As I discovered and accepted who Jesus was in my life, what He had done for me and all that He had in store, I couldn’t help but feel like I wanted to do something BIG for God. I wanted to share with as many people as possible what I had just found out, it was THAT good. I wasn’t about to stand on the sidelines ㅡ I wanted a BIG role! And while I didn’t know how it would all unfold, I knew God had a BIG plan in mind.
So off I went into life crossing off things like graduating college, starting work, getting married and helping launch Hoboken Grace. In each stage, I would ask God if this was the BIG thing we had been talking about. Each one of them seemed like a huge task. I mean, marriage is considering someone else above your own needs FOR-E-VER! Starting a church was BIG and scary and exciting ㅡ that had to be what God was talking about. It couldn’t get bigger!
Then I became a mom. Nothing I had ever done had taken more surrender and sacrifice. Nothing had ever made me feel more vulnerable and in need of God. So of course I thought, “Forget everything else. THIS is it. This is the BIG thing God was talking about.
And then I became a mom to a child with Down syndrome, and all of my ideas about accomplishments, mission and purpose were turned upside down and inside out. What did significance look like in a role I felt inadequate for and sadly didn’t want?
A longtime friend asked, “Do you think this is it? You’ve always said you felt God had a big mission for you. A BIG thing for you to do. Is this it?” For the first time since discovering who Jesus was, I thought, “No, no, God. Wrong person. Wrong mission. My role is meant to be big and significant, maybe even shiny and pretty with a bow on top. Not this.”
Beyond doubting my own abilities, I also mourned for my baby. Yes, he was healthy despite his disability, but what if he couldn’t accomplish things for God? What if he couldn’t even go to college or get married? What if he couldn’t even form a relationship with his brothers? I needed God to remind me of what actually mattered and not just what I had thought was important. So in the midst of grief, denial and shock, I began to engage God about significance and purpose. As God often does, He began to ask some hard questions. What was my grief pointing to? What did I truly believe? What had I been placing my value in? What had He been asking of me all along?
While it wasn’t wrong to want to do big things for God, He taught me once and for all that my purpose ㅡ my so-called BIG assignment ㅡ had always been to simply love Him with all of my heart, soul and mind, and to love my neighbor as myself (here is the BIG part) REGARDLESS of my stage in life and circumstances. I can find God in a role I wasn’t ready for, and despite my son’s abilities, God can accomplish great things through him! Not because of who I am or who my son is, but because of Jesus. He alone provides significance. It is in Him and through Him that we are able to love, allowing us to live great stories.
It doesn’t matter how old you are, how much money or education you have, whether you are single, married or a parent, whether you sit in front of a computer all day or you’re out in a mission field ㅡ God’s purpose for you is alive! We don’t have to wait for our circumstances to change or discover some hidden message from God to fulfill our purpose. No need to wait for something to come through ㅡ a job, a relationship, a status ㅡ to live lives of significance. Yes, it will look different with every stage of life, and yes, it may not always be how we envisioned it. In faith we are never disqualified from the mission ㅡ it’s a mission worth every day of our lives. So stop waiting and join Him!