Monday, March 28, 2011

Our Story. God’s Story. Part 12

I am loving to put my hands to the keyboard and walk in this part of the Story.  Our Calling Story.   If you are new to all of this, just jump in, no need to catch up…no matter what, I pray you leave here with a touch of Him. 

He is Worthy of all of our lives.

{and please, check out this post and leave a comment for this week’s giveaway of the book, “Half the Church”.}

When I left you last in the story, a couple of weeks ago, I was rounding out our time in ministry to high schools here in Florida.  But, it is very true that if you would have asked me a year ago, I would have been very uncertain that we had ‘just one more year’ here.  I think deep inside I would have screamed that it would not be fair to have it be so.

 

UHS goodbye and getaway 013

Jared in the back center at the UHS goodbye party for him…a friend on our team stayed with the kids while they napped so I could be there…such a blessing!

We love it here.  Honestly, we have incredible friends, a church community, a ministry that is growing and reaching students that seems to fit us, in many ways, like a glove.   As added perks, we are outside mostly all year and have a really sunshiny life…who would ‘want’ to leave?

The key word here is ‘want’.  I do believe that when God sweeps you up in a call that requires a great deal of sacrifice you are receiving the desires (wants) of your heart, BUT, often you have to wade through a lot of other wants…even very good wants like friends that are truly family.  Gifts that I want to hold onto with all I’ve got, not to mention how much we both love our families and miss them…these are gifts.  And in these days of following God overseas they become ‘costs’ of following Him that we count as they are surrendered.

So, as far as the story goes, it was last Spring that we began to ask if God was calling us to return again to Hungary and Speakout English Camp for the summer.  We spent some time praying apart, my hubby and I, and then agreed to a certain point when we would share how the Lord was directing us.  Neither of us had an earth shattering revelation that we were to go, but I do remember Jared saying, “it seems like the only things that would keep us from going are the comfort and convenience of staying. These are not valid reasons to say ‘no’.”

Wise man, don’t you agree?  So we continued to ask the Lord for peace as we stepped forward in our plans.  One week I asked for something very specific to confirm we were going in the right direction.  During this week I had the next meeting with a group of high school girls who were going to Speakout and I taught them the Diagram, which is a pictorial representation of the Gospel.

{pictures of kids taken on the soccer field at the dorm where we all stay and have Speakout}

End of Speakout, etc 029

As I was preparing to meet them, I had that ‘holy uncomfortable’ feeling that we were to practice the Diagram with someone who had never heard it.  I asked the girls to invite their friends and one of them came.  As Emily shared the Gospel with her friend she had been so clearly ready to hear it and wanted to receive the gift of Christ into her life.  Yes, it is true to say that your heart soars with the hundred angels rejoicing when you are in the presence of this…I knew this was for realSmileRolling on the floor laughing

For me, this was clear confirmation and I moved forward with my whole heart and will after this week and the Ever-Faithful One meeting me and giving me a glorious picture of what continually stepping out in faith is about in His eyes.

So, in late June, 2010 we boarded a plane with our just shy of three and one year-olds and buckled up for the ride bathed in hundreds of prayers of our faithful team.  (send me an e-mail at aalleman_03(at)yahoo(dot)com if you would like to receive our prayer updates—or leave a comment, signing in with your e-mail saying you would like to join our prayer team)

After close to 24 hours of travel, we arrived at the Speakout Camp in Keszthely, Hungary…which has become my universal ‘happy place’.  And let me be clear: we arrived to boost the team, serve with our whole lives and step out in faith as a family NOT (at least NOT ME) to be called back long-term.  The Lord had other plans.

Soon after we arrived, the Hungarian national staff who have become extended family for us and have prayed fervently that we would return, began to ask us about our long-term plans.  I remember one evening, after dinner, the Director of the University ministry, Laci (“Lahtsi”) asked us if we were waiting for more confirmation other than the obvious—that our hearts have been knit together with this ministry, and there is amazing opportunity and so few workers—before we would decide to return long-term.

That conversation with Laci was a bit of a turning point for me in what was quite the furrowing up of the soil of my heart.  Others had been asking similar things and I was very much ‘held back’ and saying firmly {to myself} “it’s not time…we want a couple of more years (at least) in one place as a family.”  I was really trying to protect myself from the openness I had been declaring, all along, that I had to being called back long-term.

Then at the end of the first week there, I was sitting with Dan (Student Ministry and Speakout Director) and Aubrey, who is resolute that the Lord is calling her long-term to Hungary.  She was askingEnd of Speakout, etc 054 Dan questions about the process and possibly STINT-ing first (year internship) or joining long-term staff right away.  I thought Dan would encourage  STINT and training in the States (as he had with us), but it seemed he was re-thinking if this is the best way to go.

