Everybody has a story. The greatest mistake that we can make is to look at someone and think we know how their story might go or end. In June 2012 I interviewed for a position as a 40/40 missionary with Extreme Nazarene Missions, and I have heard several people tell me recently about their initial perceptions of me, of how I was shy and insecure and weak. Honestly, not a surprise. I was all of those things.
Truth be told, if I would have been interviewing myself, I would probably not have approved myself to be a 40/40. However, when God chooses someone for something, somehow they get through. I was the unlikely candidate – I wasn’t charismatic, I was terrified of people, and my perfectionism in Spanish kept me from speaking lest I, God forbid, make a grammatical error and embarrass myself forever. I was not the type of person you would pick out of a crowd of people to plant a church in South America. But I had a call.
God is the God of glorious contradictions. He chose a shepherd boy to be a king, a prostitute to give a nation victory, and a peasant girl and a carpenter to raise His Son. He turned the greatest enemy of the Church into its greatest advocate, and handpicked fishermen, tax collectors, and despised zealots to change the world. If He can do all that, surely He can use you – and He WILL beyond your wildest imagination if you say, “yes” to His invitation.
Two and a half years ago when I boarded that plane to Arequipa, Peru, I couldn’t imagine a life filled with constant joy, peace, and fulfillment. I was held down by many chains; chains of insecurity, fear, depression, self-hatred, oppression, and addiction. Step by step and painful tinkering after painful tinkering, God worked at freeing me from all that held me captive. Today I can say that I am totally free; that although I have seen amazing healings and provision in these past two and a half years, the greatest miracle I have ever seen is how God has totally transformed my heart and life. Now, in rain or sunshine, I literally enjoy every day and every opportunity I have to delight in His presence and I thank Him for the hope that He has brought into my life. We came to South America to preach about salvation, but in the midst of it all I truly experienced that salvation and learned that the freedom that Christ offers is so much more than freedom from sin; it is total freedom to love, trust, and BE everything that He made me to be.
In a day and a half, I will board a plane to the United States to begin a new chapter. However, I am starting this chapter in a totally different way than the last one. I am in love with this man named Jesus and He fills me with His passion every day. I have found an all-consuming purpose in seeking His will and living it out, and I rest in and depend on His promises for my life. He has made of my life a glorious contradiction…who would have thought? And it could only be grace…
If you think you would be the last person God could ever choose to be a part of His great dream for the world, you are in great company. The Bible and all the years afterward are filled with people the world would never expect being called by God and used by God for great things in His Kingdom. If you hand God the pen of your life, I guarantee He will write a better story than you ever could. And it won’t look anything like you thought. It’s the ultimate of plot twists – and it will leave the world wondering what happened. Do you believe that God could make a glorious contradiction out of you? Hand Him the pen today. You won’t regret it.