There are lots of thoughts tumbling around in my mind as I tried to decide what to write about this week. I could tell you about that we are doing in school, how we are preparing to move to Germany, the million tiny details that are begging to be made into neat and orderly lists, and the preparation for our season of “lasts”, but as I sit here with a blank document open on my screen and a blinking cursor begging me to compose something meaningful, I feel conflicted. I think maybe I will start with some history for today.
Many of you have not known us for very long, so you do not know the history behind our call to missions. I want to go back to the beginning and share the “why.” Dale will share his story later as well.
I grew up in a home with godly parents who taught all of us to follow God’s leading no matter the cost. At the age of 15, I went on my first international mission trip to San Luis Potosi, Mexico with my church. We had a great trip, did some hard work, and explored a beautiful city. The last night we were there, we were standing in a public square reflecting on the city and the landscape. As we stood there looking around, I clearly knew and felt that God was telling me, “This is what I made you for.” In that moment, I recognized His calling and the tug deep within my soul very clearly. At first, I thought this meant living and serving in Mexico. I shared what happened with my youth pastor, my parents, and others in my life.
As I talked and prayed through this “call” experience, what came through was a clear call to missions, but not specifically to Mexico. Attending Houston Baptist University and studying in the department of Christianity provided me with lots of opportunities to explore and learn about what serving God vocationally really looks like. I also got connected to Wilcrest Baptist Church where I learned and experienced a biblical missional viewpoint. In all of these places and more, my sense of calling was challenged and refined. I know one thing clearly, I have been called to use all that God has given me to bring Him glory. At Wycliffe Bible Translators, we have found a place to do that where we can add our talents and gifts to those of people around the world working together to bring heart-language scripture access to hundreds of millions who are still waiting.
Over the last 15 years, I have pictured what this looks like in different ways. Should I go overseas straight from high school? Should I use my newfound passion for business/marketing to get a PhD so I could teach anywhere and do tentmaking missions work? Should we go immediately after we got married? The Lord, in His ever-loving nature, has drawn me to Himself and given me time to grow, develop, and mature as He has shaped this calling in my life. He has developed passions, talents, and abilities within me from all of the experiences up to today that He will use for His glory. He has removed my need to be in charge of my life and brought me to a place where I can truly say, “Here I am, Lord. Use all of me however You see fit.” Ten years ago, I could not have said that in the same way. Five years ago as I was struggling with a challenging one-year-old and two others, I did not understand God in the same way. Last year, I had not begun the process of Partnership Development and the necessary faith-building that goes with it. My faith was not ready to take this leap.
I hope that in five, ten, and fifteen more years I will be able to look back at 2013 Miranda and smile, thinking, “I did not know God then in the same way I do now. I could not have begun to comprehend who He is in the same way.” Right now, my heart echoes Philippians 3:12-14:
12Not that I have already reached the goal or am already fully mature, but I make every effort to take hold of it because I also have been taken hold of by Christ Jesus. 13Brothers, I do not consider myself to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead, 14 pursue as my goal the prize promised by God’s heavenly call in Christ Jesus.
This is just a snippet of my story, but I hope you all have a little more understanding of where I came from and how God is leading me.