Even after having that dream where I was called into overseas ministry, I forgot the dream. For years, I never even remembered I had the dream, but when people would say how do you know you are supposed to be an overseas minister, I would tell them it was because I was called in 7th grade, but what I didn't say was that I can't remember how I was called.
Looking back, God held my calling in my heart, He held my passions and desires and kept me focusing on what He had for me. Even though I had enjoyed my life in America, I always had an element of discontent in my heart. We were seemingly unable to get overseas. But when God's timing was right, He not only opened the doors to us moving overseas, but He had set up relationships during that 18 years that made it all possible, then at that right moment, God brought back the dream to my mind, and it gave us the confirmation we needed to move forward in confidence.
I write this blog post as an encouragement to all of you waiting for God's dream for you to be fulfilled. Maybe you are like I was, 25 years in the waiting, or maybe you have just been called and not sure what your future holds. I have often taken encouragement from the story of Joseph (with the coat of many colors) in the Bible. He was in prison for 10 years! Can you imagine how many times the thought must have crossed his mind that he had been forgotten or that the dream God gave him would never come true? The truth is that we all have our own story to walk out with the Lord, and those stories could be entirely different for the both of us, but what remains true for us is that God is in both of our stories. He NEVER forgets His promise to you. The callings of God are irrevocable according to Scripture. He will accomplish all that He has purposed for you, even above all you have hoped and imagined. The key is trust and obedience.
I trusted...most of the time, but I was weak too, and I doubted and cried and gave up hope. More than several times, I would lay my calling down. Sometimes I would lay it down in peace, and I would say, “It's okay, Lord, whatever You have for me is good." Sometimes it was in anger with an attitude and I said, “FINE! If I am not good enough for You to use then I won't go. I must be really disappointing to You if you have a family happily saying, 'SEND ME!!!', and you still say no all the while saying in the Bible, the harvest is plenty, but the workers are few. Really? Because maybe if you would let us go, the workers would not be so few!”
Yeah...I am not so proud of that conversation. But it happened. The truth is, a calling never goes away even though I thought it had. We can't divorce who we are. The call remains, patiently waiting for God's timing and our consistent obedience, sometimes over a very, very long time.
One January, during a 21 day food fast, my deepest prayer was for God to fulfill His calling in my life. If we had unknowingly missed the mark or made a poor decision in the past that took us off the path prepared for us, I wanted it redeemed. We knew what God had called us to, but it felt as though we had lost our way. Though we were serving God in part time ministry and in our daily lives, we were not serving in the way we were called to serve, full time and overseas. The following December, the fruit of that January fast and prayer was revealed. We had an invitation to work and live in Asia serving the very same people spoken about to me in my dream years before.
We are so grateful to God’s redeeming power to either put us back on the right track or just be faithful to His promises from long ago. Whichever it was in our case, we are relieved. God is so good!
As you seek God on His purpose for you, remain faithful in your heart to what you know He has called you to. Hold fast to God through the ups and downs, trusting He has a purpose in the wait and in the struggles. Keep your attitude in check towards Him, but know and rest in His faithful forgiveness. His plan is to use you, and He will finish the beautiful work that He has started.
Tammy has been married to her husband for 21 years. They share 4 children, 2 girls and 2 boys, ages 9-18. Her husband teaches in a local theology school and they serve as dorm parents to 13 high school girls. They have a heart for those who have never heard of Christ's great sacrifice and live to make a difference in those places of Asia.
Thank you Tammy for sharing your walk!
Stay humble & be BOLD!
And a vision appeared to Paul in the night: a man of Macedonia was standing there, urging him and saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” Acts 16:9 ESV
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