I spent the weekend working at and attending the 2009 Children Desiring God Conference. This conference happens every two years and it is always been used by God to challenge my heart. This conference in many ways was the same, but in some ways very different. My ministry focus has changed. I no longer teach white, middle class kids from the suburbs. I now work with inner city kids of various backgrounds and TCK’s from various places, some of which English is their second or third language. This year the main sessions were very challenging and will fuel my quiet times for several weeks as I unpack them and meditate on them.
One of those sessions was by Paul David Tripp and titled “His Story or Your Story – Who Reigns Supreme in Your Heart?” This was a great session. Dr. Tripp is a gifted communicator and teacher.
The question that he asked us to consider – If you were writing the story of your life, what would you write? So now I ask you – what kind of story would your write? Would you write an action adventure story, a romance, exploration or________?
No matter what kind of story we would write for ourselves, it would be a story that would lead to our damnation because we chose to take the pen out of God’s hand which is an act of rebellion.
This is my favorite quote from Dr. Tripp’s message – “God will take me where I haven’t intended to go in order to produce in me what I could not do on my own, to find life, joy and comfort in HIM alone.”
So as I have been thinking about the story I would have written, I have realized that it would be very different from what God has been doing. For instance my story would not have included taking 7 kids from 6-15 into a hurricane ravaged area just 7 months after a Category 5 hurricane ripped through the area leaving mass destruction and chaos in its wake. If God hadn’t prodded me to take this trip, I would have missed out on seeing how children can bring so much joy in doing hard work and my youngest doing more ministry with her bright smile than most of us adults could have accomplished in the same amount of time! Was is risky? I suppose from a worldly perspective it seemed so, but from the eternal perspective, it has enriched my life more than I would have imagined. I have friendships that have deepened with each trip over the past 3.5 years. Pearlington has become a second home to my family and I!
If I had been writing my story, it would not include traveling half way around the world to teach children about God so that their parents could get some much needed R & R! It is challenging to get ready for these trips and to leave my children for 15 days! But to hear how God is working in the lives of these children is amazing. To hear a Four year old recite the first verse she has memorized in her life and see her beaming from ear to ear brings joy to my heart. Or to hear another student tell her dad, “Daddy, my pretty teacher taught me about Moses today. Do you want to hear the story?” reminds me that these stories are glorious and amazing and children love to hear about them. Or to hear parents say, “thank you for taking such good care of my children and teaching them about God. They learned so much and loved coming here. I am ready to go back to my home, refreshed and recharged,” tells me that I have done what God has called me to do successfully by His strength and guidance.
My story would not involve risk or travel or danger. It would be rather boring compared to the amazing things that God has and continues to do. I would also miss out on the blessings that God has given. I would not be the person I am today if I had been writing the story because God is willing to sacrifice my temporal surroundings and comfort for the eternal benefits.
When I focus on God and what He is doing, I don’t see the hardships or the risks but experience the joy that comes in serving others. I am willing to let God write the story – He is a much better author than I am.
So are you willing to let God take you to where you didn’t intend to go so that He can produce in you what you couldn’t do yourself and to find life, joy and comfort in Him? God is willing to undo you in order to rebuild you for the ministry He has written for you before time began. Are you ready for the ride of your life?