I was realizing as he and Aubrey were talking that I had questions that I need to be asking for us.  So after they are finished we have one of the most striking conversations I have ever had in my life.  I will never forget it.

I relay to Dan what our time in the States has been.  Very good, but my husband, though he has learned so much, has not been trained with the level of intentionality that he thrived under during STINT in Hungary.  Jared’s spiritual DNA seems to be a perfect fit for the ministry in Hungary…and overseas, period.  I realize that I am the one who is conflicted. 

I am relying on the old days of the dramatic and this all-of-life-coming-together in this glorious crescendo of a call…and I am holding my heart back from what is clearly step-by-step unfolding. A distinct part of that is how the Student Venture ministry in the States is expanding into Spanish-speaking countries.  I am a Spanish speaker and perhaps God would have me travel on projects to translate for the teams, etc. while we continued to work with the high school ministry here.  And very clearly I hear, ‘you have little kids and this is not the time when you can/will leave your family for weeks to do this.’  And I realize, ‘yes, it isn’t the time, AND THAT’S OK!  IN FACT, MORE THAN OK, this feels like a burden of obligation is lifted to say it’s ok to let go of this.’

End of Speakout, etc 205

{Emily receives her goofy award—they’re all goofy—at the closing banquet for the Speakout staff}

At the same time, I sense the Lord drawing my heart to my husband, Jared, and say, ‘Look at your husband—how is he put together—what is going to grow his gifts/call the most?’ Well, then it was a NO-BRAINER.  OF COURSE!!!  My heart desires that his unique gifts and teachable spirit that just soaks up challenge, direction, mentoring FLOURISH HERE!!!  And, I want that for him!!!  I want that more than any thing!  I cry at the thought of his being able to grow and step into ways of blessing others…and so many more thoughts…

I realize now, too, that the Lord knew He was leading me in a calling (this blog and writing) that can happen anywhere and is a perfect fit for all of this too!

Dan was wonderful—though he very much would love for us to come back long-term HE WASN’T GOING TO MAKE ME THINK IT WAS THE ONLY CHOICE/OPTION.  He was very clear that it would be ‘so sad’ and ‘Hungary’s loss’ if we didn’t return.  Also, that he knew that wherever we went we would have the blessing of the Lord.  Also, perhaps God was calling us to stay and bring change in the areas we are gifted in, passionate about.  He models so well a pastor’s heart—putting his own interests aside and wanting to lead us in His best no matter how it affects him.

So I went back to where Jared was (by our sleeping kids) and we had a sweet, fervent time of sharing this conversation and prayer.  We decided that the Lord was calling us and now we’d have the nearly one month left in Hungary to ask Him to confirm it.

Which is how this story WILL CONCLUDE next week!

Sharing with wonderful sisters at Jen’s—PLEASE JOIN US if you haven’t

SoloDeoGloriaSisterhood

And with friend, Laura, and her great meme:

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10 comments:

  1. I have love reading this story of your faith and calling. It is so uplifting to see how God works in your life and how you let Him. My prayers are with you!

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  2. I really relate to how the call was not this big crescendo, but rather an unfolding of events, which is kind of how I'm feeling right now myself. It is amazing to watch this story unfold and all the changes happening in your heart and in your husband's. I'm excited to see all of this lived out and am so glad that there is internet in Hungary...

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  3. me to Jen..internet in Hungary:) I feel your heart going through all of the motions. Your own wants and calling so that God can unite you and Jared in agreement. This works beautifully when two hearts are bent towards Him and truly desire God's best and glory.
    I know God works things out with the desires of our own hearts. Our kids are not little forever and different doors open. When He gives us a dream or desire...calling it never goes away. He uses everything in between at just the right time.
    You two are a beautiful letter written by God and I continue to lift you before the throne of grace...love and hugs..
    xo

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  4. I just love how your story has been knit together so wonderful by His hands. What a beautiful journey.

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  5. It's people like you that keep love spinning around the world. I have prayed for your decisions - for God's will. I can tell a servants heart when I read one. You have such a heart. Godspeed in all you and your husband do. I was blessed in reading this. God Bless.

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  6. Oh,abby.I feel so privileged to share this story. You & Jared are amazing diciples. I am just so grateful for your courage in listening to the voice of God so closely. I can't wait to read next weeks story. And even though I have been out of blockage for a few days, I have been praying--for Pitt., for Hungary...for it all! Bless u sweet friend.

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  7. I loved read this, Abby. Especially more of your heart in wanting to do what fits your husband, where his passions are. And also, so beautiful to read of His calling to both of you, which is how it should be ...

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  8. I read this and think that you are so good listening to God. Really. It takes courage to leave a "sunshiny" life, and you and Jared have that. . .courage and faith.

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  9. You two have the sweetest story...a love story written by God :) Absolutley, beautiful!

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  10. Love reading about the leading of the Lord. So beatuiful in its clearness and joy in service.

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