I've been thinking about The Call lately. The one I heard as a teenager, that set me on the straight and narrow path to missionary life. I've been asking myself this: whose voice was that, anyway? Was it God's voice, or was it my dad's?
The more I think about it, the more I wonder.
At the time, I was someone who deeply believed that only perfect people were worthy of love and approval. And I desperately wanted love and approval. Becoming a missionary, especially a Bible translator, was the One Sure Way to win all that.
I didn't understand all that at the time. I just felt this incredible peace, and thought that this must surely be God's Will. Was that God's love flowing over me, or my dad's? I'm not sure.
But here's the wonderful thing. God is never, ever blocked by me, even when I get it wrong. He doesn't throw up His hands and say, "Dangit! She has bad motives! Everything's ruined! There's nothing I can do!"
God is our Redeemer. And no matter what our motivations might be, or how crazy our brains get, He is always redeeming.
One of the biggest things God redeemed for me out of our years overseas was this deep knowledge: God loves me.
He loves me when I'm successful at hearing his voice. He loves me when I'm off track and anxious and depressed. I don't have to get everything right, or make sure I'm hearing the perfect call, in order to be doing the perfect thing in God's perfect will.
He loves me every step of every way, no matter what. In this love, I live and move and have my being.
And right now, here's my call: to love the Lord my God with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength. And I only love Him because He loves me first. So I receive that love and give it back to Him. And then I love my neighbor as myself. Whoever is in front of my right now, I want to love that person. Mostly that's my husband and my kids, my friends and my clients.
I know I won't always get this call right, either. I won't always be perfect in love. But God redeems that too.
I trust that for myself, and I trust that for the people who are right in front of me.
And then here we find ourselves again, all safe and chosen and held close in love.