When I was little, I wanted to grow up to be a dolphin trainer. As I got older, I realized I didn’t love the concept of Marineland and that I actually sucked at swimming. So that career path was out.
I still went to school for biology though, and completed my Bachelors of Science in Wildlife Biology. Sometimes people hear what my job is now compared to what I went to school for and ask me if I regret my degree. Honestly, not at all. They may seem incompatible but in a roundabout way it actually did get me where I am today. Choosing a science degree was not a Jonah moment (you know, when God tells you to do something and you do the opposite thinking you can get away from it but you end up there anyway). God didn’t really seem to have much to say about it – pros or cons – and that’s okay. I don’t think that God always speaks loudly about every decision we make, but when He does, He does.
Never in my life did I have any desire to be a missionary when I grew up. I never wanted to be a pastor, I never cared to work for a church, and I never felt any desire to work for a Christian organization. But the clearest, loudest, and strongest I’ve ever felt God speak to me was when He told me to take the job with YFC Canada. And it’s been crazy.
I’ve been learning that when God tells you to do something you said you would never do, that you should do it. I know it sounds cheesy – but it is so true that His plan is better than anything we could come up with for ourselves. Saying yes to this job has challenged me personally and professionally, and has revealed so many hidden nuggets of God’s goodness. My obedience to His direction has resulted in blow-your-mind kind of blessings (ie. a free house), amazing new friendships with co-workers who feel like family, and given me a sense of direction in my career. So I had resolved to say “YES” to all the crazy things God brought my way – because even though I thought they were nuts, He probably had something crazy-good hidden along the way.
Enter new part-time job: Interm Youth Pastor.
Mark & I have been very involved in our youth group for the past couple of years (the same youth group that I myself grew up in!). Our Youth Pastor recently announced that he had taken another job and would be leaving our church. The pastoral staff approached Mark & I, asking if we would step into the gap and serve as the Youth Pastors in the interm (until a real legit Youth Pastor was hired). This is one of those things to which I would normally say a big “HA NO THANK YOU”. Except for that little voice of the Holy Spirit inside of me laughing and saying “I thought you resolved to say yes to God’s crazy ideas! Say yes to this one! I dare you! It’ll be good!”. So we said yes.
YFC friends – don’t worry – we are still working for YFC and not reducing any of our hours. We’re just doing this as an added bonus, the sprinkle on top if you will. Church family – don’t worry – we have a fantastic team of leaders around us that will help keep things afloat and love on the youth through this transition.
God’s plan almost never seems to make sense in the “before” section of our lives. It’s never until the “after” that we can look back and see how all the crazy pieces of the puzzle came together to create something beautiful. Saying “YES” to God’s seemingly crazy ideas has only ever led to good things in my life – and good things that I would have never imagined or come up with on my own.
I know it sounds so cliche, but God has a plan for your life. If it doesn’t match your own plan – go with His. Trust that He who created you has also created a wonderful life story for you that will reveal just how good He is and how loved you are.
But watch out! He might make you a missionary too.
1 thought on “Confessions of an Accidental Missionary”
Great word Ashley… and we are so happy you said “YES” as well!