Since college, my life has been full of risks. I’m sure some of my friends and family look at the way I live and think I’m extremely random and disorderly. But most of the risks I take are carefully prayed over, and I’ve seen God’s hand move as I’ve been willing to step out on a limb for Him.
The risks I’m talking about aren’t like bungyjumping or climbing Mt. Everest; they are the risks of day-to-day, year-to-year living. Immediately following college, I made a risk by moving to the Philippines to be a missionary. Most people go through missions organizations when they move a few thousand miles, but I just decided to meet up with the missionaries I had met there when I was on a church missions trip at age 16. I ended up staying there for six months, the only American in a sea of precious Filipinos. It was exactly what God had asked me to do, and I am so glad I was willing and obedient.
I moved back to Oklahoma after my Philippines adventure, and a couple years after my return, God opened up a door for me to move to Houston to work for an oil and gas magazine. In the natural, none of it made sense. Why would I leave the comfort of my home state to move to a place where I knew very few people, to take a job for a subject matter that did less than thrill me (oil and gas!?). But I decided to take that leap of faith in December 2007, and over the last two years, the will of God has gradually unfolded in my life. No, oil and gas was not for me. But at the magazine, I made lifelong connections with people who influenced me to draw closer to God, and whom I influenced to come to know Christ.
And about a year ago, God started showing me the next turn of events He had for my life. I started thinking about what it would be like to teach. I had never had a desire to teach during college or at any other point in my life, but I couldn’t get it out of my head. Eventually, I found out what it would take to become a certified teacher in Texas, and told God that if I were to teach, I would want to teach high school English and Journalism. In the spring of 2008, I attended three teacher job fairs, and at the third fair, I was offered a job to teach at Elsik High School. And guess what the subjects are? English and Journalism.
With a teaching job lined up for the fall, I started thinking how everything in my life was falling into place. Career? Check! Spiritual life? Check! Volunteer work? Check! I love my Saturday work, volunteering with the youth drama team at Lakewood. But God saw one area that was not complete…my relationships! He decided it was the perfect time to bring my future husband into my life!
In April of last year, a young man from my past reappeared. Devon Morris and I had been on three missions trips together (including the original Philippines trip) when we were teenagers, and he messaged me on Facebook to inquire if I would be returning to the Philippines anytime soon. (Yes, Facebook can work wonders!)
Not so incidentally, I had already planned a trip back to the Philippines for that summer. Through a series of open doors, Devon was able to clear two and a half weeks in June and July to go back to the Philippines with me.
Even before the trip, the two of us started engaging in some heart-to-heart conversations, catching up on the seven years since we had last talked. After about two months of talking to him regularly, I realized I was really attracted to him. “Wow, this guy has really grown into an amazing man of God!” I thought. Still, I asked God to guard my heart throughout the mission trip, so we could be focused on serving Him and not each other.
When we finally reconnected on June 19, we ended up talking nearly the entire 20-hour trip to the Philippines! Since both of our greatest desire is to serve the Lord on the mission field, we were able to focus on the trip. But to us, the connection we felt with each other was nothing short of God-ordained. Before Devon and I had reconnected, I had written a list of 10 very specific things I wanted in my future husband. And guess who met all 10?
After prayer and lots of talking, Devon and I decided to take a risk by starting a long-distance relationship – he in Tulsa, and I in Houston. For the time being, we have been somewhat stuck, since I’m finishing my one-year intern year as a teacher to earn my certificate, and he is enrolled in school in Tulsa. Every day has been a challenge, but we’re joyfully headed toward the altar now, engaged and exuberant about a God who will call us to take countless risks throughout our lives.
One of my mottos in life is to never be stuck in a comfort zone. When God sees hearts in us that will do absolutely anything for Him absolutely anywhere He calls us, He will use us incredibly! When was the last time you took a risk for God? What risks is He calling you to? He has a life of adventure for you, if you’ll only be willing to come out of your comfortable hideaway.