I have had two confirmations in the past week….. reminders of why we are here doing what we are doing. John Waller wrote a song called “Cling to the Call” that is on my morning playlist that is set to shuffle. It played this morning and was the reminder I needed as I have had a heavy heart this week…..
… cling to the call Cling to the peace that guards your heart
Cling to the promise though you stumble you won’t fall
I will uphold you now just trust me with all
Just look at me and I will lead you as you cling to the call…
What is a calling? What is the call that John talks about here? For each person I feel it is unique. For me it has become being obedient to the things that God asks of me in different seasons of life. But as I reflect to all the places God has taken me and grown me – junior high, high school, college, Guatemala, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Guatemala – the call on my life has remained the same. To love Jesus and love those He puts in my life. All of these circumstances have changed me, challenged me, grown me into who I am today. Yet I believe each of these experiences were important for me to be who I am today.
When I came to Guatemala, I was actually expecting something to change. I was expecting to not be drawn to the adolescent crowd. I was expecting to have to change who I was. I had mentally brainstormed ways that would be more culturally appropriate to teach and relate. The way I approach my students, the way I teach is not common. It is very direct, very awkward at times…. And is about as far away from typical Guatemalan culture as you could get. I actually feel out of my comfort zone teaching counter culturally as opposed to within my comfort zone in the states. But as my time here stretched from weeks, to months to a year…. God responded clearly that He had prepared me for this time for this reason for this position – to be bold, direct and speak truth. And He confirmed this to me over the last year as He kept on telling me He wanted something different for these students.
As I tried to grasp the language and a vocabulary to not only understand but be able to respond back, I found that it was during these times (a direct conversation with a student or another teacher) that the words flowed smoother from my tongue than any other time. Times that I will credit only as “God Moments” as I am pretty sure I could not remember those vocabulary words again in a normal conversation. And those were the times that gave me the most encouragement… as He confirmed to me that our calling can be cross-cultural and that He was asking me to do something different for a reason.
There are cultural differences, teaching differences, barriers, boundaries, different ways of doing things and challenges every day that many times took my heart away from the calling that I cannot deny on my life. At times I feel as if I drifted away and was distracted as demands of paperwork and different priorities pulled me away from having the time to do what God had asked me to do at times….. but He continued to press it upon my heart and keep me steadfast focused on what was before me. He continued to call me out and remind me how important people were to Him, how important relationships were. And if we cling to Him, cling to what He has called us to- He upholds us. He leads us. He strengthens us. His love becomes our love. And we love because He first loved us.
As we approach this Christmas season, my pastor has been doing a series entitled “Every Person has a Story.” This is the story of how you came to Christ….. and on how you have encountered Christ in your life. This is the story about what Christ has called you to live out in your life. For me this has been on ongoing story – where I could write chapter after chapter. And I know that He is not done using me. To me it is interesting that these two challenges have closed out my school year here. I know it is just another time where God is reminding me to keep my eyes focused on Him.
We each have a story though. And everyone’s story is different. Don’t be afraid to share your story. And cling to the calling that you have in your own life as well to live out what God has asked you to do…. even when it might seem counter cultural or uncomfortable at times.
Thanks for following along on this journey – may you be blessed during this Christmas season.