Seasons of Sacrifice

     Eight days with junior high kids on a mission trip in South Carolina may not sound like a blast to you, but they were for me in more in so many ways. Love for mission trips are part of my heart, my DNA, how God created me. I love serving on mission and being on mission, especially internationally.

     My first mission trip was in 2001 while in seminary. I served for six weeks in Freiburg, Germany. I fell in love with international missions. It was so hard to even return to seminary and learn old and “dead” languages such as Greek and Hebrew when I could be learning a language that someone actually spoke (well, Hebrew is still spoken, but not Koine Greek)! The next year back in seminary was a hard one as I longed to serve overseas. As I continued in seminary, I met a man who would be my husband. He served in missions and everyone thought, “how perfect!”. Except for one thing – he served in a stateside office, not on the field. Again, a sacrifice came when we got married and he was not going anywhere and neither was I.

     I continued to serve overseas on short-term trips as well as in our city, travelling at least one time a year internationally to serve until 2009, the year my son was born. Again, a sacrifice. I remember feeding him in the middle of the night as friends were in Uganda. I longed to be serving there yet I was here, so I rocked him, nursed him and prayed for my friends. That is the part I could play in that season and it was hard. I would not take another mission trip until 2014.

     Mission is part of my DNA, no one had to convince me to serve overseas, with the homeless downtown or this year in Charleston. In the past, when I talked about mission, my husband would get nervous because I DREAM BIG. He no longer gets nervous because He sees that it is part of how God has created me. After coming back from Charleston, he and I both were reminded just how deep the love runs and he is already asking me when my next trip will be.

     Some of you are in a season of sacrifice. God has asked you to put something away for a season in order to serve something else right in front of you now. God has asked you to serve in a new and different way, maybe even a foreign way, but that is His call for today.
God sometimes ask us to sacrifice big. We never know for how long and sometimes it seems forever. I’m not going to sugar coat it – sometimes it is painfully difficult. My encouragement to you – God sees your sacrifice. He sees your heart. He knows you and will not leave void that which He placed in you. His timeframe may be different but that does not mean He does not see. He knows, He sees, He is the one who has created you the way He has and He cannot deny Himself and His creative nature. He is also re-creative, creating new things, showing us new depths and widths to our own hearts and desires. In our sacrifices He is working still.

     God created me to love, live and thrive on mission. God has also created with things that you love, bring you to life and you thrive on. He asks us to sacrifice these things from time to time and amidst the sacrifices He calls us to trust. To trust and to rest. May God meet you in your seasons of sacrifice and may you find Him ever-faithful.

One Comment

  • Ellen Townsend

    You are so right about seasons

    Thank you for this message Laura. You are so right about seasons. One of the ways Pete and I were drawn together was by a love of serving and sending those who are called to be God's emissaries. As a family, Pete, Ben and I have been involved in international and local missions since Ben was 2. People thought we were crazy when all 3 of us went to Kyrgyzstan in June 2001 on a visioning trip and to visit the Adairs.

    Back in my teen and college years, my church Pioneer Memorial United Presbyterian (in Solon, OH i.e. the northern church) encouraged us to go to The New Wilmington Missionary Conference at Westminster College in New Wilmington, PA – western PA, just a couple hours away. This was our church camp. Back then I thought it was simply church camp. Of course, now I see how God was beginning to prepare me for a life time of love and passion for the lost – especially overseas. I have had many cross-culture / cross-country service and evangelistic missions and I know that God has more in store for me.