God does not waste anything. While those exact words may not be found in the Bible, the concept is there. Over the last few months God has proven this in my life.
I had the usual childhood answers to “what do you want to do when you grow up?” Nurse, teacher, etc. As I grew though the answer changed – I wanted to be a missionary. In my young adult years I knew the location – Germany or Austria.
When an opportunity was presented at our church to join a new venture, called “World Class Cities Teams” I felt the tug in my spirit. World Class Cities were defined as a city of one million or more in population. I applied and was accepted to join a team that would plant churches in Vienna, Austria. As our team formed and began to learn how to work together and raise support we encountered some obstacles. Our team fell apart and most of us never made it to Vienna. This left me with pain and discouragement wondering why I had to go through that experience.
Many years later the organization I worked with partnered with an urban ministry, World Impact. We taught them about disability. They taught us about urban life, where many people with disabilities live; either by choice or default. The part of the city we were working in was known to be among the top zip codes in the state for violence, drugs, etc. Still, I would have moved there if I could have, but this community would have made Jerry’s life even harder than it is. I loved what I learned about urban life.
When our partner ministry moved out of that area, we joined forces with Oxford Circle Christian Community Development Association. Yes, even the anacronym OCCCDA is a mouthful. This work was in a part of the city that was new to me. Additional lessons came my way. Urban life is as varied as suburban life. Once again, I found myself wishing I could spend more time working with OCCCDA. I joined their Board and loved every minute of working with this community.
Then God moved us to central Florida. We do live within the city limits of a medium sized city, but still very much in suburbia. Here is where I saw the threads of my life coming together in God’s weaving.
Jerry and I joined the missions team at our local church. Each missionary supported has a liaison within the church. One of the missions in need of a church contact was a seminary in . . . yes, Vienna, Austria! Guess who quickly volunteered to be that representative? Though this looks much different than what I had envisioned thirty-five years ago, perhaps God is allowing me to have some level of contact and ministry in Vienna after all.
Working with Luke 14 Exchange, Inc took me to a meeting held at the Dream Center in the northern part of our city, which is urban. On our first visit there we learned about scores of amazing programs the Center offers for people in that neighborhood and around the city. One area they did not have any program offerings in was the field of disability. Hmmm, seems Jerry and I may have attended this meeting for more than one reason.
Every time I am in the neighborhood of the Dream Center (just four or five miles from our home) I see people moving around in wheelchairs or scooters and using canes. We are still exploring with the Dream Center what God has for us together. So far it has meant I’ve had an opportunity to reapply some of the urban living training I received in the past. It means that last night was the first of hopefully many opportunities where I and some church friends helped distribute food bags to the community. And it means I am developing a new friendship with C, a woman who lives with her own disability, and has a young son with autism. In a few short weeks she has taught me so much about trusting in God, vulnerability and living by faith.
I don’t know where else God will take these opportunities in the future, but I am
encouraged to see God unfold blessings from times in my past, even some difficult periods. I wonder what the final tapestry will look like?
And this much I know to be true, if He has done that for me, He will do it for you! What experiences do you wonder why or how God will use?