Widen Your Heart

“You are not restricted by us, but you are restricted in your own affections…widen your hearts also.”  2 Corinthians 6:12-13

Since arriving at Big Woods a little over a month ago, this little Scripture keeps popping up in my heart during prayer, throughout the day, and during talks that we are listening to.  This past weekend we attended FMC’s first Proclaim Conference. It was powerful and convicting, and once again that little phrase kept resounding in my heart…“widen your heart”.

It’s a little crazy to think that it has been 12 years since I first came to FMC and participated in the first official Intake of missionaries…there were 2 of us.  This year there are 38 people, including 4 families, and 18 single young adults.  Some people are a little confused when they hear that I am going through Intake again; “haven’t you already done that?” they ask.  Yes, I have, but each day I am more and more grateful for this time to be renewed, challenged and strengthened in my missionary calling.  The reality is that even though I’ve been doing this for a long time, I haven’t always been doing it well.  The Lord has been showing me just how much I have to repent of, the complacency that I have lived in, and how much I have allowed my own affections to limit how deeply I have lived my Christian life and missionary calling.  “Widen your heart.”

Before we arrived at Intake, Erik and I had talked about our hopes for our mission assignment.  In my head, it seemed totally reasonable for me to have certain hopes or expectations for the base.  I was fully prepared to request a Spanish speaking country and a place that would receive short-term mission groups throughout the year.  I even had unspoken stipulations for the accommodations and type of area I wanted to live in, thinking myself justified in this since we have two small girls.  It seems that each day since arriving at Intake, the Lord has been shedding light on these areas where I am still clinging to my own expectations.  “Widen your heart,” He keeps telling me as I confront these realizations in my heart.  After talking about it, Erik and I decided not to share our preferences with FMC leadership or ask for a specific place, but instead to trust completely that God, who knows us better than we know ourselves, would provide for us by speaking to and through the leaders of FMC.

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This weekend as I listened to the speakers share from Scripture, Church teachings and their own personal experiences in missions, I was convicted even more that I still have areas that I am “restricted by my affections” and need to widen my heart even more.  As I listened to a missionary share about her experiences in China, I found myself listing all the reasons why the Lord couldn’t be calling us there.  The language, for one, would just be too hard to learn.  It would require a long-term commitment to the country, many years or even a lifetime…I wouldn’t want to do that, I found myself thinking.  We probably wouldn’t be able to communicate with family very often and who knows how often we would get to see them.  That wouldn’t work with children.  God couldn’t expect that of us.  And almost simultaneously I felt the Spirit stirring in me and asking me, “what kind of commitment are you willing to make? Do you really believe in the mission of bringing Christ to the nations or not?” It stopped me in my tracks.  Wow, where is my heart?  I am so quick to make excuses for myself when things seem difficult…restricted by my own affections.  I am not saying that I feel like God is calling us to China, but what if He was?  Am I only willing to go when it seems convenient or appealing?  How authentic is that?  I can’t say that I am fully ready to go anywhere or with anyone, but I am begging the Lord to prepare me during this time of Intake so that when the time comes to be sent out, wherever the Lord calls us, I will be able to say yes whole heartedly.  With this widening of my heart I feel a deeper confidence and trust in my God who knows how to give good gifts to His children.

How is God calling you to widen your heart today?

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~ by martinsonmission on October 23, 2013.

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