Understanding that not everyone is going to like me, but I’m willing to deal with that to step out for Christ.
  54. (Building on #53) Persevering when I feel unloved and unliked because I know, even when I don’t feel it, that the truth is God loves me and likes me unconditionally and truly that is enough.
  55. My act will not be completely together before we leave for the field.
  56. I do not know everything, so be a good listener.  Don’t jump to conclusions. Don’t play devil’s advocate. Don’t assume I am right and they are wrong. Try to see their point of view before exposing mine.  Look at the conversation from a Godly perspective. Is the Holy Spirit nudging me to challenge this person or is it my own pride and self-righteousness wanting to correct them. Everyone deserves a chance to be heard without judgement or criticism.
  57. Flexibility is a key to living a happy missionary lifestyle.
  58. I love people and am so thankful for every person we have met traveling this road.
  59. Everyone pours into me in different ways. Accept the bad advice with the good because the bad sometimes turns out to be the best.
  60. Don’t shoot the messenger, kick back and relax. Although the information may be upsetting, believe that the person delivering it meant well.
  61. Giving people the benefit of the doubt releases me from potential unwarranted angst. Unless I hear otherwise, assume their motives were pure.
  62. Being superstitious about what I say, think or feel gives power to Satan that isn’t his. God has control, not Satan. Speak up and pray for what needs to be prayed for without fear of retaliation!
  63. Accepting that God may never pull the thorns from my side, but trusting that He will always be there to help me manage the pain.
  64. People have quirks. Get over it.
  65. It is more important to spend time as a family than spend all of my time support raising.
  66. Not feeling I have to defend myself or my family for being and acting normal.
  67. Accepting everyone’s faults and owning mine. We are all broken people who hurt ourselves and others directly or indirectly.
  68. Disappointment is fatiguing, so it’s better to put my hope in Christ and not in humanity.
  69. Look at everyone through prescription, rose colored glasses because you will see them clearly, but without fault.
  70. Remembering sanctification is a life long process, life.long, and I will never be 100% until I am with Jesus.

6 Comments

  1. Thank you for sharing these, Jenn. I appreciated your honesty and vulnerability. I can relate to much of what you wrote. God is uniquely preparing you for the place that is meant uniquely for you and your family. There is such joy, confidence, and excitement in knowing that you are in His will. All praise and glory to God!

    Reply
    • I love to hear that you can relate. Selfishly, I’m glad to know I’m not alone. God prepares our steps absolutely. You can see how unprepared mine were. It was like I was wearing nasty old flip flops. Hard to step confidently when your feet are constantly slipping around in them. But, now it’s as if my feet are shod with a pair of sturdy trainers. Note the word “trainers” cuz I’m still in training and always will be…;) Thank you Lord for giving me a new pair of shoes! ALL GLORY, ALL PRAISE, ALL WORSHIP to our King in the Heavenlies!

      Reply
  2. I so love and appreciate your transparency in sharing. It’s encouraging to see all you’ve learned, because you are so aware, and you haven’t even left yet. God is so good. Looks like you have an outline to your first missionary biography as well. Each point could be a chapter! I love reading missionary biographies. They are so encouraging to me. Just like you!

    Reply
    • Stacy, I have been pressuring myself to blog, but every moment I sat down to type, nothing came out. I figured it was from sleep deprivation. But, I now know that it wasn’t the right time before. When I tried this time, everything just spilled out and coherently at that! So it was the Lord using me and my muddled brain at the right time to encourage you and a few others with the words He wanted you to hear. Allll of the glory be to our King in Heaven who loves us so much. Hey, sip on a new type of tea for me. One you’ve never tasted. I love tea. Hope you both are having an incredible faith walk. xoxo

      Reply
  3. Jenn! Thank you so much for this amazing post. I read each point with humility, appreciation, and some laughter 🙂 You are so real and honest – you have put into words what many people are thinking or what they can’t express.

    Reply
    • Gosh Joann, I can not take any of the credit. The thoughts came so easily and quickly to my mind, I am certain it was the Holy Spirit recalling every lesson and giving me the words to write. If it encouraged you, He deserves every bit of the Glory! Praise the Lord! 🙂

      Reply

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