In January of each year I pray about the ways the Lord wants to change my life. It can be something in the kitchen, I love learning new cooking and baking methods. It can be a characteristic he wants to enhance or a sin he wants to purge. I see it not as a resolution, but as a chance to use 365 days to change a habit that needs more than 21 days to fix. If I am going to be honest with myself, then I know deep, dark sins that have worked hard to stay hidden are going to need longer for the Lord to bring it to light, start the digging, then the purging and finally receive the glory and freedom the tough work will require.
This year was no exception and I have learned to start praying for revelation in December. I know from experience it takes time to plant a seed of an idea in my life. It can take even longer for me to acknowledge indeed it is the area the Lord wants to work in. Then I have to come to a place of willingness to allow the digging to begin. The Lord waits for the green light as willing hearts are the first place to start.
I immediately realized I wanted to gain a full understanding of marketing, both rural and urban. Marketing to them is similar but can require a different approach in the voice you use. I approached a trusted business mentor of mine and asked her if she could recommend some marketing classics I could begin studying. She sent me a list and also offered to mentor me one-on-one. I asked her why she would be willing to put her precious time and energy into me. I was humbled at her answer. She said it was because she knew I would use what she taught me. I would either pay it forward or I would help her with a project in the future. It was inspiring for someone to see such positive characteristics in me.
I went from desiring to understand marketing to being mentored by someone I admire, which lead to the Lord asking me to discover my Purpose, Mission, Gifts and Talents. Discovering my purpose has been something I have been praying to figure out for a while. It has been painful as I wrestle with what it was God has put me on the earth to do. It felt like torment at times as I wondered if I had wasted my life. Did I spend my life doing one thing when the Lord had wanted me to do another thing. I was afraid it would be an uphill battle to become the person God wanted me to be and to reach those he wanted me invest in.
Two or three weeks ago my sister and I attended a symposium and the keynote speaker was to be Rachel Demille. A long time homeschooling mentor of mine. It should have have surprised me, but the theme of the conference was discovering your mission and your strengths. The thing God has called me specifically to do. On the way home from the conference I asked my sister what she thought my mission was. I know sometimes others can see things in us long before we know it exists. She thought about it for a few minutes and finally said conflict. I think your mission is conflict. She said look at the work you are doing in our community, the mentoring/coaching you do with young ladies and really your whole life.
The more I thought about the more excited I became. I have to admit initially I was scared, conflict can be ugly and messy. Did I really want this job, but the more I thought about the realization was not only did I want it, I had indeed been doing it my whole life. I had not gotten off course once in my life. Even in the times I had wandered away from Christ and tried to do my own thing, in the midst I was living out conflict resolution. We cannot run from the mission God has given us on earth to do. We will either accomplish it positively or negatively, but nothing is wasted. God is able to use the mucky junk in our life for his glory. Our junk makes us relatable, human and connects us with others who have similar struggles as we do.
I want you to know you have not wasted your life. The things you are gone through, what you are going through now and the things you will face in the future are not wasted. There have been times during my life when whether through choices or it just being life, I felt as if I could not hold my head up and I walked around feeling defeated. I am here to tell you none of us are good, we do not deserve to hold our head up high, but Jesus died on the cross to restore our relationship back to God. Jesus has given us the ability to hold our head up and say we are children of the king and no one can make me anything less.
I am excited to tell you with joy and tears running down my face, I have not wasted my life! I can look back through my whole life and see ways I was putting into action the very thing God has called me to do. Every step was a piece of the puzzle, both the times that felt like a curse and through times of blessing. I can see the mentors he put in my life at very specific times. He would also take them out of my life to prepare me for the next step. I did not understand the various levels of leadership God uses in our life and I sometimes resented what was happening